3a: Class and social values | 1 Class, social change and the impact of the wars, 1918-51

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  • How far people's attitudes changed as a result of the two world wars
    • The impact of the First World War
      • Decline in deference
        • High death toll shook confidence in upper class leaders
        • Trench life - working/middle-class interaction
      • Social class still = status
      • Decline in the upper classes
        • Disproportionately high death toll
        • Death duties (c.1894) -> 'decline of the aristocracy' - sale of lands/stately homes
          • National Trust/ schools/ hotels/ disrepair
      • Greater equality
        • Democratic advancement (1918 RoP Act)
        • Interwar - improvement in living standards
          • Construction of houses for owner-occupiers (especially suburbs)
            • Metroland
        • Surplus income - more affluent life than parents
    • Class and social values between the wars
      • Fears of open class revolt (e.g. Clydeside)
        • Long-term economic factors
        • Working-class deference
          • 1926 - General Strike
        • Strikes actually in decline/conservative cross-party dominance
          • Great Depression undermined working-class solidarity
            • Union membership declined (unemployment)
            • Growth of light-industry (Midlands/southeast)
    • the impact of the Second World War
      • Social revolution
        • Homelessness through bombing/ Evacuation/ rationing led to co-operation
        • Desire for post-war equality amongst working-classes
      • little social change/  class distinctions were reinforced
        • Evacuation of city kids to affluent homes reinforced class prejudice
        • 1939: 'bed wetting' phemonema - hosts blamed poor living standards
      • Post-war attitudes
        • State intervention - change in government's role
        • Labour/ nationalisation/ welfare state - changed state's role
        • Class/privilege/ deference remained - HoL/Eton/Harrow
          • Attlee less class revolt, more an end to 30s hardships


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