Political impact of WWI

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  • Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 05-06-16 13:29

Political impact of WWI

In 1914 the liberal party had been in power for eight years. By comparison, the Conservative Party was in a weak position , tainted by its association with rebellious Ulster Unionistic in Ireland. The Labour Party was relatively weak too, as it was still in its infancy. Yet within a decade the Conservative Party seemed to have re-established itself as the party of government and the Liberal Party has been virtually eclipsed by Labour as the second party.

The Liberal Party

The war had a catastrophic impact on the Liberal Party, undermining many of its guiding principles. Fighting total war went against Liberal beliefs of individual freedom, laissez-faire, balanced budgets and in the power of government. This led to splits within the party. These splits occurred because:

  • Some MPs resigned because they opposed entry into the war
  • Some rebelled because they could not support total war measures such as DORA and what they called 'war socialism' - undermining individual liberties by giving greater power to the government
  • Others, like Lloyd George and Churchill, argued that total war was not being implemented quickly enough
  • Some people also felt either alienated by Asquith and Lloyd George (the two leaders at the time), Asquith supported those with more right wing leanings and Lloyd George the left to generalise

The Liberal party were also undermined because of Asquith's weak leadership. He had to be pressured into forming a coalition government with the Conservatives and Labour in May 1915. He was also pressured in April 1916 to accepting conscription. In the end he resigned in December 1916 and Lloyd George replaced him. In 1918, the Liberal Party…


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