The XX century - HISTORY

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EDWARD VII (1901-10).

The period the death of Victoria under the reign of her son was one of calm.

The Boer War between Britain and the white Afrikaners of South Africa which
in 1899 ended in 1902 and a period of social reform started in the field of education and .

Old Age pensions and a national insurance
were introduced and the 1902 Education Act the way for subsequent acts in 1918 and 1944 established a system of secondary school education for all children to the age of 15.

reform was sometimes the occasion for unrest, in the light of what happened , this period was looked upon as an idyllic of peace and prosperity.

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GEORGE V (1910-36)

When George V ascended the , all the sources of turmoil which had been latent in the years came to the surface.
The reforms carried out in the previous years led to an increase
taxation and conflict in Parliament ending with a Parliament Act which deprived the House of Lords the power of veto over financial .

Trade unionism started to develop and this was a
occasion for unrest: the years 1910-12 saw particularly violent strikes, where several were even killed.

WOMEN'S VOTE -The Suffragette movement
in 1903 Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel gathered force and used militant and violent tactics. In 1918 the suffragettes obtained the to vote for women over 30 and in 1928 the suffrage was to women over 21.

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Home rule for Ireland, which was to grant Ireland independence under the Crown and within the Empire, had been a problem the 1880s.

When the Liberal Party in power
to enact legislation again in 1912 the Ulster Protestants, descendants of 17th-century English and Scottish and who wanted union with Great Britain, threatened Civil War, which was only with the of the World War I.

WORLD WAR I - After Germany had invaded Belgium and England had declared war on Germany, George V changed his German name of Hanover into the
English name of Windsor.

The involvement into the war brought
an abrupt and horrifying end the illusion that problems could be solved .

No war before or
has had such a shattering physical and psychological impact on the British population. a million young men died, many of them from the distant parts of the Empire.

The political settlement which concluded the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles (1919), was a very
one for all European countries involved in it because it left too many problems unsolved.

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Soon after the end of the World War Britain had to face another war. In 1916 Catholics, who wanted an independent republic of Ireland separated from Britain, rose in open rebellion (the "Easter Rising") led by the Sinn Féin movement ("We ourselves").

The rebellion was
and the leaders executed, but the problem was not solved as the IRA (Irish Army) led by Michael Collins resorted to terrorist tactics against the British police: this ended with a treaty which created the Irish Free State in 1921 (a dominion within the British Commonwealth) but kept six of Ulster (northern Ireland) under British .

A bitter Civil War followed in the South between
who accepted the treaty and those who were against it.

A measure of stability was achieved and the Irish Free State
advantage from the emancipation of the Dominions of the Commonwealth: Eamon De Valera, the new President of the Irish Republic, abolished the of allegiance to the British monarch as head of the Commonwealth and gave it the name of Eire in 1937. Eire finally refused to fight in the Second World War, many British sympathisers with the republican cause.

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Britain had to face problems the Empire, as well. The Dominions and colonies (south Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland and India) their independence after their contribution the victory of World War I and their representation in the Peace Conference of Versailles: in 1926 the Dominion Imperial Conference in London declared them autonomous and in way subordinate but freely associated to the British Commonwealth of Nations (Eire soon detached from it).

In 1920 in India Mahatma Gandhi had started a policy of non-violent protest against the British government which led to an increase
Indian participation in government with the Government of India Act of 1935.

THE COMMONWEALTH - The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates ruled or administered by the United Kingdom (UK), that had originated with the
colonies established by England in the 17th century.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Spain and Portugal
European exploration of the globe and in the process established large empires, followed by England, France and the Netherlands in the Americas and Asia.

A series of wars with Spain, the Netherlands and France
Britain the dominant colonial power in North America and India. After the of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 British attention turned towards Africa, Asia and Oceania.