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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.

Extending the Franchise: Votes for Women

The 1918 Representation of the People Act gave the right to vote to property owning women aged 30 or above. It was passed by a large majority in the house of commons: which came as a surprise to many.

Why were women given the vote in 1918?

There are lots of possible reasons why the franchise was extended in 1918.

Some people have claimed that the vote was a 'reward' for the hard work done by women during the war.

Others say that the nation was weary of conflict and did not want to end the war and see a return to the violent methods of the Suffragette movement.

Many in power were fearful of a Revolution and felt that the risk of not giving the vote to women was too great: how many might join the Suffragettes at the end of the war and where might this lead?

Some historians argue that the limited granting of the vote was simply a means to an end. It gave some rights to women and bought time to deal with the radical elements of the suffrage movement.

On a more practical level the vote was a political issue that concerned the general public. research showed that the majority of voters in Conservative held constituencies wanted the franchise to be extended. How could the MP's vote against it if they knew that their constituents wanted them to vote for it?





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