Britain since 1945

swinging sixties Immediately after the end of World War II, Britain underwent enormous social change. The country was bankrupt after the war. The wartime prime minister, Churchill was voted out and a new Labour government nationalised many industries, electricity, gas, water, health. Britain took a long time to recover from the cost of war.
After a last abortive fling at being a world power - the Anglo-French invasion of the Suez Canal in 1956 - Britain began to dismantle her Empire. Harold Macmillan's "wind of change". It was this change that caused Dean Acheson, former US Secretary of State to remark "Britain has lost an Empire, but has not yet found a role beatles
Perhaps it was this loss of a world position that caused further changes within Britain. The Swinging Sixties brought the mini skirt and the Beetles. If Dean Acheson was worried about Britain's role, the British were not worrying, they were too busy enjoying themselves
young Charles and Diana Our Royal family became more newsworthy. The marriage of Price Charles to Diana brought some much needed glamour to the Royal family, which was stuck somewhere in the forties. The birth of two sons "the heir and the spare" was followed soon after by recriminations and divorce. Never the less the British monarchy remains , and remains newsworthy
The 1980's were characterized by Mrs. Thatcher, the Iron Lady who started off so well, a strong leader full of good ideas. But, as with so many strong leaders came to think that she was more important than her electorate. Like the British kings and queens of old, she surrounded herself with sycophantic advisors and courtiers, and was allowed to push through a number of completely potty laws like Poll Tax, that eventually brought about her fall from office. Democracy in action, in the past an absolute monarch could never have been democratically removed
   
Britain is still in the late 1990's searching for that role - she has never been fully committed to Europe, but cannot afford to go it alone. The search for a comfortable marriage with the rest of Europe has been long, rough and unresolved. It will undoubted occupy our politicians for the next century

However the British economy is in good shape. Constitutional changes are bound to continue - though we do not have a written constitution. The House of Lords will probably be replaced by a more democratic second chamber, the jury is out on whether we will have Prince Charles as our next king, we will probably join the European monetary system late, there will probably be more devolved power to the regions as well as the agreed changes for Scotland and Wales, the Irish question will remain unsolved

Britain has had a glorious and interesting past. We have lots to offer both visitors and citizens. We should learn to appreciate our past and plan for an even better future.

For overseas visitors Britain is a wonderful place to explore the past, with a little understanding of our history you will enhance your visit here.

   
Main History page return to main History of Britain page british history
 
Great Britain Great Britain front page