Churchill's career before 1929
- Was a professional soldier serving in India & Sudan before entering politics as a Conservative MP in 1900.
- Played a leading role in introducing social reforms before 1914.
- Served in Lloyd George's coalition government from 1918 to 1922.
- Re-joined the Conservatives and was chancellor of the exchequer 1924-29.
Churchill's political ideas
- Strong believer in the British Empire, was determined to defend it
- Bitterly opposed to communism, urged GB, France and the US to send forces against the Russian Revolution.
- Opposed any threat to the monarchy or to the British constitution.
- Against 1926 General Strike, thought it tried to use union power in a political way.
Churchill's personality and controversy
- Betrayed his party by joining the Liberals.
- His support for the use of troops against striking miners in S Wales in 1910 made him unpopular with many in Labour.
- His decision to return Britain to the Gold Standard in 1925 was critiscised by many economic experts.
- Extreme opponent of trade unions, opposition to the General Strike in 1926.
- Outspoken, outwardly self-confident and often controversial.
The British Empire
- Very important, many British people lived and worked in it.
- Helped Britain to win WWI, but was very costly and difficult to defend.
- Britain controlled the Suez Canal and dominated Egypt.
Political life in 1929
- Labour => relatively new party, represented the working people, increased support after WWI. Won 1929 election.
- Conservatives => major party from 1916 to 1922. In power 1922 - 23 and 1924 - 29.
- Liberals => introduced many important changes, including the beginnings of the modern welfare state. Party split during WWI.
Society in 1929
- Britain lost over 750,000 men in WWI. Was a loss of faith in old values of patriotism.
- Rise in relative wealth & influence in the middle classes.
- War confirmed social change, women had to vote, on equal terms with men after 1928.
- Rise of radio, cinema, use of motor transport increased awareness of the wider world and improved communications.
The Economy in 1929
- Britain => great industrial power with textiles, iron, steel, leading the world.
- By 29 its older industries were in decline. Less demand for its heavy industry products.
- Collapse of the U.S. stock market, beginning of the Wall Street Crash. World economic depression.
- Unemployment hadn't fallen below a million in the 20's.