• 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. Causes of the French Revolution

    The nobles told Louis to call together the estates general and they would come up with a solution to get more money. Louis did this. The estates general was an old parliament made up of the three estates. It met in 1789. The first issue was deciding how to vote.

  2. How effective was Henry VII’s government?

    Overall, this could have resulted in a more difficult situation for Henry, and really, a government should not allow this to happen as it could endanger the king's position. The final aspect of Henry's government was his relations with other countries, as depicted in his foreign policy.

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

    In 1618, James' foreign policy interfered with the religious struggle in England. In order to create safety and allegiance for the future, James tried to marry Charles off to the Spanish Infanta. In pursuing this goal his policy towards Catholics at home softened.

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

    mandatory condition noting that it must be called once every three years. Shortly after, the King was backed into more concessions, including the illegalization of ship money and the abolishment of the Courts of Star Chamber and Court of High Commission, two feared arbitrary courts in which Archbishop William Laud

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

    There were crushing foreign policy failures. The Duke of Somerset's costly and ineffective campaigns in Scotland and against the French (�1 million) between 1547 and 1549 seemed to begin a precipitous slide, and then came, under the Duke of Northumberland, the Treaty of Boulogne in March 1550, which A.F.

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

    rebellion which failed when O'Brien surrendered to the RUC when they took Widow MacCormack's children hostage. The rebellion took place in July 1848, and due to skirmish which took place at the cottage, it became known as the "Cabbage Patch Revolution."

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

    Prior to this reference, the narrator describes the "horizontality of existence" as one of the novel's possible themes (80). Further evidence also suggests that Fowles does not subscribe to social Darwinism, a process described as possessing the same rapidity of occurrence.

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

    all helped to help improve and stabilise the economy. Although these schemes were mainly created before the radical threat arose, they carried on during the years of threat and helped keep the economy relatively strong. This helped Pitt greatly, because if Britain had been in a serious economic crisis/ruin during the years of radical threat (like France had been)

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