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© Time Magazine 1950

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Labour in Power 1945-1951

 

What! You think this is a dull topic? Wake up you're going to have the chance of talking about a government which K. Morgan describes as being 'by any test, one of the most crucial in British history.' 'Its impact upon the development of modern Britain, at home and overseas, was immense in almost every aspect....the Attlee government wrenched the course of British history into significant new directions. The consequences were profound in Europe, the North Atlantic community, and the developing world, no less than for the political, social and economic evolution of Britain itself.'

This was a time of exciting hope, a fresh new start. Indeed, a 'New Jerusalem'. The British electorate voted to 'Face the Future' with Attlee and co. and believed that Labour was the best party to build a country based on the ideals for which the Second World War had been fought.

Clement Attlee

Public Domain Image

First tasks were in Foreign Policy - Potsdam followed by significant role in Germany. Go on to India, Palestine and Greece. Was Britain leaving the international stage? No! Atom bomb in 1949, architect of NATO 1949, role in Korean War 1950.... (3 minutes)

Most famous for Domestic triumphs

  1. Welfare State (Bevan)

  2. Nationalisation and reconstruction
    (4 minutes)

Ran into difficulty

  1. Cost of reconstruction meant huge import bill......

  2. Economic crisis 1947.....

  3. Meant American Loan but the terms made things worse....

  4. Cripps replaces Dalton and the Age of Austerity has begun....

  5. Another Economic crisis in 1949, this time with devaluation.......

  6. The Party launches into ideological Nationalisation with Steel, assaults the House of Lords and limps home in the 1950 election with only a 16 seat majority. Losing Bevan over prescription charges, the govt was too tired to continue: it goes to the country in 1951 and loses.
    (Two and a half minutes)

Bevan

Copyright © 2005 Kaihsu Tai

 

 

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