Tag: Llanelli strike

Churchill, Troops and Strikers (2)

Churchill, Troops and Strikers (2)

Con­clud­ed from Part 1

“Guilty with an Expla­na­tion”

Through­out the August 1911 rail­way strike, troops had orders to stand by and act only if pub­lic secu­ri­ty was endan­gered by the strik­ers. But there was anoth­er rea­son why anx­i­ety ran high at that time. A few weeks ear­li­er, the Ger­mans had sent a gun­boat to Agadir, French Moroc­co, and rumors of war with Ger­many were ram­pant. David Lloyd George said the Agadir Cri­sis was a threat to peace, that the Ger­mans “would not hes­i­tate to use the paral­y­sis into which the coun­try was falling in order to attack Britain.” Paul Addi­son, in Churchill on the Home Front, described the pub­lic mood:

The unprece­dent­ed chal­lenge of a simul­ta­ne­ous nation­al stop­page by all four rail­way unions con­vinced respectable opin­ion that the world was about to be turned upside down….Churchill’s own appre­hen­sions were con­nect­ed, appar­ent­ly with fear of sub­ver­sion in Germany….He was also informed by Guy Granet, the gen­er­al man­ag­er of the Mid­land Rail­ways, of alle­ga­tions that labour lead­ers were receiv­ing pay­ments from a Ger­man agent….Conservatives applaud­ed him for tak­ing deci­sive action.…

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Churchill, Troops & Strikers (1)

Churchill, Troops & Strikers (1)

Did Churchill Send Troops Against Strik­ers? “Guilty with an Expla­na­tion”

In a time when the actions of police forces are ques­tioned, when the Nation­al Guard is some­times deployed dur­ing riotous protests in which local res­i­dents are the main vic­tims, Churchill’s expe­ri­ence with strik­ers is wor­thy of study, his mag­na­nim­i­ty wor­thy of reflec­tion.

“The sullen feet of march­ing men in Tony­pandy….” Prime Min­is­ter Harold Wil­son on Churchill’s death, 1965. (Wiki­me­dia)

For a cen­tu­ry it has been part of social­ist demonolo­gy that Churchill sent troops to quell a 1910 min­ers’ strike in Tony­pandy, Wales. In 1967 an Oxford under­grad­u­ate wrote that Churchill had actu­al­ly accom­pa­nied the sol­diers with tanks, which was very pre­scient of him, since they had yet to be invent­ed.…

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