1947: Year of Crises

  • Henry Pelling


The year 1947 opened with the Labour Government in reasonably cheerful mood. ‘Industrially’, according to a leader in the News Chronicle,

the year has been marked by steady progress. Unemployment (apart from a few areas in Scotland and Wales) has been almost negligible. Britain, too, is almost the only democratic country in the world which has survived 1946 without a major industrial dispute.1

This afforded a satisfactory contrast with 1919, the first full year after the First World War, when the country had been rent by major industrial disputes.2 Politically, too, the Government’s programme was proceeding according to plan: the coal mines were taken over as the new year began, the Transport Bill had just passed its Second Reading, and within the first two weeks of January two more major bills were published — the Town and Country Planning Bill to control land usage and the bill for the nationalisation of electricity. A Gallup Poll reported that a bare majority of people (52 per cent) were still ‘satisfied’ with Attlee as Prime Minister.3 Being so markedly uncharismatic, he would not have expected to have rated higher; and the poll indicated little change within the preceding two months. A slightly larger majority (54 per cent) thought that Ernest Bevin was ‘doing a good job as Foreign Secretary’.4


Prime Minister Economic Affair Grave Disturbance Labour Government Labour Member 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    C. L. Mowat, Britain Between the Wars (1955) pp. 38–40.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry Mathison Pelling 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.St John’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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