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Herbert Henry Asquith - Essay Example

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In the paper “Herbert Henry Asquith” the author discusses Britain’s Prime Minister who was eventually replaced by David Lloyd George. Asquith had previously been the Chancellor of the Exchequer and had started the process of increasing welfare provision…
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Download file to see previous pages As Prime Minister Asquith worked closely with his successor as Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George to push through the Liberal social reform policies. The People’s Budget of 1909 had shown the government’s reforming credentials yet forced two general elections during 1910 (James, 2003 p. 88). Asquith had not had an easy time as Prime Minister yet had previously maintained the loyalty of the Liberal Party through the various problems faced before his replacement by Lloyd George. The Liberal government had been through enough traumas before the First World War. Disruption was caused through the issues of reducing the power of the House of Lords, dealing with industrial unrest, and votes for women, although the war itself put those issues and the more controversial moves towards Irish home rule on hold for the duration (Schama, 2002 p. 433).
Although David Lloyd George was known to be ambitious, he had not from the outset of the First World War planned to oust Asquith and become Prime Minister himself. At the start of the conflict, Asquith and Lloyd George had been united as to Britain’s war aims and that Asquith was the best available Prime Minister. Neither man, for instance, had thought about making peace with Germany, instead of waiting for the outcome of the Somme offensive in 1916 (Stevenson, 2004 p. 148). In the source Stevenson argues that Lloyd George wished to become Prime Minister to help the nation win the war, to add a sense of urgency in the solving of political, military, and economic obstacles that were preventing British victory. Lloyd George’s ambitions are played down whilst the stubbornness of Asquith in refusing to step down is stressed. Asquith was assumed to be selfishly holding on to power to the detriment of the Liberal party’s future and British national interests (Taylor, p. 128). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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