Today was pretty eventful day in history so I decided to wrote about one shocking event that happened just after the WW2 was over, British elections in 1945.
The United Kingdom general election of 1945 was a general election held on 5 July 1945. The results were counted and declared on 26 July, owing in part to the time it took to transport the votes of those serving overseas. The result was a surprise landslide victory for Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, over Winston Churchill’s Conservatives, giving Labour its first majority government, and a mandate to implement its postwar reforms.
This result was shocking for everybody because Winston Churchill won the war and was most popular politician in Britain.
In May 1945, the month in which the war in Europe was ended, Churchill’s approval ratings stood at 83%, although the Labour Party held an 18% lead as of February 1945. Labour won overwhelming support while ‘Churchill… was both surprised and stunned’ by the crushing defeat suffered by the Conservatives.
As Churchill’s personal popularity remained high, Conservatives were confident of victory and based much of their election campaign on this, rather than proposing new programmes. However, people distinguished between Churchill and his party—a contrast which Labour repeatedly emphasised throughout the campaign. Voters also harboured doubts over Churchill’s ability to lead the country on the domestic front.
Another blow to the Conservative campaign was the memory of the 1930s policy of appeasement, which had been conducted by Churchill’s Conservative predecessors, Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, and was at this stage widely discredited for allowing Adolf Hitler’s Germany to become too strong. The inter-war period had been dominated by Conservatives. Chamberlain become known for his words after meeting with Hitler and signing of Munich Agreement. He said this will guarantee one hundred years of peace in Europe, but as we all know he could not be more wrong.
For me this is a great example of how to lose impossible, because Conservatives had a strong and beloved leader but that was all. They did not think ahead and made any good program. Also maybe first and last time voters were rational and they were not voting only based on ideological cleavages.
This elections destroyed Winston Churchill once strong figure. By mine opinion he was a great war time leader but his opinion about democracy led me to a conclusion that he was not that close to entire idea of free elections.
I intention is not to undermine his role in the salvation of Britain and wining the war but I want to say that maybe he was just that- Good war time leader. What do you think? Especially readers from Britain.
I will end this text with one of his famous quotes:
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Winston Churchill
Have a great 26.07.2014.