Britain was a strong anti-Soviet factor in the Cold War and helped found NATO in 1949. The Effect of War: Lost markets; Destruction (bombing) Overseas investment sold off; Foreign debt ‘Notional loss’ (what might have been achieved without the war) 25% of British shipping lost; Post-war demand: Food; Raw materials; Machinery Extreme violence ensued when Punjab and Bengal provinces were split. The critics contend that Britain was overtaken by its economic competitors, and was unable to prevent a troublesome wage-price upward spiral. In Malaya, a rebellion against British rule had been in progress since 1948, led by Communists based in the local Chinese community. His decision not to has been described as the biggest mistake of his premiership. [33] Mandatory military service continued, as despite the end of WWII, Britain continued to wage numerous small conflicts around the globe: the Malayan Emergency, 1948–1960,[34] in Kenya against the Mau Mau Uprising (1952–60) and against Egypt in the 1956 Suez Crisis. Nevertheless, the Empire maintained a large British armed force draining a much-needed work force to help boost the domestic economy by keeping the factories a source of viable and profitable production. Callaghan continued Wilson's policy of a balanced Cabinet and relied heavily on Michael Foot. 1924. The job is certainly a dangerous one, and for that reason, most circuses provide a safety net for the trapeze artists just in case they slip up. [62] It was a manifesto pledge in the general election of February 1974 for a Labour government to re-negotiate better terms for Britain in the EEC, and then hold a referendum on whether Britain should stay in the EEC on the new terms. It is possible that the Conservatives' success in the 1970 general election was a result of the large public following Powell attained, even as he was sacked from the shadow cabinet. [49], Macmillan wanted the new National Incomes Commission to institute controls on income as part of his growth without inflation policy; it failed when the unions boycotted it.[50]. The occasion of the Prague Coup just after Bevin’s ‘Western Union’ speech perhaps could not have come at a worst moment. When the United States cancelled its lend lease programme in 1945, Great Britain was forced to request an American loan that, if not given would, according to John Maynard Keynes, mean “a large scale withdrawal on [Britain’s] part from international responsibilities.” A loss of prestige and global influence was not something that the political authorities were willing to accept. Many accounts of British development since 1945 have attempted to discover why Britain experienced slower rates of economic growth than other Western European countries. In part, Bevin approached the Dominions in early 1946 and made enquiries to the effect that perhaps other Commonwealth countries could accept a share of the post-war financial and military burden carried by Britain, but such attempts practically came to nothing. In many cases, the explanation for this phenomenon has been attributed to the high level of defence spending that successive British post-war governments adhered to. The opposition from physicians was bought off by allowing them to keep lucrative private practices on the side. Britain after the War 1945-51, Manchester University Press, 1995; Alec Cairncross, Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy 1945-51, Methuen, 1985; Jim Fyrth (ed. Perhaps most notably as far as the British foreign policy was concerned, if West Germany was rearmed, it could have provoked ‘strong pressure’ on the western allies to ‘terminate’ their occupation leading to a withdrawal of United States troops. After WWII, most British wanted their own safety nets. After 5 years, in 1938, the two countries signed an agreement to end the trade war. Although Britain may have lost its ‘Jewel in the Crown,’ prompting criticism of a ‘divide and quit’ policy within the British Government, and in part reflecting a perceived decline of the British Empire, it has been suggested that the Government in fact saw Indian self-determination as an ‘enlightened programme of deliberate decolonisation.’ Indeed, a post-independent India continued to provide a level of Anglo-investment and trade, and Pakistan generally sustained its status as a reliable ally. Kenneth O. Morgan, 'Aneurin Bevan' in Kevin Jeffreys (ed. Britain and the Cold War, 1945-1964 offers new perspectives on ways in which Britain fought the Cold War, ... Britain's continuing global commitments, post-war economic problems and somestic considerations obliged her on occasion to tackle the threat rather differently. In July 1972, he permitted his Secretary of State for Northern Ireland William Whitelaw to hold unofficial talks in London with a Provisional Irish Republican Army delegation by Seán Mac Stiofáin. The premiership of his successor, Sir Edward Heath was the bloodiest in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles. ", G.C. Criticism came primarily from Labour. In 1974, the Sunningdale Agreement was produced but fiercely repudiated by many Unionists and the Ulster Unionist Party ceased to support the Conservatives at Westminster. In return, they (and the wives of male contributors) were eligible for flat-rate pensions, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and funeral benefit. The Viceroy of India warned he needed a further seven army divisions to prevent communal violence if independence negotiations failed. Churchill's return to power and Eisenhower's presidency brought with them a policy of undermining the Mossadegh government. The most controversial case was the takeover of the highly profitable[citation needed] iron and steel industry, which was opposed and finally reversed by the Conservatives. Closer economic ties would help Britain to establish a stronger role in Europe, but Britain’s financial instability would encourage Bevin to extend his ‘bloc’ to incorporate a ‘western union’ of financially viable countries. He resigned on 18 October 1963 after he had been admitted to hospital for prostate trouble. However, this was the case over most of the world so Britain had time to catch up. From 1945, Britain experienced an economic decline accentuated by the conclusion of World War II. The political and economic history of Britain during the 1920s and 1930s was moulded by the shock of the First World War. Indeed, the Government somewhat renewed its approach to the Commonwealth in that, despite the amounts of money involved, funds were set aside for Colonial welfare and development programmes, and India, Pakistan and Ceylon retained a degree of influence and allegiance in British affairs. Along with Robert Schuman’s proposal to engage French and German industrial capacity, seemingly without the expressed inclusion of Britain, the arrival of NATO was perhaps the ultimate expression of Britain’s final predicament, whether desired or not. [5], A comprehensive welfare state was created with the National Insurance Act 1946, in which people in work paid a flat rate of national insurance. Britain, the US, and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in autumn 1963. Sims, Paul David. Canada’s economy underwent dramatic changes during the Second World War, as Britain looked overseas for new sources of food, lumber, minerals, and other resources. [59] However, Wilson provided the Americans with intelligence, military weapons, and jungle training, and allowed some 2000 British soldiers to volunteer for service in Vietnam.[60]. In January 1947, Bevin had proposed that at least a division of British troops should remain in Greece until a time when Soviet troops in Bulgaria became less threatening and when American help could be forthcoming. "Referendum voting behaviour: The Norwegian and British referenda on membership in the European Community. They presided over 13 years of economic recovery and stability. [41] Direct negotiations between the British and the Iranian government ceased, and over the course of 1951, the British ratcheted up the pressure on the Iranian government and explored the possibility of a coup against it. It was also the consequence of widespread attitudes of resistance to change and government policies to limit unemployment. [11] The postwar overseas deficit was £1,400 million, warned Keynes. Britain’s economic recovery after the World War Two After World War Two the country was initially in debt. In the 1964 general election, the Labour Party was returned to power under Harold Wilson. This loss of life, coupled with the disruption to the training and education of people in industry, construction and other services led to a massive labor shortage in post-war Britain. ), Labour's High Noon. "The Fall of the Attlee Government, 1951." Plans were drafted by Jennie Lee, the Minister for the Arts; she had Wilson's full support. Although British troops continued to maintain a limited presence until ‘rebel forces’ were defeated in Greece, Bevin did manage to get American economic and financial aid and some $400 million was secured by America to support the situation in Turkey and Greece, thus, reducing at least one aspect of Britain’s overseas expenditure. In 1948, people from the West Indies were also invited to come and work. A plan to provide a ‘Social and Economic Policy’ for India was rejected in the post-war months simply because the programme could not be afforded in light of the need for the immediate rehabilitation of the domestic economy. These changes were instituted in the midst of a post-war era of austerity. In addition, one opinion observes that for as long as Britain held onto the imperial territories, the country was viewed as a ‘wicked imperialist power,’ but perhaps  more importantly, if the territories were surrendered, Britain was visibly ‘demonstrating her decline.’ However, the Empire supplied Great Britain with valuable resources such as tin, oil, and rubber, providing an economic asset that the Labour Government were reluctant to let go, in addition, Africa and India could have been utilised as a means for European investment. [4] The party quickly nationalised critical sectors of the economy, especially declining industries. [15] American financial aid was available on Washington's terms, as seen in the 1945 loan, the convertibility of sterling crisis of 1947, the devaluation of sterling in 1949, and the rearmament programme in support of the U.S. in the Korean war, 1950–53. [2][3] The Conservatives returned to power in 1951, accepting most of Labour's postwar reforms, but introduced prescription charges to the NHS in 1952 and denationalized steel in 1953. Already, on Feb. 21, 1947, Britain had warned the United States that it would soon have to cancel economic and … The general election in 1979 took Conservative Margaret Thatcher to power effectively ending the post war state interventionist consensus of prior decades despite initial intense Labour opposition. If you have, then you've probably seen trapeze artists flying high above the ring, jumping and spinning on swings, ropes and wires. The Cold War 1962-1991. Indeed widespread attitudes of resistance to change and government policies to limit unemployment were also direct causes of Britain’s economic decline. Ghana and Malaya were granted independence in 1957, Nigeria in 1960 and Kenya in 1963. 1945-79 has therefore become its own period and its own story – and that timeframe is what I … Over the course of the eighties, Britain had become a significantly different society to what it was before. None were available, so political restructuring was accelerated. Summary: Britain's post-1945 economic decline is more marked than in the late-Victorian or interwar periods. In the decade and a half after World War II, the United States experienced phenomenal economic growth and consolidated its … [22] Whereas Churchill in 1940–45 had tightened the hold on India and imprisoned the Congress leadership, Labour had looked forward to making it a fully independent dominion like Canada or Australia. Sources: The series from 1928 to 1973 are from Mark Harrison, ‘Trends in Soviet Labour Productivity, 1928-1985: War, Post-war Recovery, and Slowdown’, European Review of Economic History 2:2, 171-200. Robert Crowcroft and Kevin Theakston. The Vietnam War was a delicate issue, as President Lyndon Johnson urgently needed a symbolic British military presence. Britain wanted to limit certain industries (capped level of Industry plan in 1946) to prevent a resurgent Germany from again becoming a military threat, but the problem produced a conflict of minimising possible military aggression against domestic economic considerations. Bevin’s approach to British foreign policy has been viewed as somewhat ‘revolutionary’ in some quarters, and according to this argument, Bevin succeeded in balancing Britain’s domestic considerations with those of foreign policy commitments. He brought the economic concerns of the exchequer into the premiership, but his approach to the economy was to seek high employment; whereas his treasury ministers argued that to support the Bretton-Wood's requirement on the pound sterling would require strict control of the money base, and hence a rise in unemployment. Number 2. Immediately after the end of World War II, Britain underwent enormous social change. [26][27] Gandhi himself was assassinated by a Hindu activist in January 1948. Britain had formulated a plan to resolve the conflict between the Jewish and Arab peoples in Palestine, but an American rejection of the scheme pressured Britain to relinquish its authority in the region in May 1948. ), Labour's High Noon. Budget deficit. The Cold War 1945-1962. Various other pieces of legislation provided for child benefit and support for people with no other source of income. It was an "age of austerity". Restricted opportunities for growth and failure to use technology are by themselves insufficient to explain decline. ", Ina Zweiniger-Barcielowska, "Rationing, austerity and the Conservative Party recovery after 1945.". One of the factors that played a role in balancing Britain’s financial book-keeping was to reduce its expenditures overseas. Wilson regarded with special pride setting up the Open University as a model for Europe. The government had a target to build 400,000 new houses a year to replace those which had been destroyed in the war, but shortages of materials and manpower meant that less than half this number were built. Fortunately for the British government, most Britons were not trapeze artists. The Post-War Economy : 1945-1960. He led the Tories to victory in the October 1959 general election, increasing his party's majority from 67 to 107 seats. In November 1956, after months of negotiation and attempts at mediation had failed to dissuade Nasser, Britain and France, in conjunction with Israel, invaded Egypt and occupied the Suez Canal Zone. It was noted by the Foreign Secretary that Britain could not ‘abandon’ its ‘responsibilities in many parts of the world,’ but then there was also an ardent need for domestic ‘economic rehabilitation.’ As well as revitalising Britain’s economic health, the Government were intent on healing the disparity within Britain’s social class structure. Historians Alan Sked and Chris Cook have summarised the general consensus of historians regarding Labour in power in the 1970s: If Wilson's record as prime minister was soon felt to have been one of failure, that sense of failure was powerfully reinforced by Callahan's term as premier. Post-War Britain 1945 - 1979 (no rating) 0 customer reviews. Elizabeth II has now been the monarch for 68 years, 310 days. They had managed to alienate both sides. The documents themselves are arranged according to theme, so that sources are grouped together rather than following a strict chronological order. [23] Attlee found that Churchill's viceroy, Field Marshal Wavell, was too imperialistic, too keen on military solutions (he wanted seven more Army divisions) and too neglectful of Indian political alignments. Britain's balance of payments problems led to the imposition of a seven-month wage freeze in 1961. "[9] In the end historians give Bevan the major credit for the success. It is unrealistic to expect that Britain could have continued as a world power after the huge expense of the Second World War, and the independence of India and other colonies. [63] But Wilson was not able to end the economic crisis. Enoch Powell was given the post of Shadow Defence Secretary and became a figure of national prominence when he made the controversial Rivers of Blood speech in 1968, warning on the dangers of mass immigration from Commonwealth nations. ", Martin H. Folly, "‘The impression is growing...that the United States is hard when dealing with us’: Ernest Bevin and Anglo-American relations at the dawn of the cold war. Although the prospect of a ‘bi-polar’ world was not conducive to British foreign policy, an offer of American financial aid was altogether a far more attractive proposition. Top American diplomats such as Dean Acheson trusted Bevin and worked through him. However, by the autumn of 1978 the economy was showing signs of recovery – although unemployment now stood at 1,500,000, economic growth was strong and inflation had fallen below 10%. Once again, Churchill's government inherited a crisis, and once again Churchill chose to use direct military action against those in rebellion while attempting to build an alliance with those who were not. The decision was taken to end Britain’s economic responsibilities on the Indian continent, and in August 1947 India gained its ‘independence’  but split between the two dominions of India and Pakistan. The term "post-war" can have different meanings in different countries and refer to a period determined by local considerations based on the effect of the war there. The Norman Conquest of $4.86, Cambridge 1972. . ... stripped of its top tier great power status and with a broken economy and exhausted populous to manage. With France being potentially the most important ally for Britain in the reconstruction of Europe, Britain needed to take into account French fears of a remilitarised Germany. [14] Britain now shed traditional overseas military roles as fast as possible. In 1946 it had spent $60 million to help feed the German people, and it still had one and a half million troops trying to police the globe. December 1995. Britain since 1945. Britain post 1945, through to swinging sixties. The End of the Cold War. In sharp contrast, France felt humiliated by its loss of its colonies, especially Algeria and Vietnam. The Bank of England, railways, heavy industry, and coal mining were all nationalised. Here’s a list of British governments since 1945: Years in Office Party of Government Prime Minister 1945–1951 Labour Clement […] American loans and Marshall Plan grants kept the economy afloat. One solution was for Britain to gradually remove the existing limitations of German industry that would enable her to participate in the various European economic organisations, thus removing a drain on British resources. 5. Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy, 1945-1964 John Baylis , Professor and Dean of Economics and Social Studies John Baylis Limited preview - 1995 Japan's Postwar Economic Recovery and Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1948-1962 This article focuses on housing constructed during the decade or so after the end of the Second World War as part of the progressive, experimental establishment of the Welfare State in Britain. Negotiations broke down, and as the blockade's political and economic costs mounted inside Iran, coup plots arose from the army and pro-British factions in the Majlis.[43]. The question for Britain, as one historian has put it, “was European economic construction and security to be achieved by pursuing a policy of economic security from Germany or with Germany?” Britain needed to provide Germany with a reasonable level of economic stability, but, for the time being, Bevin ruled out German military rearmament as the answer to the economic management of Germany’s industrial centres. To begin with, we will assess the state of Britain in 1945 both at home and abroad as it faced the challenges of post-war reconstruction. He stepped up the implementation of a "hearts and minds" campaign and approved the creation of fortified villages, a tactic that would become a recurring part of Western military strategy in South-East Asia, especially in the American role in the Vietnam War. After the House of Commons voted in favour of retaining the Common Market on the renegotiated terms, a referendum was held on 5 June 1975. 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