Edwardian and Georgian Ages
During the reign of Queen Victoria’s son Edward VII (in 1906) a general election was held and resulted in a victory for the Liberal Party.
The Edwardian Age saw the culmination of the process that had characterized British social life for the past two centuries: a widespread industrialization; the growth of urban areas; an increase in population; the extension of the transport network.
On Edward’s death his son George V came to the throne. Life in the Georgian Age was in many ways the British counterpart of the Continental Belle époque.
The British upper class still thought of itself as the centre of the civilized world.
World War I put an abrupt end to all this.
World War I
In June 1914 the heir to the Austrian throne was murdered in Serbia during an official state visit.
Austria and Germany declared war on Serbia. This brought France Russia and Britain to side with Serbia.
In 1915 Italy joined France and Britain and in 1917 Russia withdrew after the Bolshevik Revolution, but the United States entered the war on Britain’s side and in 1918 thousands of soldiers were sent to Europe. The conflict ended in the same year.
Britain had fought the war mostly in the trenches of northern France but fighting occurred in the Middle East as well as at sea. For the first time airplanes, submarines, tanks and chemical weapons were used. Most of the poets who fought in World War I exposed the cruelty and meaninglessness of the fighting, attacking ideals of nationalism and heroism.