WW2 was the moment of utmost importance which brought people belonging to all classes – the home front – together. Finally, in 1968, Wilson was confronted with an outbreak of civil rights agitation in Northern Ireland that quickly degenerated into armed violence. At this stage in the war, after the occupation of France and before the entry of the USSR, Britain was alone in fighting Hitler. The remainder went mostly for machinery and oil. Labour survived through what became known as the âLib-Lab Pact,â an agreement between Callaghan and Liberal Party leader David Steel, which lasted until August 1978. Furthermore, parts of Britain needed to be rebuilt after having been heavily bombed during the war, especially London, where Germany dropped thousands of bombs in less than a year during the London Blitz. Britain had to develop its own nuclear arsenal, with the first test in 1952. , Overseas, Wilson was troubled by crises in Rhodesia and South Africa. Britain's balance of payments problems led to the imposition of a seven-month wage freeze in 1961. "The Development of Environmental Politics in Inter-War and Post-War Britain" (PhD Dissertation, Queen Mary University of London, 2016), This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 16:33. , By 1950, the Korean War caused a new heavy drain on the Treasury for military expenses.  Macmillan also saw the value of a rapprochement with Europe and sought entry to the Common Market. The secularisation of Britain began nearly 100 years ago during and after World War I.  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. In return, they (and the wives of male contributors) were eligible for flat-rate pensions, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and funeral benefit. It can be argued that the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine represent the permanent involvement of the United States in Europe. This belated experiment in imperial adventure drew wide criticism from the United States, the British dominions, and indeed within Britain itself. A majority were in favour of retaining the Common Market. In his short term in office he succeeded only in negotiating Britain’s entry into the EEC, in 1973. Britain after the war; Vast crowds gathered in London's Trafalgar Square to celebrate the victorious end of the First World War on 11 November 1918. Britain since 1945. The new prime minister, Edward Heath, set three goals: to take Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC; ultimately succeeded by the European Union [EU]), to restore economic growth, and to break the power of the trade unions. His third government â after the wartime national government and the short caretaker government of 1945 â would last until his resignation in 1955. ", Sylvia A. Ellis, "Promoting solidarity at home and abroad: the goals and tactics of the anti-Vietnam War movement in Britain. Science-based industries like electronics and engineering were growing. The most controversial case was the takeover of the highly profitable iron and steel industry, which was opposed and finally reversed by the Conservatives. In his short term in office he succeeded only in negotiating Britainâs entry into the EEC, in 1973. Churchill's return to power and Eisenhower's presidency brought with them a policy of undermining the Mossadegh government. Eden was a very popular figure, as a result of his long wartime service and also his famous good looks and charm.  Labour lost most of its large majority. However, Cold War realities demonstrated Britain's relative decline as an independent world power. Important scientific advances wwere made during World War II and British cientists were at the forefront ofmany ofthiose advances.  Britain now shed traditional overseas military roles as fast as possible. Independence strengthened the Commonwealth, and had a valuable impact on the British economy, with large sums transferring back and forth, as well as fresh migrants arriving from India.  Most opinion polls were showing Labour ahead and he was expected to call an election before the end of the year. By 1945, however, colonies were an expensive liability for Clement Attlee's newly elected Labour government. The Conservatives made austerity a major issue in the general election of 1950. The swing was 3.6% against it and it lost 78 seats, leaving Attlee with a slim majority in the House. As both sides increased the ferocity of their attacks, the country moved to full-scale civil war. One of Macmillan's more noteworthy actions was the end of conscription. A cornerstone in how the public and its elite perceived the future of the British Isles as a country and political regime. However, in the Middle East Macmillan ensured Britain remained a force â intervening over Iraq in 1958 (14 July Revolution) and 1960 and becoming involved in Oman. ", Kevin Ruane, "Anglo-American relations, the cold war and Middle East defence, 1953â1955.  He threatened to use financial pressure unless the British withdrew from Egypt. One recent historian and Conservative party sympathiser Andrew Roberts says the independence of India was a "national humiliation" but it was necessitated by urgent financial, administrative, strategic and political needs. This compares with just 36.8 per cent today. The new prime minister, Edward Heath, set three goals: to take Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC; ultimately succeeded by the European Union [EU]), to restore economic growth, and to break the power of the trade unions. Panton, Kenneth J. and Keith A. Cowlard, eds. Wilson regarded with special pride setting up the Open University as a model for Europe.  Decolonisation was never a major election issue; Labour was not officially in favour of decolonisation when it was elected in 1945. Attlee himself was in poor health, and Ernest Bevin, formerly the most politically powerful man in the cabinet, had died. ", Social history of Postwar Britain (1945â1979), a loan of $3.75 billion (US$57 billion in 2017) at a low 2% interest rate, second election in October of the same year, Cabinet Papers â Strained consensus and Labour, "BBC On This Day-11 October 1974: Labour Scrapes Working Majority", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Postwar_Britain_(1945â1979)&oldid=992501500, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from February 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Carter, Neil. Under foreign minister Ernest Bevin, Britain took a strong anti-Soviet position in the emerging Cold War.  The Labour government gave independence to India and Pakistan in an unexpectedly quick move in 1947. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle! When England and France declared war on Germany after its invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the United States again tried to remain neutral. The most controversial issue was nationalisation of steel, which was profitable unlike the others. Douglas-Home became Leader of the Opposition. 140,000 came to Britain, where they were no longer seen as brave wartime allies but as foreigners and a threat to British jobs. Eisenhower had warned Eden not to do it, saying the American people would never approve of a military solution to the crisis.  The United States provided a large 50-year loan in 1946, and the sudden grant of independence to India and Pakistan in 1947 sharply cut expenses. The Vietnam War was a delicate issue, as President Lyndon Johnson urgently needed a symbolic British military presence. Eden drawing on his experience in the 1930s, saw Nasser as another Mussolini who had to be stopped. Although the Soviet Union immediately denounced the Marshall Plan as the beginning of a division between the East and the West, all western European countries, including Britain, hastened to participate. ", G.C. London - London - Reconstruction after World War II: London suffered widespread damage during World War II as a result of aerial bombardment, which devastated the docks and many industrial, residential, and commercial districts, including the historic heart of the City. Grant Jr., "President Harry S. Truman and the British Loan Act of 1946,", Jim Tomlinson, "Marshall Aid and the âShortage Economyâ in Britain in the 1940s. Economic recovery was slow, housing was in short supply, bread was rationed along with many necessities in short supply. , Despite the heavy American grants of Lend Lease food oil and munitions (which did not have to be repaid) plus American loans, and a grant of money and loans from Canada at the end of the war Britain was on the verge of bankruptcy. In fact, Heath was defeated by the trade unions, which simply boycotted his industrial legislation, and by the Arab oil embargo, which began in 1973 and which made a national coal minersâ strike in the winter of 1973â74 particularly effective. Britain had spent close to £7 billion, or a quarter of the national wealth, on the war effort. Historians often use the crisis to mark the end of Britain's status as a superpower, being able to act and control international affairs without assistance or coalition. , In the estimation of historians, and later politicians of the major parties, the most successful and permanent program was the creation of a National Health Service which started operations in 1947. NOW 50% OFF! From 1945, Britain experienced an economic decline accentuated by the conclusion of World War II. The same circumstances that dictated the withdrawal from India required, at almost the same time, the termination of the mandate in Trans-Jordan, the evacuation of all of Egypt except the Suez Canal territory, and in 1948 the withdrawal from Palestine, which coincided with the proclamation of the State of Israel.  However, Wilson provided the Americans with intelligence, military weapons, and jungle training, and allowed some 2000 British soldiers to volunteer for service in Vietnam.. Ghana and Malaya were granted independence in 1957, Nigeria in 1960 and Kenya in 1963. Callaghan's support for and from the union movement should not be mistaken for a left wing position. With violence escalating in India after the war, but with British financial power at a low ebb, large-scale military involvement was impossible. In 1951, grievances against the colonial distribution of land came to a head with the Kenya Africa Union demanding greater representation and land reform. With British youth no longer subject to military service and with postwar rationing and reconstruction ended, the stage was set for the social uprisings of the 1960s to commence. The premiership of his successor, Sir Edward Heath was the bloodiest in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles. On 17 August 1952, a state of emergency was declared, and British troops were flown to Kenya to deal with the rebellion.  The postwar overseas deficit was Â£1,400 million, warned Keynes. 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