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Glossary - W

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Wafdists

Egyptian political party formed in 1919 to demand independence and social and economic reform

Walter Citrine

General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in 1926. Played an important role in establishing TUC influence over the Labour Party. Opposed plans by the Labour Government in 1931 to cut unemployment benefits. Citrine fully supported Clement Attlee and the 1945 Labour Government's policy of nationalisation

Walter Monckton, Sir

Lawyer and politician. Adviser to Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis 1936. Minister in Churchill's government between 1951-1955 and Eden's Minister of Defence at the time of Suez (although he opposed the invasion, losing his job as a consequence)

War Cabinet

The War Cabinet, in existence from 1916 to 1919 and 1939 to 1945, was created in order to direct the war effort at a high level. Initially it included the Prime Minister and a number of powerful ministers without portfolio - who by being freed from departmental responsibilities could take a wider ranging view of the progress of the war. As the war Cabinet developed in the Second World War, key ministers leading the armed services, wartime production and other key areas were added. Other ministers who would normally have been in the Cabinet in peacetime did not attend, and the ordinary, full Cabinet did not meet.

Waverley, Lord

British administrator and politician. Held various senior posts in the Civil Service including Governor of Bengal, before becoming Minister of Home Security in 1939. As Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1943 he introduced the PAYE system of paying taxes

West Bank

Contested territory on the west bank of the River Jordan in the Middle East. Belonged to the Ottomans but was incorporated into the British Mandate of Palestine after the First World War. Captured by Jordan in 1948 and by Israel in 1967. It now has many Israeli settlements

West Korean Support Group

Mixed naval squadron operating off the coast of Korea between 1950-1953. Enforcing superiority at sea, on which UN forces were dependent to allow transport of troops and equipment, as well as using aircraft carriers to carry out offensive missions in support of the land armies

Western Defence Union

1948 Treaty involving Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Britain, aimed at guarding against possible German rearmament. Superseded by the events of the Berlin Blockade and the establishment of NATO

White Paper

A Government report or guide, usually issued as a 'Command Paper', that lays out policy or proposed action on a topic of current concern, signifying a clear intention on the part of government to pass a new law. Often follows on from discussion and debate around a 'Green Paper'

White Russian Forces

Opponents of the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War

William Beveridge

Academic and civil servant. Advised Lloyd George on Pensions and Insurance. In 1919 became Director of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Served on several government commissions between the wars. In 1940 was asked to investigate existing schemes of social security. Author of the Beveridge Report in 1942, which set out the basis of the Welfare State

Windscale

Plutonium plant in Cumbria, part of the British nuclear power programme. A fire in October 1957 caused Britain's most serious nuclear accident and spread radiation over the surrounding area. Now called Sellafield

Winston Churchill

Liberal and Conservative politician, with a long and controversial career. Involved in Gallipoli in 1915 (he had to resign over its failure), and the General Strike of 1926. He opposed appeasement, before replacing Chamberlain as Prime Minister in 1940. Most famous for leading Britain to victory in the Second World War. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. He once remarked 'History will be kind to me, for I shall write it!'

Woodrow Wilson

Academic who became American President (1913-1921). He believed in the principle of self-determination. His '14 Points' formed the basis of the Paris peace settlement ending the First World War. An advocate of the League of  Nations, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1919