Political/Social Impacts of Boer War

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 14-03-19 08:48

Political and Social Impacts

- events such as 'Black Week' and the Battle of Spion Kop caused outrage in Britain, with the planning of the War Office, supply issues and leadership of generals under fire.

- The Khaki Election of October 1900 rode the high of 'victory' in S.Africa after the Battle of Paardeberg, allowing Lord Salisbury and his Unionist/Conservative Government to keep power. There was also great divide within the Liberal party about how to conduct the war - explaining why people didn't vote for them. 

- the Boer war also exposed Britain as weak - the Germans fancied having a go (WWI).

- correspondents of all the Great Powers witnessed Britain's inadequecy in the conflict - caused great international embarassment

- a rush of volunteers after 'Black Week' who were in poor health and had to be turned away raised concern about conditions for the working class. 

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The Health of the Nation

- Committee of Physical Deterioration set up to investigate why 60% of volunteers had to be turned down as unfit for service, caused reforms: 

  • Baden-Powell's scout movement created healthy soldiers to serve the Empire. 
  • Medical inspections became compulsory in schools. 
  • 1906 - Liberals created Education (Provision of Meals) Act - free school meals. 

- These helped to create a more physically fit generation of soliders to fight in WWI. 

- Charles Booth also found that 80% of the nation could be classed as exceptionally poor working class - with a life expectancy of 22-26yrs old. Shocking. 

- Seebohm Rowntree was another dude who investigated health - in 1899 he established the idea of the poverty line through investigating the working class in York. 

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Consequences of Boer War in Brief

  • Unionist government severely damaged post-war - Liberals dominated 1906 onwards. 
  • British imperialism loses its authority - embarassed. 
  • Caused a drift away from Salisbury's 'splendid isolation' to continental alliances. 
  • South Africa gained dominion status. 
  • Germany became more of a threat. 
  • Extensive post-war military reforms
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