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What were the main problems facing the governments of Britain, France and Germany at the end of the war? Which government coped best?

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Introduction

Tim Brooker AA312 R8413113 TMA 04 Question:- What were the main problems facing the governments of Britain, France and Germany at the end of the war? Which government coped best? When the hostilities of World War I finally ceased on the 11th of November 1918, Europe was a very different place in comparison to that of 1914. Those in government were faced with a different set of problems to those they had encountered during the long period of war. In addition to these problems the shockwaves sent out by the 1917 Russian Revolution caused grave concerns within all the European governments. Each of the three countries being studied here had their own individual problems to face as soon as the end of hostilities was declared, but they also shared a number of similar problems to varying degrees. A) The expansion of mass production techniques for arms and ammunition, the growth of factories and organised labour had given the trades unions more power and influence. All three countries saw membership numbers of trade unions increase dramatically either during or immediately after the war and with this came greater working-class militancy. B) The damage caused by the war to the populations of the combatant countries, the destruction of agricultural land and the restructuring of industries. Due to this industrial restructure, "Europe's manufacturing production in 1920 was only three-quarters that of 1913". ...read more.

Middle

Some had seen the fall of the Kaiser as a point from which great social changes may come about, using the Bolshevik revolution in Russia as an example. Tim Brooker AA312 R8413113 TMA 04 German supporters of this ideal formed the German Communist Party (K. P. D.) and challenged the provisional government over its preoccupation in stabilising the country rather than the implementation of radical reforms. Instead of taking part in the elections of December 1918, the KPD was involved in an 'uprising' in Berlin before the elections could take place. Descriptions of this 'uprising' range from "a minor civil war" (Roberts), to "an ill-considered and chaotic demonstration" (Martin Kitchen Between The Wars, 1988, page 162). Whatever its extent, the 'uprising' was put down brutally by the newly formed Freikorps and the army. Those to the left of the political spectrum were not the only one's to challenge the provisional government, as those on the right of German politics posed a greater threat of revolution to the provisional government than their opposite numbers on the left. At the core of the right's beliefs was a desire to return to the Conservative German nationalism last seen under Bismarck, they feared that the Communists would gain power and oppose the peace terms. They also hated the Treaty of Versailles, believing that Germany had not lost the war, but been stabbed in the back the politicians in power at the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again the treatment of protesters in the situations was harsh and brutal. At the end of the war the main problem facing Britain, Germany and France was that of regaining internal stability, in the face of revolution. This was achieved by a conciliatory attitude towards social and industrial relations and the use of the 'strong arm' of the law to maintain civil order. Europe did not returning socially to its place in 1914 but began to evolve into what Maier called a 'corporatist' Europe, "consensus, therefore, was achieved not so much through parliaments, which Tim Brooker AA312 R8413113 TMA 04 depended from time to time on the approval of the electorate, but through continued bargaining between the state and major organised interests." (Unit 14 page 6). This essay has spent more time considering the position of Germany than that of France or Britain, as in my view, the German provisional government's achievement of, maintenance and reinforcement of internal stability of the country which socially suffered the most adverse effects of the war, meant that it coped the best in the post-war situation. BIBLIOGROPHY Open University, AA312 Total War and Social Change: Europe 1914-1955, Primary Sources 2: Interwar And World War 2. Secondary Sources Book 2 The Impact Of World War 1. Book 3 Between Two Wars. Total War And Historical Change: Europe 1914-1955. Europe 1880-1945 J.M. Roberts ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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