The Long Weekend: British Domestic Politics 1918-1939

Ref: C3671035

This course examines the post-war General Election of 1918, and then proceeds to analyse the policies and legislative programmes of the nine successive governments (Coalition, Conservative, Labour and National) which ruled Britain throughot the inter-war period. The achievements and failures of the nation's five Prime Ministers - Lloyd George (1916-22), Bonar Law (1922-23), Baldwin 1923-24, 1924-29, 1935-37), Mac Donald (1924, 1929-35) and Chamberlain (1937-40) - will all be carefully assessed. Attention will also be given to more specific events which had an important impact on the national psyche, including the election of the first-ever Labour governments (1924, 1929-31), the General Strike (1926), the World Depression (1929) with its ensuing mass unemployment, and the Abdication Crisis (1936). Finally, many broader areas, including social changes (diet, fashion, transport, recreation) and popular aspirations (improved housing, health care and education) will also be considered.

Course aim

This course examines the effectiveness of successive British goverments in tackling the national and international problems of the inter-war period, against a background of political, economic and social change.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the leadership and political composition of the rapid succession of British governments during the inter-war era (1918-39).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of both the long-term and immediate causes of Britain's enduring economic problems throughout this period.
  • Explain both the nature and the extent of the rapid social changes which affected a large proportion of Britain's population during these years.
  • Evaluate the strategies by which British politicians attempted tp promote security, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to avoid a renewal of worldwide conflict.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course outline

The Long Weekend: British Domestic Politics 1918-1939 Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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