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How and why have historians differed in their views of the British economy in the 1930’s?

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How and why have historians differed in their views of the British economy in the 1930's? Historians will always differ on points of views of all types of historical evidence. However, two main attitudes are present. A pessimistic view which is one that represents a dull and depression Britain, and a optimist view this is one that implies that at the time the state of affairs was in fact good. Neither one of these attitudes is either totally correct or totally wrong but each gives a slightly different analysis of what the 1930's in Britain were like. With the Wall Street, crash in October 1929 there was sure to be some impact on England. America recalled loans (from first world war) this put countries like Britain a currency crisis therefore meaning that England would be forced to leave the gold standard leaving Britain with a unstable eccommomic crisis about the value of the pound.


An optimistic view of a perfect suburban England was one shared by a number of people from the 1970's who saw the era as a step forward in the rich industrialised country with super highways and cinemas with crowd of awaiting civilians with happy contented lives. Wages started to increase compared to the wage rate of 1914, this brought with it higher living standards and better pay for working families. Living standard got cheaper and family size decreased giving more money for other activities. With this available money leisure, activities became rising in populatey and radios, and cars were not only for the rich. The cost of book making also decreased dramatically so more people could afford books, and these books then meant were put to a larger audience.


Those who had the money were able to escape daily work and wind down at the cinema. Most just walked the streets trying to find a job, which would bring in some sort of income for the family. Another possible reason for the contrast in ideas is that the was a change throughout the country. In the north Britain was bombarded with old staple industries, the long-term unemployment was everywhere. Whereas in the south this was the main hot spot for the new developing, industries and living standards were on the increase with plenty of jobs available if you could open to the new branch of development opening. There are many reasons to support each side of the historians views, with neither presenting a totally succure or uncure Britain. There is no doubt that people suffered hardship but there is also evidence that some areas were also booming with development for the new American influenced Britain. Hollie Allen

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