Open Library - открытая библиотека учебной информации

Открытая библиотека для школьников и студентов. Лекции, конспекты и учебные материалы по всем научным направлениям.

Категории

История Binding the powers
просмотров - 135

Reform and crisis

This did not mean that the Liberal government did not tackle political reform before 1914. The House of Lords had not really been touched by the reform acts of the 19th century and increasingly behaved as a Conservative opposition when the Liberals were in power.

In 1909, the Lords vetoed the budget, a package of tax proposals which Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George had adroitly presented as designed to finance welfare reforms, when in reality they were driven as much by the requirements of defence.

The ensuing crisis, which spanned two general elections, culminated with the Lords losing their power of veto and becoming a revising chamber only.

Incipient domestic breakdown was usurped by international crisis.

The other great constitutional issue remained unionism. By 1912 - 1913 Ireland was threatening to break the Liberal party once again. The 1910 elections left the Liberals without an overall majority and dependent on the Irish nationalists, the price of whose support was Irish 'home rule'.

In Ireland itself, the Ulster Protestants refused to be separated from Britain and in March 1914 elements of the army made clear that they would not force them, even if ordered to do so by the elected government of the day.

Thus the political ramifications extended beyond debates within Westminster to include the power of extra-parliamentary actors, and even the danger of civil war in Ireland.

For those anxious to generate a sense of crisis there were other straws blowing in the same wind. Strikes by the major trade unions between 1912 and 1914 and the militancy of the women's suffrage movement suggested that defining government in terms solely of parliamentary sovereignty could be self-defeating.

In the event, the sense of incipient domestic breakdown, as intense in July 1914 as in any of the immediately preceding summers, was usurped by international crisis.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Britain had struggled in its three-year war with the Boer republics of South Africa, and realised that it needed not just to reform the army but also to tackle issues of finance, public health and colonial government.

The reforms it initiated were designed to enable it better to deal with the responsibilities of imperialism, up to and including war. A sequence of international agreements created regional balances and so mitigated the consequences of global responsibility.

Greater issues revolved round the balance of power in Europe.

In 1901, the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty accepted American domination of the western Atlantic. In the following year, Britain and Japan entered an alliance which enabled Britain to offset its fears of Russia in the Far East.

Anglo-French hostility, so often the leitmotif of both sides' foreign policies for the previous two centuries, was finally buried with an entente in 1904. Ostensibly this settled the two powers' rivalries in North Africa and the Mediterranean, but increasingly what was designed as a settlement of colonial disputes came to carry European connotations.

This process was made even clearer with the fourth and final stage of the process, the entente with Russia in 1907. At one level this laid to rest Britain's long standing fears about the security of India from attack on its north western frontier.

At another, it completed the creation in Europe of a Triple Entente to match the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Germany's attempts to rupture the Entente, principally through engineering crises over Morocco in 1905 and 1911, had the reverse effect.

They bound the powers tighter together and convinced them that colonial clashes had to be subordinated to the greater issues revolving round the balance of power in Europe.


Читайте также


  • - Binding the powers

    Reform and crisis This did not mean that the Liberal government did not tackle political reform before 1914. The House of Lords had not really been touched by the reform acts of the 19th century and increasingly behaved as a Conservative opposition when the Liberals were in power. In 1909, the Lords vetoed the budget, a package of tax proposals which Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George had adroitly presented as designed to finance welfare reforms, when in reality they were... [читать подробенее]