Why Labour Won the 1945 Election
There are many reasons why labour gained their unexpected landslide victory in the 1945 general election, both due to the party itself and external influence. First amongst these causes was the effect that the nation's experience of war had on their political views. In the last election in 1935 the socialist policies of labour had scared the public into thinking that if the party ever won a majority then they would create a communist state. The war showed the public that socialist policies and centralised power could in fact be successful and even advantageous for a country and so the fear of a possible slide into communism was quelled. Labour ministers like Attlee and Morrisson also built a good public image for themselves and their party, which both directly and indirectly affected their votes. The indirect affect of labour's improved public image came about due to Churchill's ill judged "Gestapo speech" in which he compared his fellow politicians to the German secret police. Instead of the desired effect of sabotaging the labour campaign, the new public respect for the ministers that had won them the war meant the speech had the exact opposite outcome, and instead lost Churchill votes. The timing of this oration exacerbated the problem it caused as it was broadcast on 4th June 1945, just a month before the voting started on 5th July. Another cause was the different reactions of the parties to the Beveridge Report. This encouraged the creation of a welfare state, with financial benefits for citizens and also the tackling of the "five giants of want, ignorance, squalor, disease and idleness". The 1944 education act started the fight against ignorance, and the Family Allowances act published in April 1945 started to combat want, but much was still left to do before the "new Jerusalem" outlined in the report could come into being. Both parties referred to the report in their manifestos but the Conservatives were...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document