Why In The 1918 General
Why In The 1918 General

Why In The 1918 General

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  • Pages: 4 (1869 words)
  • Published: October 27, 2017
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Lloyd George’s popularity based on his achievements during World War One may be seen as what led him to win the General Election so overwhelmingly in 1918. However, his approach within the political arena and towards social policies in the early 1920’s contributed to his eventual downfall.

After winning WW1, Lloyd George could sit proudly as the head of Parliament and use his popularity to sweep aside all opposition, dissolve parliament, call a general election and win it convincingly. During the war, Lloyd George gained a reputation as man who could ‘get the job done’.This made him extremely popular to the electorate, especially after gaining admirers with his confidence and belief that the war could be won in 1916 when the press and balloters began to have doubts over Asquith’s leadership. Lloyd George wanted the best people to help him win the war and did not care for their party political beliefs. To run the war, he created a cross-party war cabinet, consisting of Bonar Law, Curzon and Milner from the Conservatives and Henderson from the Labour party.This dynamic group of politicians helped enhance his ever-growing reputation and is one of the main reasons why he won the 1918 election so convincingly.

Bringing to an end the ever-challenging wrangle from rebellious railwaymen and miners until they no longer posed a threat and commanding peace amongst trade unions also pitched in towards his sweeping election victory. He also brought the Admiralty under his control in 1917 through insisting on the introduction of the convoy system.Successfu

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lly solving the Irish Home Rule Question, something that had up to then eluded every British diplomat before him for the past one-hundred years contributed towards him winning the 1918 election, too. By solving the problem he once again assured the voters that he was a man whom was capable of ‘getting the job done’. Lloyd George was even able to win the Maurice Debate in May 1918.

When Sir Frederick Maurice wrote a letter to The Times accusing Lloyd George of lying to the House of Commons about the strength of the British army Asquith used it as a chance to debate in the commons and win a vote of no confidence in Lloyd George.However, Lloyd George presented figures apparently from Maurice himself and so gained the support of important party members, all bar Asquith. Growing support from the Conservatives over way he handled the Maurice debate and social policies during the war as well as his rising popularity amongst voters were the main reasons why Lloyd George was victorious in the 1918 general election. However, once the elation of post-war success subsided Lloyd George swiftly found himself with a lot of problems that would need tackling.

50,000 peopled were killed during the war and 1,500,000 found themselves permanently affected by the effects of wounds and gas. This left a whole generation of parents and loved ones to bear the grief alone and contributed towards demoralising the countries resolve. This meant voters were beginning to lose confidence in Lloyd George and so contributed to his downfall in 1922. With the war over and the demobilisation of troops

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from the army in 1919, Lloyd George also had to find jobs for four million people who now found themselves unemployed.

First signs of his inept manner were shown when he ordered officers holding key civilian jobs within the concerning the armed forces to be released first, leaving the run-of-the-mill ground troops without much chance of finding professions. This caused upheaval as thousands of rank-and-file army troops demonstrated outside parliament about the abuse they felt they had suffered. Lloyd George quickly backtracked and adopted his ‘first in, first out’ policy- giving the longest serving men the opportunity to find employment first.In having to change this policy, Lloyd George made himself look foolish in front of the electorate, causing them to lose confidence in his ability as leader.

This loss of confidence would serve to further hinder his chances of winning the next election, contributing further to his fall from power. Even though his new ‘first in, first out’ policy meant that millions of workers did successfully find employment, Lloyd George soon found himself with even bigger problems to tackle.As inflation rose dramatically following the removal of government’s wartime control on prices during the summer of 1919, workers soon found themselves not being able to pay modern day prices for essentials such as food. Labourers yet again protested, arguing for better working conditions and an increase in wages. Lloyd George was unable to help the ever swelling numbers of those in the working class due to economic constraints and so they all turned against him, meaning he would gain fewer votes in the next election which contributed to his downfall in 1922.

Britain’s economy was also in disarray.In order to keep the war going Britain had lent around i?? 1,800,000 to Allies and borrowed about i?? 850,000 from the USA. Due to chaos across the world because of inter-war years, Britain got very little money back whilst still being indebted to the USA. Because of this, Britain never regained its role of pre-war international financial dominance; something the electorate would not be able to come to terms with. This also contributed to Lloyd George’s downfall, as he was now becoming even more unpopular with balloters.

Another reason for Lloyd George’s loss of popularity was The Geddes Axe.Released on Tuesday February 21, 1922, The Geddes Axe forced Lloyd George into following policies such as the de-control of industries taken over by the government, resistance of proposed expenditure and social reform, safeguarding of industries and cuts to benefits. These were all conservative initiatives and by agreeing with them Lloyd George portrayed himself as a puppet of the conservatives under the coalition government. This is something the electorate would have hated, causing them to turn against Lloyd George and therefore it served only to worsen his reputation, definitely contributing further to his downfall.The Geddes Axe also led the resignation of Addison and Montagu, two very influential liberal politicians.

Massive mistrust from the press and electorate alike ensued as it refined his growing reputation as a selfish dictator, almost certainly contributing further to his downfall. Another disastrous flaw in his decision making was the sale of

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