The Success of the First Two Labour Governments was Outweighed by the Failures

1014 words 5 pages
Do you agree with the view that, in the years 1945-51, the achievements of the Labour government far outweighed its failures? Explain your answer, using Sources 4, 5 and 6 and your own knowledge. (40 marks)
The Labour government in 1945-1951 achieved a high degree of activity and success, despite working within ‘the aftermath of war’ which inevitably ‘brings enormous difficulties’. The Labour government devoted their power to reconstructing a better nation, one that would be a ‘better place in which to be born, to grow up, and to live and even die’. On the other hand it is possible to criticise Labour due to their ‘irresponsible’ spending.
In source 4 Hennessy states that Britain is a ‘better place in which to be born’ as the
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To meet this crisis Hugh Dalton negotiated a loan of $60000 million from the USA and Canada. The government were in hope that, in accordance with Keynesian theory the loan would provide the basis of an industrial recovery. Such recovery as did occur was never enough to meet expectations, as the US dollar was very strong at the end of the war. Britain had to ‘suffer’ from the dollar gap which drained Britain of a substantial part of the loan which makes it harder to meet repayments. The winter crisis cited as a factor in the devaluation of the pound from $4.03 to $2.80 in 1949.
The fuel crisis lead to greater Wage demands which brought ‘finances.. into a grave disorder’ as coal supplies were already low following the Second World War as it struggled to get through to power stations and many stations were forced to shut down for lack of fuel. 4 million workers were off work as a result of this weather condition and Britain was so poorly prepared for dealing with this situation.
The attempts to ‘forced modernisation’ through nationalisation as steel is profitable therefore opponents state that justice had been jeopardised as the steel industry was not public utility but private owned. This raised the question of what was a fair settlement, but more significantly opened up the larger issue of whether the state had the right to overrule the declared objections of the shareholders


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