The period between the end of World War I and the start of World War II. The generation (e.g. George Orwell, Jessica Mitford, Evelyn Waugh, Nancy Mitford) which was born in the early years of the 20th century reached adulthood during this time. In the 1920s some of them rebelled against their elders who had (they thought) caused World War I; and they spent the politicized 1930s aligning themselves either for or against Adolf Hitler, Fascism, General Franco, Communism, and the working-class.

In Britain, the rights and comforts that were previously enjoyed only by the rich and upper-class began to be extended to the middle- and working-classes. But there was also widespread unemployment, the lowering of wages as the pound lost value in the wake of abandoning the Gold Standard, the disillusionment of repatriated servicemen at the end of the first World War as they returned home injured, disfigured, or just plain unable to find work; and the General Strike took place in 1926.

Life between the wars was more complicated and good and bad less clearly-defined than they were before the first World War. But this write-up is just a generalization of the complexities of those years.

I was a miner
I was a docker
I was a railwayman
Between the wars
I raised a family
In time of austerity
We'd sweat at the foundry
Between the wars

I paid the union
And as times got harder
I looked to the government
To help the working man
But they brought prosperity
Down at the armory
We're arming for peace, me boys
Between the wars

But I kept the faith
And I kept voting
Not for the iron fist
But for the helping hand
But theirs is a land
Of hope and glory
Mine is the green field
And the factory floor
Theirs are the skies
All dark with bombers
And mine is the peace we knew
Between the wars

Call out the craftsman
Bring me the draftsman
Build me a path
From cradle to grave
And I'll give my consent
To any government
That does not deny a man
A living wage
Go find the young men
Never to fight again
Call out the banners
From the days gone by
Sweet moderation
Heart of this nation
Desert us not
We are between the wars

A song from Billy Bragg which is not exactly about this time period...anyway, the song was orignially released on the "Between the Wars" EP, and is now available on the Back to Basics collection and (in a slightly earlier form) on the Peel Sessions compilation.

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