• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent do you agree with George Dangerfield’s view that “by the end of 1913, Liberal England was reduced to ashes”?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent do you agree with George Dangerfield's view that "by the end of 1913, Liberal England was reduced to ashes"? Dangerfield, author of 'Strange death of Liberal England', sees the years leading to the outbreak of war in 1914 as problematic for the Liberals to say the least. Following their remarkable victory in the 1906 election, the Liberals formed "arguably the most brilliant and constructive government of the twentieth century" (Adelman, 'Decline of the Liberal Party 1910-1931'). Yet they were plagued with problems throughout the period of 1906 to the outbreak of war. During the pre war period the Liberals faced many problems and their support was badly damaged in the period, highlighted in the 1910 election results. The constitutional crisis, challenges from Labour and with it industrial militancy, Ireland, the Suffragette movement, internal difficulties - Asquith's leadership and problems within the cabinet - were all problems the Liberals had to face. All these factors contributed to the growing pressure on the shoulders of the Liberal government, Dangerfield takes the view that the Liberal government to all intents and purposes cracked under the pressure and by the end of 1913 all that they had fought so hard to achieve in the latter stages of the nineteenth century had been reduced to ashes and the flame of British Liberalism had been extinguished, never to burn in all its incandescent glory again. ...read more.


In essence I see the Labour challenge as less significant as the problems that arose due to the Liberal's policy of letting the situation correct itself. The amount of support for Trade Unions and the industrial militancy that plagued the country by the war clearly showed the Liberals were not in control of the situation and can be used as one of the factors to justify Dangerfield's view that Liberal England was in ashes by the end of 1913. It could be seen as inevitable that increasing working class consciousness would lead to Labour gaining power, but Dangerfield underestimated the problems facing Labour and also the strength of their challenge as I believe they themselves had lost touch with working class problems; Carl Brand says that by the end of 1914 the "Labour Party was dependant upon the Liberals, dissatisfied with its achievements, unsure of its aims, and apparently in decline". In 1912 The Liberal government introduced its Home Rule Bill, partly due to its commitment to the principle of granting Home Rule to Ireland and party due to its dependence on Irish Nationalists. This Bill was ferociously opposed by the Ulster Unionists who Asquith had failed to see how far they would be willing to oppose the Bill and the fact he was unable to see how divisions between Protestants and Catholics had grown. ...read more.


Personally I see the pre war period as turbulent to say the least, but they remained in government through three elections, passed groundbreaking reforms and were in power when the war began. The impact the war had on British politics was astronomical, it acted as the catalyst for the decline of the Liberals, something Dangerfield appears to ignore in his writings. The war effectively forced the Liberals to implode and split, thus making a future for a Liberal party impossible Suggesting it was the war that extinguished the flame of Liberalism and reduced Liberal England to ashes. In conclusion the Liberals did not have an easy time in government, but fought their battles valiantly, introducing social reform on the way. In the end the jackhammer blows that came with each ensuing challenge or problem toppled the white knight of Liberalism, yet I believe this was not in 1913, but during the war. The Liberals entered the war shaken, but still ready to fight, sending their trusty stead into the face of adversity, only for it to be defeated by internal problems rather than that of external issues, something I find profoundly ironic given the nature of the external turmoil the Liberals faced in the pre war years. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matt Jones History ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. To what extent was there a 'post war consensus' between 1945-1970.

    In 1973 when the Conservative government did manage to secure entry the terms were disadvantageous and Labour negotiated new terms after a referendum in 1975. This clearly shows that there was consensus politics. In the 1940s and 1950s both parties rejected the European Union because Britain were in a strong

  2. How far had the Liberal Governments of Italy gone to solve Italy's problems by ...

    they would get ideas above their social status and the landlords of the south would have a labour shortage and the Factory workers would be ransom to idealist unions.

  1. Women's Suffrage.

    On 4th August, 1914, England declared war on Germany. Two days later the NUWSS announced that it was suspending all political activity until the war was over. The leadership of the WSPU began negotiating with the British government. On the 10th August the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison.

  2. British History Coursework: The Irish Famine 1845-1849

    Initially the British believed that the free market would end the famine naturally, so in 1846 the Corn Laws, which had protected domestic grain producers from foreign competition, were repealed. The repeal however, brought little benefit to the Irish, since no matter how cheap grain was, the Irish peasants could not afford it.

  1. The Suffragettes Project

    Pankhurst and Kenney were arrested and charged with assault. Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney were found guilty of assault and fined five shillings each. When the women refused to pay the fine they were sent to prison. The case shocked the nation.

  2. Free essay

    Consider the view that the liberal government reforms 1906-1914 were more concerned with the ...

    This is all well and good, but the reasoning behind the bill is again one of heading off a socialist advance rather than of moral concern for the elderly9. "As late as 1906 the Liberals, as a party were not committed to old age pensions" J R Hay quotes 10 This is most certainly the case.

  1. How far do you agree that it was Cavour's diplomacy rather that Garibaldi's ideas ...

    This instance illustrates how Cavour was a great leader in that he was able to adapt to dangerous situations by taking control. Cavour was a political master; it can be argued that the full extent of his talents was not truly acknowledged till after his death: 'Cavour's former colleagues succeeded him as Prime Minister.

  2. Did Gladstone Unite or Divide the Liberals?

    In his biography of Gladstone (1995), H Matthew stated that 'It is not difficult to see the latter part of Gladstone's public life as a failure: religion on the wane, the free order giving way to militarism and protectionism, Britain bloated by imperial expansions, Home Rule unachieved, the Liberal Party divided.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work