Before World War I, women were usually left at home to do domestic work. Similarly to other nations of the world, legislation only allowed men to vote. Suffragists protested for the right to have women to vote. In 1906 Elsie Inglis started the Scottish Women's Suffragette Federation. Some members of the Federation were more militant such as Flora Drummond; she would be arrested on 9 occasions for various different activities. The First World War helped the women's cause. They were extremely helpful during the war; many of them joined the Women's Land Army and volunteered in other activities. Because many men were forced into battle, many women had to work in weapons factories, they drove ambulances or buses, and served as nurse alongside the men who were fighting abroad. One of the turning points in the women's fight for suffrage occurred in 1915 when landlords increased the renting costs around shipyards where women were working. The women were upset and refused to pay the new price. The Patrick and Govan women helped organize a resistance. The leader of this resistance was Helen Crawford and because of these women's actions the Rent Restriction Act was changed. Women had finally broken through the social barrier. Three years later in 1918 the representation of the People Act was altered, it gave women over the age of 30 and men 21 years old the right to vote. They also gained the right stand in front of parliament for the first time.
World War I
From 1905 to 1914, inflation in Scotland was sky rocketing and the population was rapidly increasing. During this time period, World War I started and the young men of Scotland happily volunteered themselves, they saw it as an escape from being hungry and a way to get steady wages.
Scotland allied itself with England during the First World War and suffered greatly in doing so. Many people lost their lives during the war, especially recruits from the Highlands. In the end many generations of men perished during this First World War, it is estimated that 12,000 young Scottish men died in the war. In the Second World War, many Scottish infrastructures were damaged by German bombings. The British military had 157 battalions and 22 of those battalions were Scottish. Because so many men perished in the war, those that passed away were called the 'Lost Generation'.
Scotland played a huge part in helping the allied forces win the war; Scottish industries produced weapons, ships, and planes. Scottish men fought the Germans in the skies, trenches and helped the allies win the war. After the war ended they expected to be war heroes but returned home unemployed and living in poverty, there heroics seemed forgotten and many of them lost faith in the people were running the country.
There was a huge downturn in trade after the war ended, especially after 1919. Britain was losing its economic power around the world. Unemployment continued to rise and the Red Flag was raised in George Square which showed that politics were radically changing and by the time it was 1924, Britain had its first Labour government.
World War II
Just like in World War I the Scots played a big role in the Allied victory in the Second World War. The Clyde helped to produce weapons and the Scottish pilots helped protect Britain during Firth Forth. Firth Forth was an air battle which took place over Britain 6 weeks after the war began.
Shortly after the war started the government expected the Germans to bomb the major cities of Britain to kill civilians. Elderly couples, children and women were evacuated from Rosyth, Dundee, Glasgow and Ediburgh.
Women and children helped out at home while the men were fighting in the trenches. Women worked in factories building engines for bombers and other weapons. Children assisted the war effort by harvesting potatoes and the whole country dug for victory. The Dig for Victory campaign encouraged residents of Scotland to grow their own vegetables and to keep their own goats, chickens and rabbits for meat. Parks and football fields were transformed into gardens. The government knew that Germany would try to set up a blockade around Britain to prevent the country from receiving aid from the United States and Canada.
David Stirling formed the Special Air Service AKA SAS in 1941, the SAS was a ground force which specialized in spying and sabotaging key operations. They were especially helpful in the Northern part of Africa. The SAS were skilled spies that gathered useful intelligence and destroyed hundreds of enemy vehicles and aircrafts during the war.
Post war formation of new homes and new towns
Before either World War I or World War II began, Scotland's cities were overcrowded and the conditions in the city slums were filthy and spread disease. The country decided to take action after war damage worsened the living conditions. New municipal plans helped create new houses in the suburbs. These new houses were called overspill towns, one of the first towns built was East Kilbride, which today is the home to over 70,000 people. The next new town that was built was Glenrothes. Other towns such as Irvine, Cumbernauld and Livingston would all later be built.
Miners' began striking between 1972 and 1974. They miners' wore pins that said 'Coal not Dole' and forced 12 UK power stations to shut down in 1972. The power shortages forced the country to use a 3 day work week. The mining strike only ended after 11 Scottish National Party (Labour party) members were elected and gave in to miners' pay demands.
Devolution of the Scottish Government
After World War II, Scottish Nationalism grew to an all time high, while UK continued to lose international power to other countries around the world. After the war, the need for decentralization become obvious both industrially and commercially. The Scottish National Party (SNP) began to gain popularity in 1945, but didn't become powerful until the 1970s. In 1979 the devolution referendum finally passed. John Smith, was the leader of the Labour party and his words helped the Scottish people get their parliament recognized.
In 1997 the second devolution referendum passed through in a UK election. The inaugural reconvened Scottish Parliament held a meeting during May 1999 and officially opened up its doors to the public on July 1st. Almost 300 years after the 1707 Treaty of Union, the people of Scotland were able to rejoice and celebrate because once again they had their own parliament. The Queen carried out the official ceremony to devolution and an old chapter in Scottish history was complete. October 9th 2004 marked the day that the new Scottish Parliament opened up in Edinburgh.
Climate Change and new technology
Global warming has become a huge world-wide problem. Luckily, scientists are up for the challenge and hope to reduce the effects so that the climates around world return back to normal temperatures. New Technologies, wind mills and the green energy tariff in Scotland show that people in the country really care about the Earth's future. People are now using electric bikes, regular bikes and hybrid cars to get work and travel around. Isle of Gigha uses 3 wind turbines (225 kW) to generate enough electricity for the entire island. The Pitlochry Hydro Power Station and other Hydroelectric dams are generating electricity for the people for Scotland, and aren't harmful to the environment. The newest innovation Scottish scientists have created is the 160 metre Pelamis (Sea Snake) device at Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre (Emec). This place will become the planet's largest wave energy farm, it will have 4 floating generators turning waves into electricity.
The newest generation of migrants that moved to Scotland are called 'New Scots', many people from around the world have started coming to Scotland to work and raise their families. Scotland's Asian community has really begun to thrive and cities around Scotland now have many Asian Cultural events throughout the year. Besides Asians, New Scots also include Poles, Australians, Africans and Italians. Scotland is becoming a big melting pot of cultures, languages and people from all around the world.