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REVISION GUIDE
Making Of Modern Britain,
1951-2007



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BRITAIN IN 1951
POLITICS

Three key turning points during this period
1951 election > start of 13 years Conservative rule
1979 election > start of Thatcher dominance lasting 11 years
1997 election > start of New Labour dominance (so far 13 years)

1951 saw end of Labour and Attlee in…

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THE POST WAR CONSENSUS, 1951-1964
POLITICS
1951: not obvious that 13 years of Conservative dominance were about to begin. Churchill looked tired and the Conservatives unlikely
to be able to deal with Britain's economic troubles. However, there came a succession of 3 Conservative PM's ­ Churchill, Eden, and
Macmillan.
Not…

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KEY QUESTION: How could Labour lose the October 1951 election, yet win more of the popular vote?
Ratio of votes: Labour 47, 283 : 1 Conservatives 42, 733 : 1
1951 election saw Labour gain the highest aggregate vote ever achieved by any party up to that point. Yet, in…

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Historical opinions on post-war consensus:
Hennessey ­ Attlee set foundation stone of all that is best about post war Britain `the fusion of myriad hospitals and private
practices into a National Health Service, the transfer of a workforce of 2.3 million people into nationalised industries, the
Attlee government also took…

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Welfare State ­ implementation of Beveridge Report. NHS iconic and Conservatives had warmed to it
Conservative majority was slender in Parliament ­ did not feel strong enough to dismantle Attlee legacy

ROLE OF PERSONALITIES
Churchill: PM from 1951-55. Not considered to be the greatest post-war PM. Some people argue that…

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Economic prosperity continued to gain approval from voters ­ continuing affluence kept voters happy
Reputation of Macmillan ­ nicknamed ` Supermac' , success as housing minister (300,000 new homes as promised during 1951
election manifesto)
Labour Party under Gaitskell had problems of its own
Remarkably ability of Conservatives to manage…

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(1) growing opposition to the party leadership from the TUs
(2) simmering divisions over Britain's nuclear weapons > many Labour left wingers joining in with CND campaigns for Uniltateral
Disarmament (CND a an anti-nuclear weapon pressure group popular with middle class and intellectuals, best known for Aldermaston
March 1959 which…

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All exports rose between 1952 and 1962: Britain +29%, France +86%, Germany +247%,
Japan +378%!
Britain falls behind in productivity per person.
1961 ­ concerns about over-heated economy led to `pay pause' to hold down wage inflation and to ask for loan from IMF
1962 saw BALANCE OF PAYMENTS PROBLEM,…

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· Britain's world trade ­ ¼ 1951 to 1/10th
1975



· Technical education neglected
· Low productivity vs. US, Japan and W. Germany
· Nationalisation a mistake
· Too much emphasis on full employment which had led to problems with
inflation



THE FALL OF MACMILLAN
Command over government faltered from…

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