United Kingdom general election, 1945

United Kingdom general election, 1945
United Kingdom
5 July 1945

All 640 seats in the House of Commons
321 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 72.8% (Increase1.7%)
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Clement Attlee Winston Churchill Archibald Sinclair
Party Labour Conservative Liberal
Leader since 25 October 1935 9 October 1940 26 November 1935
Leader's seat Limehouse Woodford Caithness and Sutherland (defeated)
Last election 154 seats, 38.0% 386 seats, 47.8% 21 seats, 6.7%
Seats won 393 197 12
Seat change Increase 239 Decrease 190 Decrease 9
Popular vote 11,967,746 8,716,211 2,177,938
Percentage 47.7% 36.2% 9.0%
Swing Increase 11.7% Decrease 11.6% Increase 2.3%

PM before election

Winston Churchill

Subsequent PM

Clement Attlee

1931 election MPs
1935 election MPs
1945 election MPs
1950 election MPs
1951 election MPs

The United Kingdom general election of 1945 was held on 5 July 1945, with polls in some constituencies delayed until 12 July and in Nelson and Colne until 19 July, because of local wakes weeks.[1] The results were counted and declared on 26 July, owing in part to the time it took to transport the votes of those serving overseas.

The result was an unexpected landslide victory for Clement Attlee's Labour Party, over Winston Churchill's Conservatives, giving Labour its first majority government, and a mandate to implement its postwar reforms. The 12.0% national swing from the Conservative Party to the Labour Party remains the largest ever achieved in a British general election.


Held less than two months after VE Day, it was the first general election since 1935, as general elections had been suspended during the Second World War. Attlee, leader of the Labour party, refused Churchill's offer of continuing the Wartime Coalition until the Allied defeat of Japan. Parliament was dissolved on 15 June.


It resulted in the election defeat of the government led by Winston Churchill and the landslide victory of the Labour Party led by Clement Attlee, who won a majority of 145 seats.

Henry Pelling, noting that polls showed a steady Labour lead after 1942, explains the long-term forces that caused the Labour landslide. He points to the usual swing against the party in power; the Conservative loss of initiative; wide fears of a return to the high unemployment of the 1930s; the theme that socialist planning would be more efficient in operating the economy; and the mistaken belief that Churchill would continue as prime minister regardless of the result.[2]

The result of the election came as a major shock to the Conservatives,[3] 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.[4] 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 "some form of a Gestapo" to implement is considered to have been particularly poorly judged.[5] Equally, though 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 1930s. 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, as Deputy Prime Minister, Herbert Morrison at the Home Office and Ernest Bevin at the Ministry of Labour.

The Labour Party ran on promises to create full employment, a tax-funded universal National Health Service, the embracing of Keynesian economic policies and a cradle-to-grave welfare state, with the campaign message 'Let us face the future.'

This was the first election in which Labour gained a majority of seats, and also the first time it won a plurality of votes. The election was a disaster for the Liberal Party, as it lost all its urban seats, while their leader Archibald Sinclair lost his own rural Scottish seat. Baines says the defeat marked its transition from being a party of government to a party of the political fringe.[6]

Result: detail

393 197 12 11 27
Labour Conservative Lib LN Oth
UK general election 1945
Candidates Votes
Party Leader Standing Elected Gained Unseated Net % of total % No. Net %
  Labour Clement Attlee 603 393 242 3 + 239 61.4 47.7 11,967,746 + 11.7
  Conservative Winston Churchill 559 197 14 204 − 190 30.8 36.2 8,716,211 − 11.6
  Liberal Sir Archibald Sinclair, Bt 306 12 5 14 − 9 1.9 9.0 2,177,938 + 2.3
  Liberal National Ernest Brown 49 11 0 22 − 22 1.7 2.9 686,652 − 0.8
  Independent N/A 38 8 6 0 + 6 1.3 0.6 133,191
  National N/A 10 2 2 1 + 1 0.3 0.5 130,513
  Common Wealth C. A. Smith 23 1 1 0 + 1 0.5 110,634
  Communist Harry Pollitt 21 2 1 0 + 1 0.4 97,945
  Nationalist James McSparran 3 2 0 0 0 0.4 92,819
  National Independent N/A 13 2 1 1 0 0.3 65,171
  Independent Labour N/A 7 2 2 0 0 0.3 63,135
  Independent Conservative N/A 6 2 2 0 + 2 0.2 57,823
  Ind. Labour Party Bob Edwards 5 3 0 1 − 1 0.2 46,769
  Independent Progressive N/A 7 1 1 0 + 1 0.1 45,967
  Independent Liberal N/A 3 2 2 0 + 2 0.1 30,450
  SNP Douglas Young 8 0 0 0 0 0.1 26,707
  Plaid Cymru Abi Williams 7 0 0 0 0 0.0 16,017
  Commonwealth Labour Harry Midgley 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 14,096
  Independent Nationalist N/A 4 0 0 0 0 0.0 5,430
  Liverpool Protestant H. D. Longbottom 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,601
  Christian Pacifist N/A 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 2,381
  Democratic Norman Leith-Hay-Clark 5 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,809
  Agriculturist N/A 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 1,068
  Socialist (GB) None 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 472
  United Socialist Guy Aldred 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 300

Total votes cast: 24,073,025. Turnout 72.8%.[7] All parties shown. Conservative total includes Ulster Unionists. The 8 seats won by National Labour in 1935 were not defended.

Votes summary

Popular vote
Liberal National

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Liberal National

MPs who lost their seats

Party Name Constituency Office held whilst in power Year elected Defeated by Party
Conservative Party Major
Henry Adam Procter
Accrington 1931 Captain
Walter Scott-Elliot
Labour Party
Henry Longhurst Acton 1943 Joseph Sparks Labour Party
Sir Jonah Walker-Smith Barrow and Furness 1931 Walter Monslow Labour Party
Sir Richard Wells, 1st Baronet Bedford 1922 Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Labour Party
John McEwen Berwick and Haddington 1931 John Robertson Labour Party
Sir Oliver Simmonds Birmingham Duddeston 1931 Edith Wills Labour Party
Basil Arthur John Peto
Birmingham King's Norton 1941 Raymond Blackburn Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Geoffrey Lloyd
Birmingham Ladywood Minister for Information 1931 Victor Yates Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Leo Amery
Birmingham Sparkbrook Secretary of State for India and Burma 1911 Percy Shurmer Labour Party
Walter Higgs Birmingham West 1937 Charles Simmons Labour Party
Sir Edward William Salt Birmingham Yardley 1931 Wesley Perrins Labour Party
Sir Cyril Entwistle
Bolton 1931 John Lewis Labour Party
Eric Errington Bootle 1935 John Kinley Labour Party
Violet Bathurst, Lady Apsley Bristol Central 1943 Stan Awbery Labour Party
The Honourable Major
Lionel Berry
Buckingham 1943 Aidan Crawley Labour Party
Nigel Colman
Brixton 1927 Lieutenant Colonel
Marcus Lipton
Labour Party
Colonel The Honourable
John Gretton
Burton 1943 Arthur William Lyne Labour Party
Albert Braithwaite
Buckrose 1926 George Wadsworth Liberal Party
The Honourable
Oscar Guest
Cambridge 1934 Tudor Watkins Labour Party
Richard Tufnell Camberwell North West (contested Breconshire and Radnorshire) 1935 Arthur Symonds Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Percy James Grigg
Cardiff East Secretary of State for War 1942 Hilary Marquand Labour Party
Arthur Evans Cardiff South 1931 James Callaghan Labour Party
Sir Edward Spears
Carlisle 1931 Edgar Grierson Labour Party
Leonard Plugge
Chatham 1935 Arthur Bottomley Labour Party
Lieutenant Commander
Robert Tatton Bower
Cleveland 1931 George Willey Labour Party
Oswald Lewis Colchester 1929 Captain
George Delacourt-Smith
Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Donald Somervell
Crewe Home Secretary 1931 Scholefield Allen Labour Party
Herbert Williams Croydon South 1932 Lieutenant Colonel
David Rees-Williams
Labour Party
Charles Peat Darlington Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions 1931 David Hardman Labour Party
Paul Emrys-Evans South Derbyshire Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs 1931 Arthur Champion Labour Party
Bracewell Smith Dulwich 1932 Major
Wilfrid Vernon
Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Florence Horsbrugh
Dundee Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health 1931 Thomas Fotheringham-Cook Labour Party
Lieutenant Colonel
Sir John Mayhew
East Ham North 1931 Percy Daines Labour Party
Robert Cary Eccles Lord of the Treasury 1935 William Proctor Labour Party
Frank Watt Edinburgh Central 1941 Andrew Gilzean Labour Party
Alexander Erskine-Hill Edinburgh North 1935 George Willis Labour Party
Thomas Levy Elland 1931 Frederick Arthur Cobb Labour Party
Bartle Brennen Bull Enfield 1935 Enfield Davies Labour Party
Roy Wise Smethwick (contested Epping) 1931 Leah Manning Labour Party
The Honourable
William Astor
Fulham East 1931 Captain
Michael Stewart
Labour Party
Walter Elliot Glasgow Kelvingrove 1924 John Lloyd-Williams Labour Party
Leslie Boyce Gloucester 1929 Moss Turner-Samuels Labour Party
Sir Irving Albery Gravesend 1924 Garry Allighan Labour Party
Sir Walter Womersley, 1st Baronet Great Grimsby Minister of Pensions 1924 The Honourable Major
Kenneth Younger
Labour Party
Sir Austin Hudson, 1st Baronet Hackney North Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fuel, Light and Power 1924 Henry Edwin Goodrich Labour Party
Gilbert Gledhill Halifax 1931 Dryden Brook Labour Party
Ronald Tree Harborough 1933 Humphrey Attewell Labour Party
Thomas George Greenwell
The Hartlepools 1943 David Thomas Jones Labour Party
James Wootton-Davies Heywood and Radcliffe 1940 John Edmondson Whittaker Labour Party
The Honourable
Seymour Berry
Hitchin 1941 Philip Asterley Jones Labour Party
Sir Lambert Ward, 1st Baronet
Hull North West 1918 Kim Mackay Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Richard Law
Hull South West Minister of Education 1931 Sydney Smith Labour Party
Geoffrey Hutchinson
Ilford (contested Ilford North) 1937 Mabel Ridealgh Labour Party
Thelma Cazalet-Keir Islington East 1931 Eric Fletcher Labour Party
James Duncan Kensington North 1931 George Rogers Labour Party
John Profumo, 5th Baron Profumo
Kettering Baby of the House 1940 Major
Gilbert Mitchinson
Labour Party
Sir John Wardlaw-Milne Kidderminster 1922 Louis Tolley Labour Party
Alec Douglas-Home Lanark Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1931 Tom Steele Labour Party
William Anstruther-Gray
North Lanarkshire Assistant Postmaster-General 1931 Margaret Herbison Labour Party
John Craik-Henderson Leeds North East 1940 Alice Bacon Labour Party
Vyvyan Adams Leeds West 1931 Thomas William Stamford Labour Party
Abraham Montagu Lyons
Leicester East 1931 Terence Donovan Labour Party
Charles Waterhouse
Leicester South Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade 1924 Herbert Bowden Labour Party
Lieutenant Colonel
Sir Assheton Pownall
Lewisham East 1918 Herbert Morrison Labour Party
Henry Brooke Lewisham West 1938 Arthur Skeffington Labour Party
Sir Walter Liddall Lincoln 1931 George Deer Labour Party
Sir John Joseph Shute
Liverpool Exchange 1933 Bessie Braddock Labour Party
Sir Edmund Brocklebank Liverpool Fairfield 1931 Arthur Moody Labour Party
Reginald Purbrick Liverpool Walton 1929 James Haworth Labour Party
Cyril Lakin Llandaff and Barry 1942 Lynn Ungoed-Thomas Labour Party
Lawrence Kimball
Loughborough 1935 Mont Follick Labour Party
Pierse Loftus Lowestoft 1934 Edward Evans Labour Party
John Lees-Jones Manchester Blackley 1931 John Diamond Labour Party
Thomas Hewlett Manchester Exchange 1940 Harold Lever Labour Party
William Rostron Duckworth Manchester Moss Side 1935 William Griffiths Labour Party
Frederick Cundiff Manchester Rusholme 1944 Lester Hutchinson Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Malcolm Robertson
Mitcham 1940 Tom Braddock Labour Party
Alfred Denville Newcastle upon Tyne Central 1931 Lyall Wilkes Labour Party
William Nunn Newcastle upon Tyne West 1940 Ernest Popplewell Labour Party
Ronald Bell Newport 1945 Peter Freeman Labour Party
Sir Thomas Cook North Norfolk 1931 Edwin Gooch Labour Party
Somerset de Chair South West Norfolk 1935 Sidney Dye Labour Party
Spencer Summers Northampton Secretary for Overseas Trade 1940 Reginald Paget Labour Party
Henry Strauss Norwich Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning 1935 Lucy Noel-Buxton, Baroness Noel-Buxton Labour Party
Lieutenant Colonel
Duncan Sandys
Norwood First Commissioner of Works 1935 Ronald Chamberlain Labour Party
The Right Honourable Air Vice Marshal
Sir Frederick Sykes
Nottingham Central 1940 Geoffrey de Freitas Labour Party
Louis Gluckstein
Nottingham East 1931 James Harrison Labour Party
Hamilton Kerr Oldham 1931 Frank Fairhurst Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Brendan Bracken
Paddington North First Lord of the Admiralty 1929 Lieutenant General
Sir Noel Mason-MacFarlane
Labour Party
Maurice Petherick
Penryn and Falmouth Financial Secretary to the War Office 1931 Lieutenant Colonel
Evelyn King
Labour Party
John Hely-Hutchinson, Viscount Suirdale Peterborough 1943 Stanley Tiffany Labour Party
Ralph Beaumont
Portsmouth Central 1931 Julian Snow Labour Party
Randolph Churchill
Preston 1940 Squadron Leader
Samuel Segal
Labour Party
Edward Cobb
Preston (contested Eton and Slough) 1936 Benn Levy Labour Party
Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn West Renfrewshire 1931 Thomas Scollan Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Ronald Cross, 1st Baronet
Rossendale High Commissioner to Australia 1931 George Henry Walker Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Ralph Assheton
Rushcliffe Chairman of the Conservative Party 1934 Florence Paton Labour Party
Allen Chapman Rutherglen Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 1935 Gilbert McAllister Labour Party
The Honourable
John Grimston
St Albans 1943 Cyril Dumpleton Labour Party
Robert Grant-Ferris St Pancras North 1937 George House Labour Party
Sir Alfred Beit, 2nd Baronet St Pancras South East 1931 Santo Jeger Labour Party
Sir James Frederick Emery Salford West 1935 Charles Royle Labour Party
William Craven-Ellis Southampton 1931 Ralph Morley Labour Party
Malcolm McCorquodale Sowerby 1931 John Belcher Labour Party
Peter Thorneycroft Stafford 1938 Stephen Swingler Labour Party
Horace Trevor-Cox Stalybridge and Hyde 1937 Gordon Lang Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Harold Macmillan
Stockton-on-Tees Secretary of State for Air 1931 Captain
George Chetwynd
Labour Party
Sir George Jones Stoke Newington 1924 David Weitzman Labour Party
Robert Morgan Stourbridge 1931 Arthur Moyle Labour Party
Flight Lieutenant
Ralph Etherton
Stretford 1939 Herschel Austin Labour Party
Sir Walter Perkins Stroud 1931 Ben Parkin Labour Party
Henry Burton Sudbury 1924 Roland Hamilton Labour Party
Samuel Storey Sunderland 1931 Richard Ewart Labour Party
Lieutenant Colonel
Edward Wickham
Taunton 1935 Victor Collins Labour Party
Sir Derrick Gunston, 1st Baronet Thornbury 1924 Joseph Alpass Labour Party
Sir Alexander Russell Tynemouth 1922 Grace Colman Labour Party
Colonel The Right Honourable
John Jestyn Llewellin
Uxbridge Minister of Food 1929 Flight Lieutenant
Frank Beswick
Labour Party
Irene Ward Wallsend 1931 John McKay Labour Party
Donald Scott Wansbeck Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries 1940 Alfred Robens Labour Party
Noel Goldie Warrington 1931 Edward Porter Labour Party
Air Commodore
William Helmore
Watford 1943 John Freeman Labour Party
Wing Commander
Sir Archibald James
Welingborough 1931 George Lindgren Labour Party
Sir Richard Pilkington Widnes Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty 1935 Maurice Orbach Labour Party
Samuel Hammersley Willesden East 1938 Commander
Christopher Nyholm Shawcross
Labour Party
Gerald Parmer Winchester 1935 George Jeger Labour Party
William Ernest Gibbons Bilston 1944 Will Nally Labour Party
Francis Beech Woolwich West 1943 Henry Berry Labour Party
Arthur Colegate The Wrekin 1941 Ivor Owen Thomas Labour Party
Charles Wood, Lord Irwin City of York 1937 John Corlett Labour Party
National Liberal Party Percy Jewson Great Yarmouth 1941 Ernest Kinghorn Labour Party
The Right Honourable
William Mabane
Huddersfield Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 1931 Joseph Mallalieu Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Ernest Brown
Leith Leader of the Liberal National Party & Minister of Aircraft Production 1927 James Hoy Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Geoffrey Shakespeare, 1st Baronet
Norwich 1929 James Paton Labour Party
John Samuel Dodd
Oldham 1935 Leslie Hale Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Leslie Hore-Belisha
Plymouth Devonport 1923 Michael Foot Labour Party
William Stanley Russell Thomas Southampton 1940 Tommy Lewis Labour Party
William Woolley Spen Valley 1940 Granville Maynard Sharp Labour Party
Stephen Furness Sunderland 1935 Frederick Willey Labour Party
Sir George Schuster
Walsall 1938 Major
William Wells
Labour Party
Liberal Party Sir William Beveridge Berwick-upon-Tweed 1944 Robert Thorp Conservative Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Percy Harris, 1st Baronet
Bethnal Green South West Liberal Chief Whip 1922 Percy Holman Labour Party
The Right Honourable
Sir Archibald Sinclair, 4th Baronet
Caithness and Sutherland Leader of the Liberal Party & Secretary of State for Air 1922 Eric Gandar Dower Conservative Party
The Right Honourable
Henry Graham White
Birkenhead East 1929 Frank Soskice Labour Party
Seaborne Davies Caernarfon 1945 Lieutenant Colonel
David Price-White
Conservative Party
Lieutenant Colonel
Goronwy Owen
Caernarvonshire 1923 Goronwy Roberts Labour Party
Dingle Foot Dundee Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare 1931 Squadron Leader
John Strachey
Labour Party
Thomas Magnay Gateshead 1931 Konni Zilliacus Labour Party
James Armand de Rothschild Isle of Ely 1929 Major
Harry Legge-Bourke
Conservative Party
Colonel The Honourable
Henry Guest
Plymouth Drake 1937 Hubert Medland Labour Party
Sir Geoffrey Mander Wolverhampton East 1929 Captain
John Baird
Labour Party
Labour Party Moelwyn Hughes Carmarthen 1941 Rhys Hopkin Morris Liberal Party
John Eric Loverseed Eddisbury 1943 Sir John Barlow, 2nd Baronet National Liberal Party
Daniel Frankel Mile End 1935 Phil Piratin Communist Party of Great Britain
National Labour Harold Nicolson Leicester West 1935 Barnett Janner Labour Party
Frank Markham Nottingham South 1935 Norman Smith Labour Party
Stephen King-Hall
Ormskirk 1939 Harold Wilson Labour Party
Independent Labour Andrew MacLaren Burslem 1935 Albert Edward Davies Labour Party
George Leonard Reakes Wallasey 1942 Ernest Marples Conservative Party
Independent Conservative Captain
Alec Cunningham-Reid
St Marylebone 1932 Wavell Wakefield Conservative Party
Scottish National Party Robert McIntyre Motherwell 1945 Alexander Anderson Labour Party

Reasons for Labour victory

With World War II coming to an end in Europe, the Labour Party decided to pull out of the wartime national government, precipitating an election which took place in July 1945. King George VI dissolved Parliament, which had been sitting for ten years without an election. What followed was perhaps one of the greatest swings of public confidence of the 20th century. In May 1945, the month in which the war in Europe was ended, Churchill's approval ratings stood at 83%, although the Labour Party held an 18% lead as of February 1945.[8] Labour won overwhelming support while 'Churchill... was both surprised and stunned' by the crushing defeat suffered by the Conservatives.

The greatest factor in Labour's dramatic win appeared to be the policy of social reform. In one opinion poll, 41% of respondents considered housing to be the most important issue that faced the country, 15% stated the Labour policy of full employment, 7% mentioned social security, 6% nationalisation and just 5% international security, which was emphasised by the Conservatives. The Beveridge Report, published in 1942, proposed the creation of a Welfare State. It called for a dramatic turn in British social policy, with provision for nationalised health care, expanded state-funded education, national insurance and a new housing policy. The report was extremely popular, and copies of its findings were widely purchased, turning it into a best-seller. The Labour Party adopted the report eagerly.[3] The Conservatives accepted many of the principles of the report (Churchill did not regard the reforms as socialist), but claimed that they could not be afforded.[9] Labour offered a new comprehensive welfare policy, reflecting a consensus that social changes were needed.[4] The Conservatives were not willing to make the same concessions that Labour proposed, and hence appeared out of step with public opinion.

As Churchill's personal popularity remained high, Conservatives were confident of victory and based much of their election campaign on this, rather than proposing new programmes. However, people distinguished between Churchill and his party—a contrast which Labour repeatedly emphasised throughout the campaign. Voters also harboured doubts over Churchill's ability to lead the country on the domestic front.[4]

In addition to the poor Conservative election strategy, Churchill went so far as to accuse Attlee of seeking to behave as a dictator, in spite of Attlee's service in Churchill's war cabinet. In the most famous incident of the campaign, Churchill's first election broadcast on 4 June backfired dramatically and memorably. Denouncing his former coalition partners, he declared that Labour "would have to fall back on some form of a Gestapo" to impose socialism on Britain. Attlee responded the next night by ironically thanking the prime minister for demonstrating to people the difference between Churchill the great wartime leader and Churchill the peacetime politician, and argued the case for public control of industry.

Another blow to the Conservative campaign was the memory of the 1930s policy of appeasement, which had been conducted by Churchill's Conservative predecessors, Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, and was at this stage widely discredited for allowing Adolf Hitler's Germany to become too strong.[4] Labour had strongly advocated appeasement until 1938. The inter-war period had been dominated by Conservatives. Excepting two brief minority Labour governments in 1924 and 1929–1931, the Conservatives had been in power for its entirety. As a result, the Conservatives were generally blamed for the era's mistakes, not merely for appeasement but for the inflation and unemployment of the Great Depression.[4] Many voters felt that while the war of 1914-1918 had been won, the peace that followed had been lost. Labour played to the concept of "winning the peace" that would follow the second war.

Possibly for this reason, there was especially strong support for Labour in the armed services, who feared the unemployment and homelessness to which the soldiers of the First World War had returned. It has been claimed that the pro-Labour bias of teachers in the armed services was a contributing factor, but this argument has generally not carried much weight, and the failure of the Conservative governments of the 1920s to deliver a "land fit for heroes" was likely more important.[4] The role of propaganda films produced during the war, which were shown to both military and civilian audiences, is also seen as a contributory factor due to their general optimism about the future, which meshed with the Labour Party's campaigning in 1945 better than with that of the Conservatives.[10] Writer and soldier Anthony Burgess remarked that Churchill - who often wore a colonel's uniform at this time - himself was not nearly as popular with soldiers at the front as with officers and civilians: he noted that Churchill often smoked cigars in front of soldiers who had not had a decent cigarette in days.[11]

The differing strategies of the two parties during wartime also gave Labour an advantage. Labour continued to attack pre-war Conservative governments for their inactivity in tackling Hitler, reviving the economy, and re-arming Britain,[12] while Churchill was less interested in furthering his party, much to the chagrin of many of its members and MPs.[8]

See also


  1. "General Election (Polling Date): 31 May 1945: House of Commons debates". They Work For You.
  2. Henry Pelling, "The 1945 general election reconsidered." Historical Journal 23#2 (1980): 399-414. in JSTOR
  3. 1 2 "1945: Churchill loses general election". BBC. 1945-07-26. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lynch 2008, p. 4
  5. Marr, A (2008). A History of Modern Britain. Pan Macmillan Ltd. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-0-330-43983-1.
  6. Baines (1995)
  7. http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm
  8. 1 2 Dr Paul Addison (2005-04-29). "Why Churchill Lost in 1945". BBC. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  9. Lynch 2008, p. 10
  10. 1945 General Election. Sean Spurr. HistoryEmpire.com. Accessed 4 April 2012.
  11. Burgess, Anthony (1987). Little Wilson and Big God. Heinemann. p. 305. ISBN 1446452557. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  12. Lynch 2008, pp. 1–4


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