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  • Wartime - First World War
    • The Labour Party in wartime
      • Genuine sense of patriotic duty
      • Decided to support the war as the British public were overwhelmingly in favour of it
      • Arthur Henderson - became leader of Labour at the start of war
      • Ramsay MacDonald - strong pacifist, resigned his position of leader of Lab MPs in August 1914 + consistently opposed to war during its duration
      • Marxist element on the left of the party condemned war as a capitalist conspiracy - set up No-Conscription Fellowship to organise disruptive strikes in the war industries
      • The Stockholm Conference, July 1917
        • Socialist parties of all the countries still fighting the war to meet in Sweden, to find a way of bringing about a negotiated peace after the February Revolution, which had proposed a peace settlement for all sides instead of the demand for reparations
          • This was regarded by the governments of the combatant countries as undermining the war effort
            • DLG at first agreed that Henderson could attend, but the French complained and Henderson resigned
              • This worked to Lab's adv. Now that Henderson (Lab. Party leader) was no longer a minister, he was able to put his energies into improving both the party's organisation and shaping its proposals for both the peace settlement and the domestic policies that Britain should follow after the war was over
                • Responsible image for Labour
                  • Unlike divided Libs and a Cons. Party that seemed willing to subordinate itself to DLG for the sake of being in government
      • Henderson's efforts at restructuring the party led to Labour Party Constitution, adopted February 1918 (also largely the work of MacDonald)
        • Defined the party, gave it stability, confidence...emboldened Lab. members in DLG's coalition to break free of him - they did - all resigned in Nov. 1918 after armistice was signed - reclaimed political independence
    • Conservative gains from the war period
      • Cons. took executive key posts in coalition govt.'s inner war cabinet - position of authority for first time since 1905 (majority in coalition)
      • 1918 Representation of the People Act which increased size of electorate not only helped Lab - 1/3 of WC voters voted for parties other than Labour
        • Due to Cons.' wholehearted + consistent support for the war - their record from this won them substantial support from servicemen  and their families in 1918 Coupon Election
          • Benefited also from Cons. seats being sub-divided to form several new constituencies due to larger electorate
      • Willingness to learn the social lessons the war provided - e.g. Harold MacMillan came back from the trenches with a respect for serving men and a wish to make the world a better place for them and their families in peacetime
        • Showed Cons. to be breaking down their prejudices, adaptable to democratic politics and being modernised
    • The Home Front
      • Total number of troops: 5,700,000. 702,000 killed, 1,670,000 wounded (WW1)
      • Treasury Agreement - March 1915. DLG enlisted trade unions as an essential part of war effort. TUs had to accept non-strike agreements and 'dilution' in order to receive guaranteed improved wages and conditions
      • 1,700,000 women workers in war - big impact on output of munitions factories
      • Between 1914 and 1918 trade union membership rose from 4 million to 6 million
      • Workers doubted that the govt. understood that they were the class having to make the largest sacrifice
    • Economic impact
      • Britain's staple industries were in long-term decline. For many decades British industry had been seriously weakened by foreign competition - mainly Germany & USA
      • Lack of competitiveness and fall in demand for British-made goods (due to their increased prices)


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