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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
Intro
1945
1950 1951 1955 1959 1964 1966 1970 1974
Feb
1974
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1979 1983 1987 1992 1997
1945: Labour landslide buries Churchill
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
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Results
1945: Doctors and nurses
A free health service was a key Labour pledge

Watch and listen 1945
The BBC Home Service reports the election results
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The first ever postal ballot is sent out to soldiers serving overseas
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The end of the war in Europe as reported by the BBC Home Service
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Winston Churchill attacks "Gestapo" socialism
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Labour leader Clement Attlee replies: "such a travesty" of Labour Party policy
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Manifestos
Labour
Free health service
Nationalisation
Full employment
Conservatives
Easing wartime economic controls
Health reform
Tax cuts

With the fighting in the Second World War all but done, the election hinged on the UK’s post-war future.

That state-planning in the form of rationing, decisive intervention in the economy and conscription in both the labour force and the armed services had served the country well during the war was not in dispute, whether it should continue in some other form was.

In the Labour manifesto Let Us Face the Future, the party promised nationalisation of numerous industries including coal, steel and iron.

And, unsurprisingly for a "Socialist Party, and proud of it", full employment was also high on the agenda, as was the promise of a free National Health Service.

Mr Churchill's Declaration of Policy to the Electors also mentioned commitments to welfare, health and the replacement of bomb-damaged housing, but was clear that there should be an end to wartime controls over the economy.

Building on the popularity of the Sir William Beveridge’s report, the Liberals promised to enact their party members' vision of full employment and a strong social security system.