Defence of the Realm Acts

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Legislation (1914, 1915, 1916) by the British Parliament during World War I. Under the Acts government took powers to commandeer factories and directly control all aspects of war production, making it unlawful for war-workers to move elsewhere. Left-wing agitators, especially on Clydeside, were “deported” to other parts of the country. Strict press censorship was imposed. All Germans had already been interned but war hysteria led tribunals to harass anyone with a German name or connection (for example, the writer D. H. Lawrence) and to imprison or fine pacifists (for example, Bertrand Russell). The Act of May 1915 gave wide powers over the supply and sale of intoxicating liquor, powers which were widely resented but which nevertheless survived the war. An Emergency Powers Act of 1920 confirmed the government's power to issue regulations in times of emergency and in 1939 many such regulations were reintroduced.

Subjects: World History.

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