Impact of the First World War on the political parties

Summary of how the Conservatives gained and Liberals were damged by the First World War :-)

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  • Created by: jenna
  • Created on: 09-05-12 14:57

The Liberals damaged by

  • Government went against Liberal Values
    • Introduction of conscription, Defense of the Realm Act (DORA) - took freedom
  • The imapct of Lloyd George's premiership
    • Aim was to prevent radicals from becoming too angry over the slowing down the social reform
  • Effects of electoral reform
    • trippled electorate - 7 million to 21 million
  • Personal dispute between Asquith and Lloyd George
    • Asquith angered by Lloyd George's betrayal in 1916 = working together would be impossible to continue
    • Lloyd George dependent on Bonar Law/Conservatives
  • Damaged Liberals beyond repair
    • Jan/Feb 1910 Election: 275 seats, 43.2% of total votes cast
    • May 1929 Election:         59 seats, 23.4% of total votes cast
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Labour in Wartime

  • Initial divisions between pro-war and peace elements in the party
    • majority of members decided to support the war for patriotic duty
    • worried on political grounds - went against public opinion, may damage Labour beyond repair
  • Party gains from inclusion in Asquith/Lloyd George Coalition
  • Breach with Lloyd George strengthens party's moral status
    • Stockholme Conference, 1917
      • Lloyd George first agreed that Arthur Henderson could join, later changed his mind = Henderson resigns from Cabinet
        • Worked in Labour's favour - improved Party organisation, gave party responsible image
          • contrasted to split Liberals
  • Adoption of constitution adds to party's political stability & acceptance
    • attempt to define the party for the 20th Century
    • 1918 - all Labour ministers resigned = showing independence 
  • 1918 Electoral Reform helps treble its popular support
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Conservatives gain

  • Inclusion in Asquith/Lloyd George governments
    • Resulted in Conservatives taking key executive posts in the inner cabinet = without winning an election, Conservatives were in a position of authority for the 1st time since 1905
  • Consistent support of the war - wins patriotic vote
    • about one third of the working class voted for Conservatives due to their consistent support of the war
  • 1918 electoral reform benefits the party
    • 40% of women voted for Conservatives   

"Conservative seats in the Home Countries with expanding populations were sub-divided to form several new constituencies, whilst many Liberal seats with small electorates in the West, the North and in Scotland disappeared"

- Stuart Ball

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