Labour Imperial Establishment, and Protecting British Power, and Interests in the Decolonisation Process: Bevinian Atlanticist View in A Bi-Partisan British Post WWII.

Labour Imperial Establishment, and Protecting British Power, and Interests in the Decolonisation Process: Bevinian Atlanticist View in A Bi-Partisan British Post WWII.

Labour Imperial Establishment,
and Protecting British Power, and
Interests in the Decolonisation Process:
Bevinian Atlanticist View in A Bi-Partisan British Post WWII.
Foreign Policy of Under American Nuclear Defence Umbrella.

The ‘Allies’ had defeated Japan in the Far East, and Germany in Europe. Invading American, British and Soviet armies had liberated Eastern Europe and Western Europe. Resistance forces within the European countries themselves had played an important role in the victory. “Britain, its Empire, and all that it stood for had won through. ‘If the British Empire, and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years men will still say this was their finest hour’, said the war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1940, when nothing seemed able to withstand Hitler and his victorious troops.”1

In Britain the Parliament elected in 1935 had continued to sit throughout the war. Its character had been almost set by a party truce: “it was understood that if a seat fell vacant, the candidate of the party which had previously held it would not be opposed by candidates of the other major parties.”2 This situation was not popular with everybody. It had provoked the emergence of a Commonwealth party and the candidacy of independents who had not felt obliged to accept the truce; and in number of cases they had been successful at by-elections. On the other hand, “the Conservatives were associated with the distress of the 1930s and with attempts to appease the dictators between 1935 and 1938.”3 Obviously a general election could not be delayed.

On 21th May, Attlee sent a letter to Churchill stating that “there were acute differences between the parties, especially over economic policy.”4 Thus, Attlee proposed an autumn election. Churchill’s reply was to tend his resignation to the King. Four hours later he was summoned back and asked to form a new administration. He accepted the commission, and asked for a dissolution of Parliament, which was granted. Britain would go to the polls on 5th July 1945 for the first time in general election since November 1935.

The result, which was declared on 26th July, showed that “the Conservatives had suffered their greatest reverse since the Liberal landslide of 1906. Labour had won 166 seats from the Conservatives, and lost none of them. Labour had gained a total of 393 seats and 48.0 per cent of the poll, compared to 154 seats and 38.1 per cent in 1935.”5 On the whole, taking the National Coalition and the Liberals into account, the swing to Labour was 11.8% and Labour was left with an overall majority of 147.

In 1945 the Labour Government, led by Clement Attlee, inherited a huge and complex Empire. It appeared that the British Empire had yet again emerged intact from a fundamental challenge, but in real terms this was not the case. The global war’s impact on Britain was a massive debt, mainly to the United States. Additionally, estimates have shown that 10% of Britain’s pre-war wealth or no less than one-quarter if disinvestments were also included, had been lost. Most importantly, Britain was able to pay for only a fraction of the imports she needed both for current survival and for the reconstruction of her economic well-being. “Through lend-lease and her ability to run up enormous debts to members of the sterling area it had been possible during the war to divert a large proportion of her former export industries to war production, so that at the end of 1944 her exports stood at only about one-third of their pre-war volume.”6

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!