In 1946, universal family allowances were introduced to provide financial support to households for raising children. [104] The Merchant Shipping Act of 1948 and the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Act of 1949 were passed to improve conditions for seamen. PRIME Minister Clement Attlee had no shortage of matters to keep him occupied by the time he spoke at Glasgow University in June 1951. [152], The crisis led to an unsuccessful plot by Hugh Dalton to replace Attlee as Prime Minister with Ernest Bevin. In addition, the 1947 Transport Act improved provision of rural bus services, while the Agriculture Act 1947 established a more generous subsidy system for farmers. Peter Clarke, "Attlee: The Making of the Postwar Consensus" in Peter Clarke, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, Keynesian approach to economic management, Martin Richard, Viscount Prestwood, later 2nd Earl Attlee, the granting of independence to India and Pakistan, Cultural depictions of British prime ministers § Clement Attlee, Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946, National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946, Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1948, Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act 1948, House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949, Landlord and Tenant (Rent Control) Act 1949, National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation) Act 1951, "Why football can be a dangerous game for politicians", "Janet Helen Attlee Shipton – Obituaries – Standard Examiner", "J. Keith Harwood, 62; Ex-Macy's Executive", "DAVIS – Deaths Announcements – Telegraph Announcements", "Mr. Attlee's Daughter Weds – Alison Attlee… 1952", "Lansbury v Morrison, the battle over Poplarism", Contains excerpt from Attlee's biography towards the bottom of the page, "Tribute from Labor's Attlee to George and the monarchy", "Clement Attlee took in Jewish child refugee who fled Nazis", "Clement Attlee: enigmatic, out of time – and formidable", "British Labour Party election manifesto, 1945 [archived]", "VOTE2001 – THE ELECTION BATTLES 1945–1997", "HC S Budget Resolution and Economic Situation", "Who, What, Why: Why do the rich get child benefit? [167], Labour's election Manifesto in 1945 called for "the advancement of India to responsible self-government", but did not mention independence. All available resources are to be devoted to armaments. [174] Attlee found that Churchill's viceroy, Field Marshal Wavell, was too imperialistic, too keen on military solutions (he wanted seven more Army divisions) and too neglectful of Indian political alignments. Ellen Jenny Ravndal, "Exit Britain: British Withdrawal From the Palestine Mandate in the Early Cold War, 1947–1948". "The Attlee government and welfare state reforms in post-war Italian Socialism (1945–51): Between universalism and class policies. This resulted in strict rationing of food and other essential goods continuing in the post war period to force a reduction in consumption in an effort to limit imports, boost exports, and stabilise the Pound Sterling so that Britain could trade its way out of its financial state. Robert Crowcroft and Kevin Theakston. The council served and enforced legal orders on homeowners to repair their property. I have heard it said more than once that if Labour would only drop its policy of nationalisation everyone would be pleased, and it would soon obtain a majority. [37], Most of the remaining Labour MPs after 1931 were elderly trade union officials who could not contribute much to debates, Lansbury was in his 70s, and Stafford Cripps another main figure of the Labour front bench who had entered Parliament in 1931, was inexperienced. He had a fine presence and great oratorical power. [165] Attlee and the Labour leadership were sympathetic to the Congress movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. We are deliberately putting a world order before our loyalty to our own country. With no time for a leadership contest, the party agreed that Attlee should serve as interim leader, on the understanding that a leadership election would be held after the general election. [81], In 1947, the Arts Council of Great Britain was set up to encourage the arts. Many Labour activists were baffled by the top leadership role for a man they regarded as having little charisma; Beatrice Webb wrote in her diary in early 1940: Following the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the War in Europe in May 1945, Attlee and Churchill favoured the coalition government remaining in place until Japan had been defeated. It will take only 2 minutes to fill in. Clement Attlee was born in Putney in 1883. However, Herbert Morrison made it clear that the Labour Party would not be willing to accept this, and Churchill was forced to tender his resignation as Prime Minister and call an immediate election. There was hardly any increase allowed for the services which went to build up the life of the people, education and health. A year later, he became a lecturer at the London School of Economics, teaching Social Science and Public Administration. Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951, he was the first Labour prime minister with a majority in government, and was very … In foreign affairs, the Attlee government was concerned with four main issues; post-war Europe, the onset of the Cold War, the establishment of the United Nations, and decolonisation. [116], In 1946, the National Agricultural Advisory Service was set up to supply agricultural advice and information. [127] In addition, the Livestock Rearing Act of March 1951[128] extended the provisions of the 1946 Hill Farming Act to the upland store cattle and sheep sector. He set up the Cripps Mission in 1942, which tried and failed to bring the factions together. His wife had become ill, and at that time there was no separate salary for the Leader of the Opposition. [96], Various measures were carried out to improve conditions in the workplace. However, in 1945, the Labour Party won the election and Attlee rose to the position of Prime Minister. [68] The News of the World predicted a working Conservative majority, while in Glasgow a pundit forecast the result as Conservatives 360, Labour 220, Others 60. [111] Legislation was also passed in 1947 and 1948 which established a permanent Agricultural Wages Board to fix minimum wages for agricultural workers. [56], In the late 1930s, Attlee sponsored a Jewish mother and her two children, enabling them to leave Germany in 1939 and move to the UK. Rachel Reeves, and Martin McIvor. Reflecting pent-up demand that had long existed for medical services, the NHS treated some 8 and a half million dental patients and dispensed more than 5 million pairs of spectacles during its first year of operation. As Prime Minister, he enlarged and improved social services and … Development schemes were implemented to help solve Britain's post-war balance of payments crisis and raise African living standards. [43], Attlee stood in the subsequent leadership election, held soon after, where he was opposed by Herbert Morrison, who had just re-entered parliament in the recent election, and Arthur Greenwood: Morrison was seen as the favourite, but was distrusted by many sections of the party, especially the left-wing. But he ended PM, CH and OM, an Earl and a Knight of the Garter". Attlee became the first high-ranking western politician to meet Mao Zedong. [180], One of the most urgent problems concerned the future of the Palestine Mandate. Attlee’s time as Prime Minister also saw intense foreign policy activity. [140] In addition, spending on technical education rose, and the number of nursery schools was increased. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2000. [76], Attlee's Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, fought hard against the general disapproval of the medical establishment, including the British Medical Association, by creating the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. [54], At the end of 1937, Attlee and a party of three Labour MPs visited Spain and visited the British Battalion of the International Brigades fighting in the Spanish Civil War. [93], The Fire Services Act 1947 introduced a new pension scheme for fire-fighters,[102] while the Electricity Act 1947 introduced better retirement benefits for workers in that industry. [70] He believed Eden had been forced into taking a strong stand on the Suez Crisis by his backbenchers. Labour's ideology contrasted sharply with the contemporary Conservative Party's defence of individualism, inherited privileges, and income inequality. He called it, one of the "most bold, enlightened and good-natured acts in the history of nations". The Minister of Fuel and Power, Emanuel Shinwell was widely blamed for failing to ensure adequate coal stocks, and soon resigned from his post. Independent British atomic research was prompted partly by the US McMahon Act, which nullified wartime expectations of postwar US–UK collaboration in nuclear research, and prohibited Americans from communicating nuclear technology even to allied countries. He served as Deputy Prime Minister under Winston Churchill in the coalition wartime Government in 1940-5. Historian Yasmin Khan estimates that between a half-million and a million men, women and children were killed. Later that year Stafford Cripps tried to persuade Attlee to stand aside for Bevin. He was one of only three Labour MPs who had experience of government to retain their seats, along with George Lansbury and Stafford Cripps. We do not think you can do it by national defence. Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury: Clement Attlee: 26 July 1945 – 26 … During this period, Attlee developed a lifelong dislike of Morrison. By 1933 he argued that British rule was alien to India and was unable to make the social and economic reforms necessary for India's progress. [89], The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 1950 amended an Act of 1885 to bring prostitutes within the law and safeguard them from abduction and abuse. Initially his application was turned down, as at the age of 31 he was seen as being too old; however, he was finally allowed to join in September, and was commissioned[7] in the rank of Captain with the 6th (Service) Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, part of the 38th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division, and was sent to fight in the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey. On returning from the war, Attlee moved into politics, becoming Mayor of Stepney in 1919 and MP for Limehouse in 1922. This was a very unpopular commitment, and the evacuation of British troops and subsequent handing over of the issue to the United Nations was widely supported by the British public. [78] In January 1947, fear of both Soviet and American nuclear intentions led to a secret meeting of the Cabinet, where the decision was made to press ahead with the development of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent, an issue which later caused a split in the Labour Party. In the 1950 General Election Labour lost its majority, and by the time of its defeat in the general election of 1951, the Labour government had worked itself to near exhaustion. His party was narrowly defeated by the Conservatives in the 1951 general election, despite winning the most votes. No divisions were available; independence was the only option. The council surrounded it with protective hoarding for four years, before eventually removing it for repair and recasting in 2009. [105] The government also strengthened a Fair Wages Resolution, with a clause that required all employers getting government contracts to recognise the rights of their workers to join trade unions. Attlee also attended the later stages of the Potsdam Conference, where he negotiated with President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin. He became prime minister in July and held the office until October 1951 - longer than any other prime minister since Herbert Asquith (1908–16). The newly established National Coal Board offered sick pay and holiday pay to miners. He subsequently joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1908 and became active in local politics. He proved a loyal ally of the US at the onset of the Cold War. David Cornock tells the story of how Toynbee Hall and London's East End shaped the politics of Labour prime minister Clement Attlee. [...] The Government has now resolved to enter upon an arms race, and the people will have to pay for their mistake in believing that it could be trusted to carry out a policy of peace. Attlee was called to the Bar in 1906, and lectured at the London School of Economics until the outbreak of World War One. Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. Aneurin Bevan resigned to protest against the new charges for "teeth and spectacles" in the National Health Service introduced by that Budget, and was joined in this action by several senior ministers, including the future Prime Minister Harold Wilson, then the President of the Board of Trade. [120] As historian Eric Shaw noted of the years following nationalisation, the electricity and gas supply companies became "impressive models of public enterprise" in terms of efficiency, and the National Coal Board was not only profitable, but working conditions for miners had significantly improved as well. [66] Despite opinion polls indicating a strong Labour lead, opinion polls were then viewed as a novelty which had not proven their worth, and most commentators expected that Churchill's prestige and status as a "war hero" would ensure a comfortable Conservative victory. Clement Attlee was leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955, and served as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951. Whiting, R. C. "Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967)". Although re-elected, the result was seen by Attlee as very disappointing, and was widely attributed to the effects of post-war austerity denting Labour's appeal to middle-class voters. Tonight the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, announced in Downing Street that the Queen is to make Mr Attlee an earl. In an interview he described himself as "incapable of religious feeling", saying that he believed in "the ethics of Christianity" but not "the mumbo-jumbo". [clarification needed][citation needed] Overseas investments had been used up to pay for the war. He was replaced by Cripps.[153]. [95], Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs), a designation under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947, allowed local authorities to acquire property in the designated areas using powers of compulsory purchase in order to re-plan and develop urban areas suffering from urban blight or war damage. He negotiated a deal with the Electrical Trade Union so that they would continue to supply power to hospitals, but would end supplies to factories. [164] He faced strong resistance from the die-hard Conservative imperialists, led by Churchill, who opposed both independence and efforts led by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to set up a system of limited local control by Indians themselves. Attlee met Violet Millar while on a long trip with friends to Italy in 1921. For other uses, see, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, Military service during the First World War, Major legislation enacted during the Attlee government. I regard myself as Left of Centre which is where a Party Leader ought to be. He was a serious man and a patriot. During the course of the second Labour government, Attlee had become increasingly disillusioned with MacDonald, whom he came to regard as vain and incompetent, and of whom he later wrote scathingly in his autobiography. The Conservatives capitalised on the crisis with the slogan 'Starve with Strachey and shiver with Shinwell' (referring to the Minister of Food John Strachey). Until then, his political views had been more conservative. [203], Attlee's estate was sworn for probate purposes at a value of £7,295,[204] (equivalent to £133,383 in 2019[205]) a relatively modest sum for so prominent a figure, and only a fraction of the £75,394 in his father's estate when he died in 1908. Winston Churchill, who had served for most of the war as British prime minister in a coalition government, would be replaced during the Conference by Clement Attlee. Nationalised one fifth of the British economy. Crowcroft, Robert, and Kevin Theakston. Some major reforms were nevertheless passed, particularly regarding industry in urban areas and regulations to limit air and water pollution. [32] Attlee's service on the Commission equipped him with a thorough exposure to India and many of its political leaders. [77] A housing bill passed in 1946 increased Treasury subsidies for the construction of local authority housing in England and Wales. Labour had looked forward to making it a fully independent dominion like Canada or Australia. Using the Dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as a model, he continued the transformation of the empire into the modern-day British Commonwealth. This concise thematic biography explores his life and achievement. I then realised his reluctance to take positive action and noted with dismay his increasing vanity and snobbery, while his habit of telling me, a junior Minister, the poor opinion he had of all his Cabinet colleagues made an unpleasant impression. His hospitalisation coincided with the Battle of Sari Bair, which saw a large number of his comrades killed. [192] Two thousand people attended his funeral in November, including the then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the Duke of Kent, representing the Queen. I was born in 1948, and feel that, almost 70 years later, I owe everything to Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan. [72], As Prime Minister, Attlee appointed Hugh Dalton as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ernest Bevin as Foreign Secretary, and Herbert Morrison as Deputy Prime Minister, with overall responsibility for nationalisation. On the verge of resigning from Parliament, he was persuaded to stay by Stafford Cripps, a wealthy socialist, who agreed to make a donation to party funds to pay him an additional salary until Lansbury could take over again. Another balance of payments crisis in 1949 forced Chancellor of the Exchequer, Stafford Cripps, into devaluation of the pound. He put his trust in the United Nations, rejected notions that the Soviet Union was bent on world conquest, and warned that treating Moscow as an enemy would turn it into one. Congress, led by Nehru and Gandhi, demanded immediate independence and full control by Congress of all of India. In the coalition government, three inter-connected committees effectively ran the country. Attlee condemned this: "We say that any suggestion of an alliance of this kind—an alliance in which one country is bound to another, right or wrong, by some overwhelming necessity—is contrary to the spirit of the League of Nations, is contrary to the Covenant, is contrary to Locarno is contrary to the obligations which this country has undertaken, and is contrary to the professed policy of this Government". His government enacted a number of social and economic reforms; including the nationalisation of essential industries, the Welfare State and the National Health Service. When the victorious Chinese Communists government declared on 1 October 1949 that it would exchange diplomats with any country that ended relations with the Chinese Nationalists, Britain became the first western country to formally recognise the People's Republic of China in January 1950. Some relief was provided by the Anglo-American loan, negotiated in December 1945. [108] All dockers were registered under the Dock Labour Scheme, giving them a legal right to minimum work, holidays and sick pay. [184] With such a small majority leaving him dependent on a small number of MPs to govern, Attlee's second term was much tamer than his first. in Timothy Heppell and Kevin Theakston, eds. Attlee remained as Leader of the Opposition when the Second World War broke out in September 1939. We also use cookies set by other sites to help us deliver content from their services. [136] In addition, the number of motor cars on the roads rose from 3 million to 5 million from 1945 to 1951, and seaside holidays were taken by far more people than ever before. Churchill chaired the first two, the War Cabinet and the Defence Committee, with Attlee deputising for him in these, and answering for the government in Parliament when Churchill was absent. "Citizen and Subject: Clement Attlee’s Socialism.". [124][125], Attlee's government made it possible for farm workers to borrow up to 90 per cent of the cost of building their own houses, and received a subsidy of £15 a year for 40 years towards that cost. All major parties committed themselves to fulfilling this aim, but most historians say that Attlee's Labour Party were seen by the electorate as the party most likely to follow it through. [141] Salaries for teachers were also improved, and funds were allocated towards improving existing schools. [94], Development rights were nationalised while the government attempted to take all development profits for the State. On arriving in Britain, Attlee invited one of the children into his home in Stanmore, north-west London, where he stayed for several months. Despite his mishandling of the Red Letter episode, I had not appreciated his defects until he took office a second time. "The Fall of the Attlee Government, 1951". [78] The UK benefited from the American Marshall Aid program in 1948, and the economic situation improved significantly. Due to his style of leadership, it was not he, but Ernest Bevin who masterminded foreign policy. "British Labour and the cold war: the foreign policy of the Labour governments, 1945–1951. It kept open consulates in Communist-controlled areas and rejected the Chinese Nationalists' requests that British citizens assist in the defence of Shanghai. Clement Attlee died of pneumonia at the age of 84 at Westminster Hospital on 8 October 1967. [65][66], Labour campaigned on the theme of "Let Us Face the Future", positioning themselves as the party best placed to rebuild Britain after the war,[67] and were widely viewed as having run a strong and positive campaign, while the Conservative campaign centred entirely around Churchill. Even if Attlee had personally been prepared to serve under Chamberlain in an emergency coalition government, he would never have been able to carry Labour with him. Attlee tendered his resignation as Prime Minister the following day, after six years and three months in office. The first operational British A Bomb was not detonated until October 1952, about one year after Attlee had left office. Nor do I think we can impress the nation by adopting a futile left-wingism. Every time you have a Prime Minister who wants to make all the decisions, it mainly leads to bad results. Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee KG OM CH PC FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British politician. [25], Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. This was the most significant reforming administration of … The terms have not been terms negotiated; they have been terms laid down as ultimata. In the face of an armed revolt of Jewish militant groups and increasing violence of the local Arab population, Britain had found itself unable to control events. [69] Churchill, however, made some costly errors during the campaign. The vast majority of the party's senior figures, including the Leader Arthur Henderson, lost their seats. He placed great faith in Ernest Bevin, his Foreign Secretary, and together they oversaw Indian independence, American loans and ‘Marshall Aid’ for the rebuilding of Britain and Western Europe, the Berlin airlift and Britain’s commitment to the United Nations. He led the labour government that established the welfare state in Great Britain.. Clement Attlee was born in Putney, near London, on Jan. 23, 1883, the son of Henry Attlee, a successful solicitor, and Ellen Watson Attlee, a cultivated … [188], Finding it increasingly impossible to govern, Attlee's only chance was to call a snap election in October 1951, in the hope of achieving a more workable majority and to regain authority. Clement Attlee resigned as leader of the Labour Party in 1955. [57], Attlee remained as Leader of the Opposition when the Second World War broke out in September 1939. [149] Careful planning after 1945 also ensured that demobilisation was carried out without having a negative impact upon economic recovery, and that unemployment stayed at very low levels. [173] Churchill in 1940–1945 had tightened the hold on India and imprisoned the Congress leadership, with Attlee's approval. Nevertheless, he saw that a large part of it needed to be self-governing. He joined the Independent Labour Party, gave up his legal career, and began lecturing at the London School of Economics. In return, they (and the wives of male contributors) were eligible for a wide range of benefits, including pensions, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and funeral benefit. During the Second World War, he was called into Winston Churchill’s coalition government, notably holding the title of Deputy Prime Minister from 1942 to 1945. In office, Attlee faced unprecedented problems created by the need to turn a near-bankrupt wartime economy back to the requirements of peace while finding work for millions of demobilized soldiers. The conditions attached to the loan included making the pound fully convertible to the US dollar. [73], Francis (1995) argues there was consensus both in the Labour's national executive committee and at party conferences on a definition of socialism that stressed moral improvement as well as material improvement. [34] That month MacDonald and a few of his allies formed a National Government with the Conservatives and Liberals, leading them to be expelled from Labour. From 1945 to 1948, over 200 public Acts of Parliament were passed, with eight major pieces of legislation placed on the statute book in 1946 alone. [151], 1947 proved a particularly difficult year for the government; an exceptionally cold winter that year caused coal mines to freeze and cease production, creating widespread power cuts and food shortages. Of 1942, by the Zionist movement and the economic legacy of the proceedings there have been time laid! With a greater say in the office in 1951 to try and restore authority in his government general Maude... His leadership bid was severely hampered by his backbenchers was narrowly defeated by the British had., 'What would Keir Hardie have done? were soon engaged, marrying at Christ,! 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