How and why did Churchill react to the problems of post-war Britain from 1920 to 1937?

Daniel Mosey
Mind Map by Daniel Mosey, updated more than 1 year ago
Daniel Mosey
Created by Daniel Mosey over 6 years ago
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Relevant to AS Level Modern History this can be used to revise the first key issue as stated on the OCR specification.

Resource summary

How and why did Churchill react to the problems of post-war Britain from 1920 to 1937?
  1. Fear of Communism.
    1. Churchill hated Communism, he believed that it threatened aristocratic rule and it would threaten world order.
      1. Llyod George believed it was in his "Ducal blood."
      2. Communist Revolution (1919). Reds were Communist and Whites were Tsarists. Churchill belived Britian had a moral obligation to Tsarsit officers as they had supported the war effort. Cabinet hadn't discussed a clear policy on how to deal with the situation.
        1. In 1919 Churchill entered the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Air- insistent on high levels of British intervention. 1919-1920 Churchill tired to persuade Cabinet to commit to Whites case.
          1. Churchill believed Brtiain and France should take military action against Russia. He wrote newspaper articles and speachers on the matter.
          2. Social Unrest.
            1. Considerable amount of strike activity in 1919- Trade Unions membership doubled during the war from 4 million- 8 million.
              1. Churchill saw the threat of revolution and as SOSFWA he did not hesitate to use emergency powers.
                1. Lloyd George did not approve of using troops- the situation eased in 1920.
                  1. Churchill saw Russian Revolutionaries and British orginised workers as class enemies.
                2. January 1919- Troops and tanks appeared in Glasgow during strike action for 40 hour week- strike leaders arrested.
                  1. July 1919- Major coal strike Chruchill urged colleagues to take action- his advice was not taken.
                    1. September 1919- 50000+ troops deployed during rail strike- Lloyd George negotiated matter.
                      1. Problems of social unrest worsened because of unrest in British rules areas such as: Ireland, Egypt and India.
                      2. Churchill's work as Chancellor of the Exchequer and the return to Gold in 1925.
                        1. Churchill had no economic or financial experience- his own finances were usually in a poor state.
                          1. Churchill had been out of politics between October 1922 and September 1924.
                            1. Baldwin offered Churchill the long-coveted office of Chancellor of the Exchequer.
                              1. During the First World War international payments and trade were seriously disrupted and this forced Britain to go off Gold.
                                1. Gold Standard- A monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is based on a fixed quantity of gold.
                                  1. The problem with the return to Gold was that the pound would have to raised against the value of the US dollar.
                                    1. Before 1924: £ worth $3.80
                                      1. After April 1925: £ worth its pre-war value of $4.87
                                        1. The effect would make British exports considerably dearer. Financial banking and insurance sectors would benefit but the export industries would find it more competetive.
                                          1. Coal was a major export and the industry was already suffering. A 10% rise in prices would mean wage cuts a s profits fell.
                                            1. With falling sales mine owners wanted longer hours and less pay for mineworkers. Other unions felt obliged to back the mining unions' resistance to this.
                                              1. General Strike came in 1926.
                                          2. Over-valued the pound and made exports dearer.
                                        2. Britain went off the Gold in 1931
                                      2. Other work as Chancellor of the Exchequer
                                        1. Free Trade-Liberal policy that went back to the previous century.
                                          1. Attempted to help industry by de-rating premises in alliance with his Cabinet colleague Neville Chamberlain, the Minister for Local Government.
                                            1. This involved allowing the owners of factories and workshops freedom from local taxes put on the owners property.
                                            2. Found money for Chamberlain's extension of the welfare state, in increasing benefits in 1926.
                                          2. Defence and disarmament.
                                            1. Churchill had to demobilise over 3,500,000 British service men and woman.
                                              1. There had been disturbances in the forces and protests about being sent overseas.
                                                1. Churchill was quick to respond to threats to discpline and order by proposing the "First in first out" scheme which demoblisied longer serving members of the armed forces. This worked well and the mutinies subsided.
                                              2. Churhcill had to deal with reducing huge military costs and this was done through the 1919 ten year plan which was that the spending on defence should be based on the assumption the Great British Empire would not be engaged in any major war for the next ten years- this remained the basis of the British defence policy until 1932.
                                                1. Churchill had no hesitation in reducing the size of the RAF and by 1921 Britain only had three independent air squadrons to the forty-seven French.
                                                2. Colonial Matters
                                                  1. 1921 Churchill made Colonial Secretary
                                                    1. Highly interested in the Middle East- set up separate Middle East department
                                                      1. Churchill was able to negotiate between the interests of the Jews and the Arabs.
                                                        1. Both cases successful however Ireland still remained an issue and a period of violence followed an inconclusive settlement.
                                                          1. Southern Ireland accepted Free Status and Northern Ireland remained part of the UK.
                                                      2. Churchill and the General Strike
                                                        1. Key Events:
                                                          1. 1919- Sankey Commission recommends 'Nationalisation.'
                                                            1. 1924- Dawes Plan- German coal mines recover. More competition.
                                                              1. 1925- Return to Gold. Coal exports dearer.
                                                                1. 31st July 1925- Red Friday. Other unions back miners' strike and agrees to 9 months subsidy and a commission of enquiry.
                                                                  1. March 1926- Samuel Commission reports. Long term changes but short term pay cuts. Wages cut. Miners resist and call for TUC help.
                                                                    1. 1st May 1926- TUC agrees to a General Strike.
                                                                      1. 2nd May 1926- Negotiations between TUC and Government break down.
                                                                        1. 3rd-13th May 1926- GENERAL STRIKE.
                                                                  2. Churchill's Views on the Strike.
                                                                    1. Saw it as a clash between elected Government's and powerful unions for control of the nation.
                                                                      1. Threat from Socialism and he saw the strike as a showdown for the control of Britian.
                                                                        1. Became increasingly extreme in the Cabinet and was distracted by being given control of the official newspaper 'The British Gazette.'
                                                                          1. Paper was full of class hatred and propaganda.
                                                                            1. Widely circulated and reached is peak on the 12th of May 1926 with 2,200,000
                                                                              1. Printed abroad.
                                                                        2. General arguments for Churchill's editorship of 'The British Gazette.'
                                                                          1. Strike was Bolshevik inspired.
                                                                            1. Resistance to the strike was justified however violent.
                                                                              1. Labour party were wild Socialists and were using the strike for political advantage.
                                                                                1. Strike leaders should be held financially responsible for the strike.
                                                                                  1. After the Strike.
                                                                                    1. When the strike ended Churchill showed his skill of conciliation.
                                                                                      1. Attempted to work with mine owners and get some compromise- he got nowhere.
                                                                                        1. Supported the Trade Disputes Act which made sympathetic strikes illegal- he was unhappy about the treatment of the miners and he asked Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald to negotiate with them.
                                                                                2. The Abdication Crisis.
                                                                                  1. In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire was caused by King-Emperor Edward VIII's proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite who was divorced from her first husband and was pursuing a divorce of her second.
                                                                                    1. Churchill was the only one in government at the time who belived Edward should be able to marry Wallis.
                                                                                      1. The King abdicated in 1937 and moved to France and married Wallis.
                                                                                        1. Few missed Edward and the new King and Queen detested Churchill and used all their infleunce to prevent him returning to government.
                                                                                      2. Reasons why Churchill wasn't in Office after 1929.
                                                                                        1. Criticsim:
                                                                                          1. Financial experts criticised his budgets.
                                                                                            1. Liberals had seen him as renegade.
                                                                                              1. The British Gazette had been seen as extreme and had alienated the unions and Labour.
                                                                                                1. Armed services unhappy about cuts to spending.
                                                                                                  1. Continuing unemployment was blamed due to the return to Gold.
                                                                                                  2. Praise:
                                                                                                    1. Some saw his stand for Constitutional Government as heroic.
                                                                                                      1. He had supported reforms such as the extensions of pensions and National Insurance in 1929 and the reform the rating of industry by the local government.
                                                                                                    2. Churchill Crosses the Floor.
                                                                                                      1. Lost his Parliamentary seat in Dundee and failed to gain a seat as a Liberal Free Trader and another seat as a Conservative 'Constitutionlist'
                                                                                                        1. Didn't return to Parliament until 1924 when he stood as a Conservative for Epping.
                                                                                                        2. 1904- Went from Conservative to Liberal.
                                                                                                          1. 1920s- Returned to Conservative.
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