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Why Did Labour Win The 1945 General Election?

1045 words - 5 pages

In 1945, the general election was held after the allied victory in Europe over the axis forces, and its result came as a result to Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill. Churchill’s campaign was based around his wartime leadership, and the fact that he lead the country to victory. Instead of their conservative wartime leader, the british public voted for labour and its leader, Clement Attlee. Whilst both Churchill and Attlee were household names in the UK, Attlee was relatively unknown outside of the country, which is why the result of the election came as such a shock to many people around the world, who expected the british public to unanimously side with the man that had lead them to ...view middle of the document...

In 1942 a report was published by Lord William Beveridge introduced the british public to the concept of a welfare state, incorporating such things as free healthcare, social security, and many measures to help support the country when the war ends. The report was extremely popular amongst the british public who, having been exposed to war, could more easily see the flaws in the system of the country. This reports popularity amongst the majority of british citizens would ensure that the political party that promised to act upon the reports findings would win the support of the members of the public who supported the social reform, and the creation of a welfare state.
It was a widely accepted theory that wartime Winston Churchill was a different man to peacetime Winston Churchill, a fact which needn't have been brought up by his opponents, as Churchill himself inadvertently highlighted it in his first radio broadcast of the election campaign on June 4th. Churchill accused Attlee and the labour party of wishing to act as dictators by having ‘to fall back on some form of a Gestapo’ to impose socialism on the british public. The following day Attlee himself thanked Churchill for illustrating the difference between Churchill the wartime leader, and the peacetime prime minister, instead of Attlee having to argue the point himself in his own party broadcasts over the coming month.
In the period of time between the First and Second World Wars there had been only 2 labour governments, meaning that the majority of the prewar period had been under a conservative government. Attlee and his labour party used this to their advantage by blaming the mistakes of the period on its conservative government, namely Great Depression of 1929, and the policy of Appeasement which allowed Germany under the rule of Adolf Hitler to rise to power, to the point where they could pose a threat to freedom in Europe. One of Labour’s campaign...

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