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A.J. Cook

President of the Miners Federation after the First World War and was the hard-line miners' leader during the General Strike of 1926


A country in north-east Africa, now called Ethiopia


Large natural harbour, strategically placed at the entrance to the Gulf. Home to a large oil refinery. A British colony and important staging post on the sea route to India and Australia. A British colony until 1967 when the British left, after fighting the Aden NLF since 1963. Now a free port

AHA (Area Health Authority)

Area Health Authorities (AHAs) had the function of ensuring adequate provision of hospital, GP and community medical services in their area. They were in effect the local NHS. Replaced by Primary Care Trusts in 2003

Alan Lennox-Boyd

Conservative politician. Minister of Transport between 1952-1954, then Secretary of State for the colonies until 1959, overseeing independence for many of Britain's colonies. Offered to resign over British troops' actions in Kenya during the Mau Mau Rebellion, but was persuaded to stay in office by Macmillan. Made a Peer in 1960

Alec Douglas-Home

Conservative politician who served in various ministries before becoming Harold Macmillan's surprise successor as Prime Minister in 1963, for which he gave up his peerage. After election defeat in 1964 he was Leader of the Opposition until replaced by Edward Heath, in whose government he served as Foreign Secretary


Ancient trading city in what is now Syria. Part of the Ottoman Empire before becoming part of the French mandate in the area after the First World War

Alexander Paterson, Sir

A penologist, appointed Commissioner for Prisons in 1922, he introduced reforms to provide a more humane regime in prisons, and encouraged rehabilitation amongst inmates. Using Wakefield Prison as a testing ground, prisoners were allowed to earn small sums working, attend training courses and participate in games


Ancient port founded by Alexander the Great, now part of Turkey but claimed by Syria. Part of the French Mandate in the region after the First World War, but given to Turkey in 1939 by France as part of a deal to keep Turkey favourable to the Allies

Alexey Kosygin

Soviet Prime Minister between 1964-1980, who worked to make the Soviet economic system more flexible. He was ultimately unsuccessful because of fears that economic change would lead to political turmoil, the inertia of Soviet bureaucracy, the influence of the military and his own poor health

Amalgamated Engineering Union

Created in 1920 following the amalgamation of many smaller unions. Continued to grow by absorbing smaller unions. Now part of Amicus. Generally on the right wing of union politics, played a large part in securing a shorter working week in 1989-91. Allowed women to join during the Second World War

American Multilateral Force (MLF)

An American proposal, never implemented, put forward by Eisenhower and Kennedy, to have ships and submarines manned by crews from all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, not just America, as part of the West's nuclear deterrence. The aim was to give all NATO members a share in European defence

Andrew Bonar Law

Conservative Prime Minister between 1922-1924. Invited to form a coalition government in 1916 but deferred to David Lloyd George. One of the issues he presided over as Prime Minster was inter-Allied war debts, as Britain owed vast sums of money to the US, and was in turn owed money by France and Italy. Resigned due to ill-health and died later that year

Aneurin Bevan

A Welsh miner and trade union official, elected MP for Ebbw Vale in 1929. As Minister of Health in the Attlee government he was responsible for the successful creation of the National Health Service (NHS). In 1951 he resigned over the introduction of prescription charges. He became deputy leader of the Labour Party in 1959


Ancient city that became capital of the new Republic of Turkey in 1923. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War it became the headquarters of Kemal Ataturk in 1920 when Istanbul was occupied by the Allies


City in southern Turkey near the border with Syria

Anthony Barber

Conservative politician who became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Edward Heath's 1970 government. His tax-cutting led to a boom, but high inflation led to a statutory prices and income policy. The oil crisis of 1973 led to spending cuts and a confrontation with the miners, bringing down Heath's government

Anthony Crosland

Labour intellectual and MP. His book 'The future of socialism' set the agenda for the Wilson government. As Secretary of State for Education he was influential in promoting comprehensive schools. Callaghan made him Foreign Secretary, but he died in office in 1977

Anthony Eden

Conservative politician and Prime Minister between 1955-1957. Foreign Secretary between 1935-1958. Resigned as he increasingly disagreed with Chamberlain's policy of appeasement. Humiliation in the Suez Crisis and ill-health led him to quit as Prime Minister in 1957

Anti-Comintern Pact

Aimed against the USSR, this was an agreement of November 1936 between Nazi Germany and Japan, declaring their hostility to international communism (Comintern). The Japanese puppet regime in Manchuria was recognised by the pact, which was joined by Italy in 1937

Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League

Main political party in Burma from 1945-1962. Initially set up to oppose the Japanese in the Second World War, then re-constituted in 1945 to oppose the British and gain independence. Faced rebellions and conflict with minorities. Overthrown by military coup in 1962

ANZUS Treaty

The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty. Military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to co-operate on matters of defence in the Pacific area. Today the Treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area

arable farming

Land that is ploughed and used for the production of crops, such as wheat, potatoes and sugar beet


North Western Russian port near the mouth of the Dvina River, kept open in winter by icebreakers

Arran, Lord

8th Earl Arran and Conservative Whip in the House of Lords. Sponsor of Leo Abse's private members bill to legalise male homosexual relations when it came to the Lords

Arthur Balfour

Conservative Prime Minister between 1902-1906. His government was deeply divided over economic policy (free trade or imperial preference). Served as foreign secretary between 1916-1919. Responsible for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which promised Jews a national home in Palestine

Arthur Greenwood

Labour MP, appointed Minister of Health in Ramsay Macdonald's 1929 Labour Government. In 1935 became Deputy Leader under Attlee, and served in the wartime coalition government

Arthur Griffith

First President of the Irish Free State. Formed Sinn Fein in 1905. Took no part in the Easter Rising of 1916 but was imprisoned by the British. Elected Vice-President of the Provisional Government in 1918 and negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921. Died suddenly in August 1922

Arthur Henderson

Labour and trade union politician. Three times leader of the Labour Party between 1908-1910, 1914-1917 and 1931-1932. Member of Lloyd George's wartime coalition government, Home Secretary in the Labour Government between 1923-1924 and Foreign Secretary between 1929-1931. He chaired the Geneva Disarmament Conference and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1934

Arthur Salter, Sir

British civil servant who was director of ship requisitioning in the First World War. Sent to America to negotiate more new shipbuilding. After the First World War he worked for the League of Nations in Geneva. In the Second World War he again was in charge of shipping. Made a peer in 1954

Arthur Scargill

President of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1982, and a member of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Council. His strong defence of miners brought his union into conflict with the Heath Government, particularly during the 1984-1985 miners strike and when the closure of most deep-mine collieries was announced in 1992

Arthur Steel-Maitland

Conservative politician who served in various ministerial offices during the First World War, mostly to do with the colonies and trade. Was Minister of Labour between 1924-1929, and was part of the 'inner cabinet' of Baldwin, Hicks and Churchill set up to deal with the Miners Dispute and the General Strike. Died in 1935

Asia Minor

The historic name for the geographic region comprising most of modern Turkey, bounded by the Black Sea to the North, the Mediterranean Sea to the South, the Aegean Sea to the West and the bulk of the Asian mainland to the East


Part of India, located south of the eastern Himalayas, famous for its tea plantations and a source of petroleum


Courts sitting at regular intervals in each county of England and Wales to administer the civil and criminal law. In 1972 the civil jurisdiction of assizes was moved to the High Court and the criminal jurisdiction to the Crown Court

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

Trade union for train drivers. Set up in 1880, the union has fought hard to preserve the rights of its members, and in solidarity with other unions; for example, refusing to transport 'blackleg' workers in the 1984 miners' strike

Attorney General

Chief legal adviser to the Government, as well as being responsible for all Crown prosecutions including the Crown Prosecution Service

Auckland Geddes, Sir

British politician and diplomat. Served in the First World War, then as Director of National Service between 1917-1918. As Ambassador to the United States between 1920-1924 he produced a report into the treatment of British immigrants at Ellis Island. Chairman of Rio Tinto Company from 1924-1947, he was made a Peer in 1942

Austen Chamberlain

Conservative politician. Leader of Tariff Reform in the Commons in the early twentieth century. As Foreign Secretary he negotiated the Locarno Treaty in 1925. From 1933 onwards he consistently warned against the Nazi threat

Axis Powers

In the 1930s Germany, Japan and Italy signed alliances to form an 'axis of power' against the threat of communism. When the Second World War began the countries were known as the Axis Powers