Why did Lloyd George win the election in 1918?
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Why did Lloyd George win the 1918 election? There were several reasons why Lloyd George won the general election in 1918, such as his personal popularity, the success of the wartime coalition government in winning the War, the increased number of people voting and David Lloyd George's decisions and promises made during the election campaign. Lloyd George's personal popularity was mainly based on his achievement of leading the country successfully through the Great War after the collapse of the Asquith government. Although a Liberal himself, Lloyd George became the head of a coalition government of mainly Unionists (or Conservatives) with Liberals and Labour support.
Lloyd George also told Liberal followers that if there was no Liberal 'Coupon' candidate in their constituency, then they should vote for the Conservative 'Coupon' candidate; Bonar Law instructed the Conservatives similarly. This helped to maximise the vote for coalition candidates and increased the number of seats won by them. It was accepted by Bonar Law, that Lloyd George would be Prime Minister after a successful election. In fact, both in the War Government and afterwards, Lloyd George were dependent on the support of Conservatives MPs for his continuation in power. With the split in the Liberal party and the slow rise of the Labour party, the Conservatives had enough seats after the election to form their own government, had they wished.
However, Lloyd George misjudged the attitude of a very large part of the electorate, failing to realise that many people wanted revenge on Germany as well as the social improvements that he had promised. Although he initially spoke out against this, once he realised the need to change, he quickly revised his promises to include taking reparations from Germany to pay the entire cost of the war. However, he recognised privately that this was an economic impossibility. Lloyd George's election strategy was successful. One hundred and thirty-four coalition Liberals and 339 coalition Conservatives were elected as MPs, out of 707 seats. Seventy-three republican Irish MPs refused to come to Westminster, leaving the Conservatives with a majority had they wished to form a government.
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