• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Expain why the general strike broke out in 1926

Extracts from this document...


Explain why the General Strike broke out in 1926. May 1926 saw one of the largest acts of union in British workforce history, the general strike saw much of Britain come to a standstill as the country's main traditional, staple industries ceased production. The strike began when 1 million miners were locked out by their employers for refusing to take a pay cut. The response of the British working class was magnificent. Over 2.5 million workers responded to the call for action and refused to work. There are several events that lead up to and caused such anger amongst the workforce and ultimately the General Strike. The first, and one of the most important in my opinion, was the economic situation of the time. Britain was at the beginning of a huge economic depression, and after the war found that they now couldn't compete with other countries in the international export markets. Germany and Poland were using more modern machinery and were able to churn out coal more efficiently and cheaper than Britain as she did not modernise her machinery, only 20% of British coal was cut by machinery, the rest was handpicked. ...read more.


However this ended and there was a sudden drop in the sales of British exports. Coal exports fell from 65 million tons a year to 43 million tons and the industry was losing �1 million a month. As usual the workers were expected to pay for the crisis. Baldwin summed up the employers' position when he said, 'All workers of this country have got to take a reduction in wages to get this country on its feet'. However the miners protested and threatened action. The Miners Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) was the largest and strongest union in the country with 800,000 members. Their leader was A J Cook, the most radical trade union leader Britain has ever seen. The miners were to be the first group of workers to fall under Baldwin's axe. On 30 June 1925 the mine owners announced their intention of ending the National Wages Agreement fixed in 1924. This would have led to the breakup of national pay bargaining and to wage cuts. ...read more.


However the printers refused to print the article and a strike began there too. Despite this still rumours leaked out. After this Baldwin stopped all negotiations as nothing was working, he decided the only way forward was to let the situation play out. Overall I think that the biggest factor that caused the General Strike was the economic situation Britain was faced with after the war. Some unforgivable decisions were made such as returning to the gold standard and allowing mine owners to neglect more modern ways of producing coal. These all contributed to the economic situation and eventually loss of employment, loss of profits, which only leads to a worse situation with more unemployment and less sales. Britain was under prepared, and relied too heavily on its exports, the economic situation led to a crippled relationship between miners and mine owners, and with factors such as the Triple Alliance meaning other industries would support others when needed or when in fear that their troubles might affect them a General Strike in my opinion was too likely. Sheri Matthews, GA7 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a well focused response that sets out the key reasons for the Strike and shows a particularly good understanding of the economic context and its role. There could have been further analysis of the role of key individuals. 4 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 26/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The victory of Sinn Fein in the 1918 general election was solely due to ...

    4 star(s)

    However, we note that it would be a mistake to write the IPP off as an electoral force; 5 contested by-elections between December 1914 and June 1916 all saw comfortable wins for the party?s candidates. Where the IPP seemed lacking Sinn Fein seemed to deliver; another key reason for the electoral shift- the attraction of Sinn Fein.

  2. Constitutional Nationalism succeeded in achieving its aims whereas revolutionary nationalism failed and cultural nationalism ...

    Thus what successes did Young Ireland and Thomas Davis enjoy? Primarily, the nationalists' newspaper 'The Nation' spread the ideas of Young Ireland and helped to cement the idea of 'cultural nationalism.' What's more, the link between O'Connell and the National Repeal Association and Thomas Davis and Young Ireland in the

  1. How successfully did James deal with religious problems throughout his reign?

    After the Gunpowder plot there was little catholic political activity and they were left in peace. In general James dealt well with the Catholics, often using his foreign policy and marriage alliances to aid catholic happiness in England. Although in the early years of his reign he mistreated them, ignoring their opinions and views.

  2. How and why did Lord Liverpool survive the Radical Challenges of 1812 ...

    The magistrate's response to the mass meeting does suggest how serious a threat it was. The response was because mass meetings were very new and no one knew how to deal with them. The fact that it was very badly dealt with brought revolutionary ideas to the forefront of the nation's conscience, bringing more hatred on Lord Liverpool's government.

  1. What Was The Main Cause Of The First English Civil War?

    input from any area and this not only isolated many politicians but also this "creative reform" (as referred to by recent historians such as Kevin Sharpe) brought about many mistakes and dubious decision making. One of the most notable was being drawn into war in Scotland - Presbyterians had viciously

  2. Intertextuality in John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman.

    It suggests that the upper class is superior to the lower classes and that social mobility is desirable. Yet, Fowles illustrates that, far from being victims of a Social Darwinism, the lower classes are not as prone to cultural extinction as the upper.

  1. Was there a mid-Tudor crisis during the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I ...

    All these led to much instability such as Edward VI, boy-king who was protected by liberal Earl of Somerset and corrupt Duke of Northumberland, who in order tried to install Lady Jane Grey and alter the legitimate line of succession.

  2. How well did Pitt deal with the radical threat?

    The same year, the French had invaded England. Luckily for Britian, it was a failed invasion, however it helped Pitt realise the importance of army numbers. By April of 1798 a bill had been passed by parliament called the ?Defence of the Realm Act?. This enabled the government to obtain a return of all males eligible to serve in the event of an invasion.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work