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YEAR 12 OVERVIEW

BRITAIN 1929-51

Resources Videos

Flagship History Britain 1914 – 2000 People’s Century?

Mastering Modern British History – Norman Lowe Churchill – ITV documentary

The Realities behind Diplomacy – Paul Kennedy History of the Labour Party

Success in British History – Jack Watson The Gathering Storm (BBC Film)

A History of the Modern British Isles – Arthur Marwick

Social Conditions in the 1920s and 1930s – Stephen Constantine

English History 1914-45 – A.J.P. Taylor


A set of electronic Course Notes are available for all students.
Britain 1929-39
Introduction – Britain in 1929: The state of society and the economy in 1929(General Strike)

Students are given a list of individuals and events and have to research them in lesson and then present their information to the rest of the group. Examples include Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Lord Snowden, Oswald Mosley. Sources from 1929 and ask the students to extract information about what Britain was like in 1929.

1929 Election: the results of the election are analysed. The students then assess the position of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Parties. The problems facing the new Labour Government are then discussed.
The Labour Government 1929 -31: students analyse the performance of the Labour government through a role play of MacDonald’s cabinet. The major events from 1929-31 are analysed with particular focus on the Financial crisis of 1931 and the divisions of the Labour Party. The students complete a written assessment of MacDonald’s leadership focusing on successes and failures of the Labour government.
Formation of the National Government in 1931: students look at Ramsay MacDonald’s decision to resign the Labour Government but then accept the King’s offer to stay on as part of the National Government. Discussion focused on whether Ramsay MacDonald betrayed the Labour Party or whether the circumstances of the time determined his actions. The students then analyse the aims of MacDonald, Baldwin, Snowden and Chamberlain and what problems faced the National Government. The results of the 1931 General Election are then analysed.
Possible Essays: Why was the Labour Government of 1929-31 so short lived?

Why was MacDonald’s second Labour government unable to solve the problem of unemployment?

To what extent did Ramsay MacDonald betray the Labour Party in 1931?

What factors account for MacDonald forming a National Government in 1931?


Britain 1931-9
Economic depression and unemployment in the 1930s: Students analyse the National Government’s attempts to tackle the problem. Hot seating activity about Keynesian and orthodox economics. The students examine the efforts at state intervention in the 1930s, including the 1934 Special Areas Act.
The extent and nature of the Depression to 1939: Students research for the essay “How great was the Great Depression in Britain in the 1930s”. Power Point presentation on British society in the 1930s. Use Constantine “Social Conditions in the 1920s and the 1930s”.
The role of Stanley Baldwin: Students consider the 1935 Election and the personality of Stanley Baldwin. They watch excerpt from “The History of the Conservative Party” by Alan Clark and use Flagship History to assess why he was so important and successful in the period from 1923-37. They consider the achievements of the National Government and the Abdication Crisis of 1936.
Possible essays on Baldwin: Why was Baldwin such a dominant figure in the period from 1923 – 37?

“Stanley Baldwin dominated British Politics in the years from 1923 – 37 despite only being Prime Minister for the last two years”: How valid is this claim?

The Labour Party in the 1930s: students consider the partial recovery of the Labour Party from 1931 – 40. They watch “The History of the Labour Party” and use Flagship History to consider the factors why the Labour Party was recovering in the 1930s. The students consider the Communist Party and the Socialist League in the 1930s. Examine the state of the Labour Party in 1939.

Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists: Students look at pictures of Mosley and the BUF and compare the British Fascist movement with Hitler and Mussolini. They work in pairs to learn about why Mosley formed the BUF and the impact that it made. Power Point presentation on “What happened at the Battle of Cable Street in October 1936?” The students then assess why Mosley did not make a significant impact.


Appeasement in the 1930s: The students prepare for a trial of Neville Chamberlain by studying the events of the 1930s and the actions and motives of Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries from the National Government. They produce a timeline of the main events of the 1930s. Students then consider whether the policy of appeasement was the main cause of the Second World War. Alternatively a parliamentary debate set after Chamberlain returned from the Munich Conference.
Britain and the Second World War 1939-45
The leadership of Winston Churchill. Essay “How far was the success of the Coalition Government due to the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill?”. Examine some of Churchill’s most important speeches. Editing exercise of his main speeches in May and June of 1940. Worksheet of meetings between Churchill and other allied leaders. Video “Churchill”. Flagship History/ Norman Lowe notes on Churchill’s leadership.
The Home Front and the Coalition Government. Examine the roles of Bevin, Attlee, Morrison and other Labour ministers during the war. Examine the background and reaction to the Beveridge Report of 1942. Assess the changes to British society during the war by examining sources about the experiences of the British people during the war
1945Election. Re-enact possible hustings involving the leading members of both parties. Questions from people of different backgrounds about a range of issues. Examine the results and why the Labour victory was so great. Examine reactions to it by undertaking sourcework exercise from previous exam paper.
The Labour Government 1945 – 51
Students to produce individual presentations on the key topics from this period. These include national insurance, the NHS, Nationalisation, the economy, Housing, Indian independence, withdrawal from Palestine, Bevin and the Cold War and the Korean War.
Assess the success of the Labour Government on Domestic policy. Use Lowe to develop knowledge of what the Labour government tried to do and what they achieved. NHS role play between the BMA and the Government about issues arising from the establishment of the NHS.
Foreign policy – assess the role of Ernest Bevin. Use Lowe to examine the role of Bevin in the beginnings of the Cold War. Focus on issues such as the Marshall Plan, the threat from Stalin and the Soviet Union, the division of Germany and the Korean War. Also consider Britain’s imperial decline and the withdrawal from India and Palestine


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