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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.

The long-term and immediate problems of the coal industry after the First World War

During the First World War many miners had joined up and gone to fight in the war. This had led to a slump in production of coal which had led the government to nationalise the industry for the duration of the war. At th end of the war the industry was de-nationalised. It immediately faced several problems. Firstly, many workers were returning from the army. Secondly, the government had paid more than the private mine companies and had given workers better terms and conditions. Thirdly, the reparations payments from Germany included payment 'in kind' which included lots of coal.

This posed a massive problem for the industry. It was faced with having workers now accustomed to better pay and conditions at a time when the market was being flooded with cheap coal from Germany. This also affected the industries ability to export: other Allied nations were also receiving coal as part of their reparations payments. Additionally there were new technologies and methods of powering machines emerging. Oil and gas were being used a lot more, which reduced the demand for coal.


National Archives - Labour Unrest, Miners Strikes 1919




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