The Tories’ Thirteen Years, 1951–64

  • William D. Rubinstein


Winston Churchill again became Prime Minister on 26 October 1951 and served for three and a half years, until April 1955. Churchill’s peacetime government was a curious one: despite the world fame of the Prime Minister, it remains one of the most obscure administrations of the twentieth century. Apart from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the promulgation of ‘Butskellism’, in economic policy, even well-informed persons would be hard-pressed to name any major themes, events, or legislation associated with it. In retrospect, it seems to have been an unprecedented period of tranquillity, a safe haven at last after a long period of continuous strife and turmoil going back not merely to 1939, but, in some sense, to Joseph Chamberlain’s famous Tariff Reform speech of 1903, after which British politics was perpetually in turmoil. It seems an ‘era of good feelings’, when, with Stalin’s death and the end of the Korean War, the danger of nuclear war receded and a genuine consensus existed at home.


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© William D. Rubinstein 2003

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  • William D. Rubinstein

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