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The Making of Modern Britain
1951-2007
Revision
Politics and the Economy, 1951-1957

The Attlee legacy and the Post War Consensus
The Britain of 1951 was moulded by its recent history, of the nation's collective memory;
1st
was the great depression of the 1930's as it was seen in 51 as…

Page 2

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Conservative Political Dominance 1951-57
There were several key reasons for the long Conservative dominance after 1951:
1st
was the reorganisation of the party after the dislocation caused by the war.


2 was the infighting between Bevan and Gaitskell in the Labour party that badly
nd

weakened the party.
3rd
and…

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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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Exam Question (Similar to one above) ­ Explain why there was a post-war consensus.
Introduction: outline key words and period, list factors to be discussed
Paragraph One: Attlee's legacy and the feeling of national unity

· Popularity of NHS ­ couldn't revoke it (political suicide), One Nation Conservatism
meant that…

Page 5

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to his prestige and political ability. Hennessy suggested "one has to be careful not to
overdo the depiction of the old warrior in his final premiership".
There were tensions within Churchill's government as Butler and Macmillan didn't get on
very well; a rivalry that lasted throughout the 13 years of…

Page 6

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Ironically his down fall was foreign affairs!> Suez Crisis 1956.Ends in disaster, military
operation called off in humiliating circumstances as Britain withdraws due to American
pressure and pressure on economy.
Diplomatic and military fiasco ­ turning point for Britain's illusion of imperial power.
Political crisis ­Eden seemed weak, lost in…

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In the summer of 1957 (after Suez) there was major financial crisis:
Inflation was rising because wages were running far ahead of productivity.
There was also a run on the pound, with the danger that the pound would have to
be devalued against the $.
Thorneycroft, Macmillan's chancellor, believed in…

Page 8

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Concerns over ideology of Labour ­ stance on nuclear weapons (some voters
disliked some left wing Labour's strong UD stance), Europe and clause IV.
- Nuclear Weapons: led to trade unions challenging Labour leadership with
Cousins (Trade union) leading the fierce opposition to Gaitskell. 1959
Blackpool and Scarborough Party Conferences…

Page 9

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By the late 1950's, it was becoming clear that economic growth in Europe was
leaving Britain behind and that the trade with the empire and the commonwealth
was not sufficient to keep up.

Britain VS Europe:
However now faced with this realization Macmillan reversed his party's previous policy
and decided…

Page 10

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·Unemployment 2%
·Year by year, more prosperous and equal
·Comparisons with other countries misleading ­ Germany and Japan had no choice in
completing restructuring their economy and infrastructureand had not been allowed to
spend on defence (Britain spent 7% of GDP on this).

Barnett ­Economic Decline!

·1970's inevitable culmination oflong…

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