Study questions for 4th April: Group 1

Sini Hölttä
Anne Nyström
Titta Pentikäinen
Liisa Pylvänäinen
Virpi Vainio

  1. What kind of political changes were brought about by World War I in the United Kingdom (and in the British Empire more generally)?

After World War I there was a series of changes that made Britain a fully democratic country. In 1918 women got the right to vote and run for Parliament which was seen as a kind of reward for women for their effort during the war. Still women were only allowed to vote at the age of 30 as all men got the right already at the age of 21. 
The relations between Britain and Ireland were problematic after World War I. In 1916 an Irish Republic had been proclaimed but the British authorities had suppressed it quickly. In 1922 Britain had to grant self-government to most of the Catholic South Ireland while the Protestant North Ireland remained part of the UK. 
The British Empire had grown during the war since Britain had taken territories from mostly Germans. Even though the official goal was an ultimate independence for the colonies, the practical situation hadn’t really changed. Britain also joined the League of Nations and was the most important nation in  it together with France.
India was the most important of Britain’s colonies and there was a rising nationalist movement which led to a massacre of 300 unarmed Indians by British troops. 
The situation of the British Empire also led to the fall of the Liberal-led government of Lloyd George as his imperial policy actions made the Conservatives leave the coalition. 

(Burns, William. E. 2020. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File)

2.Who are the “Windrush generation”, and what kind of impact did they have on British culture?

People who arrived to the UK from Caribbean countries 1948-1971 are called the Windrush generation. Some had heard that after World War II there were a lot of jobs to do in the UK, some came because of curiosity. The name Windrush generation comes from the ship that brought these workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands to the UK. There were 492 passengers in that first ship. 
The welcome for these people was not only nice and friendly. BBC tells: “Many of them experienced racism and discrimination and often found it hard to get proper home to live in and to make friends with British people. It wasn't always easy for the new arrivals to get jobs. Some companies said they didn't want black people to work for them. Later many of their children were bullied at school because of the colour of their skins. Some of them suffered racial attacks and in later years there were riots in cities across Britain.”
Many of the Windrush generation were children when they arrived to the UK. They came on their parents' passports and never applied for official documents. Because of this, it’s later been difficult for them to prove that they are legally in the UK. The immigration law changed in 2012 and after that these people were scared about their status in the society. Some were even sent to immigration detention centres and faced deportation. However, in 2018 the Government apologised the Windrush generation and helped people to return to the UK if they’d been removed or detained.
Windrush generation brought with them parts of the cultures they’d been living in. Their cultures were really diverse already with all the influences from Latin America, Africa and Asia. The UK became more Caribbean. To mention a few, they impacted food, dance, art, writing and music (f.ex. dub, jungle and grime) culture in the UK. 

3.Why was Margaret Thatcher such a controversial figure in British politics? 

Margaret Thatcher was the first woman prime minister and the first woman leader of the Conservative Party. As a movement, Thatcherism was willing to break with the postwar social compact using an aggressive, confrontational attitude towards unions, hostility to state ownership and plans to make substantial cuts in the welfare state. Thatcher´s statement: “There is no society, only individuals”, was seen as an attack on the intellectual basis of the welfare state. Thatcher tried to make British society more “American”-competitive, meritocratic an self-interested, and her policy was challenging the old elite.
Thatcher´s traditionalism had the paradoxical result that Britain's first woman prime minister did little or nothing to advance either feminist causes or women within the Conservative Party or the government. She was seen as an enemy for the feminists and politically active gays and lesbians. Thatcher loved confrontation and for example the goal miner´s strike in 1984 and 1985 was a great challenge to Thatcherism. Also The Northern Ireland and Irish terrorism challenged Thatcher in 1980s.
On the other hand, she was strongly anticommunist in foreign policy and had a good relationship with U.S and the president Ronald Reagan. She also played a very important role in the warming of Soviet-Western relations in the late 1980s and could do business with the Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. 
Thatcher faced opposition not only from the left and marginal groups but also from the churches of England and Scotland as well as other Christian denominations. To many Britons, Thatcher´s individualism and radical capitalism often seemed soulless as well as heartless.

(Burns, William. E. 2010. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File)


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