Why did Labour win the 1945 election?
There was a lack of a strong opposition. The liberal party was weak and not cohesive, the Conservatives complacent and tainted by memories of their failings during the 1930’s. They spent less on 1945 election and focused too much of their campaign on the dominant personality of Churchill instead of the popular reformist ministers such as Butler. Many voters associated Churchill with the nation as a whole and not with the Conservative Party or as only a wartime leader. He was not seen as politician suited to peacetime. This was encouraged by failure to adapt his speeches; he spoke in broad terms with appeals to historic events, which did nothing to quell concerns that he was not interested in peacetime reconstruction. Fears that were manifested by the unenthusiastic response to the Beveridge report by the conservatives and their lack of post-war planning. The election was called to soon after the end of the war in Europe, whilst conservative ministers including Churchill were still busy dealing with the situation in the far east. This meant that the conservative party under unusual circumstances was unable to function properly and formulate a decent manifesto. The conservatives were also tainted by the legacy of the 1930’s; their policy of appeasement and inadequate war preparation was linked to early defeats in the war.
However the 85% approval ratings of Churchill in 1945 indicate that the public were not disaffected with him. Ultimately the reason for Labour’s victory can be found in its development since the 1930’s to become a stronger party. They lead a more effective election campaign than the conservatives, which was better funded. They tapped into the voters desire for a better future, reminding them of the falures of the conservatives during the 1930’s. They also had more agents in the constituencies than the conservatives because the trade unionists were fully involved. Labour’s leadership was seen to be...
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