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Encyclopedia > UK National Government

In the United Kingdom the term National Government is in an abstract sense used to refer to a coalition of some or all UK major political parties. In a historical sense it usually refers primarily to the governments of Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain which held office from 1931 until 1940. This is a list of political parties in the United Kingdom. ... James Ramsay MacDonald (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British politician and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867–14 December 1947) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on three separate occasions. ... Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940), known as Neville Chamberlain, was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


The all-party coalitions of Herbert Henry Asquith & David Lloyd George in the First World War and of Winston Churchill in Second World War were sometimes referred to as National Governments at the time, but are now more commonly called Coalition Governments. Churchill's brief 1945 'Caretaker Government' also called itself a National Government and in terms of party composition was very similar to the 1931-1940 entity. The Right Honourable Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC (12 September 1852–15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, OM, PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman who guided Britain and the British Empire through World War I and the postwar settlement as the Liberal Party Prime Minister, 1916-1922. ... “The Great War” redirects here. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and author. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...

Contents

Formation

The formation of the government was a response to Interwar Poverty in Britain. In the 1929 general election the result was a hung Parliament where neither the Conservatives nor Labour had an overall majority, and the Liberals held the balance of power. Labour formed a minority government under Ramsay MacDonald but found the Parliamentary situation difficult to implement their legislation over the next two years. Interwar Poverty in Britain describes poverty in Britain between the end of World War I In 1918 and the start of World War II in 1939. ... The 1929 UK general election was held on 30th May 1929, and resulted in a hung parliament. ... In Parliamentary systems, a hung parliament is one in which no one political party has an outright majority. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... The Labour Party has been, since its founding in the early 20th century, the principal political party of the left in England, Scotland and Wales. ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... James Ramsay MacDonald (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British politician and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ...


Later in 1929 the Stock Market Crash heralded the global Great Depression and Britain was particularly badly hit. The government found itself in the difficult position of trying to maintain Britain's economic position by maintaining the Pound on the Gold Standard, balancing the Budget and providing assistance and relief to tackle unemployment. 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The 1929 stock market crash devastated economies worldwide The Wall Street Crash refers to the stock market crash that occurred on October 29, 1929, when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed, leading eventually to the Great Depression. ... The Great Depression was a time of economic down turn, which started after the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. ... For details of notes and coins, see British coinage and British banknotes. ... The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic measure of value is gold, and the currencies which are used as units of account are specified as a weight of gold, ideally fixed and not subject to change, and where all currency issuance is to one degree...


In 1931 the situation deteriorated and there was much fear that the Budget was unbalanced, which was borne out by the independent May Report which triggered a confidence crisis and a run on the Pound. The Labour Government agreed to make changes in taxation and expenditure in order to balance the Budget and restore confidence, but could not agree to either introduce tariffs or make 20% cuts in unemployment benefit. When a final vote was taken the Cabinet was split 12:9 with the minority threatening resignation rather than accede, and including many political heavyweights. On August 24, 1931 the government resigned. 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... A tariff is a tax on foreign goods. ... August 24 is the 236th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (237th in leap years), with 129 days remaining. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ...


The political crisis generated much concern and the leaders of both the Conservative and Liberal parties met with King George V and MacDonald, at first to discuss support for the measures to be taken but later to discuss the shape of the next administration. On August 24 MacDonald agreed to form a National Government composed of "men from all parties" with the specific aim of balancing the Budget and restoring confidence. The government would then dissolve itself and a general election would be held on party lines. A small Cabinet of just ten Ministers was formed to take emergency decisions, with ministerial posts divided as proportionally as possible between the three parties, though relatively few Labour members joined the government. George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 - 20 January 1936) was the first British monarch belonging to the House of Windsor, as a result of his creating it from the British branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. ... August 24 is the 236th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (237th in leap years), with 129 days remaining. ...


The early days

The Government was initially applauded by most, but the Labour Party were left in a state of confusion with the loss of several of their most prominent figures, and MacDonald, Philip Snowden and James Henry Thomas did little to explain themselves, with the result that the Labour Party soon swung fully against the government. Efforts to bring public expenditure cuts produced further problems, including a mutiny in the Royal Navy over pay cuts, with the result that the Pound came under renewed pressure and the government was forced to take the radical step of taking the Pound off the Gold Standard altogether. Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden (July 18, 1864 - May 15, 1937) was a British politician, and the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer. ... James (Jimmy) Henry Thomas, (October 3, 1874 - January 21, 1949) was a British trade unionist and Labour politician. ... The Invergordon Mutiny was an industrial action by around a thousand sailors in the British Atlantic Fleet, that took place 15-16 September 1931. ...


Debate now broke out about further steps to tackle the economic problems, while at the same time the Labour Party officially expelled all of its members who supported the National Government, including MacDonald. Increasingly the majority of the Cabinet came to believe that a protective tariff was necessary to support British industry and provide revenue, and that a general election should be fought to secure a mandate for this but this was anathema to the Liberal Party. The Liberals' acting leader and Home Secretary Sir Herbert Samuel fought in Cabinet against an election but found the Liberal party dividing in several directions over the course of action. One group under Sir John Simon emerged as the Liberal Nationals who were prepared to accept the tariff and expressed willingness to take the place of the main Liberals in the government. The party's official leader, David Lloyd George was incapacitated at this time but called for the Liberals to abandon the government altogether and stand independently in defence of Free Trade but this call was heeded only by four other MPs, all related to him. The Secretary of State for the Home Department (the Home Secretary) is the chief United Kingdom government minister responsible for law and order in England and Wales; his or her remit includes policing, the criminal justice system, the prison service, internal security, and matters of citizenship and immigration. ... Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel GCB OM GBE PC (November 6, 1870 - February 2, 1963) was an Anglo-Jewish politician and diplomat. ... The Right Honourable John Allsebrook Simon, 1st Viscount Simon (1873-1954) was a British politician and statesman. ... National Liberal Party was a name used by two groups of politicians, who had formerly been associated with the Liberal Party. ... David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, OM, PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman who guided Britain and the British Empire through World War I and the postwar settlement as the Liberal Party Prime Minister, 1916-1922. ... Free trade is an economic concept referring to the selling of products between countries without tariffs or other trade barriers. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ...


It was eventually agreed that the government as a whole would seek a "Doctor's Mandate" to take a free hand and that each party would issue its own manifesto. Supporters of MacDonald formed the National Labour Party and the parties agreed to allow their local organisations to agree whether or not to oppose each other. The government was opposed by the Labour Party, Lloyd George and his Liberals and the New Party of Sir Oswald Mosley, while within the parties there was particular conflict between the Conservatives and Liberals. The result of the 1931 general election was the greatest landslide ever, with the National Government winning a total of 556 seats and a Parliamentary majority of 500. This article is about the political party that existed from 1931-1945. ... The New Party were a political party briefly active in the United Kingdom in the early 1930s. ... Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet (November 16, 1896 – December 3, 1980), was a British politician known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists. ... The UK general election on Tuesday 27 October 1931 was the last in the United Kingdom not held on a Thursday. ...


MacDonald's National Government 1931-1935

Main article: National Government 1931-1935

After the election the Cabinet reverted to its normal size, but the twenty positions were not at all in proportion to the individual party strengths in the House of Commons. Positions were allocated as follows: The National Government was composed of members of the following parties: National Labour Party Conservative Party Liberal Party Liberal National Party Members of the Cabinet are in bold face. ...

Although the Conservatives had a bare majority of 11 Conservatives to 9 non-Conservatives, they held comparatively few of the most important jobs. The two groups of Liberals were also disbalanced, with the official Liberals holding one more seat than the National Liberals, despite the Parliamentary position being reversed. This balance was to cause tensions, particularly as the Diehard wing of the Conservative party felt unrepresented (see below). James Ramsay MacDonald (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British politician and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. ... The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons. ... This article is about the political party that existed from 1931-1945. ... John Sankey, 1st Viscount Sankey (26 October 1866 - 6 February 1948) was a prominent British politician, famous for the Persons Case. ... The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor and prior to the Union the Chancellor of England and the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom, and its predecessor states. ... This article is about the political party that existed from 1931-1945. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867–14 December 1947) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on three separate occasions. ... The Office of Lord President of the Council is a British cabinet position, the holder of which acts as presiding officer of the Privy Council. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden (July 18, 1864 - May 15, 1937) was a British politician, and the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer. ... The Lord Privy Seal or Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal is one of the traditional sinecure offices in the British Cabinet. ... This article is about the political party that existed from 1931-1945. ... Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940), known as Neville Chamberlain, was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. ... The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British cabinet minister responsible for all financial matters. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel GCB OM GBE PC (November 6, 1870 - February 2, 1963) was an Anglo-Jewish politician and diplomat. ... The Secretary of State for the Home Department (the Home Secretary) is the chief United Kingdom government minister responsible for law and order in England and Wales; his or her remit includes policing, the criminal justice system, the prison service, internal security, and matters of citizenship and immigration. ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... John Allsebrook Simon, 1st Viscount Simon GCSI GCVO OBE PC (1873-1954) was a British politician and statesman. ... The position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was created in the United Kingdoms governmental reorganization of 1782, in which the Northern and Southern Departments became the Home and Foreign Offices. ... National Liberal Party was a name used by two groups of politicians, who had formerly been associated with the Liberal Party. ... Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton, (1884-1972), known as Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame until 1924 and as The Viscount Swinton from 1935 until 1955, was a prominent British Conservative politician from the 1920s until the 1950s. ... The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet official in charge of managing the various British colonies. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... James (Jimmy) Henry Thomas, (October 3, 1874 - January 21, 1949) was a British trade unionist and Labour politician. ... The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet level position created in 1925 to deal with British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State. ... This article is about the political party that existed from 1931-1945. ... Douglas McGarel Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham was a British lawyer and politician. ... The secretary of war in cabinet position was Henry Knox. ... Leader of the House of Lords is a function in the British government that is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, most often Lord President of the Council, Lord Privy Seal or Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Samuel John Gurney Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood (1880-1959), more commonly known as Sir Samuel Hoare, was a British Conservative politician who served in various capacities in the Conservative and National governments of the 1920s and 1930s. ... The office of Secretary of State for India or India Secretary was created in 1858 when India was brought under direct British rule (British Raj). ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry (1878_1949) had careers in both Irish and British politics. ... The Secretary of State for Air was a cabinet level British position, in charge of the Air Ministry. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Archibald Henry Macdonald Sinclair, 1st Viscount Thurso KT CMG PC (October 22, 1890 – June 15, 1970), known as Sir Archibald Sinclair from 1912 until 1952, was a Scottish politician and leader of the British Liberal Party. ... The Secretary of State for Scotland (Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is the chief minister in the government of the United Kingdom with responsibilites for Scotland, at the head of the Scotland Office (formerly The Scottish Office). ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... Bolton Meredith Eyres-Monsell, 1st Viscount Monsell, PC (1881-1969) was a British Conservative politician who served as Chief Whip until 1931 and then as First Lord of the Admiralty. ... Flag of the Lord High Admiral The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the United Kingdom responsible for the command of the Royal Navy. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford (1870-1949) was a prominent Liberal, later National Liberal politician in the United Kingdom from the 1900s until the 1930s. ... The President of the Board of Trade the title of a cabinet position in the United Kingdom government. ... National Liberal Party was a name used by two groups of politicians, who had formerly been associated with the Liberal Party. ... The Right Honourable Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet, Bart. ... The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was a UK cabinet position, responsible for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Sir Donald Maclean (January 9, 1864 – June 15, 1932), was a Liberal politician in the United Kingdom. ... The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is the chief minister of the Department for Education and Skills in the United Kingdom government. ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... Henry Bucknall Betterton, 1st Baron Rushcliffe was a British Conservative politician who served as Minister of Labour from 1931 until 1934. ... Minister of Labour re-directs here. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... Edward Hilton Young, 1st Baron Kennet (1879-1960), was a British politician and writer. ... Minister of Health redirects here. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ... William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech (born April 11, 1885, London; died February 14, 1964, London), British Conservative politician and banker. ... The First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings replaced the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1851. ... The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative and Unionist Party) is the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), the largest in terms of public membership, and is the second oldest extant political party in the world. ...


The government entered protracted wrangling over whether or not to introduce tariffs. Both the Liberals and Snowden found this particularly difficult to accept, but were in a heavy minority. However both MacDonald and Baldwin wished to maintain the multi-party nature of the Government. On the suggestion of Hailsham it was agreed to suspend the principle of Collective Responsibility and allow the Liberals to oppose the introduction of tariffs while remaining in government. This would hold for some months. Collective responsibility is a principle of British Cabinet Government in which the members of the Cabinet must support all Governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them. ...


In 1932 Sir Donald Maclean died. MacDonald came under pressure not to merely appoint another Liberal, particularly as it was felt they would be overrepresented, and so instead appointed the Conservative Lord Irwin (later Lord Halifax). Further tensions emerged over the Ottawa Agreement which set up a series of tariff agreements within the British Empire and the remaining Liberals and Snowden resigned their ministerial posts, though continued to support the government from the backbenches for another year. MacDonald considered resigning as well and allowing a party government to take office but was persuaded to remain, even though his health was now in decline. In domestic politics he increasingly allowed Baldwin to give a lead, but in foreign affairs the main direction was determined by MacDonald and Simon. Year 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ... Cover of Time Magazine April 12, 1926 Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, known as Lord Irwin from 1926 until 1934, (1881-1959) was a British Conservative politician. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


The most prominent policy of the National Government in the early 1930s was the proposal to introduce Indian Home Rule, a measure that was fiercely opposed by the Diehard wing of the Conservative party, with Winston Churchill taking a lead amongst the opponents. The bill was fiercely opposed but eventually passed in 1935. The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and author. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ...


Baldwin takes over

Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister 1923-1924, 1924-1929 & 1935-1937.
Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister 1923-1924, 1924-1929 & 1935-1937.

With MacDonald's health failing, he retired as Prime Minister in June 1935, to be succeeded by Baldwin. Increasingly foreign affairs were coming to dominate political discourse and in November Baldwin led the government to victory in the 1935 general election on a platform of support for the League of Nations and sanctions against Italy for invading Abyssinia. Rt Honorable Stanley Baldwin File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867–14 December 1947) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on three separate occasions. ... 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar). ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar). ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... Stanley Baldwin Clement Attlee The UK general election held on 14th November 1935 resulted in a large, though reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Stanley Baldwin. ... The League of Nations was an international organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919-1920. ... This article needs cleanup. ...


The following month a massive storm developed when it emerged that the new Foreign Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, had negotiated the Hoare-Laval Pact which proposed to cede most of Abyssinia to Italy. Many were outraged, including many government MPs, and the agreement was dropped and Hoare sacked, though he later returned to government. Samuel John Gurney Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood (1880-1959), more commonly known as Sir Samuel Hoare, was a British Conservative politician who served in various capacities in the Conservative and National governments of the 1920s and 1930s. ... The Hoare-Laval Pact was a December 1935 plan concocted by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Samuel Hoare and the French Prime Minister, Pierre Laval for the partitioning of Ethiopia, as a means of ending the Italo-Ethiopian War. ...


Baldwin's last years in office were seen as a period of drift, but in late 1936 he achieved a notable triumph in resolving the Abdication Crisis of Edward VIII without major repercussions. Baldwin took the opportunity of George VI's coronation as an opportune moment to retire. 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Instrument of Abdication signed by Edward VIII Like King Henry VIII of England, whose wish to marry Anne Boleyn in the 1530s shook his kingdom, King Edward VIII created a crisis for the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth in the 1930s when he wished to marry Wallis Simpson. ... Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor; later The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India from the death of his father, George V (1910–36), on... George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death. ...


The government of Neville Chamberlain

Neville Chamberlain was seen by many as the only possible successor to Baldwin, and his appointment as Prime Minister was widely credited with bringing a new dynamism to the government. With a strong track record as a radical Minister of Health and competent Chancellor of the Exchequer many expected Chamberlain to provide a strong lead in domestic affairs and here the government had a number of successes, such as over the nationalisation of coal mining royalties, the curtailing of excess working hours by the Factory Act and much slum clearance. Further reforms were curtailed by the increased international tension which came to occupy most of his time. Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940), known as Neville Chamberlain, was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. ... Minister of Health redirects here. ... The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British cabinet minister responsible for all financial matters. ...


In foreign affairs the government sought to increase Britain's armaments, while maintaining the unity of the British Empire and Dominions and preventing any one power from becoming dominant on the continent of Europe. These proved increasingly difficult to reconcile as many Dominions were reluctant to support Britain in the event of her going to war, and so military action risked splitting the Empire. Chamberlain took a strong personal lead in foreign affairs and sought to bring about peaceful revision of European frontiers in areas where many commentators had long acknowledged grievances. In this he received much popular support at the time, but the policy has been much attacked since. The most prominent point in the policy of appeasement came in September 1938 when the Munich Agreement was negotiated. Following the agreement the government speeded up the rearmament process in the hope of being ready for war when it came. At the same time it took a tougher line in foreign affairs, including making a guarantee to defend Poland against Germany. Appeasement is a policy of accepting the imposed conditions of an aggressor in lieu of armed resistance, usually at the sacrifice of principles. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... For the annual global security meeting held in Munich, see Munich Conference on Security Policy Chamberlain holds the paper containing the resolution to commit to peaceful methods signed by both Hitler and himself on his return from Germany in September 1938. ...


The outbreak of war

When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Britain declared war, supported by all of the Dominions bar Ireland, in tandem with France. For some time there had been calls to expand the government by bringing in members of the official Labour and Liberal parties but the latter refused to join. For the first few months of war Britain saw comparatively little action apart from at sea, but when the Norwegian Campaign went wrong there was a massive outcry in Parliament. 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full year calendar). ... German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign led to the first direct confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for Germany seeking the occupation of Norway was Germanys...


On May 7 and 8 1940 a two day debate took place in Parliament, known to history as the Norway Debate. Initially a discussion of what had gone wrong in that field, it soon turned into a general debate on the conduct of the war with fierce criticism expressed by all sides of the House. The government won the debate, albeit with a reduced majority, but over the next two days it became increasingly clear that Labour and the Liberals would have to be brought into government and that Chamberlain was unable to achieve this. On May 10, 1940 Germany invaded the Low Countries and Chamberlain finally bowed to pressure and resigned, bringing the life of the National Government to a close. It was succeeded by an all party coalition headed by Winston Churchill. May 7 is the 127th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (128th in leap years). ... May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Norway Debate was a famous debate in the British House of Commons that took place on May 7 and May 8, 1940. ... May 10 is the 130th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (131st in leap years). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Low Countries, the historical region of de Nederlanden, are the countries (see Country) on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse (Maas) rivers. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and author. ...


The Caretaker government of 1945

In May 1945, following the defeat of Germany the coalition government broke up and Churchill formed a new administration, including Conservatives, Liberal Nationals and various non-party individuals who had been previously appointed to Ministerial posts. However significantly there were no Liberal Nationals in the Cabinet. This government nevertheless used the title National Government and could be seen as the heir to the 1930s governments, even though the personnel were very different. The government fought the 1945 general election as a National Government but lost. Subsequently the remnants of the coalition became a single Conservative party, most notably in 1947 when the Liberal Nationals formally merged with them. 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... Clement Attlee Winston Churchill The United Kingdom General Election of 1945 held on 5 July 1945 but not counted and declared until 26 July 1945 (due to the time it took to transport the votes of those serving overseas) was one of the most significant general elections of the 20th... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ...


Legacy

The National Government has a very poor reputation historically. Many have been willing to attack it, including both Churchill and the polemic Guilty Men, and few have sought to defend it - mainly because none of the political parties were led by those who had prospered in the 1930s. However some revisionist historians have sought to rehabilitate its reputation. Guilty Men was a polemic book published in the summer of 1940 in the United Kingdom, which attacked the leading politicians of the 1930s for failing to confront Nazi Germany. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... Revisionism is a word which has several meanings. ...


 
 

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