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War and the transformation of British society c1903–28

Key Topic 1: The Liberals, votes for women and social reform

The activities of the women’s societies and the reaction of the authorities. Overview

Children’s welfare measures, old age pensions. Overview

Labour Exchanges 1909, the National Insurance Act 1911. Overview

The political position of women in 1903




Reactions of the authorities to militancy and protest

Forced feeding

The ‘Cat and Mouse Act’

Children’s Charter (1906)

The School Meals Act (1906)

Medical Inspection, 1907.

The reasons for and importance of Old Age Pensions Act (1908).

Labour Exchanges (1909)

National Insurance Act 1911.

Key Topic 2: The part played by the British on the Western Front

The BEF and 1914. Overview

Britain’s contribution to the Western Front 1915–17. Overview

The end of the war. Overview

The despatch of the BEF

The part played in the events of 1914

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan

The race for the sea

Setting up of the trench system.

The nature of trench warfare

Haig and the Battle of the Somme

The development and importance of new weapons



The creeping barrage.

Britain’s part in the events of 1918

Ludendorff’s offensives

The drive to victory.

Key Topic 3: The home front and social change

DORA, censorship and propaganda. Overview

Recruitment and rationing. Overview

The part played by women. Overview

The importance of censorship

Examples of propaganda

The various methods of recruitment: 1914–16

The reasons for, and impact of, conscription: 1916–18

Conscientious objectors.


The effects of submarine warfare on Britain

Measures brought in by the Government to alleviate the threat of U-Boats.

Key Topic 4: Economic and social change 1918–28

The changing role of women 1918–28. Overview

Industrial unrest 1918–27. Overview

The General Strike of 1926. Overview

Extension of the franchise

The changes in women’s work and social changes.

Trade union membership

Industrial militancy in the years 1918–20

The long-term and immediate problems of the coal industry

Black Friday (1921)

Red Friday (1925)

The Samuel Commission (March 1926).

Government preparations and measures to deal with the General Strike

The reasons why the TUC called off the General strike

Trades Disputes Act of 1927.

Industrial Unrest after the First World War - a brief overview

At the end of the First World War the labour market was very different to the pre war labour market. Many workers had joined the armed forces and been killed or wounded. Others were psychologically scarred by their experiences of war. The roles that these men had taken prior to the war had also been filled by other people. Women had entered the workplace en masse for the first time and young apprentices were already in place.

This meant that in many cases a job was hard to find for soldiers returning from the front. Many of the younger soldiers had been conscripted before having a job, so had little experience of work other than their service in the war. This situation meant that there were now many men looking for work: and this means that employers are able to pay less.

Industry suffered as a result of the war in many ways. Factories had been transformed to make munitions and now needed to be returned to their original functions. Other industries found that the reparations payments by Germany were a hinderance: we took coal from the Germans, therefore didn't need to mine as much of it ourselves. Added to this was the fact that German goods were given to other countries as well, which reduced our export market.

The result of this was a period in which employers struggled to keep the workforce happy and there were many strikes as a result.




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