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How important was World War One as an influence on the development of the Labour Party to 1918?

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Introduction

How important was World War One as an influence on the development of the Labour Party to 1918? In the later years of the 19th Century and early 20th Century, there was a strong majority of Liberals in the House of Commons, followed by the Conservative party. However in the lead up to 1918, the Labour party developed considerably to a party with potential to confront the leading groups as a third main party, from the small Labour Representative Committee that it started out as. It has been argued that the First World War was a strongly contributing factor in the development of the Labour party in these years, nevertheless there were also other determining influences in this rise. It can be said that the Lib-Lab pact of 1903 was an important factor in the gaining of 'real' political experience for the Labour party, leading to their later success. This Pact was put in place in order for the Liberals to combine with the Labours in overthrowing the Conservatives in the general election of 1906- by agreeing that no Liberal candidate would stand if the Labour party candidate had a better chance of winning, the Labours would limit their number of candidates standing elsewhere. ...read more.

Middle

How important was World War One as an influence on the development of the Labour Party to 1918? In the later years of the 19th Century and early 20th Century, there was a strong majority of Liberals in the House of Commons, followed by the Conservative party. However in the lead up to 1918, the Labour party developed considerably to a party with potential to confront the leading groups as a third main party, from the small Labour Representative Committee that it started out as. It has been argued that the First World War was a strongly contributing factor in the development of the Labour party in these years, nevertheless there were also other determining influences in this rise. It can be said that the Lib-Lab pact of 1903 was an important factor in the gaining of 'real' political experience for the Labour party, leading to their later success. This Pact was put in place in order for the Liberals to combine with the Labours in overthrowing the Conservatives in the general election of 1906- by agreeing that no Liberal candidate would stand if the Labour party candidate had a better chance of winning, the Labours would limit their number of candidates standing elsewhere. ...read more.

Conclusion

In effect, Henderson as a leader prevented the party's potential break-up, allowing it to carry on and later gain success, which may not have happened had the new MPs been accepted by the Liberals. Also, union support for the Labour party after 1906 grew on a critical scale. The Miners' Federation's reversal from the Liberal party to Labour brought new members to the party as well as all twelve of its MPs to the Labour group in Parliament, allowing increased influence for the Labour party within the government. Also the growth of union membership between 1910 and 1914 due to the industrial unrest helped to speed up the process of increased trade union support for the Labour party, giving the party a larger support base. This was another contributing factor for the Labour party's success. The First World War aided in the dispersal of conventional social views that had governed Britain for so long. The huge demand for workers during the war and soldiers meant that civilians of all classes were forced to work alongside each other doing exactly the same thing to exactly the same level, urging upper classes to realise that they were little better in essence than lower ones, promoting a sense of companionship. ...read more.

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