Study questions for 4th April: Group 3

Group: Leena Teinilä, Minna Suikkari, Noora Lahtinen ja Camilla Anttila 
1. What kind of political changes were brought about by World War 1 in the United Kingdom (and in the British Empire more generally?) 
After the World War 1 the Royal house was renamed to Windsor because of a cultural reaction against German influence. Generally speaking, democracy became now the leading ideology in Britain. The status of the British gentry started to decline. Casualties in World War 1 were massive and this changed the structure of the society and the social structure of the army. 
In 1918 women, above the age of 30, got the right to vote and run for Parliament. The Fourth Reform Act in 1918 gave the right to vote for all men over age 21 if they were able to prove six months’ residence. 
The church disestablishment act led to an independent Church of Wales. Britain had to grand self-government to most of Ireland. The Northern Ireland remained under Britain’s control. 
Britain as well as its colonies joined the League of Nations which was an international diplomatic group. The purpose of it was to prevent conflicts between nations. The foundation of the League was important for the future development of international relations. 
The Empire starts to weaken. A rising nationalist movement in India led to violent acts. Other parts of the Empire were also unwilling to follow Britain unquestionably. 
After the World War 1 Britain developed to a fully democratic nation. 
The economy took a hit post-war and unemployment reached its peak in 1921 since records begun. Many British workers attended strikes 1919 and women were pushed away from work to accommodate soldiers returning from the war. USA started to emerge as the new strongest economy in the world. 
Burns, William E.: A brief history of Great Britain 
2. Who were the “Windrush generation” and what kind of impact did they have on British Culture? 
Windrush generation is a name for people, who arrived in Britain from Caribbean countries between years 1948 and 1971. In 1948 a ship called MV Empire Windrush arrived in Essex and brought workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands. After the second World war there was a labour shortage and new workers were needed to rebuild Britain and they were invited by the British government. In 1948 all Commonwealth citizens were British citizens. 
Many of these passengers were children and some of them were travelling without travel documents or passports of their own. That’s why there is no 
exact number of those belonging to Windrush generation. There are approximately 500 000 people who arrived from the Commonwealth countries before 1971 and now live in Britain. This number includes people belonging to the Windrush generation. 
The Immigration Act in 1971 gave Commonwealth citizens the right to remain in Britain. These immigrants had no arrival documents or there was no record of those who stayed in Britain. Later, because of tighter immigration rules, these people have had difficulties to prove that they are in Britain legally. 
According to William Burns, the arrival of Windrush immigrant has been seen as a beginning of multicultural Britain. 
In general, this question of immigration caused turbulence in political and social lives. Immigrants as a new labour raised fear among workers and different skin colour evoked hostility. The assimilation to British society was difficult for the newcomers. Political groups took advantage of this racist and anti-immigrant atmosphere. Finally, in 1965 the Race Relations Act was created to forbid discrimination and racial incitement. 

Burns, William: A brief history of Great Britain, 2009 Who are the windrush generation? 
Windrush generation - who are they and why are they facing problems. 
3. Why was Margaret Thatcher such a controversial figure in British politics? 
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was the first female prime minister (1979-1990) in Britain. She was also a first woman to lead a major British political party. She was a member of the Conservative party. She won three consecutive terms and she was the most famous political leader since Winston Churchill. 
The major issue in her first term was economic. Her acts concerning regulation and subsidies in businesses caused an increase in unemployment rates. More than three million people were unemployed in 1986. Privatization of state owned industries and public services such as radio and television, gas and electricity, water, the state airline, aerospace and British Steel was one of Thatcher’s main goals. All these factors made her unpopular. However, the Falkland Islands War and the division in the rival Labour party guaranteed her victory in the election and the second term. 
One of the aims of Thatcher’s policy was to reduce the power of unions for example by restrictions of organizing strikes and hiring workers. One notable battle, occurred between coal miners and the Conservative government, was a strike that lasted the whole year and ended without any concessions for the miners. 
Thatcher wanted to support the national competitiveness. In her opinion, the high taxes which were necessary for the welfare and the high wages, demanded by the British unions, prevented to achieve that. 
Thatcherism influenced not only in economics but also in moral and philosophical thinking. Thatcher supported tradition values such as self-reliance, hard work and traditional family. Despite of her gender, she didn’t advance women’s cause in Britain. 
In foreign policy Thatcher cherished strong relationship with United States. One on her foreign policy achievements was the warming of relations between the West and the Soviet Union. During Thatcher’s first term as a prime minister was the Falklands War in 1982. The Irish nationalist terrorism and IRA were characteristic for Thatcher’s era and she was injured in a terrorist bombing at a Conservative Party conference. Thatcher didn’t support European Union and its aims completely and her pro-European party divided because of her negative opinions. 
Thatcher had the strongest support in the southern England, excluding London. Northern England, Wales and Scotland weren’t successful areas for the Conservative party. Margaret Thatcher was widely disliked during her last years in politics and even the Conservative party saw her as a threat for their success. Finally, the poll tax in 1989 caused public disapproval and made her position difficult and her party moved against her. In 1990 she decided to end her political career. 
Burns, William: A brief history of Great Britain, 2009 
Young, Hugo: Margaret Thatcher , Prime minister of United Kingdom 


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