We should praise the National Governments for doing

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

Download We should praise the National Governments for doing...


“We should praise the National Government for doing as much as it did for the economy and the unemployed, not blame it for not doing more”. Do you agree?

• “We should praise the National Governments for doing as much as it did for economy and the unemployed, not blame it for not doing more.” Do you agree? • How well did the National Governments manage the economy? • How well did they deal with the unemployment problem? • Should the efforts of the National Governments to deal with these areas be praised or could they have done more?

The Introduction

Set the question in its historical context – show that you know the background to the issue. • Example • The National Government came into office following the failure of the short lived Labour Government under Ramsay MacDonald to deal with the effects of the depression as unemployment soared…..The responsibility for tackling the crisis passed to an all-party ‘government of cooperation’.

Address any key words in the question. • Example • The economy – What problems faced the economy? • The unemployed – Describe the rise in unemployment – give figures

Historical Debate? • Example • There is controversy surrounding the National Government’s attempts to tackle the crisis. Historians continue to debate whether Britain’s recovery from the depression was the result of government policies or whether Britain emerged from the depression largely because of outside factors.

Outline how you propose to approach the question. • Example • What role then, did the National Governments play in trying to pull Britain out of its depression and in trying to create new jobs for the unemployed?

Main Body

In your first main section on the economy, refer to and discuss

• • • •

Expenditure Cuts Devaluation of the Pound Abandonment of Free Trade Government Intervention and Assistance to Industry • Government Intervention and Assistance to Agriculture. • BUT DO NOT just describe the measures. Discuss how effective they were. Try to provide a balanced assessment – POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.

In your second main section on unemployment, refer to and discuss • Cut in unemployment benefit • Transitional Benefit – Means Test • Unemployment Act of 1934 – Government Unemployment Assistance Boards • Special Areas Act of 1934 • Again discuss how effective these policies were. Your evaluation may be more negative than positive since historians have questioned whether the National Government’s policies seriously intended to reduce unemployment.


Was the National Government able to deal with the Depression?

The interwar period is a highly controversial one. In particular, the achievements of the National Government politicians of the 1930s are difficult to assess.

The following questions have been asked of Higher students in the past.

 “Too little, too late”. Is this a fair judgement on the social and economic measures of the National Government, 1931-1939?  “A series of weak and half hearted attempts to deal with the problems of the time”. How far do you agree with this view of the policies of the National Government during the years 1931-1939?

Before making your assessment of the policies of the National Government , you could consider the following

 Do we judge the politicians by the standards of the time – Did the politicians achieve their aims?  Do we assess their achievements or lack of achievements alongside what could have been done – Were unnecessary mistakes made?  Do we compare with another time period or country? – Do we compare the achievements of the National Governments with the achievements of the post war Labour Government (1945-51)?

The Case Against the Politicians (Negative)

 Historians writing in the 1960s portrayed the inter war years as a time of mediocrity and failure.  Charles Loch Mowatt ‘Britain between the Wars’ described the thirties as a period of ‘rule by pygmies’ (dwarves). In other words, politicians like Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain were unequal to the challenges.

 M Pearce ‘British Political History 1867-1990’ wrote “Liberals, Conservatives and Labour Politicians all fudged and fumbled in a situation essentially new to them”.

 The inter war period was looked on as ‘the years in between’ more successful eras.  The politicians of the 1930s have been criticised for being unadventurous, timed and lacking in economic expertise. Social reform was low key and unimaginative.  The politicians have been criticised for their unwillingness to experiment with alternative economic strategies.

The Case in Defence of the Politicians (Positive)

 More recently historians have defended politicians. They did their best, they claim, in the difficult circumstances of the time. Right wing politicians are more likely to praise than to criticise the National Government’s economic record.  In the 1960s H.W. Richardson introduced the revisionist view that the 1930s were a period of substantial economic growth and modernisation.

 From the 1970s until to present, most economists no longer believe that Keynes had the answer to unemployment.

 Poverty was a problem everywhere, not just in Britain.  The National Governments’ social policies may have been cautious but they were beneficial


Summarise the key points and the most convincing parts of your arguments. Make sure you come to a clear answer which directly answers the question. • Example • It would appear that the National Governments erred on the side of caution. It is probably true to say that Britain emerged from the depression largely because of factors outside the government’s control……..

Further Reading on the National Governments

Contemporary Britain 1914-1979 by Robert Pearce Chapter 10 Interwar Politicians: ‘Rule by Pygmies’? Chapter 12 British Economic Performance 1918-39

 Changing

Britain 1850-1979 by D. Morrison, E Morrison and T. Monaghan Chapter 6 p68-82

 Britain

and Scotland 1850s-1979 by Sydney Wood Chapter 8 p104-116

 Mastering

Economic and Social History by David Taylor Chapter 29 p554-573

 ‘The Locust Years?’ Britain’s Inter-War Economy by Derek H Aldcroft found in Britain 1918-1951 (Heinemann)  Britain : Domestic Politics 1918-39 by Robert Pearce Chapter 5 p82-104  Britain in the 1930s (Historical Association Studies) by Andrew Thorpe (Detailed)  Social Conditions in Britain 1918-1939 by Stephen Constantine (Detailed)

View more...


Copyright � 2017 NANOPDF Inc.