What are Margaret Thatcher's Achievements

Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013

lemoLiving Museum Online
  • Signed portrait photo of Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to November 1990.

    Photo credits: German Historical Museum; Inventory no. Do2 94/60

  • German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a press conference at Millbank Tower Cinema in London, 1979.

    Photo credit: REGIERUNGonline; B 145 pic-00012421

Margaret Thatcher is a British politician. She served as Chairwoman of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990 and as the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1979 to November 1990. Thatcher fundamentally reforms the English economy. Because of her perceived as rigorous economic policy, she is also called the "Iron Lady".

  • October 13th: Margaret Hilda Roberts is born in Grantham, England. Her father is a grocer, methodist lay preacher, and mayor of Grantham. Her mother is a trained house tailor.

  • Graduated from Somerville College Oxford with a B.A. in Chemistry

    In 1949 she completed her B.Sc. and in 1950 the M.A. added.

    She is the first woman president of the Conservative Union of Students at Oxford.

  • Research activity in the chemical industry.

  • Marriage to Denis Thatcher. The twins Mark and Carol emerged from the marriage.

    Start of law studies.

  • Thatcher is admitted to the bar and specializes in tax law.

  • After two unsuccessful attempts in 1950 and 1951, Thatcher won a House of Commons mandate in the constituency of Finchley / North London. She remains a member of parliament until 1992.

  • Thatcher occupied the post of parliamentary secretary in the Department of Pensions and Insurance under the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan (1894-1986).

  • Spokeswoman for the conservative opposition party in the lower house.

  • As Minister of Education and Science, Thatcher is the only woman in the cabinet of Prime Minister Edward Heath (1916-2005).

  • Thatcher becomes the environmental and later financial policy spokeswoman for her party.

  • February 11th: Thatcher takes over the leadership of the opposition in the lower house and becomes chairman of the Conservative party.

  • May: Thatcher becomes Britain's first female Prime Minister after the Labor government under James Callaghan (1912-2005) resigns and the Conservative party wins an absolute majority in new elections.

    Their policy is later called "Thatcherism" and is characterized above all by a capitalist economic policy that many perceive as ruthless.

  • April-June: In the Argentine-British conflict over the Falkland Islands, Thatcher uses troops to regain the area. The Argentine troops surrender in mid-June. Through her resolute commitment in the Falklands conflict she is gaining a great reputation in domestic politics.

  • In the general election, Thatcher was confirmed in office despite acute economic problems. A rigorous cabinet reshuffle follows.

    Thatcher is known as the "Iron Lady" and continues to pursue her monetarist economic policy, reducing government spending, promoting the privatization of state-owned companies and restricting the possibilities of the unions.

    Domestic political conflicts arise, such as a printer strike.

    Member of the Royal Society (FRS).

  • March: start of the miners' strike.

    July-September: There are nationwide docker strikes.

    October: IRA bombs Thatcher and top government officials in Brighton, killing four people. Thatcher, however, remains unharmed.

    December 19: In Beijing, Thatcher signs the Hong Kong Treaty, which seals the end of the Crown Colony and agrees that it will be returned to China in 1997.

  • Thatcher succeeds in breaking the miners' strike, the high cost of which has weakened the union movement.

  • January 20: The French head of state Francois Mitterrand and Thatcher announce in Lille, northern France, that the construction of a railway tunnel under the English Channel will begin.

    Thatcher supports the American attack on Libya and, in contrast to the Commonwealth and EC states, is sticking to their anti-sanctions policy against South Africa.

  • June: Thatcher wins her third election in early elections and continues her previous policy.

  • The introduction of a tax reform and a reform of the school and health system lead to protests in the population. General dissatisfaction with the economic situation, renewed inflation and the reduction in social benefits lead to conflicts both within and within the party.

    September: Thatcher gives a speech in Bruges in which she rejects progressive European integration.

  • October: Government crisis over the dismissal of Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe and the resignation of Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson.

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November, Thatcher campaigned for the other three victorious powers France, the USA and the Soviet Union to maintain the status quo and to prevent German reunification from being carried out quickly. It calls for a CSCE conference, a border guarantee for Poland and a longer transition period.

  • March: Thatcher takes part in the two-plus-four talks on German unity.

    August: the beginning of the Gulf crisis. In addition to the USA and France, Great Britain is also using troops to liberate Kuwait. Thatcher complains about the unwillingness of other NATO partners.

    With regard to social and European policy, conflicts and tendencies to divide arise within the conservative party.

    Thatcher receives the New York Noel Foundation Award and the UK Order of Merit.

    November: Thatcher announces her resignation as party leader and prime minister. Her successor is John Major (born 1943).

  • January: Thatcher takes over the chairmanship of the so-called Bruges Group, an association of British MPs who oppose the progress of the European integration process. She becomes an honorary citizen of Westminster and receives the South African Order of Good Hope, First Class.

  • June: Thatcher is raised to the non-hereditary aristocracy by being given the title "Baroness of Kesteven" and thus receives a seat in the upper house.

    October: She continuously criticizes John Major's European policy and describes "Maastricht as yesterday's vision".

  • Thatcher publishes the first volume of her memoir under the title "The Downing Street Years".

  • The second volume of the memoir, entitled "The Path to Power", appears.

    June: Thatcher is inducted into the Order of the Garter.

  • Thatcher continues to criticize Major's policies and the Conservative Party, which is no longer maintaining its political legacy.

  • November 17: Thatcher takes part in a celebration in Prague at which important international politicians gather ten years after the overthrow in the Eastern Bloc. George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, who was absent for health reasons, and the wife of the late French head of state, Danielle Mitterrand, received the Order of the White Lion from Vaclav Havel.

  • After several strokes in the past two years, it is announced that Thatcher will no longer make public speeches.

  • June 26: Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret since 1951, dies in London at the age of 88.

  • June 11: Despite her poor health, Margaret Thatcher flies to the United States and attends the state funeral for President Ronald Reagan, who died six days earlier, in Washington D.C. part. Her funeral oration, which was recorded a few months earlier, will be played on screens at the funeral service.

  • October 13: Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair are among the guests at the celebration in London to mark her 80th birthday.

  • February 21: Former British Prime Minister unveils her own bronze statue, made by sculptor Antony Dufort, in the House of Commons in London.

  • August: Daughter Carol Thatcher publishes her memoir, in which she reports on her mother's progressive dementia.

  • July 31: Her office in the House of Lords closes.

  • April 8: Margaret Thatcher dies at the age of 87 with her family of a stroke. She last lived in the London borough of Belgravia.


(mf / jov) © Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany
Status: April 8, 2016
Text: CC BY NC SA 4.0

Recommended citation:
Fechner, Meike / Volkwein, Johanna: Biography Margaret Thatcher, in: LeMO-Biografien, Lebendiges Museum Online, Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany,
URL: http://www.hdg.de/lemo/biografie/margaret-thatcher.html
Last visited on 05/24/2021