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    Civilisation Britannique

    Corrigés des TD

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  • World War II


    A. Propaganda posters

    Context :

    Chamberlain was succeeded by Churchill (PM) in May 1940. Churchill was also the Minister of Defense. Coalition government (when 2 or more parties share the power) : the Cabinet got 4 Labour ministers, 15 Conservatives, and 1 Liberal.

    In September 1939 a National Service Act was passed introducing conscription (when you order people by law to serve in the armed forces). By 1942 all men and women between 16 and 60 could be called for different sort of service, so almost all the population in Britain were conscripted : in 1940 men were conscripted, men who weren't able to serve in the armed forced were conscripted in coal mines, and in 1941 women were conscripted.


    > What is the British population being aked to do in these posters ?

    These posters were part of Government information campaign, so people were told what to do and what not to do to contribute for the war effort (don't waste food, don't take the bus when you can walk,...). These posters in particular : “Dig for Victory” = to collect scrap metal. Posters shows people how to wear a gaz mask.

    “Go trough your wardrobe”: Re-use old clothes or make their own clothes. Women were providing with sewing classes (how to re-use an old blanket,...).

    “Home grown food means more ships for the War effort”: less than a third of the food was produced at home, because of the war ennemies ship targeted incoming allied ship (with food), preventîng supplies to reach the UK.

    → This is why these posters were part of the propaganda posters.


    > How could this contribute to the war effort ?

    Everybody was asked to participate for the war effort. Women were encourage to replacement in factories, as men were gone to the war. Most women were conscripted especially for munitions factories. The nation labour was once again mobilized. Women were working in factories, hospital, schools, joined the army and by 1942 400 000 women had joined the army or the navy or the air force. So anyone was asked to help by making extra-effort. That what we called during the war a « home front ». The mood of the time was “doing your bit”.


    > What sort of mood might these posters contribute to ?

    People are encouraged to help, to recycle, to help each other. Encouraging to be patriotic. Posters, radios, films, were used to keep up people's spirit. Sometime it was part of propaganda to make fun of the ennemy. Actually the measures of the British Government were design to modalize a democratic system. And basically this was well-accepted by the population, because it was essential to maximise the nation war effort. The counter-part was that the government tried to insure the fairest possible treatement of the population. The British population appreciated the fairness of the system, the equality.


    B. Winston Churchill

    > What position did Winston Churchill occupy during the war ?

    He was Prime Minister.


    > What message is being given to the UK population in these speeches ?

    “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

    → He's just saying that everybody work hard in order to win the war.

    “[...] we shall never surrender” → Never surrender to Germans, it was important for Britain to help France and go down fighting. The nation who have surrender is finished. According to Churchill Germany was the ennemy and should not be trusted, so no surrender, no peace “traité”.

    “Let us therefore brace ourselves [...]” → Justify the help which was providing to France. The aim was to convince people that Britain was going to win the war and also to rally the country around him. He reported messages of support from the British dominions (to show the power of the Commonwealth).

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  • Beveridge and the Welfare State



    (post-war period = 1945-1951)

    The WWII opened up new horizons for the working class who had paid a hard price for its participation in the war. When the war period came to an end, there was a need for change injustice and differences marking the British society before WWII had to be erased. So socialism began developing, creating interfence with the economy and the government. Ideas came out of the two major parties represented by Lord Beveridge and John M. Keynes who are today seen as the fathers of post-war social consensus in Great Britain. Keynes provided the justification for the increase of governmental internventions, and argued in favor of market economics to stimulate production. Beveridge wrote the 1942 report and argued in favor of « full-employment for a free society ». He also argued in favor of a series of practical reform such as the Universal Social Protection that would protect each British citizen against « interruption of distruction of earning power ». Ideas of more state intervention in society increasingly develop. The need to provide a Comprehensive System of Health Care lead the foundations of the British Welfare State.


    > How does the Beveridge report present the question of personal initiative ?

    His view is on paragraph 2. The Beveridge report proposed universal contributory social insurance for all, which he saw as offering a foundation for personnal freedom and individual initiative. Because it's stressed the reciprocity of contribution and benefits (everybody would pay and everybody would receive) and most importantly collective risk-sharing (because everybody would contribute) accross the whole population. Paragraph 2 : « The plan leaves room and encouragement to all indiviuals to win for themselves something above the national minimum, to find and to satisfy and to produce the means of satisfying new and higher needs than bare physical needs ».


    > What are the « five giants » and how are they connected to each other ?

    Paragraph 3.

    Beveridge in this report recommends that the government should find ways of fighting the five giants (or five evils) of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, Idleness. To defeat these 5 giants he proposed setting up a Welfare State with Social Security, a National Health Service, Free Education, Council Housing (HLM in France), and Full-employment.

    It's a vicious circle : they are linked, so they have to treat all the problems at once, or it will be a problem again.


    > What advantages to the country do such reforms present according to the report ?

    The advantages to the country that such reforms present are : paragraph 5 « to make the best possible use of whatever ressources are available » ; paragraph 7 « a sense of national unity ». His report will bring justice, everybody will be helped by the state, be given a chance to succeed in life.


    > How are the measures proposed in the report affected by the fact that it is wartime ?

    Most historians see the WWII as the accelerator of social change. And the developpement proposed by the Beveridge report was seen as the direct result of the social upheaval caused by the conflict.

    « The decisive event in the evolution of the welfare state was the WWII which challenged the British people to round off the system of social security. The was speeded changes and left a country markedly different and markedly more humane and civilized than in 1939. »

    Sacrifices, hardships, rationing that the British people experiencied during the war encouraged the abolition of privileges.


    > What does this contemporary cartoon suggest about the Welfare State ?

    Reflect the conservative party vision of the Welfare state. They were very critical of the Welfare state, especially by Thatcher, and she accused it to be nearly a nanny state encouraging dependance and idleness. Lord Keith Joseph declare : « War is the mid-wife of socialism ».

    In the straight after war, labour goverment tried to make a set of laws was inspired by the universal social protection and beveridge with precises aims.

    1. To guarantee a better standard of living for all British citizens. [Want] 1946 : National Insurance Act set up a universal social security scheme. 1948 : National Assistance Act (for those who did not receive the first act would receive this one).

    2. To provide against accidents/ill-health. [Disease] 1948 : Industrial Injuries Act. 1946 : National Health service Act provided medical services.

    3. To improve people's slum. [Squalor] 1946 : New Towns Act. The Housing Act. 1947 : The Town and Country planning Act.

    4. To provide help in the education of children. [Ignorance] 1944 : The Education Act → measures implemented in 1945 by the Labour government. 1945 : The Family Allowances Act.

    5. To provide work. [Idleness] A rise in public expenditure. The Labour government succeeded to maintain employment rate. Following the principles of Keynes, the government took control of certain industries (iron, steel).

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  • The 1945 election 


    Context: Churchill's coalition came to its end in 1945, and on june a general election was held. As Churchill was considered as a war hero, he was widely expected to win (the Conservatives centralized their campaign on his personnality). But the Labour party won with an overall majority: a landslide victory. The new PM is Attlee. For the first time the Labour can govern by itself, before that they were just a part of a coalition government. 


    Questions on the “1945 Labour Party Election Manifesto” 

    Why is the example of WWI used ? 

    After the WWI the situation didn't improve, “the people lost that peace”. That example is used because the situation is the same, in 1945 the WWII is over. So the Labour party say not to vote again for the Conservatives who did not make any improvement after the WWI. 


    Who are the “hard-faced men” and what political affiliation are they said to have ? Comment on the language used. 

    The Conservatives are the “hard-faced men”. By saying the Conservatives policy was wrong after WWI, they say the 30s as a disaster. 


    What were the “great economic blizzards” and the “slumps” of the inter-war years ? What causes is suggested and what is the significance ? 

    Slump = period when a country's enconomy of business is doing very badly. 

    The 30s are now associated to the word slump, because of the 1929 crisis: Britain had borrowed money from the US and they have to pay back money to the US. After the WWI the British Staple industries collapsed, and more importantly Britain's coton importations. The post-war slump had a direct consequence in Britain: in 1926 there was a general strike. The general strike appeared in a very tensed period. After the WWI the British economy decided to return the gold standard, so the value of the money depended on that gold standard. Before the WWI Staple industries had accounted for 70% of British's exports, after the WWI it collapsed. May 4th 1926 a general strike was called by the TUC (Trade-Union Congress), which supported the minors. And so just after the general strike was called the Government reacted very badly to the strike. Measures were taken: The Trade Dispute Act was passed, so at this moment it was illegal to go on strike. Unemployment benefits were cut, reduced, and it became even more difficult to get those benefits: less and less people will get them. In those years the Government control the Banks, the big industries and the press. Too much power is concentrated in the hands of too few men. 


    > What, according to the next, does the nation want ? How will political parties react to this ? 

    The Nation wants food, work and homes: so basics and vital needs. The Government have to deal with the needs of the nation, which are basics, simple, but vital needs. So the Labour party proposes to provide the population of “good food in plenty, useful work for all, and comfortable homes”. The Labour proposes here to improve their conditions, their standard of living and in the same time improving the population security and education. 

    Of course the other parties aren't opposed to that. Basically they can't. So all parties said that “in principle they are agree with them”. What is important here to the Labour party is to show that their determination is to turn the aims into realities. 


    > What is the “spirit of Dunkirk and of the Blitz” ? 

    The Labour implies that even now in peace time the Government has to care about the British citizen security. The Labour party draws a palet (?) between a post-war situation in Britain during which pressure and problems threaten the population basic needs. 

    The Government needs to care about the population. 


    What is used in the text to oppose the idea of the people/the nation ? 

    Opposition between the nation and private interest controled by the previous government (the previous gvt controled everything, power in the hands of a few men), abstract concept which used to prevail under the previous governments: bank, mines, big industries, bureaucracy, totalitarian oligarchies, monopolies. What mattered more for previous gvt were profits, control, bureaucracy, monopolies and the results was the economic blizzard, the slumps, which took place in the inter-war years in Britain. The previous gvt was totally disconnected from the people. 


    Questions on “Winston Churchill, Conservative Election Broadcast, 1945” 

    > How does this speech by Winston Churchill attack the Labour Party's position ? 

    Speaking on his first election address on the BBC he warned listeners that Attlee “would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo” in order to bring to life his socialist reforms: clear opposition between freedom and socialism idea that Attlee is going to act against freedom. But Churchill made a miscalculation about the mood of the electorate. He tried to create a frightening image of Labour by associating their socialism with totalitarian regime. 


    Was the speech successful ? Why ? Why not ? 

    This attack was immediatly used by Attlee to highlight the difference between Churchill the successful war leader and Churchill the poor political partisan. Attlee recognized that Churchill was surely competent during the war, but now it's time to go back to real politics and Churchill is clearly not here. Churchill lost the election, so no that speech wasn't successful. 

    The electorate was convinced that the Labour party, rather than the Conservatives, would introduced the measures saw in the Beveridge report. It was a restrospective judgement on old the Conservatives policies. The priority of the population was peace: and the last time the Conservatives were in power, they lost the peace. 


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  • The 1970s


    A. The 3-day week

    > What is the national and international context responsible for the measures described in the article?

    This article from the Daily Mail exposes a series of restrictive measures, which is about to be imposed by the Conservatives government of Edward Heath. Because of the restrictions (electriciity control act), most of the industries worked on the 3-day working week, most factories were ordered to use electricity only 5 days a week and after that 3 days a week. The situation is reminding us of the situation during the WWII.


    The oil crisis and the miners' strike

    In the early 1970s, when the Conservatives return to power, the country was extremely polarised between the North and the South. It was a bleak (morne) period, caracterized by deficit and unemployment. So when the Cons came to power in 1970, the immediat problem to fight was unemployment, which quickly increased recently. Because of unemployment and inflation the government announced it would cut expenditures and a series of austerity measures. It was the end of free milk in schools for example. But on the other hand, the gvt reduced the income tax and the corporate tax (impôt sur les sociétés). Consequently the gvt policy would benefit people from the upper class only. It led to a clash with the trade-unions, especially with the NUM (National Union of Miners), a very powerful one. The NUM declared the first general strike since 1936, opposing the reduction of miners wages. As the winter of 1972 was an extremely cold one, the strike had an immediat impact on the society. Homes were plunged into darkness, and working days were reduced to 3 days a week. In February 1972 the trade-union mouvement won because the gvt decided a large pay increased for the miners.

    In 1973 the Yomkipour? was in war, involving an embargo on oil. Problems emerge because a large part of British energy depended on oil. Arab producers decided to boycott some countries and to restrict some other countries importations on oil. At the same time miners decided to go on strike again, asking for more pay rises and more importantly they refused extra-work in November 1973. There was no more oil on the country as well.


    > How will individuals and businesses be affected?

    In December 1973 the government had to take a state of emergency. Business industries had to organize themselves : they could use electricity 3 days a week. Heating had to be reduced in public places and the British nation were encouraged to impose their own rationing.

    => The fuel situation was so poor that the government had t announce a 3 day work week to reduce fuel consumption. From January to March, commercial uses of electricity were limited to 3 specific consecutive days.

    Description of the Photo : Shops and offices that were opened in switch-off days had to manage without electric light or heat. These women in the office of a duvet manufacturing firm use blankets to keep themselves warm. The office is candle-lit in order to save electricity. As a consequence the factories could not produce as much as they can.

    February 74 : No agreement could be found. 9th February 1974 = Miners go on strike again, they feel confident against the government because their strike in the early 70’s were successful.

    The main question is : Who governs Britain ? People did not feel that it was the government. Prime Minister Heath had no choice but to call for an election.


    B. The Winter of Discontent

    > What is known as the “Winter of Discontent” in early 1979?

    Le contexte :

    > Labour Government, Prime Minister = Callaghan

    It began in Autumn 1978 with a pay claim by Ford car workers that set the tone for 6 months of union unrest.

    Prime Minister Callaghan imposed a restriction of 5% on any wage increase. During Winter 1978-1979, a wave of strikes took place mostly in the public sector motivated by pay rises. It quickly paralyzed some sectors of activities : Railway, schools, garbage collection (as we can see on the picture on the left). The bitter dispute were crystallized in the media by images of piles of uncollected rubbish.

    At that time, there was an increase of relative poverty as well as a decline in the standards of living. In the late 1970’s the British population was growing old, birth rate was declining. Added to the waves of strikes, a feeling of awareness that the country was declining => so Britain was called “the sick man of Europe”

    The government was defeated on a vote of confidence (voir S1, vote that shows parliament supports –or not- the leader of the government) > it became a vote of no-confidence, and the government had to resign. This occurs very rarely in history, but in 1979 it happened.

    So new elections were held in 1979 and Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime minister in Europe.

    People were tired with the Labour Party, they felt they were incapable of controlling the trade unions.


    > Comment on the language used by Thatcher.

    = The iron lady, the most controversial PM in British History.

    She’s determined to take the unions on, to govern the country firmly and to uphold the law “we need an iron government”. It sounds like she’s going to war against the trade unions and those confronting the law. As she mentioned, she wanted to “break with the past and reverse the decline”.
    This extract shows she has a strong leadership style.

    > What vision of the trade unions does this give ?

    Trade unions are described in Mrs Thatcher words as people “confronting the British people […] the law of the land[…]the liberties of the country”.

    They are depicted as criminals and anarchists


    > What political position does she hold at this time ?

    Thatcher’s political position at the moment of the extract (1/1/1979) : She was leader of the opposition. She clearly showed her intentions : to control trade unions, to curb (amoindrir) the unions’ power in order to put an end to Industrial conflict.

    She promoted Free market, mass privatization of British economy (stop the intervention of the government to cut public expenditures) => promoting capitalism.

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  • The Thatcher Years (6)


    Curb the Union's power.

    Stop the over-intervention government.

    Cut public-expenditures.

    Mass-privatisation (in order to promote popular capitalism).

    She managed to reduce inflation.

    However, unemployement increased during her years of power.

    Promoted advocated 19th values : hard-work, self-help. Forget the idea that the governement is going to help you everty time you need it.

    In 1959 she was elected MP for Finchley. 1964-1970 Labour was in power, and she was a member of the Shadow Cabinet (Heath was the leader). She challenged Heath for the leadership of the Cons' party, and she won. If the Cons party was to win the election, she would be the first woman Prime Minister : what happened in 1979.


    > How long have the Conservative been in Government ?

    11 years : 1979-1990.


    > What view is given of the past, the present, the future unemployement situation ?

    Past : Typical strategy : consequence of the previous government, Labour did it wrong.

    Present : Unemployement = huge problem.

    Future : Thatcher's new Employement Secretary Norman Tebbit say that the situation is not going to improve : pessimistic approach to the future.


    > What strategy would be a mistake according to the Conservatives ?

    According to them, increasing wages would be a mistake. It would have an impact on British goods, which would be more expensive and so less attractive on the market, and in the end would bring more unemployement.


    > What is the real way to solve the problem for the Conservatives ?

    Keep down wage demands → in order to make British goods more competitive, more attractive.


    > When did unemployment peak ? How high did it get ?

    Unemployment shot up under the Cons, to levels never seen since the great depression. The % of unemployed people skyrocketed during the Thatcher years, in 1994 3.3 million unemployed (biggest number).


    > Contrast the article with the following image.

    Election poster for the Cons party in the context of the 1979 election. This is also the year of the winter of discontent, so it was very cleverly managed : the picture show a lot of people lining up for in front of the unemployment office : this is the dole queue → what the poster is doing is associating labour to the Winter of Discontent.


    BBC Thatcher years figures.

    → intéressant de connaître les chiffres du chômage et de l'inflation dans les années Thatcher, notamment le taux de chômage à son arrivée et à son départ.



    The Thatcher years (7)



    The problem of the inflation is the repercussion of the previous gvt. The british economy was plagued by inflation. However the cons have managed to contain inflation, so it's getting better and better even if actually it didn't disappear in the UK.



    According to the Cons the Thatcher government has managed to solve problems thx to its policy of denationalisation, they managed to contain the inflation. All the problems hasn't been solved yet, but they intend to.



    The Cons hold the Labour party responsible for all the problems in the country (notamment les dettes qu'ils ont laissés et que les Conservatives ont du payer). Line 3 « when we came […] ». The Cons claimed themselves as the ones who put the country back on track on the road to prosperity. Line 10 « a cruel deceit ». The Labour are described as highly innefficient.



    Unemployment soared during the Thatcher years to levels never seen since the great depression. But once again the Cons party choses here to blame the other for that, they claim it's due to the modernisation of industry. The Cons propose a solution to unemployement, but they never managed to reduce the unemployement rate.


    National pride

    Malwouines « the Falklands » : Recapture the nation old pride. Enable Thatcher to be popular again : it marks a turning point in Margaret Thatcher's popularity. This victory combine with the economic recovery, it was the right time to call for an election.


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