A Land Fit For Heroes: Two WEA courses

A guest post by WEA tutor Mark Krantz 

Three mass movements dominated politics before the war.

The suffragettes had led a militant campaign demanding votes for women.

Trade union membership had soared as increasingly workers took strike action demanding wage rises in a period between 1910 and 1914 known as the ‘Great Unrest’.

Home Rule for Ireland had increasingly attracted support in parliament and amongst the people of Ireland. The outbreak of war in August 1914 halted these movements.

The People’s History Museum’s latest changing exhibition A Land Fit For Heroes: War and the Working Class 1914-1918 states that, ‘By Christmas 1914 the trade union movement had contributed 250,000 men to the effort’. The militant trades union leaders Ben Tillett and Will Thorne joined the recruitment drive.

Leading suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst vociferously supported the war.

The campaign for Irish Home Rule was shelved as the British Empire was threatened by the war.

But as the war dragged on – opposition to the war grew.

Sylvia_PankhurstSuffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was an active opponent of the war. Glasgow Rent Strike WW1In 1915 rent strikes led by women spread across Glasgow, and workers demands for wage rises returned. At Easter in 1916 there was an uprising in Ireland led by James Connolly that shook the Empire. The three pre-war political questions returned.

While it was pro-war Arthur Henderson who had served as a Labour Party minister in the war cabinet, after the war it was the anti-war Ramsay MacDonald who became Labour’s first Prime Minister. Post war the Labour Party had replaced the Liberal Party as the main opposition to the Tories.Labour ELection Poster

CPGB logoRevolutionary movements in Russia and across Europe led to the establishment of Communist parties, including the Communist Party of Great Britain.

The Home Secretary Sir George Cave conceded, ‘Is it possible for us having called upon women for so large a contribution to the work of carrying on the war to refuse to women a voice in moulding the future of the country?’ Women’s lives and politics had been changed fundamentally by the war.

Two short courses will look at how the experience of total war, and the growing opposition to the war, fundamentally changed politics in Britain forever.

 

PrintA learning experience from the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) in association with the People’s History Museum

 

Fighting for a ‘Land Fit for Heroes’ – C3836480

Three meetings Thursday, 20 November, 27 November, 4 December 2014

1.00pm – 3.00pm. Cost: £18.60 or Free* (Please enquire)

The making of a ‘Land Fit for Heroes’ – C3837173

Three meetings Tuesday, 13 January, 20 January, 27 January 2015

1.00pm – 3.00pm. Cost: £18.60 or Free* (Please enquire)

HLF_National_Lottery_landscape_2747A Land Fit For Heroes exhibition is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and will be on show from Saturday 24 May 2014 to Sunday 1 February 2015.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s