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Lord Grey, writing the British Gazzette in May 1926, said of the General Strike, that 'It is an attempted revolution'. How far do the events of the summer of 1926, and subsequent actions of the government and unions, support this view?

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Introduction

Lord Grey, writing the British Gazzette in May 1926, said of the General Strike, that 'It is an attempted revolution'. How far do the events of the summer of 1926, and subsequent actions of the government and unions, support this view? The General Strike of May 1926 was the biggest industrial stoppage in British history. This showdown between the TUC and the British Government was presented by the latter as a trial of strength between the representatives of free democracy and revolutionary bully-boys. However, even though the tactics of the General Strike were intended to intimidate the government, in no way could they be viewed as revolutionary that is, a coordinated attempt to overthrow the British government and replace it with a socialist workers' state. The leaders of the strike, the TUC, were at constant pains to stress that their aims were industrial, not political, and certainly not revolutionary, despite what the government propaganda said. ...read more.

Middle

It clearly suited the government to present the strikers as potential revolutionaries to win the propaganda war while the Strike was in progress. Through the British Gazette the government accused the strikers of attempting to challenge the British constitution. Strikers were portrayed under a negative light to reduce support on their side. The government wanted to make it obvious that their actions were wring and illegal thus making the strikers feel guilty. On their side, the strikers responded to the government's accusations through the British worker where they repeatedly removed themselves from any protests made in their regards by saying that the aim of the strike was to merely defend just issues of the miners only. Although there was much anger with the TUC leaders handling of the strike, there is almost no evidence of revolutionary intent among British workers in the country at large. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, as time passed and the government's propaganda was showing their actions as revolutionary they began to feel concerned and worried that the chances that violence may flare up thus passing initiative to the revolutionary leaders. Their strike was often compared to the Russian Revolution which did not at all reflect the moderate aims of the British workers. In the years after the Strike, there was no political manifestation of frustrated revolutionary socialism. The Union movement actually making more moderate. Fewer strikes were called. The Labour Party continued to stress its slow, reformist democratic path to building socialism. In reality, the British working class remained relatively conservative between the two world wars in comparison to their continental brothers. Baldwin's Conservative government was able to pass the Trades Disputes Act in 1927. This act effectively made another attempt at a General Strike illegal and put the Unions firmly back in their place. ...read more.

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