1945 GE: Why was Churchill turned out?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Slipdigit, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I would view him as being successful as a cheerleader, for lack of a better word and international diplomat. He seemed to me (having not lived at the time) to be a motivator.

    I also think his personal friendship with Roosevelt was not something to be taken lightly. It certainly had to figure heavily into many of the decisions made on this side of the ocean in regards to playing fast and loose with neutrality. I don't see the US coming in on the side of the Axis but how much longer would it have taken if we were not already intertwined in the Atlantic convoys and other war aid? If the US was staying strictly neutral, would Adolf Hitler have jumped on a quick declaration of war following Pearl Harbor?

    Whether we like it or not, there was a strong isolationist and anti-British sentiment in the US. Roosevelt had a devil of time getting what aid and preparations he could past the House and Senate. If Churchill and Roosevelt had been at odds with each other, would Roosevelt have been as willing to stick his political neck out for the UK? We will probably never know, Roosevelt could very well have been anti-Nazi enough that it did not matter about the leadership of the British Isles, he was going to fight Germany anyway. Having Churchill as the PM during the war may have just made it all the more easier.
  2. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    As I said, maybe a good leader (politically) but my point was that his military interferences were not good - and yet he couldn't leave the military men to organise and fight the war. His interferences did a lot of damage but people forget that.

    May I suggest that if you get the chance you have a look at Blood, Sweat and Arrogance: The Myths of Churchill's War I think it's an excellent book (though many here will disagree)
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon


    I was neglectful in addressing your assertation, but mainly because I could neither agree nor disagree. I am not well-enough versed in the subject to put up an adequate defense either way. I have not read much on his involvement on the day-to-day decision making, other than his authority in appointing senior commanders. To that regard, I could jump all over the choice of Air Marshal Harris to head Bomber Command, but that is another thread.

    Perhaps one you out there would care to pick up the dropped glove of Kyt or I could search for past threads discussing this same subject, if it has been looked at before.

    Again, I have enjoyed the conversation. Very well done.
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It is very difficult to describe the conditions that prevailed after 1945. I noted the posting about working 5 days and 45 hours a week.
    The Standard working week was a six day week and a minimum of 48 hours. The only way that we could make ends meet in reality was by working 7 days a week.

    Food and clothing was rationed. Not so much by the shortages, but because we had no money to pay for these goods. Our overseas trade was non-existent, and we were not only bankrupt, but heavily in debt as well.

    It must be remembered that Britain stood alone against the military might of the Axis powers.

    Only Britain flew the flag of freedom while the black cloud of a new medieval dark age descended over Europe and the East.

    For those not aware. We had been conducting war around the Globe on Land Sea and Air. During the battles of 1944 in Europe we began to run out of men. Many units were disbanded, and use as reinforcements for other depleted units.

    Some non-combatant units were drafted into the fighting forces.

    We did not return to a land fit for Hero's to live in. We returned to a cold and in many cases fuelless land. Where our only hope was in long hours of work and pulling ourselves together.

    We never had a Hollywood to trumpet our achievements. To illustrate this phenomenon. The courage of the British were never shown. Even though we landed on the most heavily defended area in the whole of the Normandy invasion coast.

    Take for example the landings.It has always been said by the Americans that Sword Beach was an "Easy Landing"

    Stan Hough shows what a terrible misconception that was. by his day to day log of the Princess Astrid. An Assault ship.

    Here I repeat those figures should anyone not be aware:

    Lay this idea to rest!
    For many years it was claimed that we had it easy on Sword Beach, not true, the following from one of the assault ships log, lays this misinformation to rest, what follows later, is Stan Hough’s record taken from the log of one of the ships that carried the Assault craft. Princess Astrid. Bless her! She hit a mine in the channel after the war and sunk!

    The Princess lost 4 out of her 8 Assault landing craft.
    Princess Charlotte lost 7 out of 8.
    MV Victoria lost 5 out of 6.
    Prince Henry lost 5 out of 8.
    Finally Prince David lost all 8.
    On reflection, the loss of 29 Assault craft out of a total of 38 with only 9 saved, hardly bears out the idea of an "Easy landing" But, such is the power of propaganda that these myths are assumed to be true and become fixed as part of the Legend of D Day.
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Actually, it was for 45hrs that they got paid for then another 6 hours they did for free, for a total of 51 hours. Regardless, they worked very hard ante- and post-bellum but the difference was, my grandparents were paid more afterward and condtions steadily improved throughout the 40s, 50s and into the 60s.

    I am not aware of reputable scholars referring to Sword as an easy landing. Quite the contrary. What I have understood as the easier beach was Utah, regardless of what the screen writers would have us to believe.
    I used to work with a surgeon who is now deceased. He was a shore engineer* and Utah beach was his fourth opposed landing (North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Utah, then later, the Lower Rhine crossing (Op. Plunder)) He stated unequivocally that Utah not a difficult landing for him and the casualties sustained on the beach bear him out. He followed that with stating that it was his belief that had they landed where there supposed to, they would have been stepping into a bloodbath. He helped to supervise the clearing of parts of Utah after the fighting had moved inland. As it was, his part of the beach was not as difficult as what was faced elsewhere. This situation did not last long after they went inland.

    In regards to Patton, he served under him some. He had a neutral opinion of him. His favs were Teddy Roosevelt Jr. and Terry Allen. Also, he had high regards for the British he interacted with in preparing for Operation Plunder but could speak neither pro not con in regards to Montgomery, as he said, "I was just a Captain, I didn't really have clue what was going on above me."

    *Shore engineers more or less were what the British Army called sappers.
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The working hours inthe UK were 48, and a six day week. No one ever left much before 7 at night
    hardly ever saw the family.
  7. redcoat

    redcoat Senior Member

    The 1951 election was a defeat because of the austerity of the preceeding 6 years (and the winds of change were seen in the 1950 election that didn't give Labour a enough of a majority). However, the 1955 and 1959 election wins for the Conservatives was clearly down to the feeling that they had created the prosperity that now existed. However, considering the fact that this prosperity would not have been possible without Labour's austerity measures, it just shows how fickle voters can be.

    A major reason that the Conservatives were elected in the 1951 election was because they had publicly stated that they would not reverse the many social policies that the Labour party had introduced like the educational reforms and the health service.
  8. redcoat

    redcoat Senior Member

    Indeed the free world does owe Churchill a debt of honour for keeping Britain in the war during the summer of 1940.
    However, it must be remembered that in British election's the people vote for the party, not the leader, and the Conservative party was held by the British people to be the party responsible for allowing the rise of Hitler in the pre-war years with its policy of appeasement. A policy which the Labour party had opposed since the election of Attlee as their leader in 1935.
    When people refer to Churchill being the 'lone voice' against Hitler, they are in fact only referring to Churchill being the lone voice in the ruling Conservative party.
    The Conservative party couldn't even claim credit for winning the war either, because the first thing Churchill did on becoming Prime Minister was set up a coalition government in which the Labour party leaders played a prominent and vital role. In fact, it was only due to the support of the Labour members of his war cabinet in June 1940 that allowed Churchill to keep Britain in the war despite the doubts of some Conservative members.

    The vote in 45 wasn't a vote against Churchill, it was a vote against the Conservative party.

    ps, In the election of 1951 in which the Conservatives returned to power, the Labour party still had a majority in the number of votes cast, but due to the British 'first past the post' system the Conservative party gained the most seats in parliament.
    Slipdigit likes this.
  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Knowledgeable Redcoat...Very, and creates a little of the atmosphere of the times.
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    July 1945, the war in the Far East still rages on and Churchill has lead Britain to Victory in Europe. Undoubtedly one of the most popular Prime Ministers in all time and he and the Conservative Party are on the wrong end of the genearal election. The landslide victory for Labour comes as a major shock to the Conservatives following Churchill's hugely successful term as Britain's war-time coalition leader, during which he mobilised and inspired courage in an entire nation.

    Out of 627 seats Labour increased its seats from 164 to 393, giving the party its first independent majority of 159 seats over all other parties. The Conservatives and their allies secured 213 seats, the Liberals 10 and other parties 11.

    Some say the reason Churchill lost the election was he lost the vote of the Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen.

    Some say Atlee won the election becuase the people believed Labour's promises to implement the Beveridge Report and its plans for creating a welfare state.

    What do you think ?

  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Merged new thread on same topic into existing one.
  12. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    In the past, I've heard some of the wartime generation say that Churchill would always be a reminder to them of that period of history. Despite his contribution, they simply wanted to put the whole thing behind them as quickly as possible and if it meant him going as part of that process, so be it.
  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I reread this thread. I was a good thread, if I don't mind saying so myself. It was a good learning opportunity for me and I hope others.

    We didn't have the reputation system in place then, so I have repped several of you for your good posts.

    I was still calling Ron by Mr Goldstein. He still had yet to convince me otherwise!
    dbf likes this.
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mr Churchill in the early days was the best we could find to motivate all Britons to the task at hand, and they did it well and suffered greatly - unfortunately he took advantage of his Defence Minister role and became the Master Strategist - he was not but bullied the Chief of Staffs into going along with some of his more less than brilliant schemes - and we suffered more.

    Then Gen Alan Brooke came on the scene and started to exert some pressure on him - and the wild schemes became less and Alanbrookes strategy became paramount - much to the disgust of many US leaders - the nonsenses of Norway - Greece - Crete were halted and we then started to win at El Alamein - from then on we never had a defeat although there was abit of a hiccup at Ahrnem.

    This was the application of sound professional strategy which weakened the enemy before striking the hard blows after D Day and to this day Alanbrooke is still not fully recognised for his efforts - Churchill failed to accept that the British people were exhauisted ans wanted an assurance of rewards for their efforts - Churchill could not do this - BUT - Attlee did with his "cradle to the grave" social philosophy and so Churchill was left out - The labour Government also failed and Churchill was back in power in '51 but too little - too late once more. The British were no longer masters of a great Empire and has been receding ever since with a small uplift in Maggie Thatchers time in office.
    WE don't seem to have the leaders anymore to make GREAT Britain again !
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It is no surprise to me that the Churchill debate continues.

    To refresh my memory of the events in question I paid a brief visit to Wikipedia
    A khaki election held just months after VE Day, it was the first general election to be held since 1935, as general elections had been suspended until the Allied victory in the Second World War had been assured. It resulted in the shock election defeat of the Conservatives led by Winston Churchill and the landslide victory of the Labour Party led by Clement Attlee, who won a majority of 145 seats.
    The result of the election was almost totally unexpected, given the heroic status of Winston Churchill, but reflected the voters' belief that the Labour Party were better able to rebuild the country following the war than the Conservatives. Churchill and the Conservatives are also generally considered to have run a poor campaign in comparison to Labour; Churchill's statement that Attlee's programme would require a Gestapo-esque body to implement is considered to have been particularly poorly judged.[1] Equally, whilst voters respected and liked Churchill's wartime record, they were more distrustful of the Conservative Party's domestic and foreign policy record in the late thirties. Labour had also been given, during the war, the opportunity to display to the electorate their domestic competence in government under men such as Attlee, Herbert Morrison and Ernest Bevin at the Ministry of Labour.

    I then went back to to a much thumbed copy of Martin Gilbert's "Churchill --- A life" to re-read more about that still debated period in his career.

    I still marvel at the man and am glad that I was born during his life time, if that makes me a dinosaur. so be it !

    I hope I will be forgiven for attaching a Churchill photo to this thread.

    The photo has particular significance for me because I was present at the function at which it was taken BBC - WW2 People's War - Churchill and Ron enjoy a meal together and am indebted to either Paul or Owen for posting it in the first place.

    Attached Files:

  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    or, from 16mins

  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    What's the chances of changing this thread's title to read "Why was Churchill turned out ?"

  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    pretty high, I'd say. ;)
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Ain't this a nice friendly forum ?

    :) :) :)

    Thanks !

  20. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    For possible interest.


    Spotted this (rather dry) lecture (!) that was recently shown on the BBC Parliamentary channel in regard to the 1945 GE.

    Those who were present may not necessarily agree with all that is said but it raises (and debunks) a few of the received reasons for the outcome.

    It was the "Middle Classes" (in the British use of the term) wot won it..

    I used to tease my Dad that it was the only time in his life that he voted for a certain (unmentionable) party - he was vehemently anti communist and having witnessed some of the issues that had arisen in the immediate post war period in southern Austria, he was possibly influenced by some of the electoral rhetoric, although not quite all of this verbiage reached Villach, perhaps...

    edit edit - it's actually quite enjoyable

    dbf likes this.

Share This Page