• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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)

    Furthermore, many people had become dissatisfied with the idea of partition and desired much more radical solutions- an Irish republic, which Sinn Fein appeared committed in delivering. Sinn Fein also had the added advantage over the IPP of the Irish Volunteers coming under De Valera?s leadership providing them with a

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

    Over 12,000 soldiers were stationed in the north. Although this use of force was key in stopping Luddism, it must be noted that the loss of life during some attacks helped too. The magistrates were also used to keep law and order.

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

    Unlike with the Catholics, James listened to the Puritans allowing them to voice their own opinions at the Hampton Court Conference. Although not passing any laws which were requested by the Puritan ministers, apart from the new translation of the Bible.

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

    The King long delayed releasing a reply until Parliament threatened to publically release the document, forcing a quick response. In spite of seemingly moderate negotiations, rumours began to circulate that Parliament had intentions of impeaching Queen Henrietta Maria. Charles was fiercely defensive of his Catholic wife and as a result

  1. 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.

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

    Not surprisingly political in-fighting was a problem throughout the 1500s.Factions would go in and out of favour and try to get more power. This led to a certain amount of instability as the Tudors were threatened by factions who became too powerful.

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

    formed from many of the disgruntled Young Ireland members, led by John Mitchel. Mitchel made clear his intentions when he wrote that the Irish people should "strike for a republic...and raise the Irish tricolour, orange, white and green, over a forest of Irish pikes.

  2. "William Wilberforce was primarily responsible for the abolition of the Slave Trade in the ...

    on multiple occasions, and though he did eventually pass the Act, it was with the assistance of tacticians such as James Stephen. In summary, Wilberforce was a popular, influential politician with 'the greatest natural eloquence in England'2, that provided the committee with a parliamentary representative, though he was also a largely incompetent one.

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