The British General Strike of 1926


The General strike of 1926, lasting from the 4th – 12th of May, was the largest industrial dispute in Britain’s history.[1] The mass strike movement occurred during a time of economic hardship within Britain, as they tried to recover from the First World War. The war is also particularly relevant to the General Strike, as arguably its end sparked the tensions that were central to the event. The government had taken direct control of the mines during WWI in order to ensure efficient production and consumption to help fuel the war effort. However, after the war, the mines were handed back to private owners.[2] These private owners demanded longer hours but less money from their miners, and those that refused lost their jobs and were locked out of the mines should they cause trouble.

This maltreatment of British miners prompted the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to call a sympathetic strike, beginning at a minute to midnight on the 3rd of May 1926. The strike saw workers from industries including bus, rail, dock, printing, gas, electricity, building, iron, steel and chemical related jobs.[3] All shared one goal. Stop the government and private owners from enforcing a 13% wage reduction for miners, as well as a working day that would increase from 7 hours to 8.[4] Even by the very first day, between 1.5-1.75 million workers were on strike in Britain, and the transport, printing and food industries collapsed.[5] Rioting and police confrontations occurred across the country, and support for the strike was nationwide. PM Stanley Baldwin also attempted to return the country to peace and stability through a number of radio broadcasts and articles in the Winston Churchill-edited British Gazette, promising that should the country place their faith in him, normality would be reinstated.

The strike, despite mass support, was ultimately unsuccessful. The government had been preparing for around 9 months for the strikes, as well as paying the mine owners subsidies to deal with the lack of workers.[6] This preparation time allowed for an army of volunteers to be organised and then called upon to return stability to the country, through driving buses and making food deliveries etc. Furthermore, the army was also deployed in order to protect these volunteers doing their job.[7]

The lasting impact of the General Strike is also seen in the establishment of the 1927 Trades Dispute Act, which banned sympathetic striking. Although repealed in 1946, Margaret Thatcher brought it back in the 1980s and it remained in place.[8]

Image Retrieved from (Socialist Appeal).

[1] The National Archives (The Cabinet Papers). (n.d.). The General Strike. Retrieved from

[2] Working Class Movement Library. (n.d.). General Strike of 1926. Retrieved from

[3] BBC News. (2011). What was the General Strike of 1926? Retrieved from

[4] BBC News. (2011).

[5] BBC News. (2011).

[6] Working Class Movement Library. (n.d.).

[7] BBC News. (2011).

[8] BBC News. (2011).

The 1945 British General Election


The 1945 general election saw a shock result in the history of British politics. Winston Churchill, wartime hero and assumed winner, was defeated by a landslide victory for Clement Atlee’s Labour Party. Why, then, did Churchill’s seemingly easy victory not occur?

The scale of the defeat for the Conservatives is seen in the figures. Clement Atlee’s Labour secured 11,995,152 votes to the Conservative’s 9,988,306,[1] with these votes coming from a British electorate of 33,240,30.[2] Labour had won 393 seats with a majority of 183 within the House of Commons.[3] The 1945 election was the first since November of 1935, and although it was held in July, the results were announced three weeks later in order to count the votes of those serving abroad.[4]

Following the Second World War, Winston Churchill was immensely popular. This is unsurprising as he was viewed as the guardian that had ensured wartime victory and the safety of the British people. His popularity meant that his approval rating did not fall below 78% between 1940-45, and in some cases rising to 83%.[5] The Conservatives were therefore confident that this would result in his re-election in the 1945 election as people would surely want the winner of the war to guide them through the years that followed. However, this turned out not to be the case, and the Conservative Party essentially did not campaign enough as they rested to greatly on Churchill. Many people in Britain felt as though Churchill’s qualities and politics would not fit peacetime as his pre-occupation had been almost entirely on war victory, and party politics would often fall to a secondary position.[6] The end of war deprived Churchill of his key motivation and drive, and this was not viewed favourably in a country healing from war and craving positive momentum moving forward to recovery. Furthermore, Churchill had also used his spotlight during the election campaign to promise to finish the war in Japan, which was once again bringing the focus to conflict in a country craving peace. This is even more evident when viewed in contrast to Labour’s campaign, which was based heavily around ensuring their policies and intentions were known. They made clear that the unemployment and bleakness of the 1930s was down to the Conservatives, as was the failure to re-arm Britain quickly enough, appeasing Hitler and failing to implement necessary and essential social reforms.[7]

This reference to social reform is essential to note. Labour made the promise of employment, housing, medical services for all and social reform central to their campaign. This was popular amongst voters, as it mirrored the manifesto of the same nature written in the 1942 Beveridge Report. Beveridge set out conditions he felt required change and reform in Britain in order to ensue social reform in a wide manner of sectors, and was well received amongst the electorate. Labour, for the most part, embraced the report, whilst the Conservatives did not. This was a point remembered by the voters. Churchill could have used the Beveridge report for his own popularity and success, but instead chose to highlight the unrealistic nature of Labour’s reforms and insisted should change happen, this was to be achieved privately and not by government.[8]

Essentially, the 1945 election can be understood to have been a huge win for the Labour Party. Not only had they ran their own successful campaign, but were also able to capitalise on the failings and inadequacies of the Conservatives relying greatly on Winston Churchill.

Image retrieved from (PA Archive).

[1] UK Political Info. (2020). 1945 General Election Results Summary. Retrieved from

[2] UK Political Info. (2020).

[3] BBC (Dr Paul Addison). (2011). Why Churchill Lost in 1945. Retrieved from

[4] Imperial War Museums (Rebecca Harding). (2018). How Winston Churchill and the Conservative Party Lost the 1945 Election. Retrieved from

[5] BBC (Dr Paul Addison). (2011).

[6] BBC (Dr Paul Addison). (2011).

[7] BBC (Dr Paul Addison). (2011).

[8] Imperial War Museums (Rebecca Harding). (2018).

The Abdication Crisis of 1936


The abdication of Edward VIII was a monumental moment in the history of Britain and the Royal Family. It was the first time that an English monarch voluntarily gave up their position of power, as well as providing a key example of the power the government hold in shaping the actions of royalty.[1] Furthermore, the Church of England and the British public also did not support Edward in his actions, and were key to the events that unfolded.[2] In general terms, the Abdication Crisis of 1936 saw King Edward VIII faced with a key decision to make. Should he remain British monarch, or marry the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson? The reason Edward could not have both of these things at the same time was due to the fact that Mrs Simpson was a twice-divorced American woman, who in the eyes of tradition was a commoner in comparison to Edward.[3] The pairing was not supported by Edward’s father George V, nor was it supported by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. Stanley Baldwin made clear to Edward that should marriage take place, himself and his cabinet would be forced to remove governmental support of the king and his duties. Baldwin made this lack of support clear to Edward when hearing the plan of marriage on the 16th November at Buckingham Palace.[4] Edward had consistently been accused of lacking respect for royal protocol, with little regard for government tradition also. His relationship with Wallis Simpson was no different. It was not simply Simpson’s position that was seen as unsuitable for marriage to Edward, but also the conflict the marriage would cause within the Church of England. As king, Edward was also head of the Church of England, who did not support remarriage when a previous spouse was still alive, which happened to be the case with Wallis Simpson.[5] So on the 10th of December 1936, Edward VIII officially abdicated from his position as king in order to marry Wallis Simpson. His brother, George VI as he would be known, became king. Edward VIII is one of the shortest-reigning British monarchs, holding his position for just 326 days.[6] Edward and Wallis married in 1937, and remained married until Edward’s death in 1972.

Image Retrieved From

[1] (2009). Edward VIII Abdicates. Retrieved from

[2] (2009).

[3] The International Churchill Society. (2020). The Abdication Crisis. Retrieved from

[4] The Gazette: Official Public Record. (2019). This Month in History: Edward VIII Abdication Crisis. Retrieved from

[5] The Gazette: Official Public Record. (2019).

[6] The Gazette: Official Public Record. (2019).

Board Games


Board games are an important pastime for many people across the world. Especially in the current pandemic, they are likely to become increasingly important to many families. This is not a trend of recent years, but one that has existed throughout history. Whilst often beginning as purely folk creations, board games are increasingly integrated into a much wider and commercial market. They are represented even in hieroglyphs, and simply put, ‘wherever there has been civilization, strange to say, there have been games played on boards’.[1] The first board game can be traced back to as early as 5000 BC, with dice (or painted flat sticks as they began) being of central importance to them. ’49 small carved painted stones were found… in southeast Turkey. These are the earliest gaming pieces ever found’. Similar pieces also found in Syria and Iraq. So safe to assume that board games originated in the Fertile Crescent.[2] By around 3000 BC board games became ‘popular among pharaohs in Ancient Egypt’ and were an official royal pastime, with the main game being Senet. The game became somewhat a talisman for the journey of the dead.[3] The luck involved in games linked to the Egyptians obsession with fate, also becoming increasingly associated with religion and belief. One such game was Mehen with focus on the deity of the same name.[4] Trends in board games are also dependent on their time, and the groups living at that time, with many adopting their own preferred games. For example Rich Saxons played games resembling chess. (chess is likely to have been invented in India in the 6th or 7th century AD or possibly earlier. At any rate, by the 10th century, it was being played in Europe).[5] The Vikings, for a further example, played a board game called hnefatafl. In some versions, one player used 8 pieces to protect the king while the other player used 16 pieces. In other versions, the players had 12 pieces and 24 pieces and the size of the board varied.[6] The Tudors played board games like chess and backgammon (with a backgammon set being found on the wreck of the Mary Rose). Poor people often played nine men’s morris. The Tudors also played draughts and fox and geese.[7] These types of games remained traditional and popular to the 18th Century, including chess, draughts, backgammon and dominoes.[8] Themes are also increasingly important to games.

By 400 AD Tafl boards were popular and were a family of different games of ancient Germanic and Celtic strategy and played on a checked board. Tafl spread with the Vikings to places like Britain, Iceland, Ireland and much of Northern Europe. These games are essentially the building blocks of chess.[9]Then, Mancala came around about 700 AD to describe a genre of games as ‘sowing’ or ‘count-and-capture’ games. Mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala to mean ‘to move’. These games would originally use things like seeds and place them in the pits of the board and moved around in the game. The main aim is to capture more than your opponent.[10] Monopoly, arguably one of the most well-known and popular modern board games, found its origins in ‘The Landlord’s Game’ (1903), created by the American Lizzie Magie.[11] It had a similar board, instructions, aim and made to demonstrate land grabbing and its consequences. Lizzie sold the patent for the game in 1935 to Parker Brothers for just $500, who then made it monopoly as we know it today.[12] Modern board games, as of 2009, have become increasingly diverse and extensive, allowing for indefinite amounts of audiences to be targeted. This is due to Kickstarter, a company that helps to raise funding and support for people to design and sell their own games to the public.[13]

Image retrieved from: (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

[1] Andriesse, A. (2019). Progress in Play: Board Games and the Meaning of History. Retrieved from

[2] Attia, P. (2016). The Full History of Board Games. Retrieved from

[3] Attia, P. (2016).

[4] Attia, P. (2016).

[5] Lambert, T. (2019). A Brief History of Board Games. Retrieved from

[6] Lambert, T. (2019).

[7] Lambert, T. (2019).

[8] Lambert, T. (2019).

[9] Attia, P. (2016).

[10] Attia, P. (2016).

[11] Attia, P. (2016).

[12] Attia, P. (2016).

[13] Attia, P. (2016).

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962


The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, lasting 13 days throughout October, saw the world essentially waiting to see if the Cold War would develop into international nuclear warfare. The complexity of the event is widely noted, and even those involved struggled to make sense of it. They had ‘different degrees of knowledge, ignorance, and misinformation about what was happening, but all were surprised by how it unfolded’.[1] The USA and Soviet Union, with leaders John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, were at conflict due to the Cold War, resulting in high political and military tensions. The Crisis came from America’s knowledge of the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba through the use of American spy planes (U-2), which was seen as a direct threat to both America but also represented a way in which the Soviet Union could bring offensive measures directly to the western hemisphere.[2] Concerns also rose from this alliance between Fidel Castro, Cuban leader, and Khrushchev as this presented a stronger and unified force against America. The presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba was a further threat, as it demonstrated the end of America’s advantage when it came to long-range missiles. No longer were they superior, which is of importance when considered in the context of the Cold War. America and the Soviet Union were in a constant battle of not just military efforts, but also wanted to be better than the other in areas such as weapon advancement, travel, science etc. Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin attempted to convince America that Soviet missiles in Cuba were purely defensive at the request of Fidel Castro, and that they would not be used for offensive means.[3] This was not believed by Kennedy, who chose to increase Navy and Marine training, surveillance flights of Cuba and also built up a U.S. Army reserve in the event of emergency.[4] During this time, the Soviet Union continued with their secret missile program in Cuba, but America were uncertain as to whether or not they were also in possession of warheads for this missiles, and how imminent of a threat they were facing. By October 22nd, Kennedy made a publicised speech to the American people stating the severity of the situation and demanded that not only the Soviets dismantle the missile stores but that he was also implementing a Navy blockade around Cuba to try and curb their arrival and reduce the threat.[5] Letters and communications had been kept up between Kennedy and Khrushchev throughout the event, and on the 26th of October the end was within sight.[6] Khrushchev promised to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba as long as America removed theirs from Turkey, as well as promising not to invade Cuba.[7] Both terms were eventually met, and the 28th of October marked the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Attempts were also made to ensure hostilities and uncertainties could not occur again, and a direct communication line was established from Washington to the Kremlin in Moscow.[8]

(Image retrieved from

[1] Jervis, R. (2015). The Cuban missile crisis: what can we know, why did it start, and how did it end?. In L. Scott, & R . G. Hughes (Eds.) The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Critical Reappraisal. (pp. 1-39) . Abingdon: Routledge, p. 1.

[2] Hillstrom, L. C. (2015). The Cuban Missile Crisis. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, p. 37.

[3] Hillstrom, L. C. (2015), p. 38.

[4] Hillstrom, L. C. (2015), p. 39.

[5] Hillstrom, L. C. (2015), p. 46.

[6] Editors. (2010). Cuban Missile Crisis. Retrieved from

[7] Editors. (2010).

[8] Editors. (2010).

The Peterloo Massacre of 1819


The Peterloo Massacre took place on the 16th of August 1819, in St Peter’s Fields in Manchester. The occurrence demonstrated official reaction, oppression and killing of innocent people, with its influence leading to the event ultimately being coined ‘one of the most radical events of British history’.[1] It is a widely contested and discussed event, however the causation of the event is fairly unanimous in the event’s historiography. A mass group of around 60,000 people gathered, from various areas of the North of England but mainly Manchester, in order to demand representation within Parliament.[2] This stemmed from the fact that although Manchester was large city, and of central importance to the industrial revolution, they did not have a single MP to represent the area.[3] Although the gathering was large, it is widely noted that they were peaceful in nature, and had simply gathered in St Peter’s Fields in order to listen to the radical politician Henry Hunt.[4] Frustration, particularly amongst workers, was not solely political in nature. Economic and social changes within Britain had overshadowing impacts on many aspects of life, and with the industrial revolution occurring, wages and conditions were on the decline.[5] ‘Massive economic downturn’ was of central significance in the north, made worse still in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.[6] It is also worth noting that the Napoleonic Wars have further association with the Peterloo Massacre, as it was a contemporary journalist to the event who named it ‘Peterloo’, to mirror the Battle of Waterloo.[7] The ‘massacre’ element of the event came from the reaction to what had meant to be a peaceful demonstration against Government. In order to deal with the mass of people they were facing, the British sent in forces to deal with those they saw as troublesome. As a result, ‘yeomanry and horseguards hewed down and trampled to death eighteen people’.[8] Overall, the Peterloo Massacre held great significance in its own time, as well as our own. Contemporary reaction to the killings were that of outrage and frustration. The narrative has differed little, with many still pointing out the fact that those who were killed were innocent and killed purely because of the fears of the elite. Peterloo encapsulates not only the impact the masses are able to achieve when a common grievance and cause is identified, but also the destructive nature that those in a position of authority are able to exercise over those beneath them when they feel threatened. Destructive authority, willing to kill innocent people to return to order, is unfortunately not a unique phenomenon to the Peterloo Massacre, and will likely continue for decades to come.

(Image credit Bettmann Archive) 

[1] Geisinger, G. (2018, Oct 23). Peterloo Movie: Is Peterloo Based on a True Story? What is the Peterloo Massacre? Express (Online) Retrieved from

[2] The Peterloo Massacre. (2019, Aug 17). The Week, 13. Retrieved from

[3] The Peterloo Massacre. (2019, Aug 17).

[4] ‘Peterloo massacre (16 August 1819)’ (2015). In Kerr, A., & Wright, E. (Eds.), A Dictionary of World History. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2 Mar, 2020, from

[5] Remembering The Peterloo Massacre, 200 Years on: Letters. (2019, Aug 14). Irish Independent, 21. Retrieved from

[6] Remembering The Peterloo Massacre, 200 Years on: Letters. (2019, Aug 14).

[7] Remembering The Peterloo Massacre, 200 Years on: Letters. (2019, Aug 14).

[8] Fairclough, M. (2019). Peterloo at 200: The Radical Press, Simultaneous Meetings and the Mask of Anarchy. The Keats-Shelley Review, 33(2), 159-174. doi:10.1080/09524142.2019.1659016.

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Thanks for visiting my blog!

I am currently a second year History BA(Hons) student, with a real passion for the subject. I decided to start this blog as a way to talk about the topics I am interested in, that I may not necessarily explore during my studies. I usually focus on modern history, with my main topics of interest being Hitler’s Germany, The First and Second World Wars and 20th Century Britain. However, I have varied interests in topics such as the Vikings, The Peasants’ Revolt, The Black Death and The Crusades etc..

I hope to write a blog weekly (should my degree permit).