Why the Conservatives dominated the 1920s

Four main points to why the Conservatives dominated the 1920s

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  • Created by: jenna
  • Created on: 08-05-12 17:25

Why the Conservatives Dominated the 1920s

The Conservatives were the dominant force in the 1920s - continued up until outbreak of WWII

Conservative influence was strong in Lloyd George's coalition - 1918-22

1922  broke away from Liberals

     Formed the government of Britain up until October 1929

WHY?

  • Was it the result of the external political context?
  • Was it because of the strengths of the Conservative Party at the time? 
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Reason 1

The impact of WWI

  • War focused attention on issues which favoured Conservatives
    • Conscription - wrought havoc among Liberals
    • Patriotism
    • Strong defence of Britain and Empire
  • War altered political situation
    • Split Liberals
    • Labour gains
    • brought Conservatives into Asquith/Lloyd George Coalition = gained credit
  • Electoral Reform (extended franchise to men over 21 & women over 30)
    • New male voters were susceptible to Conservative appeal
    • Women gave the largest share of their votes to the Conservatives
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Reason 2

Division of the Opposition

  • Neither Labour or Liberal were strong enough to present a viable alternative to Conservative Government
  • Split of the Liberals
    • continued to rapidly decline in the 1920s 
      • Number of seats in Dec 1910 - 272
      • Number  of seats in Oct 1924 - 40
  • Labour was growing significantly yet still not confirmed as a contender until 1924
    •  
      • Number of seats in Dec 1910 - 42
      • Number of seats in Oct 1924 - 151
  • Similar stance between Labour and Conservatives
    • Both agreed on the reduction of arms expendeture, internation peace/secruity, public ownership of BBC/CEB and welfare reforms
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Reason 3

Social Basis of Conservative Support

  • Conservatives drew support from a wide social spectrum
    • Landowners, industrialists, middle and working class
  • Upper & middle class suporters gave the party both local and national prestige, public service and leadership. 
    • Broad support provided finance, favourable press coverage & good platform speakers
  • Lower-middle class support was vital
    • Men, women & children were involved in organistion, social events and voluntary work at election time
  • Significant number of working class supported Conservatives.
    • Between 1918 and 1940, popular vote for Labour was never greater than that of Conservative
    • Policies appealed across class barriers - constructive approach contrasted with the radicalism of both Labour/Liberals
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Reason 4

The Importance of Baldwin as Prime Minister

  • Baldwin's policies did nothing to alarm or alienate either the middle or working clas
  • He portrayed an image of moderation, tranquility and calm
    • This was particularly clear in his handling of the General Strike
  • He made effective use of modern media
    • Radio broadcasts
    • Cinema newsreels
  • Baldwin succeeded in uniting the Conservatives between 1922 and 1924
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