When Queen Victoria died, her son Edward VII came to the throne, the most important reforms:
• 1902, Education Act, the first step towards a system of compulsory school education for all children until fifteen,
• 1908, Old age pensions scheme started.
• 1909, Were opened Labour Exchange in which unemployed people could go looking for a work.
Edwardian age saw a strong industrialization, growth of urban areas, increasing of population. There’s the end of the balance of power in Europe, because Germany wanted to extend her control over Balkan states of south-east Europe, so Britain, which had positions in near East and Egypt, did “entente cordiale” with France, Russia and Japan. When Edward VII died his son George V came to the throne, and in the Georgian age Victorian habits were continued in country houses, with tea parties and so on. World war I put end to all this. In June 1914 the heir to the Austrian throne, was murdered at Sarajevo, Serbia, so Austria and Germany declared war against Serbia, France, Russia, Britain and Italy. Russia withdrew after Bolshevik revolution and United states entered in war against Austria and Germany, which lost the war. Britain had fought the war mostly in trenches, with aeroplanes, submarine.. Most of poets who fought in this war exposed cruelty of modern warfare and the manipulation of soldiers. The war ended with a treaty at Versailles, and was founded the League of Nations at Geneva with the aim of keeping peace. In 1918all man aged twenty-one, and women over thirty were allowed to vote so the number of voters rose, mostly workers, and in 1924 the first Labour government was founded. In this period there were new inventions, mass production increased goods’ production. New residential suburbs developed along roads rather than along railway and the London underground, the tube, was very important for people. The working class imitated upper class’ habits, now they move around with bicycle, go on holiday and the younger generation of upper class abandoned gentleman behaviour. So this change of lifestyle introduced a new family, smaller because both parents worked. During the war women took men’s place in the factories, they asked same rights of men especially the suffrage, the right to vote in a movement, in which the most important representative were Emmeline Pankhurst and her two daughters. They obtain in 1918 suffrage for women over thirty, and in 1928 for women over twenty-one. In 1926 there was a general strike because mine-owners reduced coal-miners’ wages but it was repressed, and there was an economic depression because Britain feared foreign competition, particularly from Japan and United States, and because of an unemployment.
British empire turns into British Commonwealth in which with the Statute of Westminster the Dominions: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Newfoundland were autonomous communities united to the crown. When George V died, his son Edward VII came to throne but abdicated to marry a American divorcee, Simpson, so his brother George VI came to throne during the World war II. With the treaty of Versailles, Germany underwent a terrible crisis, and Nazi’s party acquired power. Chamberlain, prime minister, obtained Hitler’s promise that Germany would no have expansion but when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia Britain and France declared war on her in 1939. Germany obtained victories and Italy entered in war on Germany’s side. On the shore on Dunkirk British soldiers were saved by British ships, and Britain won against Germany planes with her Royal Air force, Commonwealth helped Britain, and Soviet Union declared war on Germany because this attacked her. United States entered in war after Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbour. The war ended with the two atomic bomb dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.