political, social and economic developments in post war wales and england

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What was the condition of Wales and England in 1945?

  • the war had brought economic ruin and the loss of the British empire
  • Britain had spent close to £7 billion- a quarter of the national wealth
  • factories that had once built cars, fridges, cookers and vacuum cleaners were turned to mass production of tanks, guns, bullets and bombs
  • Britain was £3,355 million in debt
  • the only country to emerge from the war intact, and in profit, was the USA
  • the country's massive industrial strength largely won the war for the allies
  • the american factories were able to turn quickly from producing war materails to consumer goods
  • war damaged Britain was no longer able to compete
  • Britain's industries were unable to match the American's industries in terms of the speed of change or the volume of their consumer goods production
  • war damaged Europe was in no state to buy british goods
  • Britain's traditional overseas markets, which had been in decline before the war, were effectively killed off by the disruption caused by the conflict
  • Britain took american aid under the Marshall plan to rebuild the shattered economies of Europe
  • it was to america that these new countries turned to for support
  • America's wartime aid to Britain was stoppe din August 1945
  • Britain was no longer in a position to offer either finanical or political support to anyone
  • Britain was no longer a world power
  • Britain had been overtaken by the USA and the USSR who became world superpowers
  • Britain was militarily and economically weak
  • Britain was unwilling to pay for a large army or navy
  • not in a position to stop the British Empire from breaking up
  • the british government encouraged the concept of a Commonwealth of Nations made up of former colonies
  • not all doom and gloom
  • the country had won a war
  • full employment
  • shipyards and coal mines were working to full capacity
  • air of expectation of a better future
  • attitudes were changing
  • the majority of British people did not want a return to pre-war depression and unemployment
  • it was clear to all that post-war Britain was no longer 'great'
  • the UK was no longer a great military or imperial power neither was it a great economic power
  • Great Britain had begun its post-war decline

The Beveridge Report

  • one of the most significant impacts of the war was on government attitudes and ideas
  • the socialists and other more progressive members of the government realised that the war would give them an opportunity to change and reshape British society
  • Churchill concentrated on winning the war
  • his deputy in the coalition government (clement attlee) was focused on planning for peace
  • Attlee was keen to put his socialist principles into practice
  • 1942- William Beveridge published a report entitled Social Insurance and Allied Services: Report
  • this is more commonly known as the Beveridge Report
  • he set out the kind of social reforms that he thought the government should carry out after the war
  • pointed out that there were five 'giant evils' in society…

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