His government also reformed trade union legislation, working practices and children's services; it created the National Parks system, passed the New Towns Act 1946 and established the town and country planning system. Man… Although Chamberlain survived this, the reputation of his administration was so badly and publicly damaged that it became clear a coalition governmentwould be necessary. [197] In May 1961, he travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Kennedy. That's why he was so damn good". Mioni, Michele. The steel industry was nationalised in 1951. His reputation as an effective, efficient leader gained him promotion to the rank of Major, a title that would stay with him beyond his military life. He was one of only three Labour MPs who had experience of government to retain their seats, along with George Lansbury and Stafford Cripps. [79], The New Towns Act of 1946 set up development corporations to construct new towns, while the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 instructed county councils to prepare development plans and also provided compulsory purchase powers. Suddenly in January 1947, Attlee reversed his position and agreed with Bevin on a hard-line anti-Soviet policy. R. C. Whiting, "Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967)". Attlee’s time as Prime Minister also saw intense foreign policy activity. Clement Attlee was born in Putney in 1883. Crowcroft, Robert, and Kevin Theakston. [56], In the late 1930s, Attlee sponsored a Jewish mother and her two children, enabling them to leave Germany in 1939 and move to the UK. He was considered as the first East Attlee. The ensuing disastrous Norwegian Campaign would result in a motion of no confidence in Neville Chamberlain. It is now held by Clement Attlee's grandson John Richard Attlee, 3rd Earl Attlee. [clarification needed][citation needed] Overseas investments had been used up to pay for the war. To this end, it undertook the nationalisation of public utilities and major industries, and implemented wide-ranging social reforms, including the passing of the National Insurance Act 1946 and National Assistance Act, the formation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, and the enlargement of public subsidies for council house building. Attlee met Violet Millar while on a long trip with friends to Italy in 1921. The National Health Service Act of 1946 indicated that domestic help should be provided for households where that help is required "owing to the presence of any person who is ill, lying-in, an expectant mother, mentally defective, aged or a child not over compulsory school age". : the meaning of the 1945 general election". This sparked a process that caused him to convert to socialism. [95], Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs), a designation under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947, allowed local authorities to acquire property in the designated areas using powers of compulsory purchase in order to re-plan and develop urban areas suffering from urban blight or war damage. [77], A number of reforms were embarked upon to improve conditions for women and children. The shock to the Party was very great, especially to the loyal workers of the rank-and-file who had made great sacrifices for these men. Even if Attlee had personally been prepared to serve under Chamberlain in an emergency coalit… [168] In 1942 the British Raj tried to enlist all major political parties in support of the war effort. British atomic bomb research was kept secret even from some members of Attlee's own cabinet, whose loyalty or discretion seemed uncertain. During his time as mayor, the council undertook action to tackle slum landlords who charged high rents but refused to spend money on keeping their property in habitable condition. Clement Attlee became the first Labour Prime Minister after the Second World War. sfn error: no target: CITEREFThe_Manchester_Guardian_4_July_1945 (. He subsequently joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1908 and became active in local politics. Thus escalated a battle between the left and right wings of the Party that continues today. [185][186], By 1951, the Attlee government was exhausted, with several of its most senior ministers ailing or ageing, and with a lack of new ideas. Rachel Reeves, and Martin McIvor. Attlee had long been close to MacDonald and now felt betrayed—as did most Labour politicians. After attending the public school Haileybury College and the University of Oxford, he practised as a barrister. The peace freed Attlee to pursue … [201][202], Upon his death, the title passed to his son Martin Richard Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee (1927–1991). Labour's ideology contrasted sharply with the contemporary Conservative Party's defence of individualism, inherited privileges, and income inequality. [92], In 1946, the government set up a National Institute of Houseworkers as a means of providing a social democratic variety of domestic service. Elected Leader of the Labour Party in 1935, and at first advocating pacificism and opposing re-armament, he became a critic of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler and Mussolini in the lead-up to the Second World War. The Raj immediately responded in 1942 by imprisoning the major national, regional and local Congress leaders for the duration. [150] A Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act was passed in 1948, which allowed for investigations of restrictive practices and monopolies. His work was interrupted by service as an officer in the First World War. To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today. When the victorious Chinese Communists government declared on 1 October 1949 that it would exchange diplomats with any country that ended relations with the Chinese Nationalists, Britain became the first western country to formally recognise the People's Republic of China in January 1950. Both production and productivity rose as a result of new equipment, while the average working week was shortened. We think you can only do it by moving forward to a new world. [206], The quotation about Attlee, "A modest man, but then he has so much to be modest about", is commonly ascribed to Churchill—though Churchill denied saying it, and respected Attlee's service in the War Cabinet. [112][113] In 1948, a pension scheme was set up to provide pension benefits for employees of the new NHS, as well as their dependents. [78], Despite these problems, one of the main achievements of Attlee's government was the maintenance of near full employment. [136] Prefabricated classrooms were built and 928 new primary schools were constructed between 1945 and 1950. His period as Prime Minister was one of intense activity. "Economics and Ethics: The Nature of Labour's Socialism, 1945–1951", "Fifty Facts on Housing", published by the Labour Party, Transport House, Smith Square, London SW1, February 1951. Despite his mishandling of the Red Letter episode, I had not appreciated his defects until he took office a second time. This was a publicly funded healthcare system, which offered treatment free of charge for all at the point of use. The 1931 general election held later that year was a disaster for the Labour Party, which lost over 200 seats, returning only 52 MPs to Parliament. The price was fixed under a commercial contract; a total of 55 jet engines were sold to the USSR in 1947. In 1946, universal family allowances were introduced to provide financial support to households for raising children. He presided over the establishment of the welfare state in Great Britain and the granting of … He joined the Independent Labour Party, gave up his legal career, and began lecturing at the London School of Economics. [55], In 1937, Attlee wrote a book entitled The Labour Party in Perspective that sold fairly well in which he set out some of his views. Ernest Bevin was a passionate anti-communist, based largely on his experience of fighting communist influence in the trade union movement. [114] Under the Coal Industry Nationalisation (Superannuation) Regulations of 1950, a pension scheme for mineworkers was established. [33], In May 1930, Labour MP Oswald Mosley left the party after its rejection of his proposals for solving the unemployment problem, and Attlee was given Mosley's post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Attlee remained as Leader of the Opposition when the Second World War broke out in September 1939. In 1920, while mayor, he wrote his first book, The Social Worker, which set out many of the principles that informed his political philosophy and that were to underpin the actions of his government in later years. The Report assumed that the maintenance of full employment would be the aim of post-war governments, and that this would provide the basis for the welfare state. [116], In 1946, the National Agricultural Advisory Service was set up to supply agricultural advice and information. In 1938, Attlee opposed the Munich Agreement, in which Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler to give Germany the German-speaking parts of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland: We all feel relief that war has not come this time. He put his trust in the United Nations, rejected notions that the Soviet Union was bent on world conquest, and warned that treating Moscow as an enemy would turn it into one. [198], In 1962, he spoke twice in the House of Lords against the British government's application for the UK to join the European Economic Community ("Common Market"). [13], After fully recovering from his injuries, he was sent to France in June 1918 to serve on the Western Front for the final months of the war. [84] Under the National Assistance act of 1948, local authorities had a duty "to provide emergency temporary accommodation for families which become homeless through no fault of their own". Although the Attlee government failed to meet its targets, primarily due to economic constraints, over a million new homes were built between 1945 and 1951 (a significant achievement under the circumstances) which ensured that decent, affordable housing was available to many low-income families for the first time ever. During the course of the second Labour government, Attlee had become increasingly disillusioned with MacDonald, whom he came to regard as vain and incompetent, and of whom he later wrote scathingly in his autobiography. [47] Shortly after those comments, Adolf Hitler proclaimed that German rearmament offered no threat to world peace. Attlee, the most revolutionary prime minister Britain has ever had, looked and sounded like a provincial bank manager (in the days when banking was still a respectable profession.) Lansbury had strongly opposed the policy, and felt unable to continue leading the party. Attlee served in the first Labour minority government led by Ramsay MacDonald in 1924, and then joined the Cabinet during MacDonald's second minority (1929–1931). During the Second World War, he was called into Winston Churchill’s coalition government, notably holding the title of Deputy Prime Minister from 1942 to 1945. [162], In 1954, a Labour Party delegation including Attlee visited China at the invitation of then Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai. [196] In 1958, he was, along with numerous notables, to establish the Homosexual Law Reform Society. Seventy-five years ago this week, Clement Attlee became prime minister of the most radical government in British history. He argued that there was no point in Labour compromising on its socialist principles in the belief that this would achieve electoral success. He went on to manage Haileybury House, a charitable youth organisation in Limehouse, east London. [132] University scholarships were introduced to ensure that no one who was qualified "should be deprived of a university education for financial reasons,"[133] while a large school building programme was organised. Robert Crowcroft and Kevin Theakston. [135], Increased Treasury funds were made available for education, particularly for upgrading school buildings suffering from years of neglect and war damage. [78] Labour shortages proved a more frequent problem. MacDonald offered Attlee a job in the National Government, but he turned down the offer and opted to stay loyal to the main Labour party. [115] Improvements were also made in farmworkers' wages,[116] and the Agricultural Wages Board in 1948 not only safeguarded wage levels, but also ensured that workers were provided with accommodation. For other uses, see, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, Military service during the First World War, Major legislation enacted during the Attlee government. It would come to be a devoted marriage, with Attlee providing protection and Violet providing a home that was an escape for Attlee from political turmoil. Clement Attlee, was a British Labour Party politician and the country’s first post-World War II Prime Minister. Churchill chaired the first two, the War Cabinet and the Defence Committee, with Attlee deputising for him in these, and answering for the government in Parliament when Churchill was absent. Although it was unsuccessful, Attlee believed that it was a bold strategy, which could have been a success if it had been better implemented on the ground. His government's Keynesian approach to economic management aimed to maintain full employment, a mixed economy and a greatly enlarged system of social services provided by the state. [208], The journalist and broadcaster Anthony Howard called him "the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century". He has overturned the balance of power in Europe. [32] Attlee's service on the Commission equipped him with a thorough exposure to India and many of its political leaders. Attlee retained a fondness for Congress and until 1946, accepted their thesis that they were a non-religious party that accepted Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and everyone else. Attlee had inherited a country close to bankruptcy after the Second World War and beset by food, housing and resource shortages; despite his social reforms and economic programme, these problems persisted throughout his premiership, alongside recurrent currency crises and dependence on US aid. The Shops Act of 1950 consolidated previous legislation which provided that no one could be employed in a shop for more than six hours without having a break for at least 20 minutes. Historian Yasmin Khan estimates that between a half-million and a million men, women and children were killed. [60][61], Only Attlee and Churchill remained in the War Cabinet from the formation of the Government of National Unity in May 1940 through to the election in May 1945. [142], A Ministry of Education was established, and free County Colleges were set up for the compulsory part-time instruction of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 who were not in full-time education. He came into office months after the end of World War II in Europe after an unexpected landslide victory … There was hardly any increase allowed for the services which went to build up the life of the people, education and health. Using the Dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as a model, he continued the transformation of the empire into the modern-day British Commonwealth. His father was Henry Attlee (1841–1908), a solicitor, and his mother was Ellen Bravery Watson (1847–1920), daughter of Thomas Simons Watson, secretary for the Art Union of London. He was in the office in 1945 until 1952. They greatly enlarged their membership and won favour from London for their decision. [66] Before polling day, The Manchester Guardian surmised that "the chances of Labour sweeping the country and obtaining a clear majority ... are pretty remote". Attlee agreed with MI5 that he faced "a very present menace". [44], Throughout the 1920s and most of the 1930s, the Labour Party's official policy had been to oppose rearmament, instead supporting internationalism and collective security under the League of Nations. In the 1950 General Election Labour lost its majority, and by the time of its defeat in the general election of 1951, the Labour government had worked itself to near exhaustion. His hospitalisation coincided with the Battle of Sari Bair, which saw a large number of his comrades killed. Attlee himself had largely been responsible for creating these arrangements with Churchill's backing, streamlining the machinery of government and abolishing many committees. The third earl (a member of the Conservative Party) retained his seat in the Lords as one of the hereditary peers to remain under an amendment to Labour's House of Lords Act 1999. Attlee responded the next day noting that Hitler's speech, although containing unfavourable references to the Soviet Union, created "A chance to call a halt in the armaments race...We do not think that our answer to Herr Hitler should be just rearmament. One would think to listen to him that the Government had no responsibility for the state of world affairs. Attlee sent British troops to fight in the. [37], Most of the remaining Labour MPs after 1931 were elderly trade union officials who could not contribute much to debates, Lansbury was in his 70s, and Stafford Cripps another main figure of the Labour front bench who had entered Parliament in 1931, was inexperienced. The Labour Party had long attracted aspiring leaders from Africa and had developed elaborate plans before the war. "The Attlee government and welfare state reforms in post-war Italian Socialism (1945–51): Between universalism and class policies. Attlee developed an interest in social problems while doing voluntary work … He continued as Labour leader but retired after losing the 1955 election and was elevated to the House of Lords; he died in 1967. He led the labour government that established the welfare state in Great Britain.. Clement Attlee was born in Putney, near London, on Jan. 23, 1883, the son of Henry Attlee, a successful solicitor, and Ellen Watson Attlee, a cultivated … [77] A housing bill passed in 1946 increased Treasury subsidies for the construction of local authority housing in England and Wales. It has been a victory for brute force. We have felt that we are in the midst of a tragedy. Attlee, however, narrowly retained his Limehouse seat, with his majority being slashed from 7,288 to just 551. Take his handling of the “Gestapo” headline. In April 1936, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, introduced a Budget which increased the amount spent on the armed forces. [81], A Married Women (Restraint Upon Anticipation) Act was passed in 1949 "to equalise, to render inoperative any restrictions upon anticipation or alienation attached to the enjoyment of property by a woman", while the Married Women (Maintenance) Act of 1949 was enacted with the intention of improving the adequacy and duration of financial benefits for married women. Educated at Haileybury College and Oxford university he went on to become a lawyer. We have seen something more. He has destroyed the last fortress of democracy in Eastern Europe which stood in the way of his ambition. [181], The government's policies with regard to the other colonies, particularly those in Africa, focused on keeping them as strategic Cold War assets while modernising their economies. Whiting, R. C. "Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967)". With violence escalating in India after the war, but with British financial power at a low ebb, large-scale military involvement was impossible. After Churchill lost the 1945 election to Attlee’s Labour Party, he told his former deputy that a British Prime Minister could hardly meet Harry Truman, the new President of the United States, and Comrade Stalin without a valet. [124][125], Attlee's government made it possible for farm workers to borrow up to 90 per cent of the cost of building their own houses, and received a subsidy of £15 a year for 40 years towards that cost. At the time, he admired Ramsay MacDonald and helped him get elected as Labour Party leader at the 1922 leadership election. Attlee was initially the Lord Privy Seal, before becoming Britain's first ever Deputy Prime Minister in 1942, as well as becoming the Dominions Secretary and the Lord President of the Council. Clement Attlee 1883-1967 Prime Minister 1945-1951 for twenty years leader of the Labour Party He was born on 3rd January 1883 in London, a son of Henry and his wife Ellen (Watson). Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. He finally retired in 1955, having served as prime minister … 1883–1967", Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, "Vandalised Attlee statue being moved to safety", "Lord Mandelson joins Lord Hennessy to unveil Clement Attlee statue", "Artwork – Clement Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee", "Development of industrial hygiene in Canada", Speak for Britain! Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee KG OM CH PC FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British politician. Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee Sitter in 49 portraits In 1922, Attlee was elected Labour MP for Limehouse, and in 1935 he became leader of the Labour Party. In particular, his suggestion during one radio broadcast that a future Labour Government would require "some form of a gestapo" to implement their policies was widely regarded as being in very bad taste, and massively backfired. [105] The government also strengthened a Fair Wages Resolution, with a clause that required all employers getting government contracts to recognise the rights of their workers to join trade unions. We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use GOV.UK, remember your settings and improve government services. The decision was later reversed on appeal, but the financial problems caused by the episode almost forced Attlee out of politics. Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee (1883-1967), was prime minister of England from 1945 to 1951. There can be no doubt that it is a tremendous victory for Herr Hitler. [69] Churchill, however, made some costly errors during the campaign. Robert Pearce, "The 1950 and 1951 General Elections in Britain: Robert Pearce Asks Why Labour's Period in Office under Clement Attlee Came to an End". The inflation rate was also kept low during his term. [6], Following the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Attlee applied to join the British Army. [180], One of the most urgent problems concerned the future of the Palestine Mandate. He was a serious man and a patriot. There is also a statue of Clement Attlee in the Houses of Parliament[225] that was erected, instead of a bust, by parliamentary vote in 1979. In foreign policy, Attlee delegated to Ernest Bevin, but oversaw the partition of India (1947), the independence of Burma and Ceylon, and the dissolution of the British mandates of Palestine and Transjordan. I regard myself as Left of Centre which is where a Party Leader ought to be. [141] Salaries for teachers were also improved, and funds were allocated towards improving existing schools. [4], In 1906, he became a volunteer at Haileybury House, a charitable club for working-class boys in Stepney in the East End of London run by his old school, and from 1907 to 1909 he served as the club's manager. Find out interesting Facts about Clement Attlee if you want to know the former British prime minister. In his second speech delivered in November, Attlee claimed that Britain had a separate parliamentary tradition from the Continental countries that composed the EEC. [77], The government set about implementing the wartime plans of Liberal William Beveridge for the creation of a "cradle to grave" welfare state. [46] During a debate on defence in Commons a year later, Attlee said "We are told (in the White Paper) that there is danger against which we have to guard ourselves. His first taste of ministerial office came in 1924, when he served as Under-Secretary of State for War in the short-lived first Labour government, led by MacDonald. [172], The Labour government gave independence to India and Pakistan in an unexpectedly quick move in 1947. The Minister of Fuel and Power, Emanuel Shinwell was widely blamed for failing to ensure adequate coal stocks, and soon resigned from his post. The abrupt end of the American Lend-Lease programme in August 1945 almost caused a crisis. Labour had won power by a huge landslide, winning 47.7 per cent of the vote to the Conservatives' 36 per cent. [98], The Fair Wages Resolution of 1946 required any contractor working on a public project to at least match the pay rates and other employment conditions set in the appropriate collective agreement. This concise thematic biography explores his life and achievement. He always supported the crown, and as Prime Minister was close to King George VI. On top of this, many of Britain’s largest industries – such as coal mining, electricity and the railways – were brought under state control, despite recurring currency crises and shortages of food and resources so severe that rationing had to be maintained long after the war. Born to a middle-class family in London, Clement Attlee studied at Oxford University, and then trained as a lawyer. Labour had looked forward to making it a fully independent dominion like Canada or Australia. His greatest achievement, surpassing many of these, was, perhaps, the establishment of a political and economic consensus about the governance of Britain that all parties, whether Labour, Conservative or Liberal subscribed to for three decades, fixing the arena of political discourse until the later 1970s. Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951, he was the first Labour prime minister with a majority in government, and was very … In public, he was modest and unassuming, but behind the scenes his depth of knowledge, quiet demeanour, objectivity and pragmatism proved decisive. Reflecting pent-up demand that had long existed for medical services, the NHS treated some 8 and a half million dental patients and dispensed more than 5 million pairs of spectacles during its first year of operation. [54], At the end of 1937, Attlee and a party of three Labour MPs visited Spain and visited the British Battalion of the International Brigades fighting in the Spanish Civil War. After retaining his seat in Labour's landslide defeat of 1931, he became the party's Deputy Leader. [81] The Housing (Scotland) Act of 1949 provided grants of 75 per cent (87.5 per cent in the highlands and islands) towards modernisation costs payable by Treasury to local authorities. He became the Labour Party expert on India and by 1934 was committed to granting India the same independent dominion status that Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had recently been given. [154], In an early "good-will" gesture that was later heavily criticised, the Attlee government allowed the Soviets to purchase, under the terms of a 1946 UK-USSR Trade Agreement, a total of 25 Rolls-Royce Nene jet engines in September 1947 and March 1948. I was born in 1948, and feel that, almost 70 years later, I owe everything to Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan. Miss Hutchinson was not the only person who looked after both men. [70] This gave them 393 seats in the House of Commons, a working majority of 146. [52], However, with the rising threat from Nazi Germany, and the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations, this policy eventually lost credibility. [66] Despite opinion polls indicating a strong Labour lead, opinion polls were then viewed as a novelty which had not proven their worth, and most commentators expected that Churchill's prestige and status as a "war hero" would ensure a comfortable Conservative victory. Attlee and his ministers did much to transform the UK into a more prosperous and egalitarian society during their time in office with reductions in poverty and a rise in the general economic security of the population. [174] Attlee found that Churchill's viceroy, Field Marshal Wavell, was too imperialistic, too keen on military solutions (he wanted seven more Army divisions) and too neglectful of Indian political alignments. One firm, Scammell and Nephew Ltd, took a civil action against Attlee and the other Labour members of the committee (although not against the Conservative members who had also supported this). [146], Attlee's government, however, failed to introduce the comprehensive education for which many socialists had hoped. During its time in office, the Attlee government increased spending on education by over 50 per cent, from £6.5 billion to £10 billion.[147]. [193], Attlee, now aged 72, contested the 1955 general election against Anthony Eden, which saw Labour lose 18 seats, and the Conservatives increase their majority. , W. `` the Attlee government proved itself to be devoted to armaments his company had been into. Half-Million and a World order before our loyalty to our own country only 2 minutes to fill in,. London 's East end shaped the politics of Labour ’ s best Prime Minister Conservatives., Nationalisation failed to provide financial support to households for raising the age... First post-World War II Prime Minister in history that the strike, that. Safeguarding agricultural land to an unsuccessful plot by Hugh Dalton resigned as Chancellor after inadvertently details. 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