The Depression of the 1930's (Britain's POV)

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The Depression of the 1930's (Britain's POV)


  • No fundamental political change/social revolution in midst of political extremism
  • Economic problems already present since 1920's (extension rather than creation). Remember staple industries!
  • Unemployment concentrated in old industrial areas (not nationwide)
  • Abandoning Gold Standard did not lead to much inflation
  • Rise in imports and falling prices - for those in work,cost of living went down
  • Internal development of domestic house building in cities (but not nationwide) Expansion aided by low interest rates, more borrowing - to get mortgages.
  • New industries provided more work and quality of life - access to motor cars and better transport of goods (lorries and vans) as well as cinemas with sound


  • Britain dependent on trade- depression reduced world trade and tariffs on foreign goods. Manufacturing trade 30% lower in 1938 than 1929 (re-exports: 23% fall). Financial services also decreased.
  • Britain became more economically inwards. dependent on trade with its empire rather than other countries as well. cemented by import controls 1932.
  • Newer industries did not depend on unskilled/semi-skilled labour - could not absorb unemployment from old industries


Increased the divide between the rich and poor in the country, but there was a lack of nationwide poverty meant that there was little rise in political extremism, unlike Germany. Britain was able to fall back (in economic terms onto its Empire, so was therefore not as badly affected as it could have been with no Empire.


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