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Britain 1951-1964

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Mr Reid

on 14 October 2014

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Transcript of Britain 1951-1964

Britain 1951-1964
The Attlee Legacy and the Post-War Consensus
Conservative Political Dominance
The Post-War Consensus? 1951-64
L.O. Did Britain change under Conservative rule 1951-64?
The Attlee Legacy and Post-War Consensus
There were 3 key episodes in 20th Century British history - the Great depression of '30s, WW2 and the rebuilding of post-war UK and establishment of the welfare state.

According to Hennessy - Attlee achieved 3 things - the NHS, national insurance and made the first steps towards changing the British Empire to the Commonwealth.

Both Hennessy and Nigel Lawson agree what Attlee achieved was at the heart of post-war consensus. It remains with us today in 2013.

However some like Coates were not impressed - power hadn't shifted in terms of class (the Establishment), there was no social transformation, they hadn't created a socialist common wealth and the mixed economy was mostly in private hands.

The rght wing view of the post-war consensus is that it was a mistake to follow Attlee and the Conservative Party should have broken it much sooner to prevent the 'nanny state'

According to Bernett's interpretation, Thatcherism was a necessary correction to the flabby politics of her predecessors and especially the failure of politicians in the 60's.
A reorganised Conservative Party
Infighting between Bevanites and Gaitskellites weakened the Labour Party
1951 marked the end of 'austerity' and the start of post-war boom
Conservatives recognised the extent of public approval of Attlee's legacy
Conservative Dominance

Conservatives and the post-war Consensus
They quickly denationalised steel and road transport in 1951
The legacy of national unity and co-operation (coalition govt) left by the war
The idea of what Nigel Lawson called 'big government' (intervention)
The importance maintaining full employment
The importance of trade unions, wanted co-operative relationship
The popularity of Labour's welfare reforms esp NHS
Conservative majority small, leadership didn't feel strong enough to take on Attlee's legacy, this realism didn't please grass root supporters
Key Profiles
R.A. Butler
Anthony Eden
Harold McMillan
Hugh Gaitskell
'The Prime Minister the conservatives never had'
Came to prominence as architect of 1944 Ed Act
Played key role in reorganisation of party/policies in preparation for returning to power '51
Chancellor '51-5
Seen as possible leader after Eden and when McM resigned
Rising political star in 30s
Played key role as Churchill's 1st foreign Secretary
Several occasions '51-55 when acting PM
Became PM 1955 but forced to resign January '57 after Suez Crisis
MP, Churchill's military liaison officer during WW2
Successful housing minister in Churchill's gov '51
Achieved target of 300,000 houses per year
Foreign Secretary in Eden's gov
'57 emerged as new Cons PM after Edens resignation
Chancellor in Attlee gov 1951
His decision to introduce prescription charges, party to fund Korean War
Led to resignation of Bevan and long-term party split
Conflict between 2 proved problem in time Gaitskell leader, '55-63
Divisions worsened over nuclear disarmament
Struggled to make impression against PM, but might have led Lab to victory if not for death in 1963
Winston Churchill and the 'Age of Affluence' '51-55
Issues in Churchill's Government 1951-55
Anthony Eden - 1955-1957.....
From 1952 weekly wage was increasing for men
Massive increase in private savings
Increased car ownership
Increased house ownership helped by cheaper mortgages
Butler's 'give away' budget £134million tax-cut for middle/c
300,000 houses per year built
Farmers did well
Increased ownership of consumer goods(Consumerism)
New towns planned by Labour rapidly increasing
Churchill had ill health and was 80 when retired in 1955. He had a serious stroke in 1953 that impaired his speech, no one knew and those that did, didn't tell.
Churchill saw his role as part-time work, had little interest in domestic policy and spent more time abroad dealing with international matters. Day to day government led by deputy PM Eden and his key ministers; Butler and Chancellor MacMillan.
Tensions, rivalry of Butler/Macmillan and relationship strains between Eden and Churchill.
Eden wanted Churchill to step down, while Churchilll had doubts over Eden's suitability for PM.
Called immediately after Churchill resigned as Eden seeking own mandate.
Relaxed electoral campaign, media overwhelmingly supported Conservatives, public had 'feelgood factor'
Not a crushing defeat for Lab but Attlee retired afterwards and Gaitskell replaced him.
From Eden to Macmillan
High hopes for Eden's government as he represented "contemporary manhood", he had progressive ideas on domestic affairs, belief in property owning democracy and industrial partnership
Edens weakness as PM was that he'd spent all of his career in foreign affairs and had little experience in domestic
Suez Crisis was Edens decision to launch military action against Egypt's new nationalist leader in '56 ended in disaster with the USA virtually ordering UK out
Key Problems caused by Suez Crisis; Eden seemed weakened in area had most strength, split Cons rebellion by 40 MPs, pressure of USA exposed financial weakness causing run-on-the-pound, turning point for illusions of UK imperial power, Eden had lied to H of C prestige badly damaged
Eden resigned on grounds of ill health in early '57
McMillan replaced him and restored party unity, economic prosperity continued and in '59 'supermac' led another easy victory
Harold 'Supermac'Macmillan 1957-63
Macmillan man of many contradictions; image of 'Tory Toff' yet had quite radical views on social justice. His polices molded by two world wars and the Great Depression. Him and his cabinet were effective political managers in tune with public opinion.

Suez crisis didn't have lasting effect on Cons support, Oct '59 after 18months in power Macmillan had comfortable victory, cons majority went up 100 seats.

Summer of '57 major banking crisis because wages were ahead of productivity , run on the pound and danger of pound devalued against dollar. Chancellor Thorneycroft wanted limit wage increase and cut money supply while other ministers strongly opposed as lead to increase unemply and cutbacks in house. This row symbolized problems of stop-go economics, continued to Thatcher and after that within the Cons party.

Macmillan overruled Thorneycroft in 1958 when proposed drastic spending cuts so Thorneycroft resigned with junior ministers.

Crisis no lasting harm to Macmillan, shrugged off their resignation as 'a little local difficulty'. Sterling regained against dollar and economy expanded so much '59 budget provided tax cuts £370million.
Using the computers/your smartphones, research about the four post-war Conservative Prime-Ministers - Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Home (pronounced Hume)
Background e.g. class, education etc
Political experience before becoming PM
Crisis faced?
Viewed by Public as.....
Any memorable quotes?
Compare the PM's....
Alec Douglas Home...
Macmillan named his foreign secretary as his successor hoping that he would cause the least division in the party.
Couldn't have chosen a more Establishment figure.
10 of his cabinet were Old Etonians and only 3 out of 23 had not been to public schools.
Had to renounce his peerage (Earl of Home)
Economically oversaw a 'go' phase. Growth went from 4% to 6%.
BUT imports continued to be 20% above exports.

13 wasted years?

Analyse the legacy of Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas Home by writing an obituary for each Prime Minister.
What is the Establishment?
Who was the most successful Conservative PM 1951-64 and why?
Were these '13 wasted years' (Harold Wilson)?
Stretch and challenge - compare 60's political structures with those of today. Similar or different?
How are Macmillan and Home portrayed in these cartoons?
Anybody seen this image before?
Stretch and challenge.....
Why did this image gain iconic status?
The Profumo Affair.....the end of the Establishment?
What happened in the Profumo Affair?
What is its significance?
Next Lesson.....
Exam practice. Please revise everything you have been taught so far:-

Key political and economic terms
The post-war consensus
'You've never had it so good?'
The 1959 election and its significance.
The leadership of Macmillan and Home
The problems of the 'Establishment'
The Profumo affair.
There are lots of clips and documentary pieces on Youtube for you to explore.
Full transcript