In 1945, Britain still had the largest empire in the world. A war was successfully fought with Argentina in 1982 when the latter attacked the Falkland Islands, a colony inhabited by British settlers since 1833. After the Second World War, the disintegration of Britain's empire transformed global politics. Everything you ever wanted to know about... Christmas carols: the history behind 9 festive favourites, Fishing for gold: how eels powered the medieval economy, 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Second World War. Feeling threatened 'You wondered whether you'd go bush' From early in 1940, New Zealanders began to live in fear of attack or invasion, first by the Germans and later by the Japanese. Britain became an active member of international organisations, not least the United Nations. By 26 July it was clear that the Labour party had won a landslide victory in the general election (it would secure a majority of 146) and that Clement Attlee would be Britain’s next prime minister. To make matters worse, within a few weeks of the surrender of Japan, on September 2, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman, as he was required to do by law, ended lend-lease, upon which Britain had … One such recalled: “Meat was rationed, butter was rationed, eggs, milk and so on and we accepted that rationing was just part of the facts of life. You can unsubscribe at any time. Britain became an active member of international organisations, not least the United Nations, of which it was a founder member and held a permanent seat on the Security Council. How would the Japanese react to the prospect of more of these new and terrifying weapons being dropped over their homeland? And, as one person recalled, such creativity extended to the weekly supply of meat: “My mother used to get funny cuts of meat… we didn’t so much go in for the whale meat, but we did eat some rather strange meat, notably it was rabbit, and you could get that in the butchers without compromising your weekly meat ration.”. Once the bombing was over, many gleefully returned home, leaving only 55,000 evacuees to travel under the official systems via coach and train. The Third Labour Government 1945-1951. The Beveridge Report identified five major social problems which had to be tackled. In 1970 there were about 375,000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in Britain. More than 10,000 of them died from the effects of malnutrition or disease within a few weeks of liberation. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. The national debt had risen from £760 million to £3500 million. Victory may have been within touching distance but there was no sense of things winding down – as the 150,000 men who entered the armed forces in the first half of 1945 would have attested. Labour will work specially for the care of Britain's mothers and their children - children's allowances and school medical and feeding services, better maternity and child welfare services. Events were evolving apace at Westminster too. Parliamentary candidate Major Healey’s passionate speech suggested a new mood in the country. In cinemas, the cheering that had greeted images of the prime minister on newsreels in wartime was suddenly replaced by booing. The scale and speed of the conflict had been unprecedented: the war ended up killing at least 19 million non-combatant civilians in Europe. Britain in 1945: Life in the shadow of victory. The challenge for Britain after 1945 was to preserve these ties, reinforcing Britain's prestige as the world's third greatest power and leader of the British Commonwealth. C. ‘The Five Power Defence Arrangements: The Quiet Achiever’, Security Challenges, 3 (2007) pp.  ©. 2014: How did the Jarrow March (1936) illustrate the social and economic problems facing Britain during the inter-war period? 2011: What did one or more of the following achieve in Britain during the period 1920 - 1945: J.M. In the 1960s, pop music - not least that of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones - gave Britain a very different feel in the world to that it had enjoyed as the world's predominant empire. Frank Mees in Stockton-on-Tees recalled that: “Came tea time and everything stopped for tea, even celebrations. By 1993 the figure was about 1,620,000, with the rise in the number of Muslims being particularly pronounced. On 6 August 1945, the debate over which party was most fit to lead Britain in the postwar world momentarily took a back seat as news filtered through that American forces had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Given its inability to defend Australia and New Zealand during the war, there were questions about how much Britain had to offer the Dominions in return. However, the joyous mood was short-lived. As one woman recalled: “We didn’t do anything else except listen to the wireless and knitting.” After D-Day the audience tuned-in for news of the Allied armies’ progress in Europe. On 6 August 1945, the debate over which party was most fit to lead Britain in the postwar world momentarily took a back seat as news filtered through that American forces had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. But why? The Conservatives tended to favour individual liberties and low taxation, while Labour preferred collectivist solutions and were therefore happier to advocate a major role for the state. 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