Why was Churchill dumped immediately after WWII?

The thread about “Worst Prime Ministers” reminded me of this question which has puzzled me for 58 years.

Immediately after WWII in Europe ended there was a general election, Labor won and it was; “Tata, Winnie. Thanks awfully and all that but would you vacate the premises by next Chewsday?”

How come?

Maybe this should be in GQ but I suppose there isn’t a single, factual answer that all agree on.

Dude, they kicked him out before the War was over.

Germany had been defeated, but the fight against Japan was still underway.

Go HERE for a wonderful site all about this great man.

And be prepared for some Rvisionist-Hstory @ssholes & Deconstructionist Hcks to show up in this thread and diss the Great Man.

Some men have no greatness in them, and live only to destroy the greatness in others.

Short answer from distant undergraduate memories - the ordinary person in the street and in the field wanted their sacrifices to produce a better world, not a return to the old one represented by Churchill’s party.

BBC history link

Ahem, Dude. I quote myself; “Immediately after WWII in Europe ended …” [bolding added]

The war had brought about a desire for change. After all the blood and all the sacrifices the common British people had made during the war, they expected a better deal then they had got from the pre-war system. They refused to return to the mass unemployment and poverty of the pre-war period. And Churchill was a very conservative man. He was a good leader for war, but he wasn’t the sort of man who was going to usher in the great social changes that the public demanded and that Labour duly implemented.

A man can’t be great and also have flaws?

Bear in mind Churchill hadn’t been elected Prime Minister in the first place. The 1945 election was the first election in TEN YEARS.

Churchill had never been an especially popular politician. He was booted out of office in 1922, later got back in, then was out again from 1929 to 1939. He switched parties on a number of occasions, giving some people the impression that he was an opportunistic weasel, which to some extent he was. His career was a litany of misadventures, including some of what could charitably be described as catastrophic errors. His ascension as Prime Minister in 1940 was not an especially popular one and happened essentially just because he’d been the big dog in the attack on Chamberlain. While he was rightly regarded as a war hero by 1945, I don’t think the British public had any illusions whatsoever that they were obliged to make him a peacetime Prime Minister. (Though they did so six years later.)

During the interim between 1935 and 1945 there was a sea change in Britain in terms of support for a welfare state, most notably for a national health service. Churchill was a great war leader, but his views on other matters were, by 1945, way out of step with Britain’s working class. He was firmly anti-welfare state, imperialist, and his personal character wasn’t terribly suited to campaigning - he was gruff and prone to making personal attacks on Attlee and the Labour Party that tended to bite him in the ass. He supported continued imperialism abroad, which the general public did not.

When you get right down to it, Labour won the election because they were percieved as being the party with a forward-looking view on things. The Conservatives, at least by comparison, appeared to be living in the past. People were sick of war and wanted a new order, so they voted for the new leader. It’s not so much that they were voting against Churchill as it was that they were voting for Attlee and a national health service.

I think he was angry that there are some pricks out there who completely ignore, and often totally deny the good and focus solely on the flaws. If you throw ever good thing any of us has done out the window and assume its realy just a fluke, then none of us look really good.

I liked **casdaves post ** about this subject

Rickjay touched upon it, but it might be worth mentioning again that Britain’s wartime government was a coalition government. Clement Atlee was a part of that government along with Churchill, and as Deputy Prime Minister Atlee wound up with duties which as I understand it made him effectively the executor of domestic policy after about 1942.

The election of 1945 might just as easily be viewed as a rubber-stamping of British home policy as it can be seen a a slight against Churchill.

I think Churchill actually resigned as peacetime PM in 1955 in part because he was frustrated in his efforts to reform domestic policy, which would probably be in keeping with Rickjay’s comments above.

On target.

There have even been people on this Board who have tried to paint him solely as a villian.

As I siad in the thread on the worst Prime Ministers, if you’re Irish it’s unlikely you have a high opinion of Churchill (Black and Tans).

In Britain the war ended in the minds of the people on VE day though they were involved in the fight in the Pacific. It spelt an end to many of the hardships sufferd and meant the start of demobilization.

It is wrong to say that his ousting reflects any ingratitude, it was simply that people voted for Labour for the reasons that they promised social reforms and though he was an undoubtedly good war time Prime Minister his peace-time abilty was in question. With his astocratic and army roots he did very much represent the old guard. Another point, though I’m not sure how pertinent it is, is that he had never led the Conservatives to victory at the general election and was appointed after the resignation of Nevile Chamberlain.

As it happens in the next general election he did win, but his second premiership was hardly a great success.

Americans generally don’t realize the degree of privation in Great Britain during, and for several years after, WWII. There’s a reason why the descriptions of bad food, decrepit housing, and endless rationing in Nineteen Eighty-Four are so vivid–Orwell was writing from personal experience.

Under the circumstances, it’s understandable that domestic problems predominated in the campaign, and that the electorate was in a mood to embrace leftist solutions, much like Americans in 1932.

The Brits were, understandably, war-weary by then. After VE day Churchill immediately started warning them about the Russian menace - the famous Iron Curtain speech.

Faced with the choice of someone saying “we may have to do this again real soon” and someone saying “well done lads, let’s build a new society” the electorate went for the spoils of victory approach (without realising there weren’t any).

Didn’t Churchill keep his seat in Commons in the same election? Maybe it wasn’t so much a rejection of Churchill as of the Conservatives, as MC Master of Ceremonies posted.