History GCSE British Source Exam

Basic notes and knowledge about the Unit Three topics

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The Impact Of The Great Depression

The depression affected most of the countries in the world it was started by tha wall street crash in the USA at the end of 1929. The USA was badly effected and lacked the money to trade with other countries so it because the other countries such as Britain were trading less with the USA they weren’t able to sell as many goods. Also because they had less money they were unable to trade as much with each other and so almost all countries were affected. To make matters worse the USA had lent money to Britain and were then demanding it was paid back.

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Unemployment Rates

1929       1.5million

1930       2.4million

1932       3.4million             35% of miners and over 60% of shipbuilders were made                                            unemployed.

1935       2.4million

1937       1.8million

1938       2.2million

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Worst Effected Industries

Coal, iron, steel, cotton and ship building industries.

As these industries were often the only or most important place of employment so whole towns and villages were affected by unemployment

The worst affected areas were Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and Northern England.

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The Least Effected Areas

South East England

Almost all new factories in the 1930’s opened in this area, e.g. car making

These factories ran on electricity and didn’t need coal for production so they didn’t help the coal mining industry which was already suffering because of the Great Depression.

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Governments - Labor Government 1929-1931

Prime Minister 

Ramsey MacDonald

What Did They Do?

-Cut government spending

-1930 Unemployment Act- Benefits claimers no loner has to prove they were actively seeking work.

-Wanted to cut benefits by 15% and introduce a means test.

Was It Effective?

1)Couldn't get support and collapsed.

2)The next government made it much harder for people to get benefits.

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Governments - National Government

Prime Minister

Ramsey MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin

What Did They Do?

- 1934 Unemployment Act – said NI payments were a right but that the dole was only for those who needed it.

-1934 Special Areas Act- £2 million to help the worse affected areas to provide jobs

-1937 Special Areas Amendment Act – Tax cuts and low rent/rates to buisnesses that moved to these areas

Was It Effective?

 1)People hated the Means test

2) Special areas money was too little and not spread out.

3)the Dole was given out more freely in some places than others


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What were the effects of unemployment?

Little money meant that there was a lot of poverty which also caused difficulty paying bills, poor quality food. Health was also badly effected along side peoples morale. Unemployment was not the same though out all of Britain, the worst effected areas were Wales, Scotland, Midlands and Northern England. 

To combat this people signed petitions, wrote letters and went on Hunger Marches to highlight their problems. 

The Means Test was humiliating for people as they would be visited by a benefits offer who would look at what they had saved and what they owned so they could reduce there dole money. Also much of the unemployed had to sign on to the employment exchange to prove they were looking for work to receive there dole money.

Nearly 50% of all those on the Dole couldn't afford proper nourishment and NI payments were only for 15 weeks; dole was for those who were not covered by the NI or for men who were still unemployed after 15 weeks. (When NI payments stopped)

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National Insurance and The Dole

National Insurance was only for workers who paid national insurance with each pay check, to continue these payments only lasted a total of 15 weeks then the unemployed would have to go on the Dole.

The Dole was for unemployed people who didn't have national insurance as well as those unemployed whose national insurance had stopped after there 15 weeks.

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Key Points Summary

1)Unemployment was worse in some areas than others.

2)Some industries were worse affected than others.

3)The rate of unemployment increased, decreased then increased again.

4) The biggest increase of unemployment was between 1930 and 1933

5)1/4 of unemployed men were not entitled to National Insurance

6)There were 2 types of benefit payment, the dole and national insurance

7)People hated the means test

8)The dole wasn't enough to live on. 

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Why Did Jarrow Organize Its Own Crusade In 1936?

Poor Living and Working Conditions

Jarrow didn't get enough money even though it was a special area, most of the men had worked at Palmers Shipyard however, it was shut down by the national shipbuilders security ltd in 1934. This led to 64% of all men being unemployed, so the people were desperate as they were stricken with poverty and all that it entails.

Get Government Help

The public were worried that the National Unemployment Workers Movement (NUWM) who had there own hunger marched would not get support because many of them were communist or connected to the Labor party, they wanted to appear apolitical. 

They also wanted to underline the fact that they wanted work NOT benefits.

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The 'Crusade'

For the crusade 200 fit men were chosen to walk the 291 miles to London along the way they had over 20 stops. Where they stopped they held meetings where they stopped to tell other people about their experiences.

They took a petition which was signed by 1,800 people, while they walked they carried black and white banners instead of the expected red (a communist colour). Before they left they were also blessed by the local bishop.

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The Reactions To The Jarrow Crusade

Some places refused to help the marchers to they had to sleep in workhouses.

Other places gave the marchers support - free use of public baths; free cinema tickets; meals given by church groups and places to stay overnight.

The government offered no support and stopped the benefits to those men and their families who were on the march.

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Was The Crusade Successful?

One marcher was offered work but refused to leave the march. A new steel works was set up and 200 jobs were created. The Jarrow MP Ellen Wilkinson took a petition to Parliament but the prime minister refused to accept it. Most of the Marchers felt it failed to bring work to Jarrow, unemployment fell in the end of 1930's but this was mainly due to the rearmament towards WW2. The crusade as become Legendary. 

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Georgia Sowden


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