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

General Strike 1926

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Tutor Marked Assignment E Why did the General Strike of 1926 fail and what were the consequences of its failure? a) Identify key issues involved. The TUC who represents the miners, was under the strong impression that a "threat" of a General Strike was sufficient enough to bring results. They underestimated Baldwin's and the mine owners' obstinacy. Relying strongly on the Samuel Commission to find a way out, the TUC was not at all prepared for a General Strike. The threat of the TUC was not forceful enough to instill fear in the government. In fact, the government was better prepared for the strike and they knew that the TUC had made very few plans. The miners were represented by a weak body and the government knew that the TUC was not wholehearted and gullible to government tactics. However by the 11th May (8th day of the strike) there was no sign that the government would give way. When Sir Herbert Samuel offered to act as Mediator, the TUC accepted. On the 12th May, the TUC called off the Strike, hoping that the Samuel Memorandum (suggesting a short-term renewal of the subsidy to maintain wage levels, no wage reductions until reorganization was assured, and a National Wages Board) would be accepted, though it was strictly unofficial and Baldwin had given no guarantees. Since the mine-owners refused to compromise, the coal strikes dragged on until December. ...read more.

Middle

The TUC completely unprepared for a general strike was anxious to end it before provocative government actions caused events to take a more violent turn. As we can see, the TUC feared the government more instead of the opposite. The TUC was also doubtful about their legal positions- Sir John Simon, a Liberal MP who was also a lawyer, said in the House of Commons that the strike was an "Illegal proceeding" , not an industrial dispute, and that the leaders were liable to be sued for damages-"to the utmost farthing" of their possessions- and then sent to jail. The Labour party's attitude was unhelpful- MacDonald was against sympathetic strikes and was afraid that they would simply lose the party votes. The strike was proving too expensive- the TUC had already used �4 million out of their total strike fund of �12.5 million. Government propaganda reflected badly on the miners and the General strike through the British Gazette (the government emergency newspaper) which printed uncompromising articles and fighting exhortations to the police and special constables, despite the TUC giving strict orders that all violence was to be avoided. It was Churchill's idea to use armoured cars to protect food convoys "we are at war" he declared; "we must go through with it; either we crush the strike or the strike will crush us" in fact the special constables had been protecting the food convoys perfectly well. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bitterness at the Trade Disputes Act and unemployment standing at over a million helped to bring the trade unionists and the Labour party together again. There was a big surge in support for Labour which must have been partly responsible for the Labour victory. Labour programme played down full socialism and concentrated on immediate reform. The Conservative Party's attitude towards the miners probably alienated much of their normal support among working men, the Trade Disputes Act did backfire on the government giving the trade unions and the Labour Party a common cause. Although the General Strike failed, it was not without some beneficial effects for the workers. It acted as a warning to other employers who, on the whole, were more reasonable than the mine-owners and avoided drastic wage reductions. Some employers made genuine efforts to improve labour relations; for example, Sir Alfred Mond, founder of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), began a series of talks with Ernest Bevin of the Transport and General Workers' Union and with other leading Trade Unionists. In my judgement, the issues of the General Strike run deeper than these key events such as the Unions and the Trade Disputes Act. These are just one of the many consequences of the government's indolent attitude and their ignorance in structuring a strong economic plan. The government refused to make changes that would compromise their very own financial comfort. The problems and the comforts of the lower classes matter not to the government because they had no status in society, and they were wrongly ignored. ...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 Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 Other Historical Periods essays

  1. How far was the conservative government responsible for the outbreak of the General Strike ...

    The Samuel Commission published its report in March 1926. It recognised that the industry needed to be reorganised but rejected the suggestion of nationalisation. The report once recommended for the miner owners to grant wages should be agreed on a national basis and there should be no longer working hours.

  2. The First English Civil War

    Fortunately the sea communications of Hull were open. On 18 September, part of the cavalry in Hull was ferried over to Barton, and the rest under Sir Thomas Fairfax went by sea to Saltfleet a few days later, the whole joining Cromwell near Spilsby. In return, the old Lord Fairfax, who remained in Hull, received infantry reinforcements and a quantity of ammunition and stores from the Eastern Association.

  1. How valid is the view that short term causes were more important than long ...

    Beneath this there were shadow departments mirroring those of the Weimar government, charged with developing NSDAP policies. Below this were the Target Agencies whose role was to win over particular groups (e.g. doctors and lawyers), and lastly below this Hitler divided Germany into 35 Gaue (regions), each with a gauleiter

  2. Discuss the course and consequences of the Arab Israeli Conflict

    giving further reinforcement to the fact that "the question" had indeed, been answered. Herzl absolutely denied the existence of an Arab population, for if there were 'no populace' living in Palestine, could the Jewish people not just simply move in?

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