The Politics of Coalition
As we have seen, a political truce had been arranged between the two major parties on the eve of the British ultimatum to Germany. The first New Year’s holiday of the War had not passed before discontent with the agreement began to surface among the Opposition. While the truce was actually an agreement to refrain only from fighting by-elections, in effect it morally committed the Conservatives to cease open criticism of Government policies. By the spring of 1915 the leaders of the Tory Party concluded that the only solution to circumstances then facing them was the formation of a formal coalition with the Liberals; Asquith agreed, and it was done. Certain conditions which brought about that compromise and others which resulted from it, ensured that the issue of military conscription would be before the Coalition during virtually its entire lifespan. Important and fractious though it was, however, it was not the sole divisive question which poisoned relations between the parties.
KeywordsPrime Minister Major Party Universal Service Home Rule Military Conscription
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