Flashcards in The Impact of the Depression 1931-1939 Deck (23):
What was Britain like before the depression (politically, socially, economically)?
-Allied to USA, disliked Russia (communist) and Germany (unstable from WW1)
-Clearly defined gender roles and class system (mostly working class with manual labour jobs)
-Left school at 12
-Lots of money from British Empire
-Coal mining, steel, and ship building were main industries
What caused the depression in Britain?
US stock market collapsed, so all loans were recalled and they traded less- Britain relied heavily on USA so industries sold less, made less money and had to sack workers or pay lower wages
How was unemployment affected by the depression?
-Highest in coal mining (34%), steel, and ship building (62%), and in North England, Scotland and Wales
-Oxford only had 6% unemployment
-80% of new factories were being built in London that ran on electricity, so weren’t affected by coal shortages
-Peaked in 1932, at 3.4 million (17%)
What were the government responses to unemployment?
-Coalition govt. set up to help in 1931
-Unemployment benefits (dole)
-Means test (1931)
-Import duties act (1932)
-Special areas act (1934)
-Amendment act (1937)
What happened to the unemployment benefits?
It was cut by 10% in 1931 as they were giving out more in dole than they received in taxes as there were so many unemployed
What was the means test and what were its issues?
Officials could search a benefit claimant’s property to examine living conditions, savings and earnings, humiliating, varied greatly from county to county
What was the import duties act?
Raised duties on imports to stimulate British economy (didn’t work because other countries were doing the same)
What was the unemployment act and when was it passed?
1934, clarified difference between types of benefits (National Insurance had no means test, only paid for 15 weeks, ‘dole’ given if NI hadn’t been paid or had gone over 15 weeks)
What was the special areas act, and why didn't it work?
Govt. gave £2 million to worst areas such as Tyneside, Scotland and South Wales
-Wasn’t enough money and wasn’t spent wisely
What was the amendment act?
Gave tax cuts and low rent to businesses that moved into special areas, but no one did
How else was unemployment helped?
Fell to 1 million due to rearmament which helped coal etc. and revival in world trade
How did the unemployed look for work?
Had to go to unemployment exchange to register as looking for work at least once per week and collect money
How did the unemployed or poor afford goods?
Many joined savings clubs, where a regular amount was paid each week, then when enough was saved, goods were bought
How many unemployed were below the poverty line?
How was the health of the unemployed affected?
-Not enough food, cost 5 shillings and 1d for the minimum for proper nourishment, 44% getting dole survived on less
-Lots of bread and potatoes but no fruit and milk
How were the unemployed affected psychologically?
Confidence declined and expectations fell, felt guilty, low self-respect and self-esteem, means test was degrading
How was the physical appearance of the unemployed changed?
-Appearance -Aged quicker, stance drooped
What was the NUWM?
-National Unemployed Workers' Movement, an organisation set up in 1921 that drew attention through peaceful protests and demonstrations, to show unemployed weren’t lazy, they wanted a job (close to communist party)
What was the difference between the Jarrow Crusade and hunger marches?
The Jarrow Crusade wasn't political
What were the causes of the Jarrow Crusade?
--Jarrow relied on Palmer’s shipyard which closed in 1934 (fewer ships being built as planes took over)
-By 1935, 64% were unemployed
-Couldn’t get Special Areas money -no industry to apply with
What were the key features of the Jarrow Crusade?
-In 1936, NUWM tried to set up a march, but govt. opposed
-Jarrow held their own, non-political march for work (not money) planned by town council, deliberately avoiding red banners which looked communist
-200 fit men took a petition signed by 1000 people to ask for work to London (291 miles), held public meetings on the way
-Started with a religious service where Bishop of Durham blessed them
What were the reactions to the Jarrow Crusade?
-NUWM opposed as it wasn’t national
-Labours hated hunger marches and counted this as one
-Conservatives fed and housed members of the crusade
-Some towns gave food, tea and baths, some only let them sleep in workhouses