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6. The 1945 General Election
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about why it was that Clement Attlee's Labour scored such a comprehensive victory over Winston Churchill's Conservatives in the 1945 General Election, focusing in particular on: (i) the unexpectedness of Labour's victory; (ii) the extent to which Labour better captured the public mood for national renewal and an expansion of the welfare state; (iii) the relative attractiveness of Labour's foreign policy positions; (iv) the popularity of Labour's plans to take certain industries out of private hands and into public ownership; and (vi) the energy and enthusiasm of the Labour campaign compared to that of the Conservatives.
In this course, Dr Robert Crowcroft (University of Edinburgh) explores British politics between the years 1918-45. In the first module, we think about the reasons for the political domination of the Conservative Party in this period, focusing in particular on the leadership of Stanley Baldwin and policy-making of Neville Chamberlain. In the second module, we trace the rise of the Labour Party between 1918-31, before turning in the third module to the three major crises of the period – the 1926 General Strike, the 1931 financial crisis, and the 1936 Abdication Crisis. In the fourth module, we think about the interdependence of domestic and foreign policy I this period, particularly in relation to the issue of appeasement, before turning in the fifth module to think about Churchill's leadership of Britain in the Second World War. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the General Election of 1945 and why it was that the Conservative Party, led by the war hero Winston Churchill, were so comprehensively defeated by Clement Attlee's Labour Party.
Dr Robert Crowcroft is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on moments where political systems have been subjected to acute stresses such as war. His most recent book, The End is Nigh: British Politics, Power, and the Road to the Second World War (2019), focused on British politics in the years prior to the Second World War.
Cite this Lecture
Crowcroft, R. (2021, March 04). Britain – Politics, 1918-45 - The 1945 General Election [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/britain-politics-1918-45/the-1945-general-election
Crowcroft, R. "Britain – Politics, 1918-45 – The 1945 General Election." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/britain-politics-1918-45/the-1945-general-election