Segments in this Video

1945 Election Defeat (02:15)


Winston Churchill went into the 1945 election believing it was an easy victory, but he was defeated and his Conservative party lost power. Though he was a popular wartime leader, the British public questioned his peacetime policies.

Churchill in Post-War Britain (04:53)

The British people had been at war for six years when WWII ended, and wanted a different future. The Labour Party called for a snap general election, hoping to put Clement Attlee in power and achieve national reforms and welfare programs. Churchill worried his aristocratic background distanced him from the working-class electorate.

Churchill vs. Attlee (06:10)

Attlee's socialist agenda spoke to British citizens, who felt disenfranchised after the war. Churchill gave his first political broadcast five weeks before the election, criticizing socialism and comparing it to the Gestapo. It was widely criticized and dubbed "the crazy broadcast."

Domestic vs. Foreign Affairs (04:21)

Attlee portrayed himself as a man of the people, who cared greatly about domestic policies. He targeted Churchill's failures in rebuilding Britain and governing without a war to win. Since Attlee focused on Britain's future, Churchill tried to use his past against the Nazis as a selling point.

Churchill's Speeches (07:22)

Winston's second broadcast about the dangers of socialism showed how his powers to unite the nation with words had faltered. His messages and vocabulary felt old-fashion and out of touch. Most of his best-known quotes are from speeches that were not well received at the time.

Churchill and the Working Class (06:10)

At a campaign stop in London's East End, the crowd turned on Churchill. For many, Churchill was only remembered for his disastrous response to the 1926 general strike, where he dispatched the military against the strikers.

Election Day (06:03)

People began voting on July 5, 1945 but the results would take three weeks to come in. Though some soldiers still viewed Churchill as the nation's leader, others were dismayed by his single-minded approach.

Churchill and the Empire (04:48)

While waiting for election results, Churchill went to Berlin for the Potsdam Conference to discuss the ongoing war in the Pacific. He believed Britain's colonial holdings would be restored. Politicians within Churchill's party were disgusted by the language he used against Mahatma Gandhi's civil disobedience in India.

Churchill's Fear (01:26)

Though newspapers predicted a victory for Churchill and the Conservatives, he took Attlee with him to Potsdam in case he would be attending the next conference. Churchill told his doctor about election nightmares.

Churchill's Defeat (06:34)

Election results began coming in on July 26, 1945 and seemed like a victory for Attlee and the Labour Party. By 1 p.m., the BBC announced a victory. Churchill was stunned and devastated by the defeat.

Credits: Winston Churchill - Winning The War, Losing The Peace: Episode 1 (00:34)

Credits: Winston Churchill - Winning The War, Losing The Peace: Episode 1

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Winston Churchill - Winning The War, Losing The Peace: Episode 1

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Just weeks after V-E Day in May 1945, Winston Churchill found himself in new battle to be re-elected Prime Minister. He was confident of victory - just reward for his leadership of the country through the dark days of World War II. But what happened next is still a mystery to many people. In one of the greatest election defeats of all time, Churchill was humiliated at the polls and his Conservative party almost annihilated. Why did his countrymen turn so vehemently on their Great British Bulldog?

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: FPT188097

ISBN: 978-1-64867-280-4

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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