COMPLETE NOTES ON EDEXCEL GCSE HISTORY: War and the Transformation of British Society 1931-51

Touches the surface of everything learnt throughout the course. Remember: you only need to know some basic knowledge as this is a source paper!


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  • Created on: 31-05-11 14:49
Preview of COMPLETE NOTES ON EDEXCEL GCSE HISTORY: War and the Transformation of British Society 1931-51

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29th October 1929 ­ Wall Street collapsed... Great Depression began. USA
couldn't lend money to European countries and recalled some loans. Depression
soon hit Britain and the rest of Europe because of their over-dependence on the
Demand for British escorts declined because people wanted to buy
cheaper goods. As a result, people lost their jobs. By 1932, there were 3
million people out of work in Britain.
South Wales, North-West and North-East England, and Northern Ireland
were the worst affected by unemployment. These areas were badly
affected because of long-term problems in older industries: coal, textiles,
iron and steel and shipbuilding.
The main problem of the old industries was that they depended on exports. In
the 1920s, the government followed a policy of free trade. This allowed foreign
goods to come into Britain freely, but British companies had to pay import
duties to foreign governments.
1931 ­ A National Government was set up to try and reduce unemployment.
This was a coalition government made up of three main parties ­ Conservative,
Liberal Democrats and Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald. They came up with
two main views:
TRADITIONAL VIEW ­ Neville Chamberlain
The government should do little to help the economy
The depression would revive itself when world trade increased
Government would cut spending and balance budget
Place taxes on foreign goods to help protect British trade
SPEND, SPEND, SPEND! ­ John Maynard Keynes
Government spending would kick start the economy and provide jobs
His ideas had been adopted by Roosevelt and Hitler
Short term measures: Public spending cuts were introduced and the
Government decided to come off the Gold Standard. The Gold Standard was
where the pound had been valued against British gold reserves, which made the
value of the pound high and exports expensive. Income tax was raised to help
pay for the increased cost of unemployment benefit and repaying loans from the
Long term measures: The National Government tried to prevent an economic
crisis from happening again. It passed the Import Duty Act.
Special Areas Act. 1934, government passed this act which offered grants to
companies that would move to "special areas" ­ areas worst affected by the

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Wall Street crash. Northern Ireland, North-East and North-West England,
Clydeside and South Wales.
In 1931, the Government introduced the Means Test to tackle the high cost of
unemployment. Before people could receive the `dole', they had to have their
houses inspected to check all their savings and possessions. Families may be
forced to sell their possessions if they wanted to receive the dole.…read more

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However, when they arrived in London, there was little support and
sympathy from members of the government.
Jarrow Petition was presented to house of commons
Marchers were given support from the public
The march improved public image of hunger marches
Police praised marchers for being well organised and disciplines
Did little or nothing to stir government into action
3rd September 1939: Britain declared war on Germany.
The period of military inactivity from September 1939 to April 1940 was known
as the `Phoney War'.…read more

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RAF had great strengths. The Battle of
Britain was a turning point because it was Hitler's first real defeat.
Hitler began the Blitz because he wanted to destroy infrastructure and to break
down the morale of British people. Coventry was one of the worst affected towns
as it was hit with 30,000 bombs, with the target being its aircraft factories. The
North-West and Manchester in particular was attacked in December 1940.
However, London was the primary target for German bombings.…read more

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They worked to produce as much food as
possible to protect the country from starvation.
The Normandy landings were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of
Normandy, in Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings
commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day).…read more

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The state "should not stifle incentive, opportunity,
responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room
and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide
more than that minimum for himself and his family".
Beveridge was opposed to "means-tested" benefits. His proposal was for a flat
rate contribution rate for everyone and a flat rate benefit for everyone.
Means-testing was intended to play a tiny part, because it created high
marginal tax rates for the poor (the "poverty trap").…read more



really useful thanks.

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