The Edwardian Age Who reigned after Queen Victoria’s death?

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The Edwardian Age

  1. Who reigned after Queen Victoria’s death?

On the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 the Royal House took the Germanic surname of her consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Victoria’s son Edward,who reigned until 1910 as Edward VII, was to be the only sovereign of that dynasty in Britain. He was crowned in August 1902.

  1. What change was introduced into British politics by the elections of 1906?

In 1906 the Liberals won the general election and took the first step towards the creation of a welfare state: national insurance and old-pensions were introduced.

  1. Why was Edward’s reign characterized by social unrest?

Although these important measures of social improvement were passed, the Edwardian period was a time of industrial unrest, strikes and violence. The strikes, meant to be weapons against the government,were called because of high prices and low wages. They were remarkable for the number of men involved and for the violence which often accompanied them.

  1. Who were the Suffragettes?

They were educated ladies who, together with a very small number of male sympathizers, had been arguing in favour of voting rights for women since the 1860s. however, no one paid much attention to them until 1903, when Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union. The ‘Suffragettes’ wanted women to have the vote and soon won massive publicity for their cause.

  1. What led to a constitutional crisis?

The Liberal programme led to a constitutional crisis when the House of Lords refused to pass the Liberal budget of 1909. The budget ,called the ‘ People’s budget,included welfare programmes and unprecedented taxes on wealthy.

  1. Who succeeded Edward VII?

Edward VII died in 1910 before the situation could be resolved, and was succeeded by his son, who became George V. he maintained a certain informality, which suited his simple, straightforward character and made him popular. On several occasions, he showed that the king’s right to advise could be significant. Were he to be judged by posterity, he would prove to be a model monarch by carrying out his royal responsibilities with exemplary dedication while having an irreprehensible family life.

  1. How did George V act during World War I ?

In 1914 the First World War broke out. The king made several visits to troops and to hospitals, visiting wounded servicemen; he pressed for proper treatment of German prisoners of war and he also pressed for more humane treatment of conscientious objectors. In 1917, anti-German feeling led him to change his family name to that of Windsor.

  1. What did Ireland ask for?

Support for Home Rule for Ireland, that is, the right of the people to control their own affairs, had grown in the late 19th century. This was opposed by the Unionists in the north and by the Conservative Party. The 1916 ‘ Easter Rising’ in Dublin, and subsequent civil war, resulted in the setting up of the Irish Free State ( later to become the Irish Republic) in 1922, while the six northern counties remained part of the United Kingdom. George V played a conciliatory role on this and other occasions, such as the General Strike of 1926.


  1. When did the war break out?

It broke out when the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914. Germany marched through Belgium, a neutral territory, in order to attack France.

  1. What powers were involved in the war?

The war involved the central European Powers ( Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy )on one side and the Allies, or Triple Entente, ( Britain and the British Empire, France and Russia and their allies, including the United States ) on the other.

  1. Why did Britain declare war on Germany?

Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Britain justified war on Germany because Britain was a signatory of an agreement to respect Belgium’s neutrality. It therefore told the nation that it would defend the weak ( Belgium) against the strong ( Germany), fighting for democracy and freedom. An increase in patriotism from Ireland as well as from the Dominions enabled Britain to face its ordeal with impressive unity.

  1. Why did Germany almost defeat the Allies in the first weeks of war?

Because it had better equipment, better trained soldiers and a clear plan of attack. Apart from the Crimean War, this was Britain’s first European war since the Napoleonic Wars and the country was unprepared for the terrible, destructive modern artillery, machine guns and tanks, and the use of gas and shells during the attacks.

  1. What was ‘ shell shock’?

T was the tem used by doctors to allude to the psychological effect of shell explosions, blamed for the frequent cases of psychological disorders among soldiers.

  1. When did the United States join the war?

The United States joined the war in 1917, considering it a crusade to make the world ‘safe for democracy’, ‘a war to end all wars’.

  1. When did the war end?

American participation accelerated the German defeat: on 11th November 1918, Allied and German leaders signed an armistice. The peace treaty was signed at Versailles in 1919 by British Prime Minister Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau of France, American President Woodrow Wilson and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Otaly.

  1. What did President Wilson devise?

He proposed ‘Fourteen Points’ to work out the peace treaty and prevent future occasions of war. He devised a plan to set up the ‘ League of Nations’, an organization in which the representatives of the world’s nations would try to discuss and settle their differences instead of resorting to war. The American Senate, however, voted against permanent involvement in European problems, and The United States never joined The League of Nations.

  1. Which were the effects of the war?

The war was a monster which was beyond the control of statesmen or generals, and claimed the lives of about nine million men. It caused the ruin of four great empires, made possible a Communist revolution in Russia, which got rid of the old rule of the tsar, and paved the way for the rise of dictators like Mussolini and Hitler.

To be continued…………………………..

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