BH - Effects of WW2 on Britain

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Total war

- civilians were more directly involved than in WW1

- mass evacuation of children from cities, digging of air raid shelters, issue of gas masks, piling up sand bags, blackout imposed to restrict Luftwaffe, blackout doubled road accidents

- leisure i.e. football matches banned, threatres and cinemas closed although this was relaxed before Xmas 39

- The Emergency Power Act (1940) gave authorities unlimited powers

- Signposts, place-names, stations name-boards removed to confuse Germans

- rationing of bacon, butter, cheese and meat introduced, a points system introduced for other foods -> individual was allowed 16 points for 4 weeks so wealthy weren't exempt

- Bread, beer and tobacco never rationed, but beers alcohol content reduced... later clothing + fuel rationed -> the war effort drew in most raw materials

- Conscription introduced and applied to unmarried women and men... The Womens Land Army formed and women took over civil service occupations

- German bombing in London continued for 67 consecutive nights, other cities were subject to this too... 60000 killed... Many made homeless, housed in emergency centres such as cinemas or tube stations

- Although some resentment amongst home, morale stayed remarkable high and tried to continue with affairs normally

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Total war #2

-  war economy produced full employment since 1918, prices kept under control by government to avoid inflation

- wages typically rose faster than prices due to strikes, average wage 39': 53s - 45': 96s

- full employment strengthened workers positions so strikes caused employers agreeing to higher wages... demands of the war effort were met, as Bevin mobilised workforce carefully

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Long term effects

- cost of war led to introduction of Keynes economic policies [high spending and high taxation to meet war effort]

- income tax increased to 25p per £1 in 39 to 50p per £1 in 45, it eliminated unemployment

- war increased social solidarity, and increased social spending as a result -> the state in 40 introduced free school milk, free school meals, OJ, cod liver oil and nurseries

- middle + upper class families were appalled by the deprivation of many evacuee children, they aroused nation to a realization that they deserved something better

- in total war, government relied on civilian co-operation, w/ working class co-operations it wearned concessions too: better education, a higher standard of living, better welfare... IF workers demands wernt met, revolution could occur

- Christian churches spoke about social concerns, William Temple (socialist) became Archbishop of Cantebury... Christianity and the Social Order set out minimum social standards people should expect in a Christian society, that it should be the states responsibility to enforce this

- Political and Economic Planning produced a plan proposing a Ministry of Social Security and NHS and national minimum wage + universal family allowance

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Long term effects #2

- Beveridge Report in 1942, 5 GIANTS were to be overcome by the government (disease, squalor, want, idleness and ignorance)... Labour wanted to carry this out immediately but Churchill halted it til end of war, though Child Allowances was introduced before the war - post war welfare was far more universal than pre-war

- Butler Education Act of 1944, work of the Cons R.A. Butler -> secondary education available to all, free of charge, and raised school leaving age to 15... the new Ministry of Education sep up to 'direct and control' local authorities which were epxected to provide secondary schools sufficient in number, character, and equipment to afford all pupils such variety of instruction and training as may be diseriable of their different ages, abilities and aptitudes -> local authorities anaylysed this as 1926 Hadow Report, 3 diff types of education! Grammar, Technical and Modern (didnt provide equality of opportunity but afforded greater opportunities to the working class who could go on to university)

- Clement Atlee kept pressure on cabinet to not merely shelve the Beveridge Report, 3 government white papers appeared during WW2: NHS, Social Insurance. Employmeny Policy

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Long term effects #3

- w/ changing social attitudes, Labour won a HUGE majority... the war provided Labour w/ a clear programme and experience of which they lacked pre-war

- Trade union membership rose during the war by 2 mil

- arguable Labours government spent too much time on social reform and lacked economic improvement... no serious attempt to modernize industry, roads and railways

- 39 Britains gold reserves stood at £864 mil by 1941 it was 3 mil - war hurt Britains overseas trade, as focus was on armaments so exports were lacking

- Britain used gold reserves to pay for imports, Lend-Lease Act meant Britain obtained supplies from the USA on credit to be paid later

- Britains overseas debt by 1945 was £3,000 million

- After the defeat of Japan, Truman ended the Lend-Lease -> Britains foreign investments sold off and its capacity of export reduces... Reconverting factories to production would take a while, there was no quick fix to recover lost markets 

- Keynes warned Attlee the country was virtually bankrupt, Keynes went Washington to secure an interest free loan of $6,000 millions... The Americans reduced it to £3,750 millions w/ %2 interest (wasnt paid off until 2006)

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World Position and peace

- defeat from Japan destroyed Britains image of superiority, nationalist feelings grew in India

- within 20 years most of Britains Empire became independant through within the commonwealth

- the war confirmed USA and USSR were superpowers, and Britain was on a decline

- by 1939 the Empire had reach a stage where the cost deending it outweight economic advantage

- loss of empire represented a decline in how much the world map was coloured red, as economic prosperity sweeped the country in the 50s (surely not a conincidence)

- no big treaty post-WW2 that represented a Treaty of Versailles, mostly due to USSR suspicions of the West

- Italians lost African colonies, Russian regained eastern Poland-Lithuania-Latvia-Estonia, consensus that Allied troops should occupy Germany, East Prussia divided between USSR and Poland, Japan in 1951 suurendered all territories acquired in past 90 years inc. China

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