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‘Let us face the future’: 70 years on from the 1945 election

‘Let us face the future’: 70 years on from the 1945 election

Call for papers for conference on Saturday 27 June 2015

20 January 2015

Front cover of ‘Let us face the future’ Labour Party manifesto, 1945 © People's History Museum

The People’s History Museum is organising a conference to mark 70 years since the 1945 election.  This was the moment when Winston Churchill’s Conservatives were rejected and instead a Labour majority government led by Clement Attlee was installed.

In the lifetime of that parliament, the nature of the relationship between the people and the state changed completely: the creation of a welfare consensus that was to last until 1979; the National Health Service, free to all at the point of delivery; programmes of nationalisation and house-building, of work for all.  Britain’s imperial reach was reined in with the abrupt withdrawal from India.  In a climate of post war reconstruction, a manufacturing policy of ‘export or die’ was implemented.

The 1945 Labour government continues to be discussed in referential terms, and Clement Attlee frequently voted as Britain’s greatest post war Prime Minister.  How, 70 years after its formation, should we assess this government?

We invite abstracts for any political parties as they relate to the 1945 election on subjects such as:

  • Party political campaigning: strategies, practicalities, public confidence
  • Use of media, communications
  • Outcomes (NHS, nationalisation programme etc)
  • Inter-party factionalism
  • Celebrity
  • Campaigning methods
  • Shaping manifestos
  • International relations: the empire, Europe, the US and party policy
  • Explaining the re-election of the Conservatives in 1951

The conference will be held in the first days of the new 2015 parliament, and also coincides with our changing exhibition Election! Britain Votes, on show from Saturday 14 February to 28 June 2015.

  • Abstracts (max 250 words) can cover any party political angle, and should be sent to Craig Horner at craig.horner@phm.org.uk by Monday 2 March 2015.