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First Lord of the Admiralty, 1911-1915

Author of Recruiting Bill

take and exercise control over manufactories led up to the war." While they were at Norcapable of being used for the manufacture of wich, many of the Independent Labor Party munitions, as well as over factories already en- delegates attended the meeting of the Union of gaged in that work. In the hope of securing Democratic Control, whose object was to abolish more loyal coöperation from the laborers, Mr. secret and undemocratic diplomacy. Mr. RamLloyd George and Mr. Runciman (president of say McDonald, who presided over the meeting, the board of trade) conferred with representa- declared that Russia was fighting for power in tives of the trade unions, March 17th and March the Balkans and France for revenge; that Prus19th. The agreement was reached that (1) sian militarism could not be crushed by war, during the war there was to be no stoppage of but must be destroyed from within. This exwork on the munitions and equipment ordered tremely diffident attitude towards the war, let by the government; (2) disputes were to be set it be repeated, was not shared by the majority tled by conferences between the men and their of the workingmen. Nevertheless it must be employers, or in case of deadlock referred either admitted that a very widespread discontent was to the Committee on Production, to a single ar- manifested, chiefly as a result of the increase in bitrator appointed by the board of trade, or to the cost of living without a simultaneous coma Court of Arbitration representing equally mensurate increase of wages. During the pecapital and labor; (3) an advisory committee riod from January to May, 286 labor disputes, representing the munitions workers was to be strikes, or lockouts were reported, affecting appointed by the government; (4) trade-union 109,693 men. Two-thirds of the strikes were regulations, especially the restrictions upon the caused by the demand for higher wages, and at employment of semi-skilled and female labor in least 12 by the attempt of employers to mainunion shops, were to be relaxed during the war, tain the “open shop" system. The total time on the assurance that no diminution of pay lost amounted to 762,900 days. In the coalwould result from the introduction of cheaper mines, and in the munitions industry, the labor. During March also a strong movement workers complained that they were being forced was set on foot to restrict or prohibit the use to work long hours, without an adequate inof alcohol, so that the labor of the munitions crease of pay, while the cost of living had inworkers would be more efficient. King George creased, and the employers were enjoying unhimself set an example to the nation in this re- precedented profits. Any attempt on the part spect by announcing, the first week in April, of the government to coerce munitions workers, that henceforth the use of alcoholic beverages or to introduce compulsory military service, would be prohibited in the royal household. In would encounter the most stubborn opposition May the Parliament authorized the government from organized labor. to regulate the sale of liquor in areas where the THE COALITION CABINET. In May a cabinet munitions of war were being made, and a Cen- crisis was precipitated by the quarrel (see tral Board of Control was nominated, under the below, Churchills Resignation) between Winschairmanship of Lord D’Abernon. In spite of ton Spencer Churchill, first lord of the adthe measures taken by the government to in- miralty, and Lord Fisher, first sea lord. The crease the output of munitions, the shortage latter resigned May 14th; at the same time Mr. continued to cause complaint and criticism in Churchill offered to resign. In view of the dethe press. The London Times' military corre- mand which had of late become insistent, that spondent asserted May 12th that in attacks at the Opposition be allowed some voice and some Fromelles and Richebourg, "the want of an un- responsibility in the cabinet during the war, limited supply of high explosive was a fatal Mr. Asquith decided to take this opportunity bar to our success.” To break through the hard for the reconstruction of the cabinet and the crust of the German line in France and Bel- formation of a Coalition government. Lord gium, he asserted, "we need more high explo- Haldane, Lord Beauchamp, Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. sives, more heavy howitzers, and more men." Herbert Samuel, Mr. Pease, Mr. Montagu, Lord

ATTITUDE OF THE INDEPENDENT LABOR PARTY. Lucas, and Lord Emmot were asked to resign The difficulty experienced by Great Britain in their posts, and in their stead eight Unionists meeting the demand for more men and more were brought into the cabinet. By creating 2 munitions was partly due to the attitude of the new places in the cabinet, bringing the total laboring classes. The Socialist Independent La- up to 32, room was made for à Labor membor Party, although representing only a fraction ber and another Liberal; so that the Coaliof organized labor, was influential in propagat- tion cabinet included 12 Liberals, 8 Unionists, ing doubt as to the justice of Great Britain's 1 Labor member, and Lord Kitchener. The apcause, and in raising the question in the minds portionment of portfolios, as announced May of at least a few workingmen, whether after all 25th, was follows: Prime minister and democracy was to be furthered by waging war in first lord of the treasury, Mr. Asquith (Liballiance with the Tsar. A conference of the eral); minister without portfolio, Lord LangIndependent Labor Party met at Norwich, April downe (Unionist); lord chancellor, Sir S. 5th, reëlected Mr. Jowett as chairman, and by Buckmaster (Liberal); lord president of the

almost · unanimous vote resolved: “That council, Lord Crewe (Liberal); lord privy this conference expresses its strong disapproval seal, Lord Curzon (Unionist); chancellor of of the action of the Labor Party [the Labor the exchequer, Mr. Reginald McKenna (LibParty, it should be noted, represented the bulk eral); secretary of state for home affairs, Sir of the trade unions, whereas the Independent John Simon (Liberal); secretary of state for Labor Party represented the Socialist minority) foreign affairs, Sir Edward Grey (Liberal); in taking part in a recruiting campaign, and of secretary of state for colonies, Mr. Andrew Independent Labor Party members of Parlia. Bonar Law (Unionist); secretary of state for ment speaking from platforms on which at India, Mr. J. Austen Chamberlain (Unionist); tempts were made to justify the war and the secretary of state for war, Lord Kitchener; foreign policy of the Liberal government which minister of munitions (a newly created port



folio), Mr. David Lloyd George (Liberal); first Kingdom; Mr. Hobhouse warned the governlord of the admiralty, Mr. Arthur J. Balfour ment against introducing compulsory labor. (Unionist); president of the Board of Trade, Mr. Crooks (Labor) expressed the fear that Mr. Walter Runciman_(Liberal); president of "conscript labor” was contemplated. Sir John the Local Government Board, Mr. Walter Hume Simon quelled the storm of criticism by disLong (Unionist); chancellor of the Duchy of claiming any intention on the part of the govLancaster, Mr. Winston Spencer Churchill (Lib- ernment to impose any compulsion upon labor. eral); resigned November, 1915, succeeded by In course of the debate Sir R. Cooper made the Mr. Herbert Samuel (Liberal); chief secretary astonishing statement that he had offered, as for Scotland, Mr. McKinnon Wood (Liberal); long ago as April 21st, to supply 5,000,000 president of the Board of Agriculture and Fish- shells, and desired to know why his offer was eries (not previously a cabinet office), Lord Sel- not accepted. Despite hostile criticism, the borne (Unionist); first commissioner of works, Ministry of Munitions Bill was passed by both Mr. Lewis Harcourt (Liberal); president of the Houses of Parliament and received the royal Board of Education, Mr. Arthur Henderson assent, June 9th. With an energy that prom(Labor); attorney-general, Sir Edward Carson ised well for the future, Mr. David Lloyd (Unionist), resigned October, 1915, succeeded by George now threw himself into the work of his Sir Frederick Edwin Smith (Unionist); chief- new department. On June 23rd he came for. secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Mr. ward with a Munitions Bill, which embodied Augustine Birrell (Liberal). Outside of the the chief points of his programme: (1) Strikes cabinet, important ministerial positions were as- and lockouts were to be made illegal in the signed to Mr. H. Samuel (postmaster-general), munitions plants, and industrial disputes were Mr. F. E. Smith, (solicitor-general), and Mr. to be settled by compulsory arbitration; (2) Montagu (financial secretary to the treasury). the short-sighted policy which had permitted In respect of the new cabinet, it should be noted skilled workers to be drafted into the army that Ünionists were placed in charge of India, from the munition plants was now to be rethe colonies, the navy, and agriculture; that versed, and the skilled munitions workers who the Labor member, Mr. Henderson, on the other had enlisted were to be brought home again; hand, was not assigned to a post where his par- (3) seven days were to be allowed for the voltisan convictions were likely to find expression; untary enrollment of skilled men in a mobile that Mr. Winston Churchill was removed from munition corps, the enrollment being conducted the admiralty and given a post without special by the trade unions, and the recruits being given responsibility; that the Irish Nationalist leader, a certificate instead of a uniform to show that Mr. Redmond, although offered a place in the they were engaged in patriotic service; (4) govCoalition cabinet, refused to accept a govern:

ernment control over munitions workshops was ment office while Home Rule was still denied to be established, "slackers” were to be fined, to Ireland, and an Ulster Unionist (Sir Edward and a Munitions Court was to be constituted; Carson) sat in the cabinet; and, finally, that (5) trade union regulations, in so far as they after seven historic years as chancellor of the hampered the work, were to be suspended; and exchequer, Mr. David Lloyd George, the elo- (6) employers' profits were to be limited. Dur. quent Welsh land-reformer, resigned the minis- ing the debate on the Munitions Bill, an importry of finance into the hands of Mr. McKenna, tant revelation was made by Mr. Pease, former and undertook a new and arduous responsibility minister of education. The government at the as minister of munitions. Of interest to stu- beginning of the war, he affirmed, had no idea dents of constitutional history was the bill in- of the large proportion of high explosives or the troduced immediately after the formation of the number of machine guns or the type of hand Coalition government, to render the reëlection grenade which would be used in trench-warfare. of newly appointed cabinet officers unnecessary Lord Kitchener, he implied, had been more farduring war time. The reason which led to this seeing than the other ministers, and had conimportant departure from a venerable precedent tinually urged the necessity of providing in adwas the obvious inexpediency of requiring a vance for the materials which might be required newly appointed minister to undertake an elec- in a long and stubbornly contested war. The toral campaign, distracting his attention from Munitions Bill was finally passed by Parliament his ministerial functions, just at the time when the first week in July, with an amendment somehis undivided energies were demanded by the what weakening the government's power to ennation.

force the arbitration of industrial disputes. By LLOYD GEORGE AND MUNITIONS. The bill to July 12th 90,000 men had been enrolled as muestablish and define the powers of the minister nitions workers under the new plan. By July of munitions was introduced in the House of 28th 16 national munitions factories had been Commons the first week in June, by the home established in England, and 10 more, it was ansecretary, Sir John Simon. The extraordinary nounced, would soon be erected. Early in Aug. character of the powers which the bill con- ust a board of 25 scientists and engineering ferred upon the new minister evoked violent experts was created to examine inventions and criticism in the House of Commons, June 7th. improved appliances for the munitions ministry. Mr. Pringle (Liberal) expressed his abhorrence On August 12th the minister announced that of the provisions which, he claimed, would give in addition to the "national” munitions plants, the minister of munitions power to "socialize” 345 "controlled establishments” were engaged on labor. A Labor member, Mr. Philip Snowden, government work. In "controlled establishvigorously opposed compulsion and "forced la- ments” the owner, for his part, consented to bor.” An Irish Nationalist believed that the turn his excess profits over to the national exbill would force “slavery” upon the working chequer, while the workmen consented to susclasses, and demanded to know of what avail it pend restrictive trade-union regulations. In would be to destroy German militarism, if lib. September it became evident that the govern. erty were deliberately abolished in the United ment was living up to the provision of the Mu


nitions Bill which provided for the establish- third time by the House of Commons in 1914 ment of Munitions Courts to fine delinquent (consult the Year Book for 1914) in accordworkmen. A large number of Cammell, Laird ance with the provisions of the Parliament Act, and Company's men were fined for loss of time, a certain amount of solicitude was expressed in the aggregate loss of time in 20 weeks having Ireland lest a Unionist ministry, coming into amounted to about 1,500,000 hours, and the power during the war, might strike the act from fines varying from 5 to 60 shillings. The result the statute book and cheat Ireland of the boon of a little more than two months' work on the for which the Irish Nationalists had go stubpart of the able minister of munitions was in- bornly fought. The emotions may well be imagdicated on September 15th, when the govern- ined with which the Nationalists contemplated ment announced that 715 munitions factories, the establishment of the Coalition ministry, in employing 800,000 workmen, had been consti- which Sir Edward Carson, the leading antag. tuted as "controlled establishments,” and in ad- onist of Home Rule, occupied an honorable posi. dition the ministry of munitions had tion. By the Suspensory Act of September, structed 20 shell factories and was construct- 1914 (consult the YEAR Book for 1914, GREAT ing 18 more.

BRITAIN, History, The War and the Irish LABOR DIFFICULTIES. In September the fail- Question), the Irish Home Rule Act had been ure of the government to enlist the hearty sym- suspended until the expiration of 12 months pathy and support of the laboring classes be- from the date of passing, i.e. until Sept. 18, gan to cause grave concern. Strikes in the 1915, or "until such later date (not being later Welsh coal mines threatened to tie up industry than the end of the present war) as may be in general and to cripple the munitions trade in fixed by His Majesty by Order in Council.” particular... (For further information regard. The anticipation of the Irish Nationalists that ing the strike see STRIKES AND LOCKOUTS, Great the Coalition cabinet, instead of permitting the Britain.) The minister of munitions, more- act to come into effect in September would take over, found that his most eloquent appeals were advantage of the loophole permitting a further unavailing to secure a sufficient supply of labor suspension, was realized when on Sept. 14, 1915, for his munitions factories. In order to stir up the government published an Order in Council enthusiastic patriotism, delegations of workers as follows: “If at the expiration of 12 months were sent to visit the front. The first of these from the date of the passing of the said acts delegations, upon its return, issued an appeal to (Irish Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment) labor-“We have brought the needs of your fel- the present war is not ended-(1) No steps low workingmen at the front before yo shall be taken to put the Government of Ireland and we expect and believe you will not fail Act, 1914, into operation until the expiration them.” Mr. Lloyd George in person attended of 18 months from the date of the passing of the Trade Union Congress, September 9th, so that act unless the present war has previously that he might answer the complaints of the ended, nor if at the expiration of those 18 trade unionists. In reply to the charge that months the present war has not ended until the munitions workers were being forced to such later date, not being later than the end of work overtime for the profit of the factory- the present war, as may hereafter be fixed by owners, Mr. Lloyd George pointed to the na- Order in Council. (2) The date of disestabtional arsenals which had been established, and lishment under the Welsh Church Act, 1914, the limitation which had been imposed on profits shall be postponed until the end of the present in "controlled establishments." He in his turn complained that by insisting upon the strict ob- FURTHER WAR CREDITS. When the House of servance of their rules, the trade unions were Commons reassembled, September 14th, after its fatally hampering a most vital work. For ex- summer recess, it was called upon to consider ample, at Woolwich Arsenal the engineers had two principal problems, finance and recruiting. refused to allow semi-skilled persons to do the The London Times editorially remarked, “Upon work of qualified mechanics. In South Wales, its (Parliament's) decisions during the next the unions had refused to permit the operation few weeks may depend the fortunes of the war of lathes by semi-skilled workers. In a large and the future of the civilized world.” A war tool-making firm the workers had vetoed the credit of £250,000,000 was demanded by Preemployment of women to operate lathes. Such mier Asquith, September 15th, to cover expenses restrictions on the employment of unskilled la- up to November 15th. The total credits to date bor must be abandoned during the war; and amounted to £1,262,000,000, since Aug. 6, 1914. the unions must help the government to find The government, it was announced, had repaid the 80,000 skilled workmen and the 200,000 un- £50,000,000 to the Bank of England, and had skilled laborers who were urgently needed for lent £28,000,000 to the dominions, £250,000,000 munitions work. Owing to the shortage of la- to other belligerents, and £30,000,000 to other bor, Mr. Lloyd George said, at least 15 per cent foreign governments. The average daily cost of the machines for turning out rifles, cannon, of the war had shown a steady tendency to rise, and shells were standing idle every night. “If from £2,700,000 during the period from April the attitude of the Woolwich engineers is to be 1st to June 30th, to £3,000,000 from July 1st adhered to," he declared, "we are making to July 17th, and £3,500,000 from July 17th to straight for disaster.” The same warning was September 11th. During the next month Great repeated by Mr. Lloyd George in December, Britain's gross daily expenditure would not exwhen he said that success or failure in the war ceed, on the average, £5,000,000. depended upon his securing permission from RECRUITING. In asking for the new credit, organized labor to recruit 200,000 unskilled Mr. Asquith made the important but very vague workers for the munitions plants.

statement that from first to last, including both Irish HOME RULE AND WELSH DISESTABLISH- army and navy, "not far short of 3,000,000 MENT. Since the Irish Home Rule Bill had not men” had offered themselves for service. The yet come into operation, although passed for a total casualties numbered 380,000, although


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