1945 GE: Why was Churchill turned out?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Slipdigit, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    People have different political views. You have to learn to accept the 'buggins turn' cycle. All political problems stem from those who know they are right and the opposition are wrong. The people who actively campaign for a system where their party is in perpetual power are (in my eyes) the greatest threat to modern democracy. Lord save us from those who want to save us!
  2. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    My mother from leafy South London and who served in the ATS from 1942 to 1946 couldn't stand the bloke... then remember there hadn't been a General Election since November 1935 and my mother, like millions of others, had some disdain for the social and economic policies of the pre-war governments...she would also remember the experiences of her own father who served on the Western Front for 4 years during the Great War and had certainly not returned to a land fit for heroes to live in.
    Chris C and Margaret Ann like this.
  3. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    Yes Charley .
  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I was under that impression also, but when one of our daughters was learning about the Marshall plan I had to eat humble pie.
    Britain received more than Germany but Germany used the money to build up their ruined industry.
    Britain didn't, and now we are paying the price as most industry has long since vanished in the UK.
    The fact is, the Labour Government squandered the money on other ideas.
    BBC - History - British History in depth: The Wasting of Britain's Marshall Aid

    Alucard likes this.
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Tom.....How time passes,that post of mine was from 2007 I acknowledged the error before but on looking through the posts,I cannot find it.

    But we look at the situation of the country after the war,it was in dire straits financially...little dollar reserves and a balance of payments issue which the government responded to by motivating the need to export.Strange the balance of payments seems not to have the government's concern as yesteryear...it might make a return in the future.

    The Marshall Plan was intended by the US to aid Western Europe in the reconstruction of the infrastructure and to reboot the recipient's economy.Western Europe's industry was largely laid waste and there was much to be undertaken in recovering the infrastructure.I think I must have understood that GB went its own way and depended on financial support by US loans.

    Surprisingly aid was given as credits which in fact was an insurance by the donor country that the recipients would buy his goods and thus enhance his employment.Some countries saw the immediate priority of spending the credit on food and fuel.Britain experimented with whale meat as a staple food and the shortfall in cooking oils saw the East African groundnuts scheme...both initiatives floundered,the latter costing a deal of money.

    Postwar,the British government policy was to implement and manage a new social chapter from the recommendations outlined by the William Beveridge Report,commission a national health service based on non consolidated National Insurance contributions. With that there was the task of refurbishing British industries,an option thought beyond the capability of the private owners.Coal,electricity and gas production,rail and road networks,housing had seen little investment from the 1930s,through the war where the philosophy of only withdrawing essential systems from service on a breakdown basis..the outcome was a hammering of industry. At the same time the British Government had the foreign policy of attempting to secure and maintain colonies under the rule of the British Empire.Administration of these territories became a burden on the Government and it was not until the Sandys Defence Review in 1957 which saw a reduction in defence spending by declaring manned aircraft would be replaced by missiles .....further reductions in the British commitment only came about by granting independence to colonies.

    I think the financial issues arising postwar were the result of British governments being torn between a foreign policy of old and a new chapter in an era where a government was expected to have some responsibility for the well being of its citizens and the citizens expected social change for the better.

    After contributing to the defeat of Germany and Japan,the British public wanted peace to be entirely different to the peace experienced in the prewar era.Churchill was dismissed by the electorate for his lack of vision in not propagating a domestic policy which inspired the voter.
    Smudger Jnr and Chris C like this.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    For those who haven't yet worked it out for themselves: to find original post of quoted text, click on the arrow button in the header after "said:"
    Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 18.51.42.png
    Harry Ree, Smudger Jnr and 4jonboy like this.
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Thanks Diane.....I was looking for my response from that post....must be lost in cyberspace.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Another good reply from you on a very difficult topic.
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    BBC World Service - Witness, Winston Churchill's Election Defeat

    Winston Churchill's Election Defeat

    In July 1945 Britain's great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was defeated in a general election. The Labour party's landslide came just weeks after the surrender of Nazi Germany and remains one of the greatest shocks in British political history. How did Winston Churchill, a hugely popular national hero, fail to win? Louise Hidalgo has been listening back through the archives.
    Chris C likes this.
  10. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    There are some really interesting views and information within this thread.

    It occurs to me that it is a very human attribute to take an event with a simple outcome (but very complicated 'inputs') and attempt to simplify the reasons for such an outcome.

    It doesn't matter whether we are talking about the result of the 1945 general election or the referendum 70 years later. In both cases each voter just had 1 vote with which they attempted to express themselves.

    Each voter may have 100 issues to juggle with, but can only place one "X" on the ballot paper, so some level of compromise is often required. This clearly means that it is impossible to deduce why individuals voted in a particular way, by simply looking at the outcome. And therefore it follows that there is no single "group reason" why a Labour government was elected in 1945.

    However, its great fun to speculate on some of the reasons that may have driven individuals to vote a particular way.

    Churchill was a Victorian, but the young men and women that came back from the war belonged to 'the modern age'. My father hated the way that ordinary (working class) people were treated in a society that was so firmly controlled by a privileged minority. So once the war was (nearly) over, it was no surprise that my dad used his vote for social change.

    More of a surprise was that my mum (who always referred to Churchill as a warmonger) chose to vote Conservative. She claimed she always voted Tory just to cancel out dad's Socialist vote! But then she did have a wicked sense of humour.
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  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Side note: Churchill was made Honorary Colonel, 4th Battalion, The Essex Regiment, Territorial Army (21/1/45).

    I wonder whether my grandfather and his comrades dutifully voted for him after the war?
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    A BBC audio (29mins long) on: The 1945 General Election

    BBC World Service - Omnibus, The 1945 General Election

    An examination of why Winston Churchill, hugely popular and credited with leading Great Britain and Europe to victory in WWII, lost the general election two months later.

    Originally broadcast: 18 July 1995

    And available on the Iplayer.

    For me, it has some fascinating detail on "Why was Churchill turned out"

    Incidentally there's the mention at around the 20 min mark of Labour and the Liberals not contesting vs. Churchill's own seat: Woodford (UK Parliament constituency) - Wikipedia

    General Election 1945: Woodford
    Party Candidate Votes % ±
    Conservative Winston Churchill 27,688 72.53 N/A
    Independent Alexander Hancock 10,488 27.47 N/A
    Majority 17,200 45.05 N/A
    Turnout 38,176 65.53 N/A

    I thought I'd look at Attlee: Limehouse (UK Parliament constituency) - Wikipedia

    General Election 1945: Stepney, Limehouse
    Party Candidate Votes % ±
    Labour Clement Attlee 8,398 83.8
    Conservative Alfred N Peter Woodard 1,618 16.2
    Majority 6,780 67.6
    Turnout 16,367 61.2
    Labour hold Swing +17.3
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
    Chris C likes this.
  13. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96


    This may have been posted before. Sorry, if it did.:mad:

    Watching a video posted by the Imperial War Museum.
    In that depth, it was new to me.

    Very interesting though.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2020
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  15. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Was it Churchill who lost the election, or the Conservative Party? The two were not synonymous.
  16. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Although voting in the 1945 General Election took place in early July, the results came out 75 years ago today, on the 26th, and confirmed a landslide victory for Attlee's Labour Party and led towards a period of renewed hope for the country including the creation of the Welfare State that benefited so many. My mother and father were both in London during July 1945 - my Mum was at the War Office in Whitehall, and my Dad, on leave from Austria, being newly released from hospital after a renewed a bout of malaria that he had picked up in Sicily.


    In 1945, Labour polled 3.2m more votes than Churchill's Conservatives and would out poll him/them in the two subsequent elections of 1950 and 1951, although the quirks of the First Past The Post voting system meant there was a new government, led by Churchill, in October 1951.

    A few notes on the reasons for the result in July 1945 have been expounded at length within this thread

  17. belasar

    belasar Junior Member

    I am a bit late to this discussion, but hey traffic was horrible.

    At first glance rejecting the Churchill government might seem ungrateful with fighting yet to be done in the Pacific, but upon reflection quite understandable. The Conservatives took them into war and after so many years in power a electorate is eager for change. So many years of sacrifice before and during the war would make the promises of Labor seem tempting. Then there is the changes to the national economic and social fabric of the country wrought by the war. Finally the exposure to so many different nationalities, both directly and a greater interest in 'world' events involving their allies would all contribute to a different perspective on how they wanted their lives to go in the future.
  18. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    A couple of points:

    - although Churchill was PM from 1940 to 1945, he actually led a coalition government - with significant Labour représentation in senior roles, including Attlee as Deputy PM and in charge of domestic affairs, Herbert Morrison as Home Secretary, and Ernest Bevin as Minster of Labour. which made the attempt to paint Labour as extremist pretty laughable

    - in opposition, Churchill's Conservatives proceeded to vote more than twenty times against the introduction of the NHS - and re-iterated how out of touch he/they were with widespread opinion and this was confirmed again by losing the popular vote in the two subsequent elections

    Clearly, Churchill never ever convinced a large proportion of the UK electorate that he could be a good peace-time PM
  19. belasar

    belasar Junior Member

    You are quite correct to point out the coalition government and in a lesser personality that might have been a issue but feel comfortable in saying that he held a fairly firm on the political tiller overall. To be fair Churchill of the big three had to be the most flexible even though he was a confirmed 'Imperialist'. That made him well suited to prosecute this kind of war, but out of step in peacetime.

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