Friss tételek
A következő címkéjű bejegyzések mutatása: English history. Összes bejegyzés megjelenítése
A következő címkéjű bejegyzések mutatása: English history. Összes bejegyzés megjelenítése

2008. szept. 30.

9. Short History of the Northern Irish Problem

The possible roots of the problem are the religious struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism; the internal colonial struggle between the native majority which have discovered nationalism and want independence and a settler minority who want to maintain the power and privileges enjoyed under the colonial system of exploitation; and the class struggle.
In the 12th century Ireland was colonised and the sovereign of Ireland was the Protestant King of England but the Reformation did still not affect the Irish Catholicism. In the 16th – 17th century large number of Protestant settlers migrated to Ireland from Great Britain they settled in the northern part. In 1641 there was a revolt by the native Irish against the Prot. settlers and the Eng. Gov. called the ‘Ulster Rising’. The rebellion increased anti-Catholic feelings in England and moreover after the Civil War Cromwell's army took revenge on the Irish. The Restoration in 1660 strengthened Ireland in its Catholicism, an Irish army formed entirely of Catholics and all Protestants officials were thrown out of office. In 1688-89 there was the Glorious Revolution James II fled to Ireland and put up resistance to William of Orange. The Protestants defeated the Catholics at Boyne. This event is still celebrated and this victory also ensured the supremacy of the Protestant religion in Britain. Between 1680 and 1800 Ireland was ruled by its Protestant minority. ‘Penal Laws’ were brought against Catholics. In 1800 with the Act of Union Ireland was made an integral part of the UK.
In 1912 the Liberal Gov. introduced a Home Rule Bill to give internal self-government to the whole of Ireland under the control of an Irish gov. and Parliament in Dublin. The Ulster Protestants were unwilling to accept the rule by a Cath. regime, they claimed that the UK gov. had no right to place them under the rule of their historic enemies. The resolution of the problem had to be postponed because of the outbreak of WWI but frustrated Irish nationalists turned to extremes. The 1916 rebellion called ‘Eastern Rising’ was put down by Br. troops and 16 leaders were executed. In 1919 the general insurrection launched 2 years of civil war. In 1921 the Irish Free State was established containing 26 predominantly Cath. counties and 6 predominantly Prot. counties of Ulster remained a part of the UK. In NI there are two communities which are highly segregated. Protestants are very well organised, well financed, clear objective: to maintain the constitutional position of Ulster in the UK. (Pol. parties: DUP, UUP; paramilitary forces: LVU, UDA, UFF) Catholics are differing among themselves over tactics but agreed on the unity of Ireland is the only proper solution. (pol. parties: Sinn Fein, SDLP, The Workers Party, paramilitaries: 3 kind of IRA) In 1969 terrorist activity increased in NI. In 1972 as a result of the Bloody Sunday Br. gov. decided to introduce direct rule and suspended NI Parliament thus NI became controlled by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from London. The Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 was also a failure because of the Protestant opposition. In 1993 the Downing Street Declaration established a framework for peace negotiations, issued by Br. and Irish PM. In 1994 IRA made cease-fire and this was the real beginning of peace talks but in 1996 IRA ended it by bombing London’s Docklands district, then Sinn Fein started peace negotiations again in Belfast. In 1998 The Good Friday Agreement all major participants were ready to get rid of traditional attitudes, they accepted non-violence and the ‘consent principle’. In 1998 new Northern Ireland Assembly was set up. In 1999 NI Government was set up (including Sinn Fein), the power was passed from Westminster to Belfast. However there are many progress there is still no solution on decommissioning because of the continuous violence by the Real IRA.

8. The Question of Devolution of Scotland and Wales

Devolution is the transfer of power from central government to regional authorities.
Nowadays British State is under challenge. It is firstly because Britain is being absorbed into a larger unit with the implementation of the SEA (Single European Act 1987) and will be further integrated if the single currency the EU is accepted. Secondly UK might fall into smaller units because of the devolution of Scotland, Wales and NIreland.
Moreover there is a growing dislike of the habit of defining the population as ’English’, and Britain has also experienced territorial change. The question is that is the UK a unitary or is it a multinational federal body. The colonial domination of the Celtic periphery by the English core caused the integration of Wales (1536), Scotland (1707), Ireland (1800) into an England dominated Union
In Wales the core domination resulted in the decline of Welsh culture, especially the Welsh language. In the 13th century Wales was conquered and incorporated into a single administrative political system with England. In 1536 English administration was extended to Wales through legislation (Henry VIII.) and the official language became English. The cultural self-consciousness awakened in the 19th century that turned into a strong nationalistic movement. The Welsh culture is different from the English very much and this is expressed through religion and through politics by supporting the Liberal and the Labour Party. After 1945 the economic recession hit the coal mining in South Wales that is why mines had to be closed. This led to the loss of the close-knit valley communities and caused the feeling of a loss of identity and decline. Welsh nationalism has been kept alive up to the present by the Plaid Cymru (founded 1925), which has elected members to the British Parliament and kept pressure on the major parties to protect the special interests of Wales.
The question of language is a very important matter. Welsh language as a first language is in danger of dying out. Regarding the language the society is divided to three parts Welsh-speaking Wales, Radical Wales, English Wales. In 1979 the Welsh people voted down a Labour Party plan of devolution in Wales. The Conservative Party that was elected later dropped any further plans for a Welsh government. In 1997 the Labour Party came into power supporting the idea of devolution in Scotland and Wales. In a referendum held in September 1997 barely more than half of Welsh voters supported the creation of a Welsh assembly. Elections were held in May 1999, and the Welsh assembly convened in Cardiff. It gives Wales greater political independence from the British parliament. It has responsibilities for economic development, agriculture, education, local government, environment, industry, arts, culture and the Welsh language.
In Scotland the nationalism was much stronger. English never conquered Scotland. In 1603 Elizabeth I. died without a child thus the Scottish king James VI. inherited the throne of England. In 1707 Scotland became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. London had pol. and Edinburgh had economic reasons for the unification. Scottish parliament was suspended and Scotland was governed from Westminster. As a result of the industrialisation in the course of the 19th century Scotland became an industrial nation. With the decline of Britain as a world power in the second half of the 20th century, Scottish nationalism became a significant political force. The Scottish National Party (1928) became powerful especially after the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1960s. In 1979 the Labour Party plan of devolution in Scotland was voted down. In 1997 the Labour Party took control of the government, and could satisfy nationalist ambitions. A referendum was held in 1997 and more than 75% of the people of Scotland voted to create their own parliament. Election was held in May 1999 and the Scottish parliament convened.

7. Britain and Europe

At the end of the eighteenth century Napoleonic France drew Britain further into European politics than it had been, perhaps, since the hundred Years war. After the First World War it was natural that some Europeans should try to create a European union that would prevent a repetition of war. A few British people welcomed the idea. But when France proposed such an arrangement in 1930, one British spoke for the majority of the nation: ‘Our hearts are not in Europe.’ Since then Britain has found it difficult to move away from this point of view. After the second World War the value of European unity was a good deal clearer. In 1946 Churchill called for a ‘United States of Europe’, but it was already too late to prevent the division of Europe into two blocks. In 1949 Britain joined with other western European countries to form the council of Europe, ‘to achieve greater unity between members’, but it is doubtful how far this aim has been achieved. Indeed, eight years later in 1957, Britain refused to join the six other European countries in the creation of a European Common Market. Britain was unwilling to surrender any sovereignty or control over its own affairs, and it still felt responsibility towards its empire.

The real dismantling of the British empire took place in the twenty-five years following the Second World War and with the loss of empire went a loss of power and status. The good relations between Britain and the newly independent countries were established. As a result, the Commonwealth, composed of the countries that used to be part of the empire, has continued to hold annual meetings.

When the European Coal and Steel Community was formed in 1951, Britain thought it was an excellent idea, but nothing to do with Britain! As the empire disappeared, and the role of ‘the world’s policeman’ was taken over by the USA, the British government decided to ask for membership of the newly-formed European Community. First tired it in 1963 and again in 1967, the French President General de Gaulle refused to allow it. De Gaulle believed that Britain could not make up its mind whether its first loyalty, was to Europe or to the Untied States. Britain only became a member in 1973, after de Gaulle’s retirement. From the very start, the British attitude to membership has been ambiguous. On the one had, it is seen as an economic necessity and a political advantage. Britain realised that it had lost political power internationally, and because of a growing desire to play a greater part in European politics.

Although trade with Europe greatly increased, most British continued to feel that they had not had any economic benefit from Europe. Changes in European domestic policy, social policy or sovereignty arrangements tend to be seen in Britain as a threat. This feeling was strengthened by the way in which Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher argued for a better financial deal for Britain in the community’s affairs. She welcomed closer co-operation in the European Community but only if this did not mean any lessening of sovereignty. Under Thatcher, British foreign policy was more closely linked to that of the Untied States, particularly with regard to the Soviet Union.

Compared with its European neighbours, however, Britain was certainly doing less well. In 1964 only West Germany of the six European community countries produced more per head of population than Britain. Thirteen years later, however, in 1977, only Italy produced less. Britain eventually joined the EC hoping that it would be able to share the new European wealth. By 1987 this had not yet happened, and Britain has continued to slip behind most other European countries.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s it has been Britain which has slowed down progress towards further European unity. This can be explained by the fact that views about Britain’s position in Europe cut across political party lines. There are people both for and against closer ties with Europe in both the main parties. As a result, ‘Europe’ has not been promoted as a subject for debate to the electorate. Even serious, so-called ‘quality’ British newspapers can sometimes get rather hysterical about the power of Brussels.

In 1990 John Major was elected as PM, he had a very successful European policy and adopted a more compromising attitude. The 1991 Maastricht treaty had a great influence over the shaping of Europe. The treaty became an important symbol of Britain’s restricted independence in the world. In 1996-97 the ‘Mad cow disease’ appeared, which meant a ban on British beef exports. Major vetoed EU decisions to obstruct policy making and some conservatives again considered that Britain might leave EU. The New Labour is accepting the social Charter, in principle they support the single currency, but will join EMU only if the economic benefits for Britain are clear.

6.Mass Media and Society

British people watch a lot of television and also said to be the world’s most dedicated home-video users. This does not mean that they’ve given up reading. In Britain more papers are sold than in any other country in the world. There are about 130 daily and Sunday papers, 1800 weekly papers in the country, and the number of periodicals is over 7000. Papers fall into two broad category.
1. One type is the popular press, the so-called tabloids. These ones have a tabloid format and they are half the size of the quality papers. They are full of large illustrations, bold captions and they have a sensational prose style. Their aim is mass entertainment and as a result of it their news content is minimal, gossips, emotions and scandal are emphasized. Because of their limited vocabulary, they can be read quickly. Sex and scandal sell them.
2. The other type is the quality press or the broadsheets. Their size is much larger and their news content is high. These papers deal with political and economic analysis and also social and culture issues.
The British press is controlled by a few large publishing groups like News International and Mirror Group Newspapers.
National papers are available in every part of the country on the same day including Sunday. Many of them are delivered to homes directly. The national press is rather London based. The circulation of the papers rose rapidly in the 20th century but fell with arrival of mass television broadcasting.
The first papers appeared in the 18th century: The Times (1785), The Observer (1791) and The Sunday Times (1822). These were all quality papers read by a small, educated London-based elite. Then in the 19th century the first national papers were published on Sundays. The News of the World (1843) and the People (1881) aimed the increasingly literate working class, The Daily Mail targeted the lower middle class and The Daily Mirror again aimed the working class.
The early 20th c. marked the arrival of the mass circulation papers. The success of the early popular press was partly due to the growing literacy and partly because of the increased political awareness. Morning Herald, Daily Express, Daily Mail, The Sun and the Mirror were created this time. Among the new newspapers, the most important is The Independent, which give a politically independent general outlook. Its two main competitors are The Times and The Guardian.
There are also regional papers in Britain: the Evening Standard is sold in the greater London area. Scottish papers are The Scotsman and The Glasgow Herald.
Besides the newspapers several periodicals and magazines can be found in the country. Weekly journals are New Statesman and Society, The Economist and the Spectator. The Times also publishes some weeklies, The Times Educational Supplement, the Higher Education Supplement and the Literary Supplement. Punch and Private Eye are humorous magazines.
Radio and television broadcasting is also very important for the British. National radio broadcasting started in 1922 when the British Broadcasting Company was established. The television broadcasting started in 1936. The BBC’s reputation for impartiality and objectivity in new reporting is largely justified. It is independent of government and commercial interests, its duty is to inform, educate and entertain.
In 1954 law passed to introduce independent commercial broadcasting with the establishment of the independent television authority, the Independent Broadcasting Authority, later renamed as the Independent Television Commission. Broadcasting was then shared between the public services of the BBC and the commercial services of the ITC.
The BBC is based in London, in the Broadcasting House but it has local facilities as well. It is created by a Royal Charter. The Director-General is responsible for the daily operation, chosen by the board of governors and the PM. The chairman of the board of governors is appointed by the Crown on the advice of the government, responsible for the supervision of programme structures and suitability. BBC is now struggling to maintain its position as a traditional public-service broadcaster. It is funded by the license fee paid by anyone who owns or rents a TV set. It tries to be neutral, independent from political pressure. BBC is not controlled by the government, however the Home Secretary can intervene in the showing of programmes. It has two TV and 5 radio channels.
The ITC controls the activities of the independent television companies. It doesn’t make programs itself but issues licenses to the transmitting companies. ITC is funded by subscription and advertising charges and it has 3 TV and 62 radio channels.
Satellite and cable television are also present in the country, British Sky Broadcasting started in 1990.
All together, the mass media provide the ideas and images which help most people to understand the world they live in and their place in it. Media are given great power. They can set people’s minds against the political system as well as generate popular support for it.
On the one hand, media are part of the society. Their free institutions give the possibilities for free speech and unrestricted public debate. There’s no state control over the press and the broadcasting. Broadcasting is bound to be impartial, newspapers are not. On the other hand, media is a tool of the ruling class. It plays a much more creative role in shaping people’s ideas, attitudes, actions and beliefs. The media don’t only reflect public opinion but help to create it. This way it structures the complexities of the society and make it understandable to the public, so a ‘social production’ of the news is present in Britain. Mass media fails to reflect the values of society at large because the agenda is set up according to importance and consequences and because traditionally pro-Conservative views are expressed.
Private ownership affects the political viewpoint of most papers but press is also often criticised for being conformist and reflecting similar views. All media are actually independent from political parties and cater for a wide range of interests and perspectives.
There’s a danger of ‘tabloidisation’ of the mass media nowadays. Reducing the intellectual demands could increase the share of the market. The news started to became more ‘entertaining’ than ‘educating’ in the papers and on TV as well.
Mass media also have a political impact especially in election coverage.
The question of free expression in the media is a central concern in Britain. The freedom of the media, as of individuals, is not absolute. There are legal restraints on it:
1. Media may not publish comments on court proceedings while these are continuing, only facts.
2. The obtaining and publishing of state and official information is controlled by the Official Secrets Act and by D-notices. Any material obtained in unauthorised way from a government source would make a journalist liable to legal prosecution.
3. Between 1988 and 1993 the media was prohibited from broadcasting direct statements by representatives of Northern Irish terrorist organizations.
4. The media are also liable to court proceedings for libel and obscenity offence. They haven’t got enough freedom to pursue investigative journalism. There’s a campaign for a Freedom of Information Act. Media, however can act very irresponsibly by invading individuals’ privacy. Complaints regarding invasions of privacy are dealt with by the Press Complaints Commission, PCC, made up of newspaper owners. They of course try to protect the freedom and independence of the press.
In the British mass media, advertisers never had such a big influence on the contents of programmes as in America.

5. Periods in the Economic History of Britain in the 20th Century

England was the first country in the World to have an industrial revolution and to develop a capitalist economy. There was an enormous increase in wealth during the 19th century. The new manufacturing methods and the rich supply of raw materials and sources of energy turned Britain into the first industrialised country. It produced 40% of the world’s industrial output. There was no interference by governments, the laissez-faire liberalism let the market regulate the economy.

By the beginning of the 20th century Britain was no longer the world’s richest country. There was a growing competition from newly industrialized countries like US and Germany. This made a decline in British dominance in world trade but still remained a very important financial centre.

The post war period was characterized by Keynesianism, which means that governments should be more involved in the management and planning of economy. The budget should be used to determine production and to maintain full employment, like in United Stated in the 1930’s The New Deal programme.This meant that the performance of the economy was closely connected to government policies.

During the 2 World War the government’s intervention in the economy was essential. It controlled the labour force,decided the location of industry, rationed the supply of raw materials .

The 1950’s was the period of ’postwar consensus’ that persisted until the 1970s. In the economy there was prosperity, high level of consumption, there was a more equal society what is called a welfare state.

The 1970’s brought international and national crisis. There was an economic recession, fluctuation in the prices of oil and there were also domestic problems as well: devaluation of the pound, growing unemployment, high inflation, low productivity. All these made the governing Labour Party and PM James Callagham to loose the elections in 1979 and the Conservatives with PM M.Thatcher came to power. The new government’s aim was to push down inflation by reducing money supply and turning back to laissez faire economy such as free market, no government involvement.. There was introduced a new monetary policy, carried out by the Bank of England. Its aim was to control the volume of money plus purchasing power in the economy. In 1990 Britain joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) of European Monetary System. On Sept. 1992 called Black Wednesday within hours the interest rates raised and lowered and the pound had to be withdraw from ERM. The Conservatives seemed to be enable to manage the economy.

In 1997 the Labour Party inherited a well performing economy, but there were still problems. The North Sea oil brought an industrial strenght and also the production of microprocessors was the ’Golden Corridor’:London,along the M4, ’Silicon Glen’ between Edinburgh and Dundee, Cambridge and London.

London became one of the leading financial centers of the world. The Bank of England is the central bank of Britain, closely tied to the government, main functions are: prints money notes, supervises the gold reserve contact between the government and other financial institutions. Central clearing banks or the ’High Street Banks are Midland, NatWest, Barclays, Lloyds. The main markets are: The International Stock Exchange, Foreign Exchange Market, Lloyds of London, an insurance market.

4. National identity and attitudes

In the past the four nations were distinct from each other in almost every aspect of life. The people in Ireland, Wales and highland Scotland belonged to the Celtic race; those in England and lowland Scotland were mainly of Germanic origin. This difference was reflected in the languages they spoke. The nations also tended to have different economic, social, and legal system.
Today these differences have become blurred. But they have not completely disappeared. Although there is only one government for the whole Britain some aspects of government are organized separately and sometimes differently in the four parts of the United Kingdom. Moreover, Welsh, Scottish and Irish people feel their identity very strongly. People in Scotland have many old traditions and reminders of their distinctiveness. First, several important aspects of public life are organized in a different way from the rest of Britain, for example education, law and religion. Second, the Scottish way of speaking English is very distinctive. Most people in the lowlands speak their dialect known as Scots in everyday life. It is difficult to understand by people who are not Scottish. Third, there are many symbols of Scottish’s, which are well known throughout Britain, such as the kilts, the pipes, the haggis, the sight of a man in a skirt or a Dundee cake.
In comparison with some other European countries, and with exeption of Northern Ireland, neither relegion nor politics is important part of people’s social identity in modern Britain. This is partly because the two do not go together in any significant way. The question of identity in Northern Ireland is much more complex issue. Northern Ireland is a polarized society where most people stay there for the whole of their lives. The two communities live side-by-side, their lives are almost entirely segregated.
The British, like the people of every country, tend to be attributed with certain characteristics. Most of them derive from books, songs or plays which were written a long time ago and which are no longer representative of modern life. Food and drink is atypical example . The traditional ’Engish” breakfast has changed to a ’continental’one. British as a nation of tea drinkers is another stereotype which is somewhat out of date.
The largescale of immigration to Britain in the twentieth century turned the country in a multicultural society. There are areas of London for example, in which distinctively Indian way o life predominates. These communities have different sets of attitudes but these are not as strong as in the United States.
The British do not behave in traditional ways but they like symbols of tradition and stability. Their conservatism can be combined with their individualism. They are rather proud of being different. It is very difficult to imagine that they will ever agree to change from driving on the left hand side. Also developments at European Union level which might cause a change in some everyday aspects of British life are usually greeted with suspicion and hostility.
The love of the countryside and the love of animals can be another aspect of British conservatism. The countryside represents stability. Nearly half of the households in Britain keep at least one domestic pet. Perhaps this concern for animals is part of the British love of nature.


Political parties provide coherent government and disciplined opposition. This way of governance comes from the relation of the Government and the Opposition. A party expresses its programs in manifestoes. Parties also recruit and train politicians. Above all, parties act on a group of people, also on the voters. As a consequence, parties represent them.

Britain has a two-party system of the Labour and the Conservative Party.

The representatives of socialist societies and the trade unions that decided to achieve political representation in Parliament formed the Labour Party in 1900. It was called Labour Representation Committee. Since then, they eliminated their image as a socialist party and learnt campaign methods from the U.S. Democrats. The media also supports this party, by the increasing role of women and ethnic minorities.

However, the Conservative Party has an older history. That leads back to the 1830s when the old Tory Party turned into the Conservatives. The Conservative Party is the most successful modern party because since the end of the 19th Century it has dominated its rivals in power 2/3 of the time. It is due to the support of upper classes, its political ideologies and the weakness of its opponents. We can also mention, related to its success, the adaptability to changing circumstances, its cohesiveness as it was less damaged by fraction fights, its ethos that combines nationalism, and finally, its strong leadership that produced leaders who dominated their generation, like Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

The electoral system means universal suffrage to every adult who meets the demands of being an elector. The simple majority system is characterized by the secret balloting. It means that the candidate who gets the most votes in a constituency wins the seat in the House of Commons. On one hand, elections ensure to hold government accountable to the people and offer a choice to people in who is to represent them. On the other hand, it is criticized about the need for electoral reform, and accused of producing parliaments which, in their composition, do not reflect the way people voted. It has been also accused of discriminating smaller parties and of producing “elective dictatorship”.


The governmental model that has been operating in Britain since 1688 is called Constitutional Monarchy. The system is characterized by that politicians carry out all state and governmental businesses in the name of the monarchy. Also, the Parliament possesses the essential legislative power. In addition, the Government governs by initiating and controlling policies thus creating the executive power.
The legislative power consists of the three elements of the Parliament. First, The Crown that has only a formal role. However, it is neutral but acts on the advice of politicians. Nevertheless, it has formal parliamentary tasks and holding audiences with the Prime Minister.
The Parliament is the supreme legislative authority with the functions of creating, abolishing and amending laws for Britain. Its structure is characterized by the presence of the two houses and the monarch with the maximum period of 5 years, and then formed again.
The House of Commons provides the seatings with its speaker who is the chief officer of the House of Commons, and who is also elected by MPs from among themselves. The House of Commons has the function of legitimization both in Public and Private Bills. A bill has to go through different stages to be an act when it receives the Royal Assent.
The House of Lords considers legislation referred from the Commons and also suggests amendments, for instance in financial matters. Moreover, it initiates legislation and debates policy.
The Government resides in Whitehall. It consists of 100 ministers and officials chosen from both Houses of the Parliament.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons. He also chooses ministers and decides on the composition of the Government.
The Cabinet holds 20 senior ministers from the Government, and called “Secretaries of State” presided by the Prime Minister.
The Government Departments are instruments by which the Government implements its policies staffed by the Civil Service. As a result of its complexity, it has to be politically impartial.

The British Constitution has no written form that means the lack of the highest law of the land. Its sources came from the laws passed by Parliament and also, court decisions and conventions.
Many special features characterize the Constitution. First, the unitary structure of the state means that sovereignty is held by one central institution, by the Parliament. Second, the ultimate source of authority is the law. Third, the absence of any strong division of power. Fourth, the absence of “bill of rights”. Finally, important parts of the Constitution lie in traditional, unwritten agreements.
However, the British Constitution is criticized many times. First and foremost, the political system is too centralized and the traditional structures are no longer adequate for the organization of a modern mass society. Besides, the question of fairness is raised many times if the laws are clear and fairly applied. Above all, there is the case of the absence of a "bill of rights" that needs to be written and codificated.

1.British politics after the Second World War

Britain after the IIWW lost its empire, power and status. Two events illustrated this. First, Suez. In 1956, Egypt, without prior agreemnet, took over the Suez canal from the international company owned by Britain and France. British and French military steps to stop this was a diplomatic disaster. The US did not support them and their troops were forced to withdraw. Second, Cyprus. When this country left Britsh empire, Britain became one of the guarantors of its independence from other countries. Britain tired to hold onto its international position through its Commonwealth, which all the old colonies were invited to join as free and equal members. This has been successful, because it is based on the kind of friendship that allows all members to follow their own policies without interference.

In 1945, Britain considered itself to have a major world rule. It is still the world’s 3th economic and military power, because with the help of the Marshall Aid Programme its economy recovered quickly and Britain reduced the large standing army and introduced a small, professional forces staffed by specialists. Modern military meant nuclear weapons. Since the 1950s, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has argued, on both moral and economic grounds, that Britain schould cease to be a nuclear power. Britain still have nuclear force, although it is tiny compared to that of the USA.

After the IIWW and throughout the 1950s, it was understood that a conference of the world’s great powers involved the USA, the SU and GB. However, in 1962, the Cuban missle crisis was resolved without reference of Britain. By the 1970s it was generally accepted that a superpower conference involved only the USA and the SU. But strong British foreign policy (Bevin, Eden – Foreign Secretaries) was vital to world peace and Britain was still a grat power with global interst to protect eg.: developing NATO and Commonwealth. Morover, since the IIWW, British government often referred to the ’special relationship’ which exists between GB and and the USA. The base of this relationship is the history, the culture and the language.

After the IIWW many reforms were introduced, both by the Conservative and the Labour Party. It is called the consensus politics. Britain can claim to have the first large country in the world to have accepted that it is part of the job of government to help any citizen in need and to set up a ’welfare state’. During the first half of the 20C a number of welfare benefits were introduced. These were a small old-age pension scheme (1908), partial sickness and unemployement insurance (1912). The real impetus for the welfare state came in 1942 from a government comission, headed by William Beveridge, and its report on social insurance and allied services. In 1948 the National Health Act turned the report’s recommendation into law and the National Health Service was set up. The Labour government went further, taking over control of credit (Bank of england), power (coal, iron, steel) and transport (railways and airlines). This mixed economy meant 4/5 private sector and 1/5 public sector, which were run by the government on Keynesian lines in such a way as to maintain full employement.

During the 1950s and 1960s Britain began to slip rapidly behind its Europian neighbours economically. This was partly the result of a new and unpleasant experience, a combination of rising prices, high inflation, balance of payment crises and growing unemployment. Government was uncertain about how to solve the problem, and no longer agreed that the state had a responsibility to prevent unemployment. The special relationship with the USA weakened and the Commonwealth as a political unit and trading partner started to fall apart, so Britain decide to join the Europian Communitiy to share their new Europian wealth. It took more then 10 years to became the member of the EC (1973).

Margaret Thatcher had been elected in 1979 because she promised a new beginning for Britain. The old conservative and Labour agreement on the principles of the welafer state had broken down. The Conservative party moved right and the Labour party moved left and lost its power. Mrs Thatcher wanted free trade at home and abroad, individual enterprise and less government economic protection or interference. At home she reduced inflation, stabilized prices but the unemployment still was high. She reformed welfare state and continued the privatization of the public sector industries. She also tried to find the way to reduce public spendings. The conservative government tired to restore Britain’s national prestige and great power status internationally. So they revivaled the special relationship with USA, promoted Britain interest in EC more aggressivly, and decided to use armed fore when it is necessary (eg. Falklands war).

In 1997 Tony Blair (Labour Party) became the PM. Britain is a middle-racking, post-imperial Europian state but with nuclear weapons and still possessing cultural, diplomatic and military resources enables to play a significant role. In the EU, Britain is still playing an ambiguous part (eg. not accepting the EURO). They have good relationship with the USA (Clinton) as it could be seen during the Iraq crisis and the intervenion in NI peace process. In domectic policy, his priority is to maintain low inflation economy, to keep the taxes low, to recover the power of trade union, to continue privatisation, but with tighter regulation, and reforms in education, health and housing, and also constitutional reforms.

Tony Blair was reelected in May 2001.

2007. nov. 28.

Declaration of Rights of Man [angoltortenelem]

Declaration of Rights of Man

1. French Revolution

Causes: - contradictions in economy

- contradictions in society

- political crises (Louis XVI. in "trouble")

=> The outbreak of the revolution

-May.5., 1789: opening session - National Assembly (with one vote for each repr.)

-BUT: the king dissolved it => Tennis Court Oath

-People attacked and destroyed the Bastille (July 14., 1789) => Fr. revolution started

-Aug. 4., 1789 - abolition of feudal privileges

2. Declaration of Rights of Man (Aug. 26., 1789)

Content: - individual freedom

- right to property

- equality in front of the law

- equal taxation

- principles of representation

=> freedom of speech and thought

=> freedom of religion

=> freedom of the press

BUT Louis XVI. refused to sign it

=> Oct. 5.: March of Women: The king was forced to go to Paris; the National Assembly followed him

By 1791: Constitution

What are the five pillars of Islam? [angoltoretenelem]

What are the five pillars of Islam?

I. Muhammed (570-632)

-born in Mecca in about 570

-his parents died, he was raised by his relatives

-he got married at the age of 25 and became a successful merchant

YET: he was troubled by the problems he saw in the world.

--he often went to the desert to pray.

He believed the Gabriel angel spoke to him saying that God had chosen him as his

prophet. His duty, said the angel, was to proclaim that Allah was the one and only God.

=>opposition in Mecca => he fled to Medina in 622.

Hejira: departure (Mohammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina)

-622 is the first year of the Muslim calendar.

In Medina he gained power as both a religious and a political leader.

-630: M. returned to Mecca with an army and captured the city; destroyed hundreds of

idols, but left the kaaba (black stone) untouched, because he believed it had come

from God.


=>Mecca remained the Holy city

II. Teachings of Islam

"Submission to God"

5 pillars: -there is only one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.

-prayer 5 times a day turning towards Mecca.

-fasting during the holy month of the Ramadan.

-pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

-act of charity

III. No formal church or clergy. All worshippers are considered equal.

Mosque: Muslim meeting place

the imam leads the worshippers in prayer.

The Qur'an : -contains the word of God as it was revealed to his prophet.

-the basis for government and law throughout the Islamic world

-written in Arabic ----universal language of Muslims from many different cultures.

-rules for ethical behaviour: -charity





I. The Cold War

1. March 5, 1946: Fulton, Missouri

Churchill: speech: iron curtain dividing the continent

2. Bi-polar world

· tensions between the US and the SU

over: - the fate of Germany and Berlin

- the fate of Central and Eastern-Europe

· by 1948 in every country the government was put under communist


® communist movements, civil wars

Þ policy of containment (George Kennan)

- to prevent the spreading of community

II. March, 1947: Truman Doctrine

The US should (and would) support free people resisting attempted domination

by armed minorities (communists) or outside pressure (SU).

® $ 400 million to Greece and Turkey

III. Marshall Plan (» Dawes Plan)

· Offered massive economic aid to help the recovery of European economy

· 1948-1953: $ 13 billion of aid were given to the European countries

· All European countries were invited, but the SU attacked as "Yankee imperialism" and refused it.

It also kept its satellites from it.

Describe the causes, the course and the outcome of the Great Depression [angoltortenelem]

Describe the causes, the course and the outcome of the Great Depression

I. October 24, 1929: Black Thursday

The New York Stock Market collapsed

=> investors panicked and sold at a loss

At first the crash appeared to influence only those who gambled and lost at the stock market. BUT soon: -signs of the crises

~ unemployment grew

~ industrial production, prices, wages fell

Reasons: -overproduction by business


-1920s: rising productivity => enormous profits ~ unevenly distributed

II. Consequences

-cut back on production

=> downward economic spiral

>> unemployment

>> narrowed down the market => further cut backs on production

-the Great Depression (1929-33) meant financial, industrial and agricultural crisis.

-social tensions ~ political unrest

Solutions: -radical


III. Solutions (the New Deal)

1929: Herbert Hoover (Am. president) expected that the crises would be over very

soon. 'prosperity is just around the corner.'

-he introduced only a few measures: ~ public works projects

~ government agency that lent money

BUT: these measures were not enough to overcome the crises.

1932: F. D. Roosevelt became the Am. president

-he introduced an economic and social program that was known as the

New Deal.

-New Deal was about state intervention

1. -to restore confidence in banks: ~ certain banks were reopened under

government supervision

2. -to solve the problem of unemployment and overproduction

~ AAA (agricultural adjustment act)

-it restricted the production of certain crops.

-paid bounties for uncultivated land

~ CCC (civilian conservation corps)

-national reforestation program

~ NIRA (national industrial recovery act)

-it meant the public works projects (building roads, bridges,


~ TVA (Tennessee valley act)

-regulation of the river controlling river floods


-electricity was provided for the rural areas along the river

3. Social program

~ Social Security Act

-it provided unemployment benefit

-old-age benefits/pension

~ National Labour Relations Act

-it guaranteed the rights for workers to organise trade unions

The American economy could gradually recover but since the 1930s the American

government has played a greater role than before.

The age of discoveries [angoltortenelem]

The age of discoveries

1. From the middle of the XV. century there was slow development.

- industry and agriculture developed

- overpopulation arrow Western-Europe couldn’t provide food for its population arrow more and more agricultural goods for import.

- Trade was arranged by the navigation on the Atlantic coast.

- The precious metal-mines of Europe couldn’t provide enough precious metal arrow after 1453 the Turkish empire got all the benefit from the trade of the Mediterranean-sea.

- 1471 Portuguese sailors travelled through the Equator

- 1498 Vasco de Gamma shipping around Africa he reached the western coasts of India.

- 12th October 1492 Christopher Columbus disembarked at Guanahani-peninsula.

- Cortez, Alvarando, Pizarro: they wanted to loot the natives and conquer America.

- 1521-1600 a huge amount of silver, gold and precious metal were given to the poor Europe. The biggest treasures of America, its plants spread in Europe also. For example: corn, potato, tomato, sunflower, tobacco and pineapple. Rubber, cocoa and vanilla also come from America.

- The native Indians had to work in mines and on different plantations. If they were weak black slaves were shipped from Africa so the shipping of slaves became very common in the Atlantic navigation.

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