By Chris Wrigley
This significant other brings jointly 32 new essays by way of major historians to supply a reassessment of British historical past within the early 20th century. The members current lucid introductions to the literature and debates on significant elements of the political, social and monetary background of england among 1900 and 1939.
- Examines debatable concerns over the social influence of the 1st global battle, specifically on ladies
- Provides mammoth assurance of adjustments in Wales, Scotland and eire in addition to in England
- Includes a considerable bibliography, so as to be a helpful consultant to secondary resources
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Additional info for A Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain
Accordingly, while in opposition to the Labour government Unionist leaders both made themselves more attractive to Liberals by dropping protection and offering social reform, and exploited the doubts of many Liberals at their leaders’ decision to install ‘socialists’ in government. When the contrasting impacts of Baldwin’s ‘non-political’ appeal and the party organization’s relentless stoking of anti-socialist scares (culminating in exposure of the ‘Zinoviev letter’) were added, the effect was devastating: a defecting group of ‘constitutionalist’ Liberals (in Churchill’s case, re-defecting), many local Liberal–Unionist election pacts, over 100 fewer Liberal candidates and a Liberal party collapse at the October 1924 general election, producing a huge Conservative victory.
It also goes far towards explaining how, through all the criticism, Balfour so long remained an unchallengeable leader: his determination to preserve the widest Unionist interests, by resistance to activists who unwittingly narrowed the Unionist appeal and played into Liberal hands. The position could not be salvaged before the 1906 election, and afterwards pressures from wellorganized Chamberlainite majorities among Unionist MPs and in the National Union obliged Balfour to concede successive versions of tariff reform.
The two interwar Conservative defeats, at the 1923 and 1929 elections, were largely caused by Liberal revivals. Moreover, the high number of constituencies described by some historians as safely Conservative is obtained by a deﬁnition of ‘middle class’ which in some cases falls as low as 20 per cent of voters: the electorate in such constituencies must therefore have been up to 80 per cent ‘working class’. 20 More fundamental explanations lie in argument, ideology, political culture, strategy and policies.
A Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain by Chris Wrigley