UK. According to
Countryaah.com, the Conservative government under Prime Minister John
Major experienced another year of adversity, both at home
and internationally. On February 9, the IRA targeted a
severe blow to the Northern Ireland peace process with a
bombing operation in east London. The attack, which killed
two people's lives and caused extensive material damage,
ended the 17-month ceasefire. In June, an IRA bomb destroyed
parts of central Manchester. In June and October, attacks
were directed against British army bases in Germany and
Northern Ireland, respectively. The attempts to initiate
multi-party talks on the future of Northern Ireland were
also hampered by the fact that the Northern Ireland party
Sinn Fein (in effect the political branch of the IRA) and
its leader Gerry Adams were not allowed to participate in
the talks as there was no longer a ceasefire.
The municipal elections in Scotland and England in May
went very poorly for the Tory Party, which also lost a
number of parliamentary elections and was forced to rule by
a minimal majority for much of the year. In December, his
own majority was completely lost, and Prime Minister John
Major became dependent on support from the Northern Irish
In their own ranks, a large number of so-called euro
skeptics opposed the government's cautious wait-and-see
attitude towards the EU's monetary union EMU. Billionaire
Sir James Goldsmith formed an anti-EU party, the Referendum
Party, which demanded a referendum on EMU and threatened to
stand in the upcoming elections.
The fears that mad cow disease, BSE, which has affected
many British cows, may be behind a brain disease in humans
led in March to the EU banning the export of British beef.
The UK responded by conducting an obstruction policy in
various EU forums. Later, they met in Brussels by promising
to slaughter a certain part of the stock of cattle.
On March 13, a lone maniac killed 16 schoolchildren and
their teachers and then himself in Scottish Dunblane. The
massacre prompted an investigation into the use of small
arms, and in the autumn came a tightening of legislation.
In August, the divorce between Prince Charles and
Princess Diana ended.
The UK economy developed favorably in 1996 with continued
GDP growth (2.2%), falling unemployment (7.3%) and
relatively low inflation (3%). Exports increased, both to
the EU and to non-EU countries, especially the export of
cars. The increased real income led to increased demand in
both the goods and services sectors. But the economic bright
spots were not enough to create the "feel good factor" that
the government hoped for. Those already disadvantaged pay a
high price in the form of deteriorating public service,
continued low wages and poor security.
The Labor Party, which won several important election
elections during the year, had acquired a good position
ahead of the parliamentary elections to be held by May 1997.
However, the young, dynamic party leader Tony Blair had to
stand harsh criticism from his own, partly for his
authoritarian leadership style and partly for the right-wing
policy that many supporters believe has taken place in the
New Labor that took shape during Blair's more than two years
at the party leader post. At the end of the year, Labor was
20 percentage points ahead of Tory in opinion polls.
In Ireland, the population was discriminated
against because of its Catholic faith, and it was deprived
of its lands and political self-determination. The
dissatisfaction with this situation was constantly
expressed. In 1867 the privileges of the Anglican Church
were abolished, and the situation of the peasants improved a
little. In 1916, the British crushed the Easter uprising in
Dublin, but the colonial forces were unable to win in the
War of Independence that began in 1918. Ultimately, in 1921
Britain had to give Ireland independence. However, six
counties with a predominantly Protestant population in the
north-east of Ireland remained under British rule.
Northern Ireland got a local government in Belfast.
The rivalry between the European powers over economic and
political expansion led to the outbreak of World War I
(1914-1918). On the one hand stood the central powers
consisting of Austria-Hungary, Germany and later Turkey and
Bulgaria. On the other, the allies made up of France,
Britain, Russia, Serbia, Belgium and during the war also
included Italy, Japan, Portugal, Romania, USA and Greece.
Despite the victory in the war, Britain was weakened. It
had invested $ 40 billion in the war, mobilized 7.5 million
soldiers, suffered 1.2 million casualties and had
accumulated a huge foreign debt. The economic crisis in the
aftermath of the war again triggered extensive labor
protests that reached a climax with the general strike in
1926. The strike was triggered by the threat of wage cuts
for the miners, but was immediately joined by the rest of
the working class. The Conservative government
declared the strike illegal, but did not take steps to get
the economy back on track. In the 1929 election, the
Labor Party won Labor.
Foreign policy supported the country's proposal to form
the League of Nations. In 1931, the government
created the British Commonwealth - which at the
same time recognized the independence of Canada, Australia,
New Zealand and South Africa.
On September 3, 39 - two days after the German attack on
Poland - England declared Germany war. World War II
was thus in its first phase. In May 40, a coalition
government was formed under the chairmanship of Winston
Churchill. During the period 39-41, the major parties of the
war on the one hand were Britain and France and on the other
Germany and Italy. The lesser allies of Nazism were Hungary,
Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
In 1941, the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States
also entered the war. In May 45, Germany had to sign its
capitulation. The great victors were Britain, the United
States and the Soviet Union. Still, the war became proof
that the British Empire was fading and reaffirmed the United
States' leadership in the economy, finance, technology and
In May 45, Labor, with Clement Attlee in the
lead, won the election, after leading the election campaign
under the slogan: “We have won the war. Now we must win the
peace ». It nationalized 20% of the industry - first and
foremost the coal mines, the Bank of England, the iron and
steel industry. At the beginning of the following year,
however, the Conservatives regained power and reversed
In 1947, India and Pakistan secured
independence from the colonial power, but remained within
the Commonwealth. Over the following 10-15 years, most of
the British colonies gained independence. Partly because of
national independence movements. Partly because the United
States was pushing for the implementation of
decolonization so that it could have easier access to
the colonies' markets. In 1949 Britain was instrumental in
establishing NATO. In 56, Britain and France
conducted an invasion of the Suez Canal in
Egypt in response to Nasser's prior
nationalization of the channel. Invasion revealed that
the colonial mentality still sat deep in the British,
sparking both national and international criticism. The
invasion did not reach its goals when countered by the
United States. The following year, Britain launched its
first hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.
After 13 years of Conservative rule, the Labor Party
under Harold Wilson's leadership won the 1964 election. His
government was immediately faced with serious foreign policy
problems when Southern Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe -
declared itself independent and 9 African countries
threatened to sever relations with Britain.
The country's economic problems increased during the
1960s, and when France in 67 opposed its accession to the
Community, the government took drastic measures to
curb the crisis and alarming unemployment. British troops
were withdrawn from southern Yemen and all military
bases east of Suez - except King Kong - were evacuated.
Weapons purchases from the United States were canceled and a
crisis budget was adopted.