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The Wave Of Militant Strike Action Was The Most Serious Threat To The Liberal Government Between 1910 And 1914

964 words - 4 pages

In the years between 1910 and 1914 the wave of militant strike action was indeed the most serious threat to the Liberals as it shook the nation to its very core. As a result of these strikes, Britain itself faced economic disaster as the workers went on strike not motivated by working conditions or pay but instead to show the owners and politicians that they were a force to be reckoned with and as a result in 1913 alone 40 million days’ worth of Labour was lost as a result.

However, the militant strike action was not the only problem Britain faced during these years, one such problem that they faced was the return of Suffragette militancy in 1911. As 1910 came it seemed to everyone that ...view middle of the document...

These strikes were far more serious than any strikes that had happened in the past and it seemed that the strikes were not motivated out of outrage at pay, working hours or conditions but they instead they were motivated by politics, this is shown the best by the miners’ strike in South Wales when they refused new wage rates offered to them by the conciliation board and instead continued the strike with 30,000 miners taking part at the peak of the strike. As this strike spread there were frequent clashes between strikers and military troops or police officers. As the Times puts it “The trade unionists in their crazy fanaticism or diseased vanity are prepared to starve the whole population. This is the greatest Labour upheaval this country has ever seen.” And the Times was correct as with these strikes coming in over the entire country with not just miners but dock and railway workers Britain lost millions if not billions of hours Labour and as a result huge costs in both resources and money. Historians have also pointed out that it was likely that Syndicalism likely had a hand in the strikes as “Whether a great many workers grasped the key tenants of syndicalism or not, the syndicalist approach resonated well with the mood of the men and helped to express its central thrust.” (Cronin & Schneer 1982 p.90) and so with the workers guided by the principles of syndicalism it was easy to see why the might participate in these strikes.

Another huge threat to the Liberal question was the ‘Irish question’, the Liberals had got themselves into quite a mess as they had promised the Irish Nationalists an independence bill if they lent them their votes to pass their...

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