Christian Hogsbjerg

Trinidad 1919: A glimpse of liberation

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Returning soldiers and sailors became the driving force behind a series of mass strikes that, says Christian Høgsbjerg, created a ‘social volcano’.

The year 1919 was one of intense class struggles in Britain, perhaps best remembered for the mass strike in January 1919 and the resulting tumult in Glasgow’s Clydeside for the 40-hour week and which had seen over 40,000 engineers and shipbuilders on strike alongside 36,000 miners and electricity supply workers. The secretary of state for Scotland, Robert Munro, argued that “it was a misnomer to call the situation in Glasgow a strike — it was a Bolshevist uprising”, and 12,000 English troops, 100 military lorries and six tanks were deployed to maintain order.

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