class_notes - 01/25/07 "The Old World in Sunset was...

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01/25/07 “The Old World in Sunset was fair to see” Rule, Britannia! -the world’s undisputed power (1815-1914: Pax Britannica); possessed the most powerful empire ever seen in human history; the prosperity of the people depended on the empire and explains why the British found it difficult to give it up early in the 20 th century -the first country to go through the industrial revolution; commerce and trade giant; the financial center of the world -much of this prosperity could be attributed to control that the British Royal Navy over the seas of the world (larger than the next two navy’s of the world combined); the British also had the world’s largest Merchant Marine; Belfast was the largest shipyard in the world -followed an economic policy of Laissez-faire and free trade; 2% of the world population was responsible for 40-45% of potential world production and contributed to 20% of international commerce -at height, the British controlled 1/4 th of the globe with a relatively small, volunteer army; India was the “Jewel of the Crown;” 1899-1902: British were bogged down in a deadly guerilla war with the Boers over the gold and diamond mines in the interior of South Africa much of the world was glad to see the Boers oppose the British, first known case of the use of “concentration camps” (not to kill, but literally to concentrate the population), led the British to seek alliances that would form the basis of the alliances leading up to WWI, South Africa was eventually given Dominion status which meant that the Afrikaners would govern themselves but remain under the umbrella of the British Empire led to Apartheid -1900: 4 nations (US, Russia, Japan, Germany) began to challenge the superiority of the British Navy, US was also beginning to challenge the UK in terms of economics and commerce World Manufacturing Output 1880 1900 1913 Great Britain 22.9% 18.5% 13.6% USA 14.7% 23.6% 32.6% Germany 8.5% 13.2% 14.8% -this drop in output led Joseph Chamberlain to propose a policy of “Imperial Preference” which would raise high tariff barriers to places not a part of the empire (mainly Germany and especially the US) -Britain by 1900 had the most stable democracy in Europe with a mostly defunct monarchy and an effective system of bureaucracy (House of Commons and House of Lords); signs of strain to this system began to become apparent in 1) the increasingly militant women’s right to vote movement 2) the growing demands of the trade unions (led to formation of Labour party and a move for some towards Marxism) 3) and Irish demands for Home Rule (meant in the sense of a US state; others proposed full independence and brought the islands to the brink of civil war) -social reforms were seen as a way, especially to Churchill, as a way of avoiding possible revolution; David Lloyd George was responsible for creating most of the reforms but sparked a debate over which house controlled the government; with all of these things going on, Germany was on the rise and the British looked to the French as allies
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class_notes - 01/25/07 "The Old World in Sunset was...

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