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Great Depression and effect on Britain

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Introduction

What were the effects of the Wall Street Crash on Great Britain? This all began with the Wall Street Crash in the United States, it quickly turned into a worldwide economic collapse. Largely due to the fact that United States had emerged from the First World War as the major creditor and financier of post war Europe, while other national countries had been weakened by the war, because of the Wall Street Crash the United States called up in their loans to other countries and put up custom barriers to stop import of foreign goods. As historian John Child said 'the Wall Street crash was the final nail in the economic coffin for Britain.' The collapse led to a crisis in the liberal economic system, with nations creating barriers to protect their home markets from foreign goods, which cuts world trading. The heavy industry was hit the worst. They were the industries that created the foundations of Britain's economy. ...read more.

Middle

George Orwell described life for the unemployed in Northern England as 'several hundred men risk their lives and several hundred women scrabble in the mud for hours... searching eagerly for tiny chips of coal in slagheaps so they could heat their own homes. For them, this arduously-gained 'free' coal was more important almost than food.' Since the unemployment pay was paid through taxes, the government had increased the taxes and also had cut the unemployment pay by 10%. By 1931, they had created a 'mean test' for those who wanted to receive the dole money (unemployment pay). The mean test involved an official visting the person's home to check if they are receiving any sort of income. Historian J. Stevenson mentions 'Alongside the pictures of the dole queues and the hunger marches must also be placed those of another Britain, of new industries, prosperous suburbs and a rising standard of living.' The government was spending 2 million pounds a day, which was more than what they had available. ...read more.

Conclusion

The high unemployment rates throughout Britain meant that prices were kept low, people with regular wages were able to buy more for less. Four million new houses were built in the 1930s. An income of 200 pound a year was enough to own a house, mortgages were easy to get and interest rate was low. The cost of cars were halved, and people who work could afford new houses with electricity. D.H. Aldcroft mentions 'the nation generally was better fed and clothed, and was housed in better conditions than those prevailing before the war.' The War Street Crash was not the only factor to be blamed for the depression in Britain, as it is not one single factor that is entirely responsible for the depression, we can say that the Wall Street Crash was just a catalyst for the events. Not only did it have many negative effects but also a lot of positive effects, but these effects were separated by region. The traditional industries of the North were badly affected which caused poverty and poor health. However, there was an economic boom in the South where new industries had increased and people were well off. ...read more.

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