General Overview Of Great Britain In The 1930S

The 1930s Britain is mainly known for its economic depression, which originated from the global Great Depression. Being a part of the interwar decade, the 1930s was a time of significant changes worldwide. Nonetheless, different from the US which was having its Roaring Twenties, UK was already experiencing economic stagnation in the 1920s, which might have helped UK to offset the impact from the later global depression and thereby recovering more quickly than some other European countries.

During the first half of the decade the country’s world trade fell by half, hitting the heavy industry and leading to a significant increase in the number of flats built. In response to the crisis the National Government was formed in 1931. Prime Minister MacDonald proposed a reduction in unemployment benefits and salary trying to balance the severe budget deficit and negative GDP growth, which didn’t have an expected effect and made the working class worse-off. Meanwhile, modern styles, such as Art Deco and less feminine woman clothing, were subdued during the depression. While many foreign architects, i. e. Le Corbusier, were exploring new materials and modern architecture, most UK architects remained conservative, producing neo-georgian and renaissance houses. This situation didn’t change until WWII ended, when there was a desperate need for quick and cheap housing, which led to the trend of the absence of decoration and widespread use of metal and concrete.

In the second half of 1930s, British economy started to recover with the implementation of protectionism tariffs and decision of leaving the Gold Standard. During the recovery the number of people in London living at subsistence level reduced from 10% to 4%, providing a growing stability by the start of WWII, despite Chamberlain’s failing plan of appeasing Hitler at all costs. Alongside the rising living standard, some American culture started to gain popularity in Britain, including cinema, swing jazz, and new kinds of sweets, such as Snickers, Mars Bar, and Kit Kat. When television began in Britain in 1936, the BBC launched world’s first regular television service and the first colour films were made. Socio-economically, the cinema culture and many other leisure activities might have slightly loosened the rigid class hierarchies in Britain, as they are pursued in a large-scale attendance, but the real social transformation did not happen until Britain and its allies suffered from defeats in the WWII. At the same time, a slum clearance was in action as an urban renewal strategy to transform inefficient low-income neighbourhoods into another type of development or housing. As a part of the process, the London Underground Diagram was introduced to the public in 1933. Later the Becontree estate in east London was constructed to be the largest housing estate in the world, providing residences for more than 100,000 people. Although there were less women at work compared to wartime, Britain had its first woman in the cabinet and the country’s first important work by a woman architect.

In the field of philosophy, the publication of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Hubble’s expanding universe triggered a vigorous philosophical debate among cosmologists, centring the issue of methodology in the context of cosmology, a new and data-poor science. The traditional inductive-empiricist scientists insisted that hypothesis must be generated from observations to carry out logical generalisation and thereby producing a theory. On the opposite side, hypothetico-deductivist scientists, who stands on the more mathematical side of physics, stated that hypothesis could be generated in any way, as long as it can support strict analytical reasoning to make predictions about observations.

In general, the 1930s Britain successfully twisted the decade-long post-war recession and the Great Depression into an economic boom, which provided opportunities for new styles and thoughts to emerge. It is apparent that the country and the culture were in the lead-up to social transformation and modernisation.

10 December 2020
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now