BBC Homepage News World Service Sport Education My BBC BBC News Vote 2001
BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC help
BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro
1945
1950 1951 1955 1959 1964 1966 1970 1974
Feb
1974
0ct
1979 1983 1987 1992 1997
1945: Labour landslide buries Churchill
Back
Next
Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1945 : The Queen Mother
The Queen and crowds greet VE day

Watch and listen 1945
The BBC Home Service reports the election results
real 28k
The first ever postal ballot is sent out to soldiers serving overseas
real 28k
The end of the war in Europe as reported by the BBC Home Service
real 28k
Winston Churchill attacks "Gestapo" socialism
real 28k
Labour leader Clement Attlee replies: "such a travesty" of Labour Party policy
real 28k
Key events
1939 Spring: Tory 'appeasement' of Hitler fails
1939 Autumn: War breaks out
1940 Churchill heads coalition
1942 Beveridge report
1945 War ends

When the parties took to the election campaign trail in the summer of 1945, it had been a decade since they last offered themselves up to the voters' mercy.

But even before the ballots were cast it was clear the political landscape had changed beyond recognition since war with Nazi Germany broke out in 1939.

Britainís eventual success in the war had been by no means a forgone conclusion and early military disasters had shaken the publicís faith in the established and mainly Conservative governing class.

The failed policy of appeasing Hitler also hung heavily around the Tory partyís neck, and when the Conservatives gave only lukewarm support to Sir William Beveridgeís plans for a post-war drive against poverty it became clear that if it was radical change people were after, they could not rely on Churchillís party to deliver.