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The Strategy of the Lloyd George Coalition, 1916–1918$
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David French

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205593

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205593.001.0001

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The British Crisis, May–August 1917

The British Crisis, May–August 1917

Chapter:
(p.67) 3 The British Crisis, May–August 1917
Source:
The Strategy of the Lloyd George Coalition, 1916–1918
Author(s):

David French

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205593.003.0004

Russia and France were not the only members of the Entente to experience a domestic crisis in the spring and summer of 1917. Britain underwent its own crisis, which culminated in a series of strikes in the engineering industry in May which called into question the willingness of organized labour to continue to accept the leadership of Britain's traditional governing classes. However, thanks to the ability of the Lloyd George government to find the appropriate expedients, war weariness did not spill over into widespread defeatism. But the blow which the May strikes delivered to the government's self-confidence cannot be underestimated. A government which had come to power pledged to win the war now had a second task thrust upon it, to act as a barrier to a British revolution. Fear that excessive casualties, if they were not coupled with visible victories, might produce defeatism was yet another factor which had to be weighed in the balance when the government devised a military strategy to replace Kitchener's now discredited option.

Keywords:   First World War, British policy, military policy, military strategy, Entente, engineering industry, organized labour

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