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1. The Conservative Ascendancy
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the electoral domination of the Conservative Party in the interwar period, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent of Conservative domination, being out of power for just three of the twenty-seven years between 1918-1945; (ii) the unexpectedness of the Conservatives' electoral success in a period which saw a huge expansion in the franchise; (iii) the effectiveness of Stanley Baldwin as a political leader, and of Neville Chamberlain as a policy-maker; (iv) the success with which the Conservative party 'courted' women voters and the working classes; and (v) the size, professionalism and creativity of the Conservative electoral machine compared to its rivals.
In this course, Dr Robert Crowcroft (University of Edinburgh) explores British politics between the years 1918-45. In the first module, we think about the reasons for the political domination of the Conservative Party in this period, focusing in particular on the leadership of Stanley Baldwin and policy-making of Neville Chamberlain. In the second module, we trace the rise of the Labour Party between 1918-31, before turning in the third module to the three major crises of the period – the 1926 General Strike, the 1931 financial crisis, and the 1936 Abdication Crisis. In the fourth module, we think about the interdependence of domestic and foreign policy I this period, particularly in relation to the issue of appeasement, before turning in the fifth module to think about Churchill's leadership of Britain in the Second World War. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the General Election of 1945 and why it was that the Conservative Party, led by the war hero Winston Churchill, were so comprehensively defeated by Clement Attlee's Labour Party.
Dr Robert Crowcroft is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on moments where political systems have been subjected to acute stresses such as war. His most recent book, The End is Nigh: British Politics, Power, and the Road to the Second World War (2019), focused on British politics in the years prior to the Second World War.
Cite this Lecture
Crowcroft, R. (2021, March 04). Britain – Politics, 1918-45 - The Conservative Ascendancy [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/britain-politics-1918-45/the-conservative-ascendancy
Crowcroft, Robert. "Britain – Politics, 1918-45 – The Conservative Ascendancy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/britain-politics-1918-45/the-conservative-ascendancy