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Decline Of An Empire: Post Wwii Britain

1075 words - 4 pages

The end of World War II brought about the erasure of Great Britain as a super power. The ravaged economy left Britain nearly bankrupt and caused enormous social change. Not only were there problems on the motherland, but Britain's economical position left it unable to control the vast empire it held around the world. Thus the collapse of power for the British commenced.After the war, the former Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, was voted out of office. The people believed the change they sought could be accomplished by voting in the Labour Government. Clement Atlee came to power in 1945 with many hopes for brightening Britain's future. His most important aim was to reform Britain's economy and therefore improve the social conditions. Labour was a Socialist form of government in that it hoped to aid all citizens, with ideas including free healthcare and more jobs, no matter what class. These had long since been Labour's aims, but Atlee had reformed them for his 1945 program. He believed that "everything would fall into place, with a government led economy;" it would strengthen so producing jobs and improving social conditions."This first year in parliament was a great one for Labour, promising a bright future." All early policies had been carried out and the public felt that Labour were trustworthy and delivering their promises. The conservatives offered Labour a coalition government before the election; Labour turned this down and ran a successful campaign, making them appear strong and capable.The Labour government started the groundwork for the release of their land outside the motherland starting with India. They realized the difficulty and expense involved in keeping the Indians at bay as they were anxious for an India run by Indians. After long non-violent protests led by Mahatma Gandhi, an agreement was reached and India was set apart from the British Empire. "British plans to prosecute Indians for treason, for having briefly fought on the side of the Japanese, had to be abandoned."Atlee also gained independence for Ceylon, which was granted on February 4, 1948. It was a "friendly separation" that left Ceylon choosing to be a member of the British Commonwealth. In 1972 the country became known as Sri Lanka. This release was a success as it showed a reforming Britain moving away from past overseas restraints and encouraging freedom and independence. It also freed up a considerable amount of money, as Britain no longer needed to support its economy and pay for diplomats.Following the war, the Allies of WWII had begun a prosecution of Axis war leaders for their crimes in the infamous Nuremberg Trials. In early October 1945, the four prosecuting nations of Great Britain, the United States, France, and the USSR issued an indictment against 24 men and six organizations. The defendants all had individual cases in which they were charged with planning and carrying out the war in Europe, and the brutal and systematic murder of millions...

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