There were several reasons why the Suffragettes did not receive the right to vote before the outbreak of the Great War. As this question suggests, the increase in the militant tactics of the Suffragettes undoubtedly played a role in this.
There were a few main reasons why the suffragettes believed that it was necessary to introduce the militancy. First, they believed that non militant actions had failed as they were easy to ignore. The Suffragists did a lot to try and get noticed and to be awarded the vote but the Suffragettes believed that they were getting nowhere. This was the reason why they introduced their policy of “deeds not words” as they believed this was the only way they would really be noticed. Some of these actions are mentioned in source A as we are told of how they made “attacks on property” and promoted the use of violence “Those of you who can break windows- break them”.
Secondly, they wanted to target the Liberal leader Asquith as he was very opposed to the female vote. The WSPU knew this and so targeted him directly. They were sick of him just ignoring them time and time again so felt unless they stepped up their violence to the “window smashing” as mentioned in source B, they would remain unnoticed.
The bad reaction that the public had towards the increase in use of militancy can be heard in source B. MacDonald the Labour party MP is describing their actions as “childish” and “silly” which shows us the discontent that many people had with these actions. The suffragettes believed that their actions could be justified as they did not think that the Suffragists were making any progress through their ideas of petitions and peaceful rallies. However, it could also be said that it was in fact these violent actions committed by the Suffragettes that ridiculed the suffragists and destroyed all of their work as it gave them a bad reputation.
In society, women were seen as very much second class citizens. Perhaps if men and women were on the same...