UK. 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 Ulster Unionists.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does UK stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means United Kingdom. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
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 military.
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 nationalization.
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.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of United Kingdom in 1996 was 57,932,342, ranking number 19 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.280% yearly, and the population density was 239.4596 people per km2.