The First World War took place between 1914 and 1918. Britain had not experienced any major conflict before World War I. Therefore, the British were traumatized by the rampant and sudden deaths of their soldiers who they had sent out to war. Most of those who survived the war sustained physical and psychological wounds that hindered them from returning to their normal way of life. Since most of the physically able men went to fight in the war, many women were forced to take over their roles in the home and at work, with a few even fighting serving in the British Army during the War. The female labor force therefore increased sharply during the First World War, because they had to fill in the shoes left by the men in the workforce and provide for their families. As a result, women became more liberated and were able to participate in social gatherings even more.
The Labor Party was formed at the turn of the 20th century, in 1900. During its formation it was referred to as the Labor Representative Party and was formed to represent every member of society, be they poor or rich, influential or a commoner. In the 1900 elections, only two of the 15 candidates contesting were elected into the House of Commons. However, by 1906 the party was more popular, as 29 candidates won seats in the House of Commons. By the time World War I was beginning in 1914, the Labor Party had 179 elected candidates. In 1924, the Labor Party was elected into government, but only held office for a few months before it collapsed because of political disputes between the Labor Party and Liberal Party. The party was again elected into office in 1929, with Ramsay Mc Donald as the Prime Minister, but only held power until 1931, when McDonald was ousted for wanting to form an alliance with Liberals and Conservatives, which was viewed as a betrayal by the members of the Labor Party.
Britain’s economy experienced a slump during the Great Depression, because the level of exports reduced drastically and was significantly lower than the country’s imports, thus a large balance of payments deficit was incurred. This was amplified by the fact that Britain was still reeling from the effects of World War I. However, the effects of the Great Depression were not felt as hard in Britain as they were in the US and other European countries such as Germany. This can be attributed to three factors; firstly, the imposition of higher tariffs, secondly, the gold standard was abandoned in 1931 and thirdly, the value of the pound was deflated. Hence, despite the ongoing Depression, British products were still cheaper in comparison to other countries’ goods.
Prime Minister Chamberlain’s policy of Appeasement failed because it went quite contrary to the public opinion at the time. His policy was based on the belief that Germany had been disparaged by the Allies in the peace terms after it lost in World War I and deserved better treatment. In addition to this, he believed that the best way to prevent another World War would be to submit to some of the demands of the then Italian and German leaders. This policy was wrong because it was too lenient and sympathetic towards Germany, thus leading to the attack and invasion of Czechoslovakia by Germany, which ultimately led to World War 2.
In the House of Lords, major changes were taking place in the early 20th century. One of the more prominent changes was the reduction of the power and authorities of the Lords in 1911, which until then had been prone to the abuse and neglect of power. The 1911 Parliament Act ensured that the Lords could not reject a bill that had been passed by the Commons. This Parliament Act resulted in the House of Commons holding more power than the House of Lords. The House of Commons granted women the right to vote and allowed women to contest for Parliamentary seats. In the early 20th Century, the British monarchy was highly esteemed by the people as the monarchs took an active role in the people’s governance. The century began under the dynasty of Queen Victoria who led the country into significant development in many different sectors during her reign. She was succeeded by Edward VII, who was loved and respected by all factions of society, the rich and poor, old and young. He was succeeded by George V, who was followed by Edward VIII. The most notable feature of this period is that between 1901 and 1936, the British monarchy was led by Kings.