With the Second World War raging through Europe there was no general election in the UK from 1935 through to 1945. Clement Atlee, leader of the Labour party ran to become Clement Atlee Prime Minister. But the chances of him winning seemed remote. After all Winston Churchill had just defeated Hitler and saved Britain from Nazi rule.
So what could Atlee offer the British people? Surely Brits would vote for Churchill who had saved not just Britain but was a key leader in saving the world from the hideous Nazis that had committed unimaginable atrocities.
Churchill – The War-Time Leader
In July 1945, at the time of the election, it was only a short period of time since Hitler’s death in April and the German surrender in May. The horrors of Bergen -Belsen were exposed when Americans liberated the camp on 15 April 1945.
Churchill was a phenomenal war leader. He was key in motivating UK citizens in the darkest of times as ordinary people were bombed. And children were evacuated and taken from their parents. This was the cruelest of wars and Churchill made prolific speeches over the radio waves of the time.
We will fight them on the beaches
Churchill had a background in the army and navy. Asquith appointed Churchill First Lord of the Admiralty back in 1911. After Chamberlain resigned Churchill became the leader of the Conservative Party in 1940. And he began his premiership by forming a five-man war cabinet.
The Beveridge Report
But with the war behind them, Churchill and his naval expertise was not what the country needed or wanted. The Beveridge report of 1942 proposed a new way for the UK. Churchill called it socialism. But the cradle to grave healthcare and help for unemployment was just what the everyday man and woman wanted.
The National Health Service Act was passed in 1946 and the NHS would come into being in 1948. Every man, woman, and child would have healthcare for free. And as years went on the UK’s NHS would become a beacon globally as a model of universal healthcare that many countries then followed.