The General Strike Day by Day

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The General Strike of 1926, which lasted from one minute to midnight on 3 May until 12.20 p.m. on 12 May, was the most important industrial dispute in British history. Almost one and three-quarter million workers came out in support of about one million miners who had been locked out for rejecting reductions in pay and conditions. It was a bitter dispute which divided the nation along sharp class lines. It was also a pivotal moment for the development of British industrial relations and a turning point in contacts between the Communist Party of Great Britian and the TUC. The Great Strike Day by Day is the first popular survey of the dispute for over twenty years. An introductory essay examines the main debates about the causes, events and consequences of the strike, and includes much new material on the volunteers. Then, using diaries, original documents and illustrations to show the changing attitude of the Government, the TUC, the employers, the Labour Party, the Liberals and the Communist Party of Great Britain, Professor Laybourn provides a vivid diary of events before, during and after the 'nine days in May'. He also analyses the attitudes of the miners and their leaders, such as A. J. Cook and Herbert Smith, who were rather dismissive of the way in which the TUC was supporting them and critical of TUC leaders such as Ernest Bevin, the attempts to settle the dispute through the good offices of Sir Herbert Samuel and the reaction of the workers when it was called off.

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