General Strike Essay

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To what extent was the failure of the 1926 general strike, due to the unpreparedness of the TUC? To a substantial degree the failure of the 1926 general strike was due to the unpreparedness of the TUC. The TUC did not prepare effectively as they did not anticipate a general strike would actually take place, they feared revolutionary elements to the strike and wished to avoid industrial action. However, in addition to this, Stanley Baldwin’s conservative government used the 9 months in which it had provided a subsidy to organise methods of dealing with the strike. Creating the organisation of the maintenance of supplies and rallying public support of the government through propaganda prevented the country from coming to a complete standstill, thus contributing to the strikes failure. Furthermore, middle-class volunteers did what they could to keep the country moving and the current economic climate placed all sides in a difficult situation, it could be argued that the general strike was determined to be a failure from the offset. The TUC’s unpreparedness was highlighted in the fact they did not believe a strike would take place; they frequently tried to negotiate and thus call off the strike. When news arrived that workers at the Daily Mail were refusing to publicise an anti-strike editorial, the TUC leaders went to Downing Street where they were told the prime-minister had gone to bed, hence they persisted until the very last minute to call off the strike, suggesting they were unprepared. Alongside this, the TUC leaders believed the solidarity of their ‘triple alliance’ of miners, railway and transport workers comprising almost 2.5 million workers would make the other side more flexible. This illustrates the idea that the TUC were simply hoping the threat of a general strike would bring about justice for the miners and that they did not feel it necessary to fully prepare for one as it was in fact something they wished to avoid. Likewise, the TUC did not...
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