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Why Did Lloyd George Win So Convincingly In the 1918 General Election Yet Fall From Power In 1922?

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Introduction

Why did Lloyd George win so convincingly in the 1918 general election yet fall from power in 1922? Lloyd George's popularity based on his achievements during World War One may be seen as what led him to win the General Election so overwhelmingly in 1918. However, his approach within the political arena and towards social policies in the early 1920's contributed to his eventual downfall. After winning WW1, Lloyd George could sit proudly as the head of Parliament and use his popularity to sweep aside all opposition, dissolve parliament, call a general election and win it convincingly. During the war, Lloyd George gained a reputation as man who could 'get the job done'. This made him extremely popular to the electorate, especially after gaining admirers with his confidence and belief that the war could be won in 1916 when the press and balloters began to have doubts over Asquith's leadership. Lloyd George wanted the best people to help him win the war and did not care for their party political beliefs. To run the war, he created a cross-party war cabinet, consisting of Bonar Law, Curzon and Milner from the Conservatives and Henderson from the Labour party. This dynamic group of politicians helped enhance his ever-growing reputation and is one of the main reasons why he won the 1918 election so convincingly. Bringing to an end the ever-challenging wrangle from rebellious railwaymen and miners until they no longer posed a threat and commanding peace amongst trade unions also pitched in towards his sweeping election victory. ...read more.

Middle

Britain's economy was also in disarray. In order to keep the war going Britain had lent around �1,800,000 to Allies and borrowed about �850,000 from the USA. Due to chaos across the world because of inter-war years, Britain got very little money back whilst still being indebted to the USA. Because of this, Britain never regained its role of pre-war international financial dominance; something the electorate would not be able to come to terms with. This also contributed to Lloyd George's downfall, as he was now becoming even more unpopular with balloters. Another reason for Lloyd George's loss of popularity was The Geddes Axe. Released on Tuesday February 21, 1922, The Geddes Axe forced Lloyd George into following policies such as the de-control of industries taken over by the government, resistance of proposed expenditure and social reform, safeguarding of industries and cuts to benefits. These were all conservative initiatives and by agreeing with them Lloyd George portrayed himself as a puppet of the conservatives under the coalition government. This is something the electorate would have hated, causing them to turn against Lloyd George and therefore it served only to worsen his reputation, definitely contributing further to his downfall. The Geddes Axe also led the resignation of Addison and Montagu, two very influential liberal politicians. Massive mistrust from the press and electorate alike ensued as it refined his growing reputation as a selfish dictator, almost certainly contributing further to his downfall. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the general election of 1922 was called, the Liberals ended up in third place with 115 seats. Most of their pre-war policies had dated badly such as in Ireland where the Irish had moved past home rule, something that Lloyd George had previously tackled successfully to contribute towards his victory in 1918. Britain was also an unequal society where the many enjoyed unfair privileges, meaning Lloyd George could only call upon the support of the middle-class minority. This diminished number of voters contributed heavily to his downfall in 1922, as he no longer had the vast amount of supporters to call upon at the time of balloting. In conclusion, there are many reasons why Lloyd George fell from power in 1922. For all the success gained through winning World War One, the way in which he approached social policies, such as finding employment for demobilised troops and the way he handled foreign policies like the 'Chanak Incident' undoubtedly led to his collapse. Squandering the support of important politicians such as Bonar Law and Asquith, as well as losing confidence from the press and electorate also hindered his chances of repeating an emphatic election victory. Nonetheless, as far as his own actions do go far in clarifying his collapse from power, being the leader of a party already in a steady decline was something that would always make it difficult to repeat general election success, too. --- By Perrie Bruton --- ...read more.

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