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Contemptuous slang for unemployment benefit payments received by 2 million unemployed in Britain (by 1921). This plus other social welfare payments helped the British unemployed. Britain was losing its primacy even before WW I but especially after it. There was increasing competition from newly industrialized nations, growth of tariff barriers and indigenous industries in the colonies, new textiles competing with Britain and new fuels besides coal. Losses were accelerated by WW I disruptions. Thus Britain's economy was declining even in the early 1920s when others were starting to revive. Britain therefore made use of the dole to cope with unemployment.
General Strike of 1926
Prompted by coal-miners strike (mines particularly badly hit by post-war depression in England. ) Even conservative investigators recommended govt management of industry. The miners strike prompted other unions to join in. 6 million workers were out. Govt declared a state of emergency. Army and navy volunteers stepped in. Strike failed and unions suffered as result. Led to Trade Disputes Act of 1927.
Trade Disputes Act of 1927
Trade unions put under stricter control after the General Strike of 1926. This measure declared all general or sympathy strikes illegal and forbade unions from raising money for political purposes.
British newspaper, the Daily Mail, published this letter purporting to be secret instructions from head of Comintern (Zinoviev) urging communist uprising in Britain. Authenticity not been established but Conservatives exploited it and won election in 1924. Ramsay MacDonald was not a communist but because he had supported closer ties with the Soviet Union, his name became associated with letter and he lost the election.
Brit PM - 1924(less than a year) and 1929 as head of Labor govt. Both times these were coalition govts. Proved to be moderate in 1924. Just extended the uemployment benefits and started housing and public works . Acted firmly in the face of the strikes BUT did give diplomatic recognition to Soviet Union and pledged to loan Soviets for purchase of British goods. This in combination with Zinoviev Letter brought down his govt. Later, in 1929, he was PM when Great Depression hit. Formed a National Government with the Conservatives and called for retrenchment and national unity. This working together of left and right made it difficult for either the Brit Commuists OR the Brit fascists to make much headway.
Ramsay MacDonald 1931-35
Stanley Baldwin 1935-37
Neville Chamberlain 1937-WW II
Sinn Fein Party
Political party formed in Ireland in 1905. Its outstanding leader was EAMON DEVALERA. It was/is the political force behind the Irish Republican Army. These were/are Irish nationalists. Got support from Germans during WW I -> Easter Rebellion. Sinn Fein party fought for independence. Been granted in 1914 but deferred because of the outbreak of war. 1919-1920 Sinn Fein sponsored guerrilla warfare to evict the British. British sent over Black & Tans - fighting force to quell uprising. In 1920, by the Government of Ireland Act, the British Parliament divided Ireland, with the six northern provinces remaining part of Great Britain. The majority in Northern Ireland are Protestant and wish to maintain union with Britain. They send Irish MPs to Westminister in London but control their local government. In 1921 Ireland (without Northern Ireland) received dominion status. Gradually the Irish government severed its political ties to Britain. During World War II Ireland remained officially neutral. In 1949 the Republic of Ireland withdrew from the Commonwealth (of Britain's former colonies). Today it is a member of the European Union. Today it still seeks, along with Catholics living in Northern Ireland (Ulster) for Northern Ireland to be separated from Great Britain.
Statute of Westminster
1931 - this followed the Imperial Conference of 1926 in which Dominion Status was defined. Dominions were areas of British white settlement overseas, ex. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa. By the Statute of Westminister they became legally equal with each other and the United Kingdom. They were independent domestically and in foreign policies but bonds to the "mother country" remained. They stuck by Britain in WW II. After WW II they formed the COMMONWEALTH which was a larger and even more flexible institution.
1924-26 - Despite name this was a moderate governing party in FRANCE. Leader was Eduard Herriot. It represented the lower classes, small businessman and farmers. Advocated progressive social legislation as long as no accompanying tax increase. WAS firmly committed to private property and enterprise. WAS staunch in support of individual liberties and fervently ANTICLERICAL. Differed with the Socialists (under BLUM) on economic policies though cooperated in parliamentary elections.
Extreme right/royalists in France. Anti-republican. Acted principally outside the Chamber of Deputies as a militant and noisy pressure group. (They were somewhat Fascist - something of an imitation of the groups gaining power in Italy and Germany).
Figure of moderate, conservative RIGHT. Sent troops into Ruhr in 1923 when Germans ceased making reparations. France needed the money to rebuild and balance the budget. The franc was falling due to huge war cost, loss of investments in Russia and antiquated tax structure. After 1926 Poincare inaugurated new taxes and formed a "National Union" ministry. Tightened tax collection and cut expenditures to balance budget and stabilize the franc which was down to 1/5 of its pre-war level. France's international debt was largely repudiated - unfortunate for bondholders -BUT France did avoid runaway inflation. By 1926-9 France was beginning to prosper.
Stavisky was a financial manipulator and adventurer with top political connections. There was a financial scandal and he faced exposure. Committed suicide. Sensationalist press rumoured that he had been shot by police to protect the govt. There was a great public outcry. Some demanded an end to the Govt. Issue climaxed in riots in 1934. A fascist mob formed at the Place de la Concorde and began threatening the Chamber. Some rioters were killed. But, overall, the impact was to cause the liberals, socialists AND communists to form POPULAR FRONT against the fascists.
French Popular Front
In response to Stavisky Riots of 1934 and growing fascism. Composed of liberals, socialists and communists. Like many others in other parts of Europe. Campaigned on pledge to defend Republic against fascism, end depression and introduce labor reforms. In 1936 the Popular Front combination achieved victory at the polls.
Led French socialists in 1920s after the more orthodox Marxists had seceded. In 1936 he led the Popular Front ministry in the govt. French Socialists were the majority in the Popular Front. Blum was Premier of coalition cabinet of Socialists, Radical Socialists (and Communists who now had 72 seats in Chamber but didn't join cabinet though pledged support). Put through far-reaching legislation(because of sit-down strike). Included 40 hour week, vacations with pay, collective bargaining(union membership increased). This was like a French "New Deal"(like FDR's New Deal in U.S.). Made the "right wing" fearful that Blum was another Lenin.
Fascio di Combattimento
Organized in 1919 by Benitto Mussolini, son of a blacksmith. Was a professional revolutionary,left-wing socialist, journalist. Read Sorel's Reflections on Violence and Nietsche. Very nationalistic. Fought in WW I for Italia Irredenta. Organized the Fascio di combattimento or "fighting band." "Fasces" was the bundle of rods carried by the lictors in ancient Rome and was a symbol of power. By using this symbol, Mussolini was appealing to ancient glories of Italy. This especially important since in 1919 Italian glories seemed dim. Italy did not obtain imperial concessions from Versailles and had not proven itself a great military power in WW I (Caporetto).
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