“Britain during the 1930’s has been referred to as the ‘Hungry thirties’. How far do you agree with this statement?” – Reorder the paragraphs of this mixed-up essay to create a high grade answer. Use cut and paste to put the paragraphs in best order for a good argument. Paragraph - A
Political crisis also engulfed Britain during this period, overeager businessmen borrowing too much money to invest into their company found themselves in trouble when there was no more money to be found, this left the country with a payment deficit of 100 million pounds. A crisis that led to the downfall of the Labour government. Britain also had other political troubles; in times of trouble people turn to extreme measures. In Britain during the 1930’s there was growing support for extreme parties such as the black shirts who held small marches in the city of London. Other European countries also suffered like this, Germany for instance saw the rise and eventually rule of the Nazi party.
Paragraph - B
Up until the start of the Great War Britain had massed an empire, London was the world’s financial capital and British staple industries were supplying the globe with quality goods. Britain was able to do this by using its empire to import cheaply and then sell back to the people for high prices. When Britain started to loose its grip over the empire and places like India were pushing for independence they had no way of stopping the inevitable, they lost the empire. Without the funding Britain was on its own. As previously British countries started to become independent they made there own goods cheaper. Britain lost is guaranteed market. Also due to deficits and the strength of the currency Britain lost its financial hold on the world and bowed the United states, the dollar was the new world leader.
Paragraph - C
When looking at the evidence for a good outlook on the 1930’s the statistics and arguments for the pessimistic view must be scrutinised in some detail. The unemployment figures suggest the whole industrial sector of the country was in a slump during the great depression. This interpretation is very incorrect. The areas of high unemployment and poor industrial growth are in the north of the country where the staple industries are situated, these are the industries that are failing. In the south and midlands however new industries are developing rapidly, car manufacturers and electrical industry are being taken to new heights. Although these areas are growing industrially, new methods of production (mass production) means more productivity per person and this requires fewer workers. Industry productivity rose by 46% between 1932 and 1937.
Paragraph - D
The 30’s is generally thought of as a period of darkness for one main reason, the unemployment levels, shortly after the post-war boom collapsed the unemployment levels rose to over 17% of the insured workforce. This was due to the mass investment made in staple industries during the war, steel and coal were needed for battle and to rebuild nations after the war but after these tasks were completed the mass amounts that were produced by these industries were not needed. The British steel industry expanded by over 50% but after the war they lost their market. The industries did recover from 1921 onwards but the second more devastating unemployment figure to hit Britain was the Great depression. The Wall St Crash caused a sharp downfall in the stock market resulting in worldwide panic. American investors abroad withdrew their money, Americans stopped spending causing a massive slump in exports to the country which in turn decreases massively the demand for British goods. Worldwide as people lost confidence in business the unemployment level soared to an all time high. From 1929 to 1931 exports from Britain were cut by 50%, up to seven million people are thought to have been unemployed at this time.
Paragraph - E
When the depression finished the country awoke prosperous but in an entirely different way, the new industries had modernised the country. Most people had electricity, there were a record number of cars on the road and most importantly Britain had kept up with the world. The idea of 2.4 children creeps in during the end of the inter-war period, having a family and a car. This however was only in the Midlands and southern areas. To a certain extent the statement is correct, the northern areas remained the poorer areas of the country and the thirties was the harshest time in modern history taking into account economy and staple industry. However much Britain suffered the rest of the world suffered too, this period was not just a time of harsh depression it was also a time of great change and modernisation.
Paragraph - F
During the depression another industrial sector boomed. Construction, or more importantly house building. The housing boom gave jobs to hundreds of skilled or unskilled workers and created a mass of jobs in other trades that supply materials and tools. A major unexpected benefit of the housing boom was the stimulation of the electricity sector, which grew massively during this period in the south. During the 1920’s around 150,000 homes were built each year, in the depressions darkest years (1932) over 200,000 new houses were built.
Paragraph - G
Many historians look upon the 1930’s as an era of chaos in British history, and for the better part it was, however there are many different areas of British society, economy and industry that performed in different ways, not all badly. Britain’s performance during this period is, on the surface, a grim sight. The great depression, Britain lagging behind in certain world markets and many families without men after the war but the whole world suffered the same ailments in their own way and Britain didn’t do too badly compared to some nations.
Paragraph - H
The motor vehicle industry is the biggest success story of the Great Depression. Three manufacturers Ford, Morris and Austin were dominant in car production throughout this period producing over half a million vehicles in 1937 and over 400,000 people involved in the industry Throughout the depression the number of cars on the road doubled, cars became cheaper and more reliable. They prompted along other industries (aircraft) to produce and create jobs, slowly but surely the country climbed back to its feet.
Paragraph - I
The electrical industry itself had a big role to play in modernising Britain, as the industry developed it was decided that homes should have electricity. To do this the national grid system was erected to bring electricity to homes everywhere. In a time of depression a new and growing industry provided jobs for hundreds and improved the standard of living in homes everywhere. In 1939 325,000 people worked for the electricity board. They also carried out projects such as modernising public transport to electricity. People had to be able to travel from their new home to the city.
Paragraph - J
All of the factors described so far are justifiably a good reason why many historians argue the fact that the 30’s were a very poor time to be living in. However there are other arguments that suggest a different view of this period.