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The 1945 Election Campaign
Manifesto `Let us face the future'
Strong economic planning programme including:
Full employment NHS Nationalisation programme
Social Security `New Jerusalem'
Labour had a more positive campaign that focused on the need for reform. Attlee responded to the
Gestapo Speech in a quiet, reasonable, constructive manner.
Most of the new Labour agents were actually pressed into service at the last minute without any real
election campaigning experience.
Clement Attlee Clear and simple, unlike Ramsay MacDonald who put himself first. As the Observer said
`He puts the whole before the parts. He is a party man, not a partisan...'
Attlee had been given a free hand in domestic policy as Deputy PM and won considerable report in that
~ Attlee offered a calm statesman like alternative. He focused on domestic policy rather than rabid
antiCommunism. He had earned a reputation for hard work and success as Deputy PM
~ They offered a clear package of reforms with their post war `new Jerusalem'. These reforms were
important to considerable numbers of the electorate.
~ The Tories were linked with appeasement and unpreparedness for war.
Manifesto `Mr Churchill's Declaration to the Voters'
~ Moderate and uncontroversial
~ Offered a progressive consensus view on social reconstruction issues
~ Vague on economic issues belied Tory splits on the issue
Weak campaign but focused on the `fears' of having a Labour Govt. In his broadcast of 4th June 1945
(Gestapo Speech) Churchill claimed the introduction of socialism in Britain would lead to a Nazi style
govt. This didn't capture the mood of the nation.
Churchill later falsely claimed that many more Conservative party agents were away in the armed forces
whereas Unionist agents were in the reserved trades. Whilst organisation had deteriorated the key issue
was the indifferent standard of candidates.
Winston Churchill Many in the Tory party felt a rigorous campaign was unnecessary because the nation
would be grateful towards Churchill and vote as such. BUT many saw Churchill as an excellent war time
leader, but not suitable to peacetime leadership.
~ Churchill was seen more as a national leader not as a party leader.
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He unwisely chose the path of anti socialism trying to scare voters away from Labour this lost
~ Churchill was not seen as a good party man his wilderness years in the 30s, mistakes in the past
(Gold Standard/Gallipoli), crossing the floor all led to a reputation of untrustworthiness.
~ He had no close ties with the party organisation therefore he did not effectively lead the election
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Switching to peacetime production
Industries needed to switch from war to peacetime production so they could get exportations going.
Government controls were maintained to allocate materials that would lead to exports. Labour had a
policy directing and encouraging new factories to open in depressed areas, and wartime wages were
controlled and maintained
Economic Planning and Employment
Labour believed State planning would support exports and full employment. This would be through
nationalising key industries such as coal and the Bank of England.…read more
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In 1950, South Korea was invaded by Communists. The US feared WWIII. Labour embarked on a
rearmament programme, requiring more imports. Import prices for raw materials rose, and as a result,
more imports, less exports meant Britain was at a loss
America realised Europe needed more financial help. Ernest Bevin (Foreign Secretary) succeeded in
getting the largest share of Marshall Aid which was on far more generous terms than the last loan, and was
crucial in recovery in 1950.…read more