The Birth of Modern Capitalism

Karl Marx based his theories on capitalism on industrial production in the first-half of the 19th century. Terry Eagleton has pointed out that at points in his work he cheers on the growth of capitalism, since this was the only route to socialism. "In a lecture of 1847, for example, he defends free trade as hastening the advent of socialism. He also wanted to see German unification on the grounds that it would promote German capitalism." (1)

The first volume of Das Kapital was published in September 1867. A detailed analysis of capitalism, the book dealt with important concepts such as surplus value (the notion that a worker receives only the exchange-value, not the use-value, of his labour); division of labour (where workers become a "mere appendage of the machine") and the industrial reserve army (the theory that capitalism creates unemployment as a means of keeping the workers in check). "The result was an original amalgam of economic theory, history, sociology and propaganda". (2)

Marx also deals with the issue of revolution. Marx argued that the laws of capitalism will bring about its destruction. Capitalist competition will lead to a diminishing number of monopoly capitalists, while at the same time, the misery and oppression of the proletariat would increase. Marx claimed that as a class, the proletariat will gradually become "disciplined, united and organised by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production" and eventually will overthrow the system that is the cause of their suffering.

Paul Samuelson, one of the leading economists of the 20th century, has declared that Marx's theories can safely be ignored because the impoverishment of the workers "simply never took place". However, Francis Wheen argues that this view is based on a misreading of Marx's "General Law of Capitalist Accumulation" where he makes clear that he is "referring not to the pauperisation of the entire proletariat but to the 'lowest sediment' of society - the unemployed, the ragged, the sick, the old, the widows and orphans". The main point that Marx was making was that labour always "lags further and further behind capital, however many microwave ovens the workers can afford." (3)

Others have suggested that the real reason why revolution did not take place was the tremendous growth in capitalism that took place in the United States during the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. "The spectacular upswing of the third long wave was unfolding, above all, as the expansion of a new consumer market among the lower-middle class and skilled workers." (4)

Isaac Merritt Singer and Modern Capitalism

Isaac Merritt Singer, the eighth child of German immigrants, was born In Troy, on 27th October, 1811. Soon after his birth the family moved to the frontier town of Oswego. In 1821, his mother left the family home: "His father, then 68, was a remote and unsympathetic figure, and his stepmother, whom his father married soon after the divorce, made things worse rather than better." (5)

At the age of twelve he left home and went to live in Rochester with an older brother and two years later he began an apprenticeship in a machine shop. Over the next few years he became a talented mechanic and obtained contracts to build a lathe-making machinery. However, in 1830 he joined a local theatre company that performed plays by William Shakespeare. (6)

It is claimed that although Singer had no formal education and was barely literate, he was a talented actor. "Singer was well fitted for the stage, his handsome face helped - square jaw, grey eyes, massive brow, framed by thick auburn hair - but it was the almost frightening energies radiated by his presence that people remembered most vividly." (7)

Singer could not make a living as a actor and he was forced to work as a mechanic. In 1830 he married Catherine Haley, a fifteen-year-old girl from Palmyra. For a while he lived with her parents but eventually the couple moved to Port Gibson in Manchester where he found work in a dry goods store. However, no job lasted very long and he would often join up with a drama company that visited the area. After a few weeks he would return to his wife and would be forced to take a local job. (8)

In 1835 Singer and his family moved to New York City where he got a job in a printing press factory. The following year he set off with an acting troupe without telling his wife. During this period he developed a reputation for being a womanizer. According to one newspaper "his intimacy with the female population was severely commented upon, and much sympathy was expressed for his wife." (9)

Singer found work with a company building the Illinois and Michigan Canal. In 1839 he made a machine that drilled through rock. His employees were so impressed that they paid him $2,000 ($48,000 in today's money) for the invention. He used this money to finance the acting group, the Merritt Players. The group continued until 1844 when he ran out of money. He found work in a sawmill in Fredericksburg. His job was to cut wooden type to be used for printing posters. It was menial work that he found unsatisfying and so he invented a type carving machine to do the job. (10)

Singer moved back to New York City and persuaded the A. B. Taylor Company to provide him with money and space to build a commercial prototype, but shortly afterwards a boiler burst in the building and the explosion killed sixty-three people. As a result of this disaster the company was forced to close. Singer found another partner but after building another prototype they were unable to find investors to produce it commercially. (11)

In 1850 Isaac Merritt Singer was asked to repair a Lerow & Blodgett sewing machine. For over 20 years efforts had been made to invent an effective sewing machine. A French tailor, Barthélemy Thimonnier, was the first to put a sewing device into commercial operation in an attempt to mechanize embroidery. He patented his device in 1830 and by 1841 he had a factory with eighty machines. However, a mob of tailors, worried about their livelihood, broke in and destroyed them. (12)

The first American to make a significant contribution was Walter Hunt, who developed a machine around 1832 that made a lock stitch. Hunt, who had invented the safety pin and the breech-loading rifle, came from a strong Quaker family, abandoned work on the machine after his daughter told him it would throw seamstresses out of work. For example, in New York City at this time, ten thousand women earned their living through needlework. Elias Howe, a machinist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, was granted a patent on a sewing machine in 1846, but found it difficult finding investors to develop the machine as it was expensive to produce and factory owners felt they could get more from seamstresses for the same money. (13)

Sherburne C. Blodgett, a tailor, joined forces with John Alexander Lerow, to produce a "Rotary Sewing Machine", that was patented in 1849. However, it did not work well and was constantly breaking down. After examining the Lerow & Blodgett sewing machine Isaac Merritt Singer came to the conclusion that it would be more reliable if the shuttle moved in a straight line rather than a circle, with a straight rather than a curved needle. The following year he patented his own sewing machine. It could sew 900 stitches per minute, far better than the 40 of a skilled seamstress. (14)

In 1851 Singer joined forces with Edward Cabot Clark to form the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The Singer was the first practical sewing machine for general domestic use and incorporated the basic eye-pointed needle and lock stitch developed by Elias Howe. The Singer met the demand of the tailoring, and leather industries for a heavier and more powerful machine. (15)

The Singer sewing machine was not an immediate success and sales were poor. For example: 1853 (810), 1854 (879), 1855 (883). In 1856 Singer brought out his first machine intended exclusively for use in the home. These machines sold for $100 each ($2,514.00). Selling these machines was a major problem as the average family income was less than $500 a year. (16)

Singer's partner, Edward Clark, came up with what became known as the Hire Purchase Plan: "By advancing a certain percentage of the total price of the machine, a customer could hire a sewing machine, make monthly payments to it, and eventually own it." Singer only charged $5 for the initial payment, but as soon as they failed to make the monthly payments, the machine was repossessed. This method of selling goods was a great success and sales soared. In 1858 the company had sold 3,594 machines, by 1861 sales were over 16,000. (17)

Isaac Merritt Singer by Edward Harrison May (1869) .
Isaac Merritt Singer by Edward Harrison May (1869)

As a result, individuals with even small incomes could own a Singer sewing machine. As sales grew Singer could bring in mass production techniques. He was now able to cut the price in half, while at the same time increasing his profit margin by 530%. Eventually, the price came down to $30 ($716 in today's money). By 1876 Singer sold 262, 316 machines, more than twice as many as its nearest rival. (18)

In 1882 Singer expanded into the European market, establishing a factory in Clydebank, near Glasgow. (19) A Canadian plant was opened in Montreal five years later. Others followed; despite great growth in domestic business, the company was soon selling more sewing machines abroad than in the United States. It has been argued that Singer had created America's first multinational corporation. (20)

Singer had two children with Catherine, his first wife: William (1834–1914) and Lillian (1841–1912). Singer began an affair with Mary Ann Sponsler while still married to Catherine. They had 10 children; Isaac, Vouletti, John, Fanny Elizabeth, Jasper, Mary, Julia, Caroline, and two others who died at birth. In 1860, he divorced Catherine and lived with Mary Ann. Another mistress, Mary McGonigal, a former employee, gave birth to another five children.

By 1860, Isaac Merritt Singer had fathered and acknowledged eighteen children, sixteen of them still then living, by four women. Paul C. Wilson has argued: "Like many insecure men, he (Isaac Merritt Singer) had always tried as a matter of course to seduce any young women he met, and his good looks, combines one suspects, with some of the intimidation he used in all his other relationships with people, usually gave him what he wanted. A man with so much energy for other activity may have had strong sexual energies too, but physical need alone cannot explain the peculiar pattern of Singer's sexual involvements. Except for their frequency, there was nothing remarkable about his brief affairs with barmaids and working girls while on the road, but he usually sought something more permanent. In addition to sex he clearly wanted the security of marriage and family life." (21)

In 1862, Mary Ann discovered details of this relationship with Mary McGonigal and had her husband arrested for bigamy. Singer was let out on bond and fled to London. The following year Isaac Singer married Isabella Eugenie Boyer, a Frenchwoman he had met in Paris. They had six children; Adam, Winnaretta, Washington, Paris, Isabelle-Blanche, and Franklin.

The great wealth that Singer achieved enabled him to buy expensive houses. This included a mansion on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In 1871, Singer purchased an estate in Paignton in England. He commissioned George Soudon Bridgman to build Oldway Mansion as his private residence in the style of the Palace of Versailles. Singer sourced the finest materials from around the world and instructed Bridgman to design the interior in exuberant French style. (22)

Isaac Merritt Singer died on 23 July 1875, shortly before work on the mansion was completed. It is claimed that during his life-time Singer fathered at least 24 children with various wives and mistresses.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford, the second of eight children, son of William Ford (1826–1905) and Mary Litogot Ford (1839–1876), was born in Greenfield, Michigan on 30th July, 1863. He was the grandson of John Ford, a Protestant tenant farmer who had come to America from Ireland during the great potato famine of 1847. (23)

William Ford had a farm of eighty acres. According to Henry's biographer, Andrew Ewart: "He showed an early facility for repairing clocks and watches but at home on the farm he had to take his share of the inevitable chores, chopping wood, milking cows, learning to harness a team of horses. When he was twelve he was ploughing and doing a man-sized job on the farm. He had no education in science - he got his considerable mechanical knowledge from experience." (24)

Ford was very close to his mother and was devastated when she died when he was only thirteen. In 1879, against the wishes of his father, he moved to Detroit where he found work at the James Flowers Machine Shop. He was assigned to mill hexagons onto brass valves. Ford was pleased to be away from his father and grandfather. He later wrote, "I never had any particular love for the farm - it was the mother on the farm I loved." (25)

Within a year he had moved to the Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works, the largest shipbuilding firm in the city. He worked a sixty-two-hour week in a machine shop, while, to earn a bit extra, repairing watches in a jewellery store six nights a week as well. Later he travelled round Michigan farms servicing Westinghouse steam engines. (26)

At this time Detroit was a city that offered plenty of opportunities of work. It had a population of more than 116,000 people, covering an area of seventeen square miles - an industrial, shipping, and railroad hub with nearly 1,000 manufacturing and mechanical establishments, twenty miles of street railways, a telegraph network, and a waterworks. (27)

On the death of his grandfather he returned to help his father manage the family farm. He was also given 40 acres to start his own farm. In 1886 Henry Ford met Clara Bryant, the twenty-year-old daughter of a local farmer. He told his sister Margaret that in thirty seconds that he knew this was the girl of his dreams. In April 1888 Henry married Clara, who was three years younger than himself. (28)

During this period Ford read an article in a magazine about how the German engineer, Nicholas Otto, had built a internal combustion engine. One night, after returning from repairing an Otto engine that belonged to a friend, he told his wife that he intended to build a "horseless carriage". Ford disliked farming and spent much of the time trying to build a steam road carriage and a farm locomotive. (29)

In September, 1891, he returned to Detroit to work as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. The couple moved into a two-story house, a short walk from the works. Ford was extremely ambitious and eventually became chief engineer at the plant at a salary of 100 dollars a month. Soon afterwards, on 9th November, 1893, his son and only child, Edsel, was born. (30)

His first vehicle, called a Quadricycle, was finished in June 1896, was built in a little brick shed in his garden. "With a two-cylinder petrol engine, a bicycle seat, a wooden chassis and bicycle tyres on its spindly wheels, it was steered by a tiller and had a house bell as a horn. It weighed only 500 pounds and had a top speed above 20mph, though rival machines rarely exceeded 5mph. Embarrassingly, the completed Quadricycle was too big to get out through the door of the shed and Ford had to demolish part of the wall with an axe." (31)

Norman Rockwell, Henry and Clara Ford (1951) .
Norman Rockwell, Henry and Clara Ford (1951)

Two months later Henry Ford attended a meeting of members of the National Association of Edison Illuminating Companies in the Oriental Hotel in Brooklyn. At the meeting, Ford's boss, Alexander Dow, introduced him to Thomas Edison with the words: "Young fellow here has made a gas car." Edison was curious and began to pepper Ford with detailed questions. Ford drew a picture of his machine on a scrap of paper. Edison was impressed and told him to "keep at it!" From that moment onward, Ford's admiration ripened into hero worship "like a planet that had adopted Edison for its sun." (32)

Henry Ford carried on with his job at the Edison plant while he set about designing and building his second car. However, he was told by his bosses: "You can work on your car or you can work for us - but not both." Ford now approached a group of businessmen to fund the venture. He was originally given $15,000 to build ten cars. Ford established the Detroit Automobile Company and was determined that cars would be as near perfect as he could make it and insisted on improving the carburation system. His refusal to put the car into production until he was satisfied with it, infuriated investors. After spending $86,000 ($2.15 million in today's money) on the project the company collapsed in January 1901. (33)

Henry Ford
Norman Rockwell, Crazy Henry (c. 1930)

Ford decided to establish himself with the public by building a racing car. He challenged, Alexander Winton, the most famous racing driver of the day, to a race at Grosse Pointe. Ford won an event styled "the first big race in the west" by almost a mile. Ford later recalled: That was my first race, and it brought advertising of the only kind that people cared to read." After this he had no trouble in raising the money to start a new company. On 23rd November, 1901, Henry Ford sold 6,000 shares at a par value of ten dollars each. (34)

By this time there were several other companies manufacturing cars. Ford suffered from production delays, and this caused conflict with his shareholders and once again the company collapsed. Disillusioned by his lack of success in producing motor cars for the road and decided to return to racing cars. The first one, The Arrow, crashed during a race in September 1903, killing its driver, Frank Day. His second car, Ford 999, driven by Barney Oldfield, was a great success. On 12th January, 1904, Henry Ford drove the 999 to a speed of 91.37 mph (147.05 km/h). (35)

Henry Ford
Barney Oldfield driving a Ford 999 in 1904.

Henry Ford recruited Oliver E. Barthel, a talented young mechanic and engineer. He later recalled that “Henry Ford was a cut-and-try mechanic without any particular genius.” He was also concerned about what he considered to be Ford's dual nature: "One side of his nature I liked very much and I felt that I wanted to be a friend of his. The other side of his nature I just couldn't stand. It bothered me greatly. I came to the conclusion that he had a particular streak in his nature that you wouldn't find in a serious-minded person." (36)

Alexander Malcolmson, a coal dealer in Detroit, was very impressed with the Ford 999 and decided to make a substantial investment in Henry Ford. The partnership began in August 1902. He also persuaded some of his friends to back Ford and by June, 1903, there were twelve stockholders who between them had raised $28,000 in cash to float the company. Ford and Malcolmson owned over 50% of the company. (37)

As a result of Ford's earlier problems, Malcolmson installed his clerk James Couzens at Ford Motor in a full-time position. Couzens borrowed heavily and invested $2,500 in the new firm. Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 with John Simpson Gray as president, Ford as vice-president, Malcolmson as treasurer, and Couzens as secretary. Couzens took over the business management of the new firm for a salary of $2,400. (38)

The Ford Motor Company was only one of 150 automobile manufactures that were active in the United States. Ford now set about making what became known as the Model T (also known as the Tin Lizzie or Leaping Lena). He told his investors: "I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces." (39)

A petrol engine patent was granted in 1895 to George Baldwin Selden. Therefore all car manufacturers were required to pay royalties to the lessee of the patent. To protect themselves these manufacturers had formed an association and had arranged with the lessee of the patent, the Electric Vehicle Company, to control the industry. Ford refused to join the organisation and instead challenged the validity of the patent. (40)

The first Model T car left the factory on 27th September, 1908. The first cars were assembly by hand, and production was small. Only eleven cars were built during the first month of production. It was sold for $825 and this made it the cheapest in the market. Early sales were very encouraging. Ford also introduced the latest marketing methods. His publicity department ensured that newspapers carried stories about the Model T. In 1909 Ford produced 10,600 cars and that year his company made a profit of over a million dollars. According to William Davis, the "Model T had two undeniable merits: it was efficient and it was cheap. Ford's innovative concept was a reliable car that would sell for no more than the price of a horse and buggy." (41)

Since 1908 Ford had spent around $2,000 a week defending himself against the other car manufacturers. In 1910 the court upheld Selden's patent. The verdict could have put him out of business. However, he now appealed to a higher court: "It is said that everyone has his price, but I can assure you that, while I am head of the Ford Motor Company there will be no price that would induce me to add my name to the association." Dealers were warned not to sell his "unlicensed cars". Times were very difficult for Ford until the United States Court of Appeals gave out its verdict completely upholding all his contentions with regard to the patent. (42)

Sales were so good that his Piquette Plant could not keep up with demand. Ford therefore decided to move his operations to the specially built Highland Park Ford Plant. Over 120 acres in size it was the largest manufacturing facility in the world at the time of its opening. In 1913, the Highland Park Ford Plant became the first automobile production facility in the world to implement the assembly line. (43)

Ford had been influenced by the ideas of Frederick Winslow Taylor who had published his book, Scientific Management in 1911. Peter Drucker has pointed out: "Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study." (44) Ford took on Taylor's challenge: "It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with management alone." (45)

Henry Ford
Model T Ford

Initially it had taken 14 hours to assemble a Model T car. By improving his mass production methods, Ford reduced this to 1 hour 33 minutes. This lowered the overall cost of each car and enabled Ford to undercut the price of other cars on the market. By 1914 Ford had made and sold 250,000 cars. Those manufactured amounted for 45% of all automobiles made in the USA that year. (46)

On 5th January 1914, on the advice of James Couzens, the Ford Motor Company announced that the following week, the work day would be reduced to eight hours and the Highland Park factory converted to three daily shifts instead of two. The basic wage was increased from three dollars a day to an astonishing five dollars a day. A profit-sharing scheme was also introduced. Unfortunately, the women working at the plant remained on two dollars a day. (47)

Henry Ford took the credit for this bold move calling it "the greatest revolution in the matter of rewards for workers ever known to the industrial world." (48) The Wall Street Journal complained about the decision. They accused Ford of injecting "Biblical or spiritual principles into a field where they do not belong" which would result in "material, financial, and factory disorganization." (49)

Ford rejected the criticism that it was a publicity stunt. "To our way of thinking, this was an act of social justice, and in the last analysis, we did it for our own satisfaction of mind. There is a pleasure in feeling that you have made others happy - that you have lessened in some degree the burdens of your fellow-men - that you have provided a margin out of which may be had pleasure and saving. Good-will is one of the few really important assets of life. A determined man can win almost anything that he goes after, but unless, in his getting, he gains good-will, he has not profited much." (50)

The company also established the Ford Sociological Department, headed by John R. Lee, "a man of ideas and ideals with a keen sense of justice and a sympathy with the 'down and outs', the men in trouble, that leads to an understanding of their problems... Under his guidance, the department will put a soul into the company". Ford also appointed the Reverend Samuel S. Marquis as his spiritual adviser. Ford told him that "I want you to put Jesus Christ in my factory". He added that the teachings of Jesus Christ were "the basis upon which a new society must be built". (51)

The Sociological Department had a staff of more than fifty investigators, that grew to a force of 160 men within two years. The investigators, chosen because of their "peculiar fitness as judges of human nature" were an "odd hybrid of social worker and detective, venturing into the crowded back streets of the city with a driver, an interpreter, and a sheaf of printed questionnaires. Their job was to establish standards of proper behaviour throughout the company." One member of the department said that it "was necessary in order to teach the men how to live a clean and wholesome life." (52)

To qualify for the five dollar a day, an employee had to put up with an exhaustive domestic inspection. If an investigator discovered a Ford employee was living with a woman without going through a marriage ceremony, an application was made to the Probate Court, so their union could be legitimized. Ford, who considered himself to be "highly moral and upright" did not drink alcohol or use tobacco in any form (he considered cigarettes as "little white slavers"). If a Ford worker was determined by Sociological Department investigators to be "immoral" they were offered the opportunity for rehabilitation so that he could be "lifted up" to the requirements of the company. Then and only then would he be certified to receive Ford's "bonus-on-conduct". (53)

William Davis has pointed out that although he paid high wages Ford was totally against trade unions: "He (the Ford worker) had to produce. Ford's assembly line saw to that. It had no place for men who needed to go to the toilets during shifts; such weaklings were weeded out as soon as discovered, and other men were paid to discover them. He was implacably against labour unions, which would interfere with his manufacturing methods." (54)

On the outbreak of the First World War in Europe, Ford soon made it clear he opposed attempts to persuade America to become involved in the conflict. He gave an interview to the New York Times on the war: "Moneylenders and munitions makers cause wars; if Europe had spent money on peace machinery - such as tractors - instead of armaments there would have been no war... The warmongerers urging military preparedness in America are Wall Street bankers... I am opposed to war in every sense of the word." (55)

Ford also made it clear that he would not be lured into the convenient economic trap of becoming a war-dependent manufacturer. He told the New York American Journal in August, 1915: "I would never let a single automobile get out of the Ford plant anywhere in the world if I thought it was going to be used in warfare." According to Ford, war was "a wasteful sacrifice" pushed forward by "avaricious, amoral arms makers". (56) Ford announced: "I hate war, because war is murder, desolation and destruction... I will devote my life to fight this spirit of militarism." (57)

Ford supported the decision of the Woman's Peace Party to organize a peace conference in Holland. After the conference Ford was contacted by America's three leading anti-war campaigners, Jane Addams, Oswald Garrison Villard, and Paul Kellogg. They suggested that Ford should sponsor an international conference in Stockholm to discuss ways that the conflict could be brought to an end. Rozika Schwimmer, a campaigner from Budapest, was sent to talk to Ford. (58)

Ford came up with the idea of sending a boat of pacifists to Europe to see if they could negotiate an agreement that would end the war. He agreed to spend $500,000 to rent the Oskar II, and it sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey on 4th December, 1915. On board the ship Ford told Rozika Schwimmer: "I know who started the war - the German Jewish bankers." Some writers have speculated that Ford did not realise that Schwimmer was Jewish. It has been argued that Schwimmer was diplomatic enough to avoid confronting Ford directly on his views. (59)

The Ford Peace Ship reached Oslo on 20th December, 1916, and a conference was organized with representatives from Denmark, Holland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. However, Ford, who had been taken ill on the journey, did not take part in the public events after the ship docked. Unable to persuade representatives from the warring nations to take part, the conference was unable to negotiate an Armistice. Most newspapers attacked Ford's efforts but the New York Herald Tribune asserted that, "We need more Fords, more peace talks, and less indifference to the greatest crime in the world’s history". (60)

Henry Ford continued to argue that: "Industry must manage to keep wages high and prices low. One's own employees should be one's own best customers." Five of his five stockholders took him to court to force him to distribute the company's earnings. Ford told the court that the profits of the Ford Motor Company were neither his nor the stockholders. Ford told the court that the profits of the Ford Motor Company were neither his nor the stockholders. "After the employees have had their wages and a share of the profits, it is my duty to take what remains and put it back into the industry to create more work for more men at higher wages." By 1920 Ford had bought out all his minority stockholders and it became a family property. (61)

The Weimar Republic

In January 1919, the first completely democratic general election was held in Germany. The new parliament adopted a new constitution that provided for a seven-year presidential office, proportional representation and guaranteed federal rights. The first President of the Weimar Republic was the socialist Friedrich Ebert. In the 1919 General Election the Social Democratic Party won 165 seats. However, they were outnumbered by the opposition: Catholic Centre Party (91), Democratic Party (75), National People's Party (44), Independent Social Democratic Party (22) and People's Party (19).

Hermann Müller was appointed Chancellor in March 1920. Under his leadership, the government suppressed the left-wing uprisings but did manage to persuade some members of the left-wing USDP to join the admistration. They were able to pass some progressive legislation but on 25th June 1920 he was replaced by Constantin Fehrenbach, the leader of the Catholic Centre Party. He only kept power for a year and was followed by Joseph Wirth (CCP), Wilhelm Cuno (none), Gustav Stresemann (People’s Party), Wilhelm Marx (CCP) and Hans Luther (none) before Müller became Chancellor again in June 1928.

Inflation became a serious problem in the Weimar Republic. Simon Taylor, the author of Revolution, Counter-Revolution and the Rise of Hitler (1983) pointed out: "A few benefited spectacularly from the Great Inflation; in particular those bankers, industrialists and currency speculators who were able to deal in foreign currency or real estate. For the vast majority, however, hyperinflation meant an equally spectacular slide into poverty... An unskilled worker who in 1913 had been earning 25 marks per week was earning 530 million marks a week in September 1923; even then he had lost nearly thirty per cent of his purchasing power. He would have needed a wheelbarrow to take home his weekly wage. A pensioner who in 1913 invested the regal sum of 10,000 marks (real value approximately 25,000 dollars) would have found his account worth less than a few cents in 1923 ... A couple who owned a large house before the war and received an income from letting the rooms, would find in 1923 that the cost of replacing a broken pane of glass was more than all the rent they had ever received from their tenants, since the level of rents was fixed, while glass prices were not." (62)

Charles G. Dawes, an American banker, was asked by the Allied Reparations Committee to investigate the problem. His report, published in April, 1924, proposed a plan for instituting annual payments of reparations on a fixed scale. He also recommended the reorganization of the German State Bank and increased foreign loans. The Dawes Plan was initially a great success. The currency was stabilized and inflation was brought under control. Large loans were raised in the United States and this investment resulted in a fall in unemployment. Germany was also able to meet her obligations under the Treaty of Versailles for the next five years. By 1926 the German steel industry was dominant in Europe and this upset both Britain and France. (63)

The Coal Industry

By the beginning of the 20th century coal was the overwhelmingly predominant source of heat, light, and power in the expanding economy. "The position of the British coal-mining industry... represented a peak of economic achievement. In spite of anxieties about industrial relations, commercial competitiveness and labour productivity, coal occupied a supreme position in the British economy." (64)

The MFGB suffered a set-back when in 1901 the Taff Vale Railway Company sued the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants for losses during a strike. As a result of the case the union was fined £23,000. Up until this time it was assumed that unions could not be sued for acts carried out by their members. This court ruling exposed trade unions to being sued every time it was involved in an industrial dispute. It has been argued that the "Taff Vale case came as the culmination of a whole series of legal decisions in the last decade of the nineteenth century which undermined trade unions right to strike". (65)

The 1906 General Election gave greater power to the mine workers. The old enemy, the Conservative Party, won only 156 seats. The Liberal Party, with 397 seats (48.9%), formed the next government. The Labour Party did well, increasing their seats from 2 to 29. In the landslide victory Arthur Balfour, the leader of the Tories, lost his seat as did most of his cabinet ministers. Margot Asquith wrote: "When the final figures of the Elections were published everyone was stunned, and it certainly looks as if it were the end of the great Tory Party as we have known it." (66)

Some members of the government thought, including the prime minister, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, that Parliament should pass legislation which would protect trade unions. When introducing the Trades Disputes Act, which removed trade union liability for damage by strike action, Campbell-Bannerman, argued: "I have never been, and I do not profess to be now, very intimately acquainted with the technicalities of the question, or with the legal points involved in it. The great object then was, and still is, to place the two rival powers of capital and labour on an equality so that the fight between them, so far as fight is necessary, should be at least a fair one." (67)

In 1910 a strike broke out at the Cambrian Combine, where its miners wanted parity with colliers working richer seams. Keir Hardie and Tom Mann arrived in the area to give the strikers their support. On the 8th November, strikers became involved in hand-to-hand fighting with the Glamorgan Constabulary. The home secretary, Winston Churchill, responded by sending in the British Army to "defend the mine-owners property". Hardie responded by claiming that "the bringing in of troops as typical of the militarism of the so-called Liberal reformers". (68)

Arthur J. Cook played a significant role in the strike. He also became a supporter of a new political creed called syndicalism. Cook argued "that the power of the workers to organise or disrupt their own production – their power to strike – was the only power which the owners were likely to recognise: the only power which might change the miners’ conditions and the only power which could eventually change society". This was in direct opposition to the Labour Party that advocated a parliamentary approach to socialism. (69)

Cook joined forces with two other syndicalists, Noah Ablett and Stephen Owen Davies, to produce the pamphlet, The Miners' Next Step (1912). It stated: "That the organization shall engage in political action, both local and national, on the basis of complete independence of, and hostility to all capitalist parties, with an avowed policy of wresting whatever advantage it can for the working class... Today the shareholders own and rule the coalfields. They own and rule them mainly through paid officials. The men who work in the mine are surely as competent to elect these, as shareholders who may never have seen a colliery. To have a vote in determining who shall be your fireman, manager, inspector, etc., is to have a vote in determining the conditions which shall rule your working life. On that vote will depend in a large measure your safety of life and limb, of your freedom from oppression by petty bosses, and would give you an intelligent interest in, and control over your conditions of work. To vote for a man to represent you in Parliament, to make rules for, and assist in appointing officials to rule you, is a different proposition altogether." (70)

Despite the growth of industrial action, the coal industry continued to grow. In 1913 an estimated 1.1 million men and boys working in the industry and that they produced 287 million tons of fuel. Although the United States and Germany were major competitors, the "British coal industry was still a dominant international force! Its annual production was equivalent to some 23 per cent of the world's supply... Britain's overseas shipments accounted for no less than 55 per cent of all coal traded internationally." (71)

First World War

On the outbreak of the First World War, the former miner's leader, Keir Hardie tried to organize a national strike against Britain's participation in the war. He issued a statement that argued: "The long-threatened European war is now upon us. You have never been consulted about this war. The workers of all countries must strain every nerve to prevent their Governments from committing them to war. Hold vast demonstrations against war, in London and in every industrial centre. There is no time to lose. Down with the rule of brute force! Down with war! Up with the peaceful rule of the people!" (72)

Arthur J. Cook, a leading figure in the MFGB in South Wales was a strong opponent of the war. He was especially angry about the willingness of the government to spend such large sums on the military where they had been slow to deal with the problems of working-class poverty. In one article for the Porth Gazette, he argued "we must do our duty as trade unionists and as citizens to force the Government, who in one night could vote £100 millions for destruction of human life to see that justice is meted out to these unfortunates". (73)

It was very important for the government to avoid strikes during the war and with the help of the Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress an "Industrial Truce" was announced. A further agreement in March 1915, committed the unions for the duration of hostilities to the abandonment of strike action and the acceptance of government arbitration in disputes. In return the government announced its limitation of profits of firms engaged in war work, "with a view to securing that benefits resulting from the relaxation of trade restrictions or practices shall accrue to the State". (74) A. J. P. Taylor, has described these measures as "war socialism". (75)

At the beginning of the war miners were the largest single group of industrial workers in Britain. Coal production increased during the first few months of the conflict. This was mainly due to a greater commitment of the labour force in maximizing output. However, by March 1915, 191,170 miners joined the armed forces. "This was 17.1 per cent of the men engaged in the industry at the beginning of the war and constituted approximately 40 per cent of the miners of military age, 19-38." (76)

The Munitions of War Act was passed by Parliament in 1915 and provided for compulsory arbitration and virtually prohibited all strikes and lockouts. The Act also prohibited any change in the level of wages and salaries in "controlled" establishments without the consent of the Minister of Munitions. In those industries important to the war effort, it forbade workers in those establishments to leave their job without a "certificate of leave". The Labour movement was strongly opposed to this measure but was endorsed by the leadership of the TUC and the Labour Party. (77)

In March 1915 the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) demanded a twenty per cent wage increase to compensate for inflation. The coal owners refused to discuss a national wage rise, and negotiations reverted to the districts. Agreements were arrived at satisfactorily in most areas, but in South Wales the owners were only willing to offer ten per cent. In July the miners in South Wales went on strike. (78)

Walter Runciman, the President of the Board of Trade, met with miners leaders but was unable to obtain an agreement. H. H. Asquith, considered using the Munitions of War Act, which effectively made strike action illegal. David Lloyd George warned against this and he negotiated a settlement that quickly conceded nearly all of the miners demands. This included a 18½ per cent wage increase. (79)

Lloyd George now made regular visits to British mining areas giving patriotic speeches about the importance of coal for the war effort and stressing that the miners should work harder in order to maximize output. He argued that "every extra wagon load would bring the war to a more speedy conclusion". In one speech he pointed out: "In peace and war King Coal is the paramount lord of the industry... In wartime it is life for us and death for our foes." (80)

F. H. Townsend, Punch Magazine (August, 1914)
Leonard Raven-Hill, Delivering the Goods (1915)

In November 1916, another strike over pay took place in Wales. This time the government agreed to Runciman's proposal that "the government by regulation under the Defence of the Realm Act assume power to take over any of the collieries of the country, the power to be exercised in the first instance in South Wales". It was decided to take full control over shipping, food and the coal industry. Alfred Milner was appointed as Coal Controller. It has been argued that "instigating control of one of Britain's major staple industries was an unprecedented move by the state." (81)

Milner issued his first report on 6th November 1916 and recognizing the gravity of the problem by recommending the immediate freezing of coal prices and suggesting the establishment of a Royal Commission to considering the future of the coal industry. Lloyd George argued that "the control of the mines should be nationalized as far as possible". (82) He acknowledged that this was a new political development and commented that the government had a choice, it needed "to abandon Liberalism or to abandon the war". (83)

The government became very concerned about the activities of Arthur J. Cook, the leader of the miners in the Rhondda. The high casualty-rate during 1916, especially at the Somme Offensive, prompted the government to draft men from essential industries who had hitherto been exempt from conscription. It was decided to take 20,000 miners from the pits and put them in the army. Cook took steps to obstruct the military's attempts to recruit men and posted notices at the local collieries advising miners to disobey instructions to report for army examination. Captain Lionel Lindsay, Chief Constable of Glamorgan applied to the Home Office to have him prosecuted but worried it would result in a strike the suggestion was turned down. (84)

At a mass meeting on 15th April 1917, Cook called for "peace by negotiations". In an article in The Merthyr Pioneer, he argued: "I am no pacifist when war is necessary to free my class from the enslavement of capitalism... As a worker I have more regard for the interests of my class than any nation. The interests of my class are not benefited by this war, hence my opposition. Comrades, let us take heart, there are thousands of miners in Wales who are prepared to fight for their class. War against war must be the workers' cry." (85)

Arthur J. Cook welcomed the Russian Revolution and according to a MI5 agent he told one meeting: "To hell with everybody bar my class. To me, the hand of the German and Austrian is the same as the hand of my fellow-workmen at home. I am an internationalist. Russia has taken the step, and it is due to Britain to second the same and secure peace and leave the war and its cost to the capitalist who made it for the profiteer." (86)

In November, 1917, the Chief Constable of Glamorgan once again reported the activities of Cook to the Home Office: "It was only reported to me by a Recruiting Officer last night that A. J. Cook, the agitator from the Lewis-Merthyr Colliery, Trehafod, Glamorgan, who I have frequently reported for disloyal utterances, without success, openly declared, whilst denouncing the Recruiting Authorities at Pontypridd, that if he decided that a man should not join the Army the Military Authorities would not dare to send him... Anyone with the slightest knowledge of human nature must be well aware that to punish a conceited upstart of this type, especially when he is a man of no real influence, like Cook, always gives universal satisfaction." (87)

Cook continued to make speeches against the war. When he visited the village of Ynyshir he called on miners to do what they could to bring the war to an end: "Are we going to allow this war to go on? The government wants a hundred thousand men. They demand fifty thousand immediately, and the Clyde workers would not allow the government to take them. Let us stand by them, and show them that Wales will do the same. I have two brothers in the army who were forced to join, but I say No! I will be shot before I go to fight. Are you going to allow us to be taken to the war? If so, I say there will not be a ton of coal for the navy." (88)

Once again Captain Lionel Lindsay contacted the Home Office: "As promised I enclose a list of the ILP and advanced Syndicalists employed at our collieries, who are really the cause of a good deal of the trouble in this part of the coalfield, not only at our own collieries, but also in the neighbourhood. Of this lot, Cook is by far the most dangerous. As he considers himself an orator he has most to say at the various meetings in the district, and without exception, the policy which he preaches is the down-tool policy, and he is also concerned with the peace-cranks." (89)

In March 1918 the Home Office acceded to Lindsay's pressure and Cook as arrested and charged with sedition, Charged under the Defence of the Realm Act and was found guilty "of making statements likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty among the civilian population" and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. Miners in the Rhondda threatened strike action and Cook was released after serving only two months. (90)

Coal production fell dramatically between 1916-1918. J. F. Martin, the author of The Government and the Control of the British Coal Industry, 1914-1918 (1981) pointed out: "The decline in the amount of coal extracted per man-shift and the reduction in the number of shifts worked per year were part of a common cause, namely the decline in the physical ability of the male workers in the industry. To a large extent this was an inevitable legacy of the recruitment of large numbers of men in the early stages of war. Most of the miners who enlisted were in fact the youngest and fittest members of the industry. Thus it can be rightly assumed that their removal had a disproportionate effect on the remaining men's ability to produce coal, apart from the fact that the industry lost its highest productivity workers." (91)

The Coal Industry: 1919-1925

Two weeks after the end of the war, the prime minister, David Lloyd George gave a speech in Wolverhampton: "‘The work is not over yet – the work of the nation, the work of the people, the work of those who have sacrificed. Let us work together first. What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in. I am not using the word ‘heroes’ in any spirit of boastfulness, but in the spirit of humble recognition of fact. I cannot think what these men have gone through. I have been there at the door of the furnace and witnessed it, but that is not being in it, and I saw them march into the furnace. There are millions of men who will come back. Let us make this a land fit for such men to live in. There is no time to lose. I want us to take advantage of this new spirit. Don’t let us waste this victory merely in ringing joybells." (92)

However, the government was slow to provide a "country for heroes to live in". After the war the ending of price controls, prices rose twice as fast during 1919 as they had done during the worst years of the war. That year 35 million working days were lost to strikes, and on average every day there were 100,000 workers on strike - this was six times the 1918 rate. There were stoppages in the coal mines, in the printing industry, among transport workers, and the cotton industry. There were also mutinies in the military and two separate police strikes in London and Liverpool. (93)

The miners were encouraged to go back to work by the government agreeing to establish a royal commission under John Sankey, a high court judge. Others on the commission included trade unionists, Robert Smillie, Herbert Smith and Frank Hodges. Other progressive figures such as R. H. Tawney, Sidney Webb and Leo Chiozza Money, were also included, but Arthur Balfour, and several conservative businessmen meant that they could not publish a united report.

In June 1919 the Sankey Commission came up with four reports, which ranged from complete nationalization on the part of the workers' representatives to restoration of undiluted private ownership on that of the owners. On 18th August, Lloyd George used the excuse of this disagreement to reject nationalization but offered the prospect of reorganization. When this was rejected by the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, the government kept control of the industry. It also agreed to pass legislation that would guarantee the miners a seven-hour day. (94)

In January 1921, Arthur J. Cook, the left-wing militant from South Wales became a member of the executive of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB). "A month later the decontrol of the mining industry was announced, with a consequent end to a national wages agreement and wage reductions. A three-month lock-out from April 1921 ended in defeat for the miners; at its end Cook was again gaoled for two months' hard labour for incitement and unlawful assembly". (95)

Will Paynter, later recorded: "Cook had been a union leader at the colliery next down the valley to where I worked and we heard much of his exploits there as a fighter for wages and particularly for pit safety... He was... a master of his craft on the platform. I attended many of his meetings when he came to the Rhondda and he was undoubtedly a great orator, and had terrific support throughout the coalfields." (96) During this period he developed a reputation as a great orator. John Sankey, a High Court Judge, once stood at the back of a crowded miners' meeting to hear Cook speak. "Within fifteen minutes half the audience was in tears and Sankey admitted to having the greatest difficulty in restraining himself from weeping." (97)

In 1924 Harry Pollitt was appointed General Secretary of the National Minority Movement, a Communist-led united front within the trade unions. Pollitt worked alongside Tom Mann and according to one document the plan was "not to organize independent revolutionary trade unions, or to split revolutionary elements away from existing organizations affiliated to the T.U.C. but to convert the revolutionary minority within each industry into a revolutionary majority." Cook and a large number of miners also joined this organization. (98)

Newspapers became increasingly concerned about the political activities of Cook. The Daily Mail reported that at a Labour Party meeting he claimed that people such as Jimmy Thomas and Tom Shaw "had no political class consciousness, and that the Labour leaders and trade union leaders were square pegs in round holes. He was glad to find some Red Socialists in London. He hoped he would find more later". The newspaper quoted Cook as saying: "I believe solely and absolutely in Communism. If there is no place for the Communists in the Labour Party, there is no place for the Right Wingers. I believe in strikes. They are the only weapon". (99)

A. J. Cook making a speech
Arthur J. Cook making a speech in Wales.

Frank Hodges, general secretary of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) was elected for Litchfield in the 1923 General Election. Under the rules of the union he now had to resign his post but he initially refused. It was not until he was appointed as Civil Lord of the Admiralty in the Labour Government that he agreed to go. However, his time in Parliament did not last long and he was defeated in the 1924 General Election. (100)

Arthur J. Cook went on to secure the official South Wales nomination and subsequently won the national ballot by 217,664 votes to 202,297. Fred Bramley, general secretary of the TUC, was appalled at Cook's election. He commented to his assistant, Walter Citrine: "Have you seen who has been elected secretary of the Miners' Federation? Cook, a raving, tearing Communist. Now the miners are in for a bad time." However, his victory was welcomed by Arthur Horner who argued that Cook represented “a time for new ideas - an agitator, a man with a sense of adventure”. (101)

Red Friday

On 30th June 1925 the mine-owners announced that they intended to reduce the miner's wages. Will Paynter later commented: "The coal owners gave notice of their intention to end the wage agreement then operating, bad though it was, and proposed further wage reductions, the abolition of the minimum wage principle, shorter hours and a reversion to district agreements from the then existing national agreements. This was, without question, a monstrous package attack, and was seen as a further attempt to lower the position not only of miners but of all industrial workers." (102)

On 23rd July, 1925, Ernest Bevin, the general secretary of the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU), moved a resolution at a conference of transport workers pledging full support to the miners and full co-operation with the General Council in carrying out any measures they might decide to take. A few days later the railway unions also pledged their support and set up a joint committee with the transport workers to prepare for the embargo on the movement of coal which the General Council had ordered in the event of a lock-out." (103) It has been claimed that the railwaymen believed "that a successful attack on the miners would be followed by another on them." (104)

In an attempt to avoid a General Strike, the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, invited the leaders of the miners and the mine owners to Downing Street on 29th July. The miners kept firm on what became their slogan: "Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay". Herbert Smith, the president of the National Union of Mineworkers, told Baldwin: "We have now to give". Baldwin insisted there would be no subsidy: "All the workers of this country have got to take reductions in wages to help put industry on its feet." (105)

The following day the General Council of the Trade Union Congress triggered a national embargo on coal movements. On 31st July, the government capitulated. It announced an inquiry into the scope and methods of reorganization of the industry, and Baldwin offered a subsidy that would meet the difference between the owners' and the miners' positions on pay until the new Commission reported. The subsidy would end on 1st May 1926. Until then, the lockout notices and the strike were suspended. This event became known as Red Friday because it was seen as a victory for working class solidarity. (106)

Samuel Royal Commission

The Royal Commission was established under the chairmanship of Sir Herbert Samuel, to look into the problems of the Mining Industry. The commissioners took evidence from nearly eighty witnesses from both sides of the industry. They also received a great mass of written evidence, and visited twenty-five mines in various parts of Great Britain. The Samuel Commission published its report on 10th March 1926. Interest in it was so great that it sold over 100,000 copies. (107)

The Samuel Report was critical of the mine owners: "We cannot agree with the view presented to us by the mine owners that little can be done to improve the organization of the industry, and that the only practical course is to lengthen hours and to lower wages. In our view huge changes are necessary in other directions, and the large progress is possible". The report recognised that the industry needed to be reorganised but rejected the suggestion of nationalization. However, the report also recommended that the Government subsidy should be withdrawn and the miners' wages should be reduced. (108)

Herbert Smith rejected the Samuel Report and told a meeting with representatives of the colliery owners: "We are willing to do all we can to help this industry, but it is with this proviso, that when we have worked and given our best, we are going to demand a respectable day's wage for a respectable day's work; and that is not your intention." He added: "Not a penny off the pay, not a second on the day." (109)

The Subsidised Mineowner - Poor Beggar! Trade Union Unity Magazine (1925)
The Subsidised Mineowner - Poor Beggar!
Trade Union Unity Magazine (1925)

The National Union of Mineworkers was put in a difficult position when Jimmy Thomas, the general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR), welcomed the Samuel Report as a "wonderful document". A. J. Cook, at the MFGB conference advised delegates not to reject the report outright, so as not to jeopardise the support of the TUC. He was aware of the need to appear reasonable, but he also reaffirmed his opposition to wage reductions: "I am of the opinion we have got the biggest fight of our lives in front of us, but we cannot fight alone." (110)

Cook toured the mining areas in an attempt to gain support for the proposed strike. It is claimed that he made as many as six speeches a day in an attempt to keep up the spirits of the miners. One former miner remembered: "Never were such vast crowds seen in the coalfields – perhaps never in Britain – as that which the Miners’ General Secretary, Mr. A.J. Cook addressed... He got, and held, the crowds. It was unusual to have a miners’ official going through the coalfields in this way... That Mr. Cook was a subject of great devotion was undeniable. He was a prophet among them. To this day men speak of those gatherings with awe." (111)

Arthur Horner later recalled: "We spoke together at meetings all over the country. We had audiences, mostly of miners, running into thousands. Usually I was put on first. I would make a good, logical speech, and the audience would listen quietly, but without any wild enthusiasm. Then Cook would take the platform. Often he was tired, hoarse and sometimes almost inarticulate. But he would electrify the meeting. They would applaud and nod their heads in agreement when he said the most obvious things. For a long time I was puzzled, and then one night I realised why it was. I was speaking to the meeting. Cook was speaking for the meeting. He was expressing the thoughts of his audience, I was trying to persuade them. He was the burning expression of their anger at the iniquities which they were suffering." (112)

Kingsley Martin, a journalist with the Manchester Guardian, was a supporter of the miners but was not convinced that Cook was the best person to negotiate an end to the dispute: "Cook made a most interesting study - worn-out, strung on wires, carried in the rush of the tidal wave, afraid of the struggle, afraid, above all, though, of betraying his cause and showing signs of weakness. He'll break down for certain, but I fear not in time. He's not big enough, and in an awful muddle about everything. Poor devil and poor England. A man more unable to conduct a negotiation I never saw. Many Trade Union leaders are letting the men down; he won't, but he'll lose. And Socialism in England will be right back again." (113)

David Kirkwood, took a different view of the general secretary of the MFGB: "The purpose of the General Strike was to obtain justice for the miners. The method was to hold the Government and the nation up to ransom. We hoped to prove that the nation could not get on without the workers. We believed that the people were behind us. We knew that the country had been stirred by our campaign on behalf of the miners. Arthur Cook, who talked from a platform like a Salvation Army preacher, had swept over the industrial districts like a hurricane. He was an agitator, pure and simple. He had no ideas about legislation or administration. He was a flame. Ramsay MacDonald called him a guttersnipe. That he certainly was not. He was utterly sincere, in deadly earnest, and burnt himself out in the agitation." (114)

The Daily Mail Strike

Stanley Baldwin and his ministers had several meetings with both sides in order to avoid the strike. Thomas Jones, the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, pointed out: "It is possible not to feel the contrast between the reception which Ministers give to a body of owners and a body of miners. Ministers are at ease at once with the former, they are friends jointly exploring a situation. There was hardly any indication of opposition or censure. It was rather a joint discussion of whether it was better to precipitate a strike or the unemployment which would result from continuing the present terms. The majority clearly wanted a strike." (115)

Considering themselves in a position of strength, the Mining Association now issued new terms of employment. These new procedures included an extension of the seven-hour working day, district wage-agreements, and a reduction in the wages of all miners. Depending on a variety of factors, the wages would be cut by between 10% and 25%. The mine-owners announced that if the miners did not accept their new terms of employment then from the first day of May they would be locked out of the pits. (116)

At the end of April 1926, the miners were locked out of the pits. A Conference of Trade Union Congress met on 1st May 1926, and afterwards announced that a General Strike "in defence of miners' wages and hours" was to begin two days later. The leaders of the Trade Union Council were unhappy about the proposed General Strike, and during the next two days frantic efforts were made to reach an agreement with the Conservative Government and the mine-owners. (117)

Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party refused to support the General Strike. MacDonald argued that strikes should not be used as a political weapon and that the best way to obtain social reform was through parliamentary elections. He was especially critical of A. J. Cook. He wrote in his diary: "It really looks tonight as though there was to be a General Strike to save Mr. Cook's face... The election of this fool as miners' secretary looks as though it would be the most calamitous thing that ever happened to the T.U. movement." (118)

The Trade Union Congress called the General Strike on the understanding that they would then take over the negotiations from the Miners' Federation. The main figure involved in an attempt to get an agreement was Jimmy Thomas. Talks went on until late on Sunday night, and according to Thomas, they were close to a successful deal when Stanley Baldwin broke off negotiations as a result of a dispute at the Daily Mail. (119)

What had happened was that Thomas Marlowe, the editor the newspaper, had produced a provocative leading article, headed "For King and Country", which denounced the trade union movement as disloyal and unpatriotic.The workers in the machine room, had asked for the article to be changed, when he refused they stopped working. Although, George Isaacs, the union shop steward, tried to persuade the men to return to work, Marlowe took the opportunity to phone Baldwin about the situation. (120)

The strike was unofficial and the TUC negotiators apologized for the printers' behaviour, but Baldwin refused to continue with the talks. "It is a direct challenge, and we cannot go on. I am grateful to you for all you have done, but these negotiations cannot continue. This is the end... The hotheads had succeeded in making it impossible for the more moderate people to proceed to try to reach an agreement." A letter was handed to the TUC negotiators that stated that the "gross interference with the freedom of the press" involved a "challenge to the constitutional rights and freedom of the nation". (121)

The General Strike

The General Strike began on 3rd May, 1926. Arthur Pugh, the chairman of the TUC, was put in charge of the strike. John Hodge believed that Pugh was ambivalent about the dispute. "I have never heard him say that he was in favour of it, but I have never heard him say that he was against it." (122) Hamilton Fyfe, the editor of the Daily Herald, was never convinced by him as a committed trade unionist and that given different circumstances "he would have made a fortune as a chartered accountant". (123)

Paul Davies, went further and claimed that Pugh was a reluctant participant in this conflict: "Pugh confessed that the SIC had no policy with which to conduct negotiations. The SIC reluctance to prepare was based on a complex mixture of moderation, defeatism and realism, but above all fear: fear of losing, fear of winning, fear of bloodshed, fear of unleashing forces that union leaders could not control." (124)

The Trade Union Congress adopted the following plan of action. To begin with they would bring out workers in the key industries - railwaymen, transport workers, dockers, printers, builders, iron and steel workers - a total of 3 million men (a fifth of the adult male population). Only later would other trade unionists, like the engineers and shipyard workers, be called out on strike. Ernest Bevin, the general secretary of the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU), was placed in charge of organising the strike. (125)

The TUC decided to publish its own newspaper, The British Worker, during the strike. Some trade unionists had doubts about the wisdom of not allowing the printing of newspapers. Workers on the Manchester Guardian sent a plea to the TUC asking that all "sane" newspapers be allowed to be printed. However, the TUC thought it would be impossible to discriminate along such lines. Permission to publish was sought by George Lansbury for Lansbury's Labour Weekly and H. N. Brailsford for the New Leader. The TUC owned Daily Herald also applied for permission to publish. Although all these papers could be relied upon to support the trade union case, permission was refused. (126)

The government reacted by publishing The British Gazette. Baldwin gave permission to Winston Churchill to take control of this venture and his first act was commandeer the offices and presses of The Morning Post, a right-wing newspaper. The company's workers refused to cooperate and non-union staff had to be employed. Baldwin told a friend that he gave Churchill the job because "it will keep him busy, stop him doing worse things". He added he feared that Churchill would turn his supporters "into an army of Bolsheviks". (127)

A policeman protects a volunteer driver (1926)
A policeman protects a volunteer driver (1926)

The government relied on volunteers to do the work of the strikers. Cass Canfield, worked in publishing until the strike began. "The British General Strike, which occurred in 1926, completely tied up the nation until the white-collar class went to work and restored some of the services. I remember watching gentlemen with Eton ties acting as porters in Waterloo Station; other volunteers drove railroad engines and ran buses. I was assigned to delivering newspapers and would report daily, before dawn, at the Horse Guards Parade in London. As time passed, the situation worsened; barbed wire appeared in Hyde Park, and big guns. Winston Churchill went down to the docks in an attempt to quell the rioting. For a couple of days there were no newspapers, and that was hardest of all to bear for no one knew what was going to happen next and everyone feared the outbreak of widespread violence. Finally, a single-sheet government handout appeared - the British Gazette - and people breathed easier, but settlement of the issues dividing labor and the government appeared to be insoluble." (128)

However, most members of the Labour Party supported the strikers. This included Margaret Cole, who worked for the Fabian Research Department, pointed out: "Some members of the Labour Club formed a University Strike Committee, which set itself three main jobs; to act as liaison between Oxford and Eccleston Square, then the headquarters of the TUC and the Labour Party, to get out strike bulletins and propaganda leaflets for the local committees, and to spread them and knowledge of the issues through the University and the nearby villages." (129)

The Media and the General Strike

In his book on the the General Strike, the historian Christopher Farman, studied the way the media dealt with this important industrial dispute. John C. Davidson, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, was given responsibility for the way the media should report the strike. "As soon as it became evident that newspaper production would be affected by the strike, Davidson arranged to bring the British Broadcasting Company under his effective control... no news was broadcast during the crisis until it had first been personality vetted by Davidson... Each of the five daily news bulletins plus a daily 'appreciation of the situation', which took the place of newspaper editorials, were drafted by Gladstone Murray in conjunction with Munro and then submitted to Davidson for his approval before being transmitted from the BBC's London station at Savoy Hill." (130)

As part of the government propaganda campaign, the BBC reported that public transport was functioning again and after the first week of the strike it announced that most railmen had returned to work. This was in fact untrue as 97% of National Union of Railwaymen members remained on strike. It was true that volunteers were emerging from training and that more trains were in service. However, there was a sharp increase in accidents and several passengers were killed during the strike. Unskilled volunteers were also accused of causing thousands of pounds' worth of damage. (131)

Several politicians representing the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, appeared on BBC radio and made vicious attacks on the trade union movement. William Graham, the Labour Party MP for Edinburgh Central, wrote to John Reith, the BBC's managing director, suggesting that he should allow "a representative Labour or Trade Union leader to state the case for the miners and other workers in this crisis". (132)

Special constables were recruited from public schools and universities (1926)
Special constables were recruited from public schools and universities (1926)

Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party, also contacted Reith and asked for permission to broadcast his views. Reith recorded in his diary: "He (MacDonald) said he was anxious to give a talk. He sent a manuscript along... with a friendly note offering to make any alterations which I wanted... I sent it at once to Davidson for him to ask the Prime Minister, strongly recommending that he should allow it to be done." The idea was rejected and Reith argued: "I do not think that they treat me altogether fairly. They will not say we are to a certain extent controlled and they make me take the onus of turning people down. They are quite against MacDonald broadcasting, but I am certain it would have done no harm to the Government. Of course it puts me in a very awkward and unfair position. I imagine it comes chiefly from the PM's difficulties with the Winston lot." (133)

When he heard the news, MacDonald, wrote Reith an angry letter, calling "for an opportunity for the fair-minded and reasonable public to hear Labour's point of view". Anne Perkins, the author of A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) has argued that if the government had accepted the proposal and people had "heard an Opposition voice would certainly have done something to restore the faith of millions of working-class people who had lost confidence in the BBC's potential to be a national institution and a reliable and trustworthy source of news." (134)

At the same time Stanley Baldwin was allowed to make several broadcasts on the BBC. Baldwin "had recognized the importance of the new medium from its inception... now, with an expert blend of friendliness and firmness, he repeated that the strike had first to be called off before negotiations could resume, but repudiated the suggestion that the Government was fighting to lower the standard of living of the miners or of any other section of the workers". (135)

In one broadcast Baldwin argued: "A solution is within the grasp of the nation the instant that the trade union leaders are willing to abandon the General Strike. I am a man of peace. I am longing and working for peace, but I will not surrender the safety and security of the British Constitution. You placed me in power eighteen months ago by the largest majority accorded to any party for many years. Have I done anything to forfeit that confidence? Cannot you trust me to ensure a square deal, to secure even justice between man and man?" (136)

By 12th May, 1926, most of the daily newspapers had resumed publication. The Daily Express reported that the "strike had a broken back" and it would be all over by the end of the week. (137) Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere, was extremely hostile to the strike and all his newspapers reflected this view. The Daily Mirror stated that the "workers have been led to take part in this attempt to stab the nation in the back by a subtle appeal to the motives of idealism in them." (138) The Daily Mail claimed that the strike was one of "the worst forms of human tyranny". (139)

Negotiations with the TUC

Walter Citrine, the general secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), was desperate to bring an end to the General Strike. He argued that it was important to reopen negotiations with the government. His view was "the logical thing is to make the best conditions while our members are solid". Baldwin refused to talk to the TUC while the General Strike persisted. Citrine therefore contacted Jimmy Thomas, the general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR), who shared this view of the strike, and asked him to arrange a meeting with Herbert Samuel, the Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Coal Industry. (140)

Without telling the miners, the TUC negotiating committee met Samuel on 7th May and they worked out a set of proposals to end the General Strike. These included: (i) a National Wages Board with an independent chairman; (ii) a minimum wage for all colliery workers; (iii) workers displaced by pit closures to be given alternative employment; (iv) the wages subsidy to be renewed while negotiations continued. However, Samuel warned that subsequent negotiations would probably mean a reduction in wages. These terms were accepted by the TUC negotiating committee, but were rejected by the executive of the Miners' Federation. (141)

Herbert Smith was furious with the TUC for going behind the miners back. One of those involved in the negotiations, John Bromley of the NUR, commented: "By God, we are all in this now and I want to say to the miners, in a brotherly comradely spirit... this is not a miners' fight now. I am willing to fight right along with them and suffer as a consequence, but I am not going to be strangled by my friends." Smith replied: "I am going to speak as straight as Bromley. If he wants to get out of this fight, well I am not stopping him." (142)

Walter Citrine wrote in his diary: "Miner after miner got up and, speaking with intensity of feeling, affirmed that the miners could not go back to work on a reduction in wages. Was all this sacrifice to be in vain?" Citrine quoted Cook as saying: "Gentleman, I know the sacrifice you have made. You do not want to bring the miners down. Gentlemen, don't do it. You want your recommendations to be a common policy with us, but that is a hard thing to do." (143)

Herbert Smith asked Arthur Pugh if the decision was "the unanimous decision of your Committee?" Pugh replied that it was the view that the General Strike should come to an end. Smith pleaded for further negotiations. However, Pugh was insistent: "That is it. That is the final decision, and that is what you have to consider as far as you are concerned, and accept it." (144)

On the 11th May, at a meeting of the Trade Union Congress General Committee, it was decided to accept the terms proposed by Herbert Samuel and to call off the General Strike. The following day, the TUC General Council visited 10 Downing Street and attempted to persuade the Government to support the Samuel proposals and to offer a guarantee that there would be no victimization of strikers.

Bernard Partridge, Under Which Flag (12th May 1926)
Bernard Partridge, Under Which Flag (12th May 1926)

Baldwin refused but did say if the miners returned to work on the current conditions he would provide a subsidy for six weeks and then there would be the pay cuts that the Mine Owners Association wanted to impose. He did say that he would legislate for the amalgamation of pits, introduce a welfare levy on profits and introduce a national wages board. The TUC negotiators agreed to this deal. As Lord Birkenhead, a member of the Government was to write later, the TUC's surrender was "so humiliating that some instinctive breeding made one unwilling even to look at them." (145)

Baldwin already knew that the Mine Owners Association would not agree to the proposed legislation. They had already told Baldwin that he must not meddle in the coal industry. It would be "impossible to continue the conduct of the industry under private enterprise unless it is accorded the same freedom from political interference that is enjoyed by other industries." (146)

To many trade unionists, Walter Citrine had betrayed the miners. A major factor in this was money. Strike pay was haemorrhaging union funds. Information had been leaked to the TUC leaders that there were cabinet plans originating with Winston Churchill to introduce two potentially devastating pieces of legislation. "The first would stop all trade union funds immediately. The second would outlaw sympathy strikes. These proposals would... make it impossible for the trade unions' own legally held and legally raised funds to be used for strike pay, a powerful weapon to drive trade unionists back to work." (147)

Seven Month Lockout

Arthur Pugh, the President of the Trade Union Congress, and Jimmy Thomas, the general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR), informed the Miners' Federation of Great Britain leaders, that if the General Strike was terminated the government would instruct the owners to withdraw their notices, allowing the miners to return to work on the "status quo" while the wage reductions and reorganisation machinery were negotiated. A. J. Cook asked what guarantees the TUC had that the government would introduce the promised legislation, Thomas replied: "You may not trust my word, but will not accept the word of a British gentleman who has been Governor of Palestine". (148)

David Low, The Star (15th May 1926)
David Low, The Star (15th May 1926)

Jennie Lee, was a student at Edinburgh University when her father, a miner in Lochgelly in Scotland. During the lock-out she returned to help her family. "Until the June examinations were over I was chained to my books, but I worked with a darkness around me. What was happening in the coalfield? How were they managing? Once I was free to go home to Lochgelly my spirits rose. When you are in the thick of a fight there is a certain exhilaration that keeps you going." (149)

When the General Strike was terminated, the miners were left to fight alone. Cook appealed to the public to support them in the struggle against the Mine Owners Association: "We still continue, believing that the whole rank and file will help us all they can. We appeal for financial help wherever possible, and that comrades will still refuse to handle coal so that we may yet secure victory for the miners' wives and children who will live to thank the rank and file of the unions of Great Britain." (150)

Bernard Partridge, The Lever Breaks (19th May 1926)
Bernard Partridge, The Lever Breaks (19th May 1926)

On 21st June 1926, the British Government introduced a Bill into the House of Commons that suspended the miners' Seven Hours Act for five years - thus permitting a return to an 8 hour day for miners. In July the mine-owners announced new terms of employment for miners based on the 8 hour day. As Anne Perkins has pointed out this move "destroyed any notion of an impartial government". (151)

A. J. Cook toured the coalfields making passionate speeches in order to keep the strike going: "I put my faith to the women of these coalfields. I cannot pay them too high a tribute. They are canvassing from door to door in the villages where some of the men had signed on. The police take the blacklegs to the pits, but the women bring them home. The women shame these men out of scabbing. The women of Notts and Derby have broken the coal owners. Every worker owes them a debt of fraternal gratitude." (152)

Hardship forced men to begin to drift back to the mines. By the end of August, 80,000 miners were back, an estimated ten per cent of the workforce. 60,000 of those men were in two areas, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. "Cook set up a special headquarters there and rushed from meeting to meeting. He was like a beaver desperately trying to dam the flood. When he spoke, in, say, Hucknall, thousands of miners who had gone back to work would openly pledge to rejoin the strike. They would do so, perhaps for two or three days, and then, bowed down by shame and hunger, would drift back to work." (153)

Bernard Partridge, The Striker's Return (26th May 1926)
Bernard Partridge, The Striker's Return (26th May 1926)

Herbert Smith and Arthur Cook had a meeting with government representatives on 26th August, 1926. By this stage Cook was willing to do a deal with the government than Smith. Cook asked Winston Churchill: "Do you agree that an honourably negotiated settlement is far better than a termination of struggle by victory or defeat by one side? Is there no hope that now even at this stage the government could get the two sides together so that we could negotiate a national agreement and see first whether there are not some points of agreement rather than getting right up against our disagreements." (154) According to Beatrice Webb "if it were not for the mule-like obstinacy of Herbert Smith, A. J. Cook would settle on any terms." (155)

This meeting revealed the differences between Smith and Cook. "After a wary start the two seem to have developed a mutual respect during their many hours of shared stress. By the middle of the lock-out, however, they seem to have drifted on to different. wavelengths. Undoubtedly Cook felt Smith's obstinacy to be impractical and damaging. Smith, however, as MFGB President, was the Federation's chief spokesman, and Cook could not officially or openly dissociate himself from Smith's position. The MFGB special conference had granted the officials unfettered negotiating power, but Smith seems to have grown more stubborn as the miners' bargaining position worsened. One may admire his spirit, but not his wisdom. It is likely that by this time Smith reflected a minority view within the Federation Executive, but as President his position was unchallengeable, and there was no public dissent at his inflexibility. Cook, meanwhile, had embraced a conciliatory, face-saving position: he was only too aware of the drift back to work in some areas; he saw the deteriorating condition of many miners and their families." (156)

In October 1926 hardship forced men to begin to drift back to the mines. By the end of November most miners had reported back to work. Will Paynter remained loyal to the strike although he knew they had no chance of winning. "The miners' lock-out dragged on through the months of 1926 and really was petering-out when the decision came to end it. We had fought on alone but in the end we had to accept defeat spelt out in further wage-cuts." (157)

As one historian pointed out: "Many miners found they had no jobs to return to as many coal-owners used the eight-hour day to reduce their labour force while maintaining productions levels. Victimisation was practised widely. Militants were often purged from payrolls. Blacklists were drawn up and circulated among employers; many energetic trade unionists never worked in a pit again after 1926. Following months of existence on meague lockout payments and charity, many miners' families were sucked by unemployment, short-term working, debts and low wages into abject poverty." (158)


(1) Terry Eagleton, Why Marx was Right (2011) page 58

(2) Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx (1939) page 173

(3) Francis Wheen, Karl Marx (1999) page 300

(4) Paul Mason, Post-Capitalism: A Guide to Our Future (2015) page 62

(5) Paul C. Wilson, How Inventions Really Happen: The Sewing Machine Story, in Five Lives (2017) page 93

(6) Ruth Brandon, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance (1977) page 17

(7) Paul C. Wilson, How Inventions Really Happen: The Sewing Machine Story, in Five Lives (2017) page 94

(8) Ruth Brandon, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance (1977) page 20

(9) Paul C. Wilson, How Inventions Really Happen: The Sewing Machine Story, in Five Lives (2017) page 94

(10) Ruth Brandon, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance (1977) page 32

(11) Paul C. Wilson, How Inventions Really Happen: The Sewing Machine Story, in Five Lives (2017) page 99

(12) Liz Land, The Development of the Sewing Machine (12th April, 2002)

(13) William Davis, The Innovators (1987) page 353

(14) Ruth Brandon, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance (1977) page 51

(15) Paul C. Wilson, How Inventions Really Happen: The Sewing Machine Story, in Five Lives (2017) page 116

(16) William Davis, The Innovators (1987) page 354

(17) David Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932 (1985) page 89

(18) Lendol Calder, Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit (2001) page 165

(19) Ruth Brandon, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance (1977) page 135

(20) William Davis, The Innovators (1987) page 355

(21) Paul C. Wilson, How Inventions Really Happen: The Sewing Machine Story, in Five Lives (2017) page 134

(22) Ruth Brandon, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance (1977) pages 186-187

(23) Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (2001) page 8

(24) Andrew Ewart, The World's Wickedest Men: Authentic Accounts of Lives Terrible in Their Power for Evil (1963)

(25) Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1923) page 24

(26) Richard Cavendish, History Today (8th August 1999)

(27) Allan Nevins, Ford, the Times, the Man, the Company (1954) pages 74-75

(28) Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (2001) page 11

(29) Victor Curcio, Henry Ford (2013) page 19

(30) M. J. York, Henry Ford: Manufacturing Mogul (2010) page 20

(31) Richard Cavendish, History Today (8th August 1999)

(32) Neil Baldwin, Edison: Inventing the Century (2001) page 302

(33) Edwin Black, Internal Combustion (2007) page 99

(34) Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1923) page 25

(35) M. J. York, Henry Ford: Manufacturing Mogul (2010) page 28

(36) Oliver E. Barthel, The Reminiscences of Oliver E. Barthel (1952) page 70

(37) Victor Curcio, Henry Ford (2013) page 38

(38) Ford Richardson Bryan, Henry's Lieutenants (1993) pages 67-73

(39) Motor World Magazine (26th February, 1903)

(40) Samuel S. Marquis, Henry Ford: An Interpretation (1923) page 28

(41) William Davis, The Innovators (1987) page 138

(42) Christy Borth, Masters of Mass Production (1945) page 38

(43) Victor Curcio, Henry Ford (2013) page 65

(44) Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974) page 181

(45) Frederick Winslow Taylor, Scientific Management (1911) page 83

(46) David L. Lewis, The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company (1976) page 49

(47) Allan Nevins, Ford, the Times, the Man, the Company (1954) page 533

(48) Harry Barnard, Independent Man: The Life of Senator James Couzens (1958) page 83

(49) The Wall Street Journal (12th January, 1914)

(50) Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1923) pages 126-127

(51) Ford Richardson Bryan, Clara: Mrs. Henry Ford (2001) pages 206-207

(52) Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (2001) pages 38-39

(53) Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1923) page 130

(54) William Davis, The Innovators (1987) page 138

(55) Henry Ford, New York Times (11th April, 1915)

(56) New York American Journal (16th August, 1915)

(57) The Detroit Free Press (22nd August, 1915)

(58) Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (2001) page 57

(59) Gavin Langmuir, History Religion and Antisemitism (1993) page 297

(60) Steven Watts, The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century (2005) page 230

(61) William Davis, The Innovators (1987) pages 138-139

(62) Simon Taylor, Revolution, Counter-Revolution and the Rise of Hitler (1983) pages 39-40

(63) James Stewart Martin, All Honorable Men (1950) page 46

(64) Barry Supple, History of the Coal Industry: The Political Economy of Decline (1987) page 6

(65) A. M. McBriar, Fabian Socialism and English Politics: 1884-1918 (1962) page 326

(66) Margot Asquith, The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (1962) page 245

(67) John Wilson, A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1973) page 505

(68) Bob Holman, Keir Hardie: Labour's Greatest Hero? (2010) page 166

(69) Paul Foot, An Agitator of the Worst Type (January, 1986)

(70) Arthur J. Cook, Noah Ablett and Stephen Owen Davies, The Miners' Next Step (1912) pages 19-20

(71) Barry Supple, History of the Coal Industry: The Political Economy of Decline (1987) page 7

(72) James Keir Hardie, statement (August, 1914)

(73) Arthur J. Cook, The Porth Gazette (3rd October, 1914)

(74) Ralph Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism (1972) page 48

(75) A. J. P. Taylor, English History: 1914-1945 (1965) page 113

(76) J. F. Martin, The Government and the Control of the British Coal Industry, 1914-1918 (1981) page 17

(77) G.D.H. Cole, A History of the Labour Party from 1914 (1948) page 24

(78) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 23

(79) Chris Wrigley, David Lloyd George and the British Labour Movement (1976) page 127

(80) John Richard Raynes, Coal and its Conflicts (1928) page 5

(81) J. F. Martin, The Government and the Control of the British Coal Industry, 1914-1918 (1981) pages 33-35

(82) Susan Armitage, The Politics of Decontrol of Industry (1969) page 4

(83) A. J. P. Taylor, Politics in Wartime (1965) page 23

(84) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) pages 26-27

(85) Arthur J. Cook, The Merthyr Pioneer (3rd March, 1917)

(86) File on A. J. Cook (Public Record Office: HO 45/10743/263275) (8g)

(87) Captain Lionel Lindsay, Chief Constable of Glamorgan, report to the Home Office (24th November 1917)

(88) Arthur J. Cook, speech in Ynyshir (20th January 1918)

(89) Captain Lionel Lindsay, Chief Constable of Glamorgan, report to the Home Office (24th November 1917)

(90) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) pages 31-32

(91) J. F. Martin, The Government and the Control of the British Coal Industry, 1914-1918 (1981) page 132

(92) David Lloyd George, speech in Wolverhampton (24th November, 1918)

(93) Frank McLynn, The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution (2013) page 365

(94) A. J. P. Taylor, English History: 1914-1945 (1965) page 189

(95) Hywel Francis, Arthur James Cook : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(96) Will Paynter, My Generation (1972) page 31

(97) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) page 29

(98) Paul Foot, An Agitator of the Worst Type (January, 1986)

(99) The Daily Mail (21st June 1924)

(100) Keith Davies, Frank Hodges : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(101) Frank McLynn, The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution (2013) page 395

(102) Will Paynter, My Generation (1972) page 30

(103) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) page 40

(104) Tony Lane, The Union Makes us Strong (1974) page 121

(105) Alan Bullock, The Life and Times of Ernest Bevin (1960) page 277

(106) Anne Perkins, A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) page 53

(107) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) page 32

(108) The Samuel Report (11th March, 1926)

(109) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) page 35

(110) A. J. Cook, speech (12th March, 1926)

(111) John James Lawson, The Man in the Cap. The Life of Herbert Smith (1941) pages 215-6

(112) Arthur Horner, Incorrigible Rebel (1960) page 72

(113) Kingsley Martin, diary entry (26th April, 1926)

(114) David Kirkwood, My Life of Revolt (1935) page 231

(115) Thomas Jones, Whitehall Diaries: Volume II (1969) page 16

(116) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 95

(117) Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976) page 214

(118) Ramsay MacDonald, diary entry (3rd May, 1926)

(119) Hamilton Fyfe, Behind the Scenes of the Great Strike (1926) page 24

(120) Hamilton Fyfe, Thomas Marlowe : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(121) John Hodge, Workman's Cottage to Windsor Castle (1931) page 363

(122) Hamilton Fyfe, Behind the Scenes of the Great Strike (1926) page 31

(123) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 85

(124) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) pages 139-140

(125) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) pages 137-138

(126) Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976) page 241

(127) John C. Davidson, Memoirs of a Conservative (1969) page 238

(128) Cass Canfield, Up and Down and Around (1971) pages 86-87

(129) Margaret Cole, Growing up into Revolution (1949) page 123

(130) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) page 183

(131) Anne Perkins, A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) pages 203-204

(132) William Graham, letter to John Reith (9th May, 1926)

(133) John Reith, diary entry (10th May, 1926)

(134) Anne Perkins, A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) page 214

(135) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) page 190

(136) Stanley Baldwin, BBC broadcast (8th May, 1926)

(137) The Daily Express (12th May, 1926)

(138) The Daily Mirror (12th May, 1926)

(139) The Daily Mail (13th May, 1926)

(140) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 99

(141) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) pages 198-199

(142) Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976) page 263

(143) Walter Citrine, Men and Work (1964) page 194

(144) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) page 203

(145) Frank McLynn, The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution (2013) page 461

(146) Charles Loch Mowat, Britain Between the Wars (1955) page 332

(147) Anne Perkins, A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) page 199

(148) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 99

(149) Jennie Lee, My Life With Nye (1980) page 43

(150) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) pages 102-103

(151) Anne Perkins, A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) page 255

(152) A. J. Cook, The Miner (28th August, 1926)

(153) Paul Foot, An Agitator of the Worst Type (January, 1986)

(154) A. J. Cook, minutes of Miners' Federation of Great Britain concerning meeting with Winston Churchill (26th August, 1926)

(155) Beatrice Webb, diary entry (August, 1926)

(156) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 121

(157) Will Paynter, My Generation (1972) page 31

(158) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 134