• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent can the period of Conservative dominance between 1951-1964 be viewed as 13 wasted years?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent can the period of Conservative dominance between 1951-1964 be viewed as ?13 wasted years?? ________________ The labour government in their 1964 party election manifesto described the period of 1951-64 as ?thirteen wasted years? because they thought that period brought chaos. This is in contrast to the optimism that Macmillan had of the period stating that the people had ?never had it so good.? He also told supporters to "Go around the country, go to industrial towns, go to the farms and you will see a state of prosperity such as we have never had before". This could be true in regards to social, economic and political factors especially considering that rationing had ended and there was full employment during this period which in turn increased the purchase of consumer goods such as TV's, refrigerators and cars which were being produced in the UK. Therefore to thoroughly understand to what extent the period of conservatism dominance was viewed as 13 wasted years we need to look at the successes and failures of the economy, society and the political aspects of the time. The optimism that Macmillan had when he said that most of our people have never had it so good relates to the fact that the country was riding high on post war economic boom; there was increased production in major industries such as ...read more.


During this period Agriculture was doing well because the state kept on giving subsides. Farmers being happy were good for conservatives because a lot of their votes come from the rural areas; they are a natural constituency of support for the Tories. The conservatives period of dominance was therefore not 13 wasted years as during that time they had some highly talented politicians for example Eden Butler, Macmillan and even Churchill and they remained in power as the electorate saw that the conservatives were making a difference to Britain. The government was also further more rocked by failure to join ECC. Macmillan decided to pursue an application for membership of the European Economic Community which split the party and was subsequently vetoed by French President Charles de Gaulle. In 1962, government unpopularity spurred Macmillan into dismissing one-third of the Cabinet this upset many of his own supporters. The following year, his handling of the Profumo affair - when his War Minister resigned after admitting lying to the House about his affair with a prostitute - left him looking out of touch with events. He looked old, and old-fashioned, in comparison with the new Labour leader so things appeared unstable. To add the idea that things appeared unstable Macmillan was seriously ill he had had a major abdominal operation which undermined his position. ...read more.


There was an initial rise in consumer goods as previously mentioned however there were more consumer goods being made than actually being bought in Britain, there was a share of world trade that had decline in this pose war era. This was due to other countries being starved financially from the war and couldn't afford to export goods from other countries. Ironically though, those 'starved' countered achieved better capital GDP than Britain because they had to literally start their economies up again, as did Britain. It ended up with Britain losing money abroad as they had a lot of investment abroad and countries couldn't afford their products due to the failing economies. Therefore in conclusion looking at the economic political and social factors you can see that the conservative dominance between 1951-64 was ?13 wasted years? to an extent. Things had improved and some people perhaps really hadn?t ?had it so good? before but there were still many negative factors such as those in which Macmillan even said in his speech where he reminded his supporters of the ?rationing, shortages, inflation, and one crisis after another in our international trade? under a labour government which goes to suggest that perhaps the people ?never? had it ?so good? and therefore the conservative dominance was seen as 13 wasted years compared to previous times such as Attlee?s government. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Labour weakness was the most important reason for Conservative dominance from 1951 to 1964. ...

    5 star(s)

    public's welfare and lifestyle, so they would be heavily favoured over Labour, who's own welfare policies failed to meet the same standard, making this a reason why Labour weakness affected the elections. There were also further divides within the Labour party, over issues such as unilateralism.

  2. Free essay

    Most of our people have never had it so good (Macmillan) To what extent ...

    Firstly in regards to the economy, Macmillan was lucky to be voted in during the age of affluence where 60% of people made it into the middle class due to post war. It was a time where, compared to the austerity of the war years, wage , exports and investments

  1. Free essay


    There were approximately one and a half million workers on strike during this time and the TUC made it clear they did not wish to inconvenience the public or bring down the government. What they did want was protection for coal workers wages.

  2. Social change and the prosperity of the 1950s were the most important reasons for ...

    This property owning democracy was also one of the things Macmillan was referring to when he said that the British people had "never had it so good" than they currently did under Conservative power. The greater availability of housing and an easier system was favourable for the public, which is

  1. Assess the reasons why the Conservative party remained in power from 1951 to 1964.

    The aims of these policies were to avid extreme inflation and deflation by a series of government adjustments. If inflation rose too quickly, the government introduced measures to slow it down. These measures included, raising interest rates to prevent borrowing and increasing import controls to limit purchases from abroad, with the intent of reducing the trade gap.

  2. The Foreign Policy failures of British Governments in the years 1951- 1964 were due ...

    As well as the fact that Britain according to Dougla Hurd continued to ?punch above its weight in the world? in terms of finance particularly. Hurd can be seen to argue that through global commitments like British troops fighting in the Korean War as a member of the UN, occupying

  1. Why did the Conservatives remain in power between 1951 1964?

    This division occurred throughout the 1950s. After the post war destruction, one of the most important conservative pledges to the greater population was to deliver 300,000 houses a year. In 1951 this was pledged, and not only did they provide this, they also did it a year ahead of plan.

  2. Wives & War: To what extent did these two aspects undermine Henry VIIIs rule ...

    Porter (2010, pg 200) argues that Henry favoured and took pleasure in Katherine adapting to the ideal role of being queen by relishing in an expensive wardrobe (exactly as he treated Katherine Howard-?a trophy wife?), Henry had no intention of a woman particularly his wife seeing him in a weak state as being confined to his bedchamber.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work