• 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)

    However, we must note was wholly due to overwhelming support for their policy or was it simply the only viable alternative to the IPP.

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

    A religious development had threatened parliament as much favour was shown towards Arminians. The matter of the growth of Arminianism and the current actions of them became apparent as a regular discussion point during parliament, although mostly during Charles reign.

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

    century custom which required freeholders who owned land worth up to �40 a year to attend the King's coronation in order to be knighted. In 1630, those who did not turn up were fined, and thereafter had to buy their knighthoods, as well as becoming liable to further taxes as a result of their elevated social status.

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

    Cultural selection is harshest with the upper class, where convention reigns with a firm grip. By applying these ideas on the characters of the novel one could state that Charles and Ernestina are bound by elaborate convention, social ritual, and legal considerations in their engagement, whilst Sam and Mary can be direct, honest, and open with one another.

  1. 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.

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

    However, the Cato Street conspirators were easily caught and once they were, they didn't inspire further uprisings as intended, the opposite happened, Lord Liverpool used the threats from Cato Street to gain support. It was therefore one of the last radical threats of the period.

  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