In 1945 British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, lost the General Election despite his leadership in WWII.
On the 3rd of September 1939 Britain declared war on Germany under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin. Chamberlin had attempted to use his powers of diplomacy with Hitler over the annexing of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Chamberlin hoped by agreeing to Hitler’s terms of a peaceful annexing, Hitler would keep to his agreement not to conquer any more land in Europe and thus prevent war. But Hitler was not a man that kept his word and therefore diplomacy was redundant. Once Hitler had Sudetenland he continued to take the whole of Czechoslovakia and on the 1st of September 1939 he also began his invasion of Poland despite the threat of war with Britain and France.
The people of England had lost trust in their Prime Minister and so Chamberlin agreed to a vote of confidence by his own Cabinet. On the 10th of May 1940, the same day that the Battle of France began, Chamberlin lost the vote and was forced to resign as Prime Minister. That same day the King of England asks Winston Churchill to form a coalition government and lead the nation as Prime Minister. Churchill was veteran of World War I and accepted the arduous task ahead. Churchill had all the qualities required to inspire the nation and his defiance against the threat of Germany, that had forced the surrender of most of Europe, was all that stood against the Nazi’s victory. Had the UK surrendered the outcome may have been very different. Despite his great leadership throughout the war he lost the first election after the war.
The British public had suffered austerity throughout the war and the Conservatives further planed measures to aid recovery proved to much for the public. Just 12 weeks after Churchill announced the unconditional surrender of Germany he lost the general election to Labour leader, Clement Attlee, on the 26th of July 1945. The people of the UK were looking forward to the introduction of the ‘welfare state’ which had been proposed by Labours William Beveridge in 1942. With immense poverty in Britain that started before the war, and the wartime austerity measures put in place during, the people of the UK wanted a change.
In 1951 Churchill became Prime Minister once more but at the age of 77 the pressures were taking their toll. In 1953 he was made a Knight of the Order of the Garter for his service to the country. On the 5th of April 1955 Sir Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister due to ill health. Sir Churchill gave his resignation to the Queen personally at a dinner held in his honour at Buckingham Palace. Churchill remained a backbencher in Parliament until 1964 and he died a year later on the 24th of January 1964 at the age of 90. In 2002 he was voted the ‘Greatest Britain of All Time’ in a nationwide pole with over a million Britain’s taking part.