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Saturday, 14 February 2015
LSHG Conference: Attlee's Labour Government at Seventy
Attlee’s 1945 Labour Government at Seventy: What is the historical balance sheet?
One Day Event organised by the London Socialist Historians Group
Institute of Historical Research
Senate House, Malet Street London
Saturday 28 February 2015
In 1945 Labour was returned to office with a large majority in the election that marked the end of World War Two and the coalition Government that had ruled from 1939.
Contrary to many expectations Tory leader Winston Churchill was swept from power and replaced by
Clement Attlee’s Labour Government. Many socialists look back on the Attlee Government as an example of what a left-wing Government can achieve. The Welfare State was introduced, including the NHS, and industries were nationalised. Much of this is captured in Ken Loach’s excellent film The Spirit of ‘45.
Yet the record was not all positive. The Attlee Government sent troops to break strikes, worked on developing a British nuclear bomb and laid the basis for the Cold War in Britain.
This conference, looking back over 70 years, will seek to draw a balance sheet of the positives and negatives of the 1945 Labour Government in a bid to contribute modestly towards a useful and working, historically focused agenda for the left in the present day.
Keith Flett - 'A History of 1945: Beyond Ken Loach'
Ian Birchall - 'Exits from Empire: British and French choices in 1945'
Francis Beckett, Biographer - 'Clement Attlee'
John Newsinger - 'Labour, the Welfare State and Korea'