Thirteen Wasted Years Essay

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‘Thirteen Wasted Years’ To what extent can the period of Conservative dominance between 1951 and 1964 be viewed as ‘Thirteen Wasted Years’? (45 marks) After Labour lost the 1951 election and Clement Attlee had to step down as prime minister, Churchill returned to office, and 13 years of Conservative rule began – Churchill followed by Eden, Macmillan, and Douglas-Home. Many events and policies happened during these years, some of which have led them to be described as ‘wasted’, yet there are other events that seem to suggest otherwise. In my opinion, I think that these years can definitely be described as ‘wasted’. When the Second World War came to an end in 1945, a period of austerity began under Labour. By the end of their period in…show more content…
Although some things were carried out well under the Conservatives, there were many missed opportunities and mistakes under the 4 prime ministers. I think that some of the prime ministers contributed more to the ‘wasted years’ than others, notably Eden, who made mistakes with both the Suez Crisis and the EDC. I also think that Britain missing out on the EEC and Europe is one of the main reasons why these years were wasted. Once it became clear that Britain’s role in the world was declining, and her Empire was changing to a Commonwealth, I think that the Conservatives should have seen that as the reason to lean more towards Europe. Although our relations with America did improve, and have later proved to be very important, missing out on Europe was a major mistake. This has had an impact on many later governments, and ultimately towards the formation of the European Union. However, even though I see the years as being wasted, it can’t be denied that the 3 successive election victories the Conservatives had were impressive, and show that they did have popular support. Although unemployment remained low, house building increased, and Britons had ‘never had it so good’, I think that the mistakes outweigh these positives and the period can certainly be described as ‘thirteen wasted
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