Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:26 am

The Eugenics Review
edited by Cora B.S. Hodson, Secty.; Alexander M. Carr-Saunders, Vice-Pres, Pres.; Eldon Moore; Ward Cutler; E.W. MacBride, Vice-Pres.; Maurice Newfield; Richard Titmuss; Dr. Blacker; Cedric Carter; Kathleen Hodson
by The Eugenics Society
Vols. 1 to 60; 1909 to 1968

Editors and Editorial Policy

In its early years the REVIEW was, as has been mentioned, produced by an "executive person" under the direction of the President. These persons are nameless and the word editor does not appear in the REVIEW or in Annual Reports or Minutes until May 1920, when it is minuted that Mr. A. M. Carr-Saunders had agreed to take over the editorial work for one issue "experimentally". Up to this time most of it had, in fact, been done by Mrs. C. B. S. Hodson, then Secretary of the Society, although contributions were to be sent to the Honorary Secretary. Cora Hodson died in 1953 and an obituary notice appeared in Volume 45, pages 78-9.

Carr-Saunders's resignation is noted six months after his appointment, but he was evidently persuaded to reconsider this decision, for it is again minuted (7th November 1922) that he brought up the matter of his resignation "saying he thought it would be wise to have someone resident in London and suggesting that a small honorarium, say £50, might help some young scientist". In the event, he continued his editorial duties until 1927.

Alexander Carr-Saunders, who joined the Society in 1912, was one of the men with an international reputation who have given a great deal of their time and energy to the Eugenics Society. He was elected to the Council in 1920, he was a Vice-President from 1936-39 and 1945-48 and was President of the Society from 1949 to 1953. He gave the Galton Lecture in 1935-Eugenics in the Light of Population Trends-which was among those reprinted in the first number of the REVIEW'S final volume (69, 46), and he was awarded the Galton Medal in 1946. He said with a smile, when Chairman of a Galton Lecture during his Presidency, that his Life Fellowship of the Eugenics Society, taken out when he was a young man, was one of the best bargains he had ever made. His death is recorded in the March 1967 issue of the REVIEW (59, 4) where appreciations from Dr. C. P. Blacker, Mr. D. Caradog Jones and Lady Simey are printed.

It was, apparently, not the policy of the Society to name the editor of its publication in the REVIEW itself and Carr-Saunders's name is not given therein. It was not until April 1928 (20, 1) after Eldon Moore had been appointed, that with the new format the name of the editor for the Society was printed in each issue.

Eldon Moore, who had for some years given considerable help in the production of the REVIEW, was appointed editor in October 1927 under an Honorary Officers Committee. He was to work in collaboration with Ward Cutler (one of the Honorary Secretaries) who was appointed liaison officer between the Committee and the Editor, who would only attend meetings by invitation. The Editor's salary was to be £100 per annum to produce a volume with 320-350 pages. It was suggested that an editorial secretary should be appointed at £75 per annum; this was not agreed to, and the Society's secretary was instructed to arrange for one of the permanent staff to carry out work for the Editor. This Honorary Officers Committee met for the first time in June 1928 when Ward Cutler said that he had read the whole of the REVIEW material in MS and suggested that this arrangement should be adhered to, instead of sending a certain number of MSS to different members of the Committee; the offer was gratefully accepted. In 1929 the Editor was empowered to print all correspondence submitted for publication which he considered to be "relevant and not libellous".

In April 1929 it is minuted that Eldon Moore had left London to take up an appointment as Chief Officer of the Imperial Bureau of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh, and Ward Cutler undertook to give more time to supervising the production of the REVIEW. He stated at this meeting that the position regarding the REVIEW was quite satisfactory, particularly in connection with increased publicity. In July of that year he undertook to take personal charge of the office for one day a week at a fee of 30s.

What might be called the Great Editorial Controversy blew up, in 1930, in the face of the then President, Sir Bernard Mallet who, as Registrar General, had in 1911 been the first to introduce calculating machines for work on the Census. This long-drawn-out argument, which was not resolved until late in the following year, involved Professor E. W. MacBride, who was then a Vice-President and, as we have seen, had had a finger in the REVIEW pie since 1919. He objected violently to the (rather curious) editorial policy of sending certain book reviews to authors for approval thus inviting them to write rejoinders to critical notices which would be printed immediately following the review itself; Mr. Ward Cutler claimed his right to do this. MacBride's slashing review of de Beer's Embryology and Evolution and the author's reply take up more than three pages of Volume 22 (pp. 71-4) and the reviewer counter-claimed his right to a further rejoinder. This "breach of every decent literary convention" had, according to Professor MacBride, already been adopted by a previous editor and a Council resolution had been passed condemning it.

In spite of Sir Bernard Mallet's tact and fairmindedness, a long series of vitriolic letters from Professor MacBride-and apparently acrimonious argument as well-culminated in his exclusion from another newly formed editorial committee on the grounds that it would be impossible for the Editor to work with a Committee member who was so inimical to himself and his policies. The inevitable outcome was MacBride's resignation from the Council and finally from the Society.

His letters reveal him as Past Master of the Home Truth: the last Galton Lecture he had attended had been "a torrent of wearisome platitudes". (Its subject-matter had been chosen in the teeth of his advice.) His two distinguished guests had "declined to take it seriously" (but they had already been inveigled into proposing and seconding the vote of thanks). Lady Askwith had told him that "the Eugenics Society 'cut very little ice', an American expression I was surprised to hear from Lady Askwith".-It was the Americanism and not the comment that shocked. A certain person is utterly condemned as "no gentleman"-another is "an outsider"; the REVIEW editor is a "mere journalist of the Daily Mail type"-doubtless the opinion of one of the 'top people' among newspaper readers. The impression will grow that the Eugenics Society has fallen into the hands of cranks and that therefore serious biologists must shun it. Added to which all those who do not see eye to eye with him are forever offering him snubs and insults.

Professor MacBride in a Memorandum on the subject of THE EUGENICS REVIEW (8th November 1930), in which he states that "formal Mendelism is scientific Calvinism", advocates that the Society should have, as Editor-in-Chief "a man who has received a thorough biological training including under the term biology the medical sciences" and an Assistant Editor "confined to the technicalities of journalism, his functions rigidly limited to proof-reading, advertisements, printing, etc.". An ideal arrangement, but utterly impractical in view of the Society's financial position.

Every effort was made by the Honorary Officers to dissuade him from resigning from the Society. His resignation is recorded with regret in the Annual Report for 1930-31, where it is stated that "it would be difficult to exaggerate the debt which the Eugenics Society owes to Professor MacBride", a tribute which may have been intentionally ambiguous.

Such was the storm that made Sir Bernard Mallet wish that he had never accepted the Presidency and sent Major Leonard Darwin to bed for twenty-four hours with a headache. Let Mr. B. S. Bramwell, then Honorary Treasurer, have the last word: "The subject of eugenics seems fertile in raising rows".

The incomplete file of correspondence between members of the Council covering these years throws a curious sidelight on what might almost be called the formative years of the Society, although it was by now twenty years old. Birth-controller strove against anti-birthcontroller; Mendelists and Lamarckists were at daggers drawn; the subject of eugenic sterilization was a battlefield. Luckily Neo-Malthusianism does not seem to have raised its ugly head at this time. Professor MacBride had presided over the Eugenics Section of the International Neo-Malthusian Conference at the Kingsway Hall in 1922.

Eldon Moore had, in July 1930, been appointed full-time Editor and shortly afterwards Ward Cutler reluctantly resigned from his role as liaison officer. (In a letter to Mallet, Leonard Darwin had written "it would be a disaster if Cutler left us".) Eldon Moore resigned his position in Edinburgh to give more time to developing the REVIEW, a development "naturally conditioned by the funds placed at his disposal for publicity". However, in the Annual Report for 1931-32 it is recorded that, in order to help the Society over a period of financial difficulty, Mr. Moore had resigned his post as paid editor and had undertaken to edit the REVIEW in an honorary capacity. He was elected a Fellow of the Society and appointed Honorary Editor with an expense allowance of £200 per annum. At the meeting of the Executive Committee at which this was agreed, Lady Chambers and Mrs. Grant Duff had dissociated themselves, as they believed this step would be detrimental to the Eugenics Society, but the Council was confident that it was voicing the opinion of Fellows and Members of the Society in recording its keen appreciation of the efficient way in which Mr. Moore had managed the REVIEW.

In May 1933 Eldon Moore resigned his position as Honorary Editor. The Annual Report for 1933-34 records that "The thanks of the Council are due to him for his loyal and painstaking services to the Society".

In an appreciation printed in the first issue of the REVIEW under its new Editor (25, 143) the writer praises Moore's fluent yet scholarly manner and his light touch, which so many scientists lack, combined with an exactness in which journalists tend to be deficient, and commends the freshness and vitality of his work; his abilities as an administrator and organizer were of no mean order. Eugenics was an absorbing interest in his life and he had given a large number of lectures for the Society. He had been the Secretary of the British section of the International Union for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems and a member of the Commission (on differential fertility, fecundity and sterility) of the Union. The writer of this appreciation is aware that his words have something of the flavour of an obituary notice and it is good to know that they were printed when Moore was still a young man. He died, aged 53, in November 1954 (46, 202). He had been a free-lance journalist writing under many names, edited A Bibliography of Differential Fertility (1933) and wrote Heredity, Mainly Human (1934). In an appreciation, Dr. J. A. Fraser Roberts (47, 15) writes of his "transformation of the REVIEW", his enthusiasm, and the warmth and friendliness of his personality.

The first number to appear under the editorship of Maurice Newfield was that for October 1933. He had been Assistant Editor of the British Medical Journal and had helped Sir Humphry Rolleston in editing the British Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice; as Michael Fielding he had written Parenthood, Design or Accident? which was first published in 1928 and ran to several editions. The differences of opinion in the Council at that time included the subject of birth control and Newfield had to contend with doubt in some quarters as to the suitability of his appointment, but to quote again from Dr. Blacker: "During the fifteen years of his editorship his touch was unfaltering; not once did he take a false step".

When Maurice Newfield became severely ill Richard Titmuss came to the rescue and the Council in the Annual Report records its thanks for his able editing of the January and April 1942 numbers. For the same reason Dr. Blacker and I worked together to produce the October 1947 and January 1948 issues.

October 1948 saw the completion of Newfield's fifteen years with the REVIEW and the Council expressed its appreciation of his capable and tactful editorship over this period. Maurice Newfield died in August 1949. A symposium of appreciation of his personality and of his services to eugenics and to the Eugenics Society appeared in the REVIEW for October 1949 (41, 103) and was separately produced. Lord Horder headed the twenty-two contributors; those with no very definite links with the Eugenics Society included S. Vere Pearson, Robert Graves, Michael Heseltine, Oliver Simon, Andrew Morland, Josep Trueta, Raymond Swing, Abraham Stone, Ernest Raymond and A. L. Bacharach.

Dr. Blacker and I produced the next few issues until Cedric Carter took up office as Editor with the July 1950 number. He at that time held a research post at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. His appointment ceased with the April 1952 issue, when he succeeded Dr. Blacker as General Secretary of the Society. I had worked with Maurice Newfield since 1935, was appointed Editor with the June 1952 issue and continued to be responsible for the production of the REVIEW until the end of 1967.

-- The Eugenics Review 1909-1968, by Kathleen Hodson

Vols. 1 to 60; 1909 to 1968

Vol. 60
v.60(3): 141–187
1968 Sep
v.60(4): 189–288
1968 Dec

Vol. 59
v.59(1): 1–72
1967 Mar
v.59(2): 73–148
1967 Jun
v.59(3): 149–218
1967 Sep
v.59(4): 219–300
1967 Dec

Vol. 58
v.58(1): 1–56
1966 Mar
v.58(2): 57–116
1966 Jun
v.58(3): 117–172
1966 Sep
v.58(4): 173–240
1966 Dec

Vols. 56 to 57;
v.56(4): 181–234
1965 Jan
v.57(1): 1–48
1965 Mar
v.57(2): 49–98
1965 Jun
v.57(3): 99–154
1965 Sep
v.57(4): 155–209
1965 Dec

Vols. 55 to 56;
v.55(4): 189–255
1964 Jan
v.56(1): 1–57
1964 Apr
v.56(2): 61–124
1964 Jul
v.56(3): 125–179
1964 Oct

Vols. 54 to 55;
v.54(4): 185–232
1963 Jan
v.55(1): 1–56
1963 Apr
v.55(2): 65–130
1963 Jul
v.55(3): 133–183
1963 Oct

Vols. 53 to 54;
v.53(4): 185–237
1962 Jan
v.54(1): 1–52
1962 Apr
v.54(2): 57–108
1962 Jul
v.54(3): 113–179
1962 Oct

Vols. 52 to 53;
v.52(4): 189–251
1961 Jan
v.53(1): 1–65
1961 Apr
v.53(2): 69–122
1961 Jul
v.53(3): 129–181
1961 Oct

Vols. 51 to 52;
v.51(4): 201–243
1960 Jan
v.52(1): 1–61
1960 Apr
v.52(2): 65–128
1960 Jul
v.52(3): 129–185
1960 Oct

Vols. 50 to 51;
v.50(4): 217–279
1959 Jan
v.51(1): 1–63
1959 Apr
v.51(2): 65–134
1959 Jul
v.51(3): 137–198
1959 Oct

Vols. 49 to 50;
v.49(4): 163–212
1958 Jan
v.50(1): 3–81
1958 Apr
v.50(2): 85–151
1958 Jul
v.50(3): 153–214
1958 Oct

Vols. 48 to 49;
v.48(4): 183–252
1957 Jan
v.49(1): 3–48
1957 Apr
v.49(2): 59–96
1957 Jul
v.49(3): 107–150
1957 Oct

Vols. 47 to 48;
v.47(4): 207–267
1956 Jan
v.48(1): 3–63
1956 Apr
v.48(2): 67–121
1956 Jul
v.48(3): 127–178
1956 Oct

Vols. 46 to 47;
v.46(4): 191–264
1955 Jan
v.47(1): 3–67
1955 Apr
v.47(2): 71–135
1955 Jul
v.47(3): 139–202
1955 Oct

Vols. 45 to 46;
v.45(4): 203–268
1954 Jan
v.46(1): 3–67
1954 Apr
v.46(2): 71–134
1954 Jul
v.46(3): 139–183
1954 Oct

Vols. 44 to 45;
v.44(4): 187–246
1953 Jan
v.45(1): 3–68
1953 Apr
v.45(2): 71–119
1953 Jul
v.45(3): 131–192
1953 Oct

Vols. 43 to 44;
v.43(4): 167–203
1952 Jan
v.44(1): 3–59
1952 Apr
v.44(2): 63–115
1952 Jul
v.44(3): 119–183
1952 Oct

Vols. 42 to 43;
v.42(4): 183–237
1951 Jan
v.43(1): 3–64
1951 Apr
v.43(2): 71–110
1951 Jul
v.43(3): 119–164
1951 Oct

Vols. 41 to 42;
v.41(4): 159–206
1950 Jan
v.42(1): 3–59
1950 Apr
v.42(2): 67–112
1950 Jul
v.42(3): 119–179
1950 Oct

Vols. 40 to 41;
v.40(4): 175–231
1949 Jan
v.41(1): 3–58
1949 Apr
v.41(2): 63–98
1949 Jul
v.41(3): 102–155
1949 Oct

Vols. 39 to 40;
v.39(4): 131–179
1948 Jan
v.40(1): 3–52
1948 Apr
v.40(2): 55–112
1948 Jul
v.40(3): 119–169
1948 Oct

Vols. 38 to 39;
v.38(4): 163–204
1947 Jan
v.39(1): 3–38
1947 Apr
v.39(2): 42–79
1947 Jul
v.39(3): 83–128
1947 Oct

Vols. 37 to 38;
v.37(4): 143–188
1946 Jan
v.38(1): 2–60
1946 Apr
v.38(2): 63–106
1946 Jul
v.38(3): 111–158
1946 Oct

Vols. 36 to 37;
v.36(4): 111–137
1945 Jan
v.37(1): 3–36
1945 Apr
v.37(2): 39–84
1945 Jul
v.37(3): 87–140
1945 Oct

Vol. 36
v.36(1): 3–44
1944 Apr
v.36(2): 47–76
1944 Jul
v.36(3): 79–106
1944 Oct

Vols. 34 to 35;
v.34(4): 109–142
1943 Jan
v.35(1): 3–28
1943 Apr
v.35(2): 31–48
1943 Jul
v.35(3-4): 51–96
1943 Oct

Vols. 33 to 34;
v.33(4): 99–138
1942 Jan
v.34(1): 3–44
1942 Apr
v.34(2): 47–77
1942 Jul
v.34(3): 81–105
1942 Oct

Vols. 32 to 33;
v.32(4): 111–146
1941 Jan
v.33(1): 3–34
1941 Apr
v.33(2): 39–59
1941 Jul
v.33(3): 63–95
1941 Oct

Vols. 31 to 32;
v.31(4): 199–234
1940 Jan
v.32(1): 3–38
1940 Apr
v.32(2): 43–70
1940 Jul
v.32(3): 75–105
1940 Oct

Vols. 30 to 31;
v.30(4): 231–311
1939 Jan
v.31(1): 3–77
1939 Apr
v.31(2): 83–147
1939 Jul
v.31(3): 151–195
1939 Oct

Vols. 29 to 30;
v.29(4): 231–296
1938 Jan
v.30(1): 3–78
1938 Apr
v.30(2): 83–156
1938 Jul
v.30(3): 163–227
1938 Oct

Vols. 28 to 29;
v.28(4): 255–345
1937 Jan
v.29(1): 3–82
1937 Apr
v.29(2): 91–155
1937 Jul
v.29(3): 163–225
1937 Oct

Vols. 27 to 28;
v.27(4): 270–352
1936 Jan
v.28(1): 3–88
1936 Apr
v.28(2): 95–165
1936 Jul
v.28(3): 175–247
1936 Oct

Vols. 26 to 27;
v.26(4): 251–312
1935 Jan
v.27(1): 3–77
1935 Apr
v.27(2): 85–173
1935 Jul
v.27(3): 181–260
1935 Oct

Vols. 25 to 26;
v.25(4): 215–289
1934 Jan
v.26(1): 3–91
1934 Apr
v.26(2): 99–167
1934 Jul
v.26(3): 175–243
1934 Oct

Vols. 24 to 25;
v.24(4): 267–347
1933 Jan
v.25(1): 3–64
1933 Apr
v.25(2): 75–135
1933 Jul
v.25(3): 143–209
1933 Oct

Vols. 23 to 24;
v.23(4): 295–382
1932 Jan
v.24(1): 3–73
1932 Apr
v.24(2): 83–165
1932 Jul
v.24(3): 171–261
1932 Oct

Vols. 22 to 23;
v.22(4): 235–326
1931 Jan
v.23(1): 3–95
1931 Apr
v.23(2): 103–191
1931 Jul
v.23(3): 199–288
1931 Oct

Vols. 21 to 22;
v.21(4): 247–324
1930 Jan
v.22(1): 3–84
1930 Apr
v.22(2): 87–158
1930 Jul
v.22(3): 167–227
1930 Oct

Vols. 20 to 21;
v.20(4): 233–305
1929 Jan
v.21(1): 3–66
1929 Apr
v.21(2): 83–161
1929 Jul
v.21(3): 167–239
1929 Oct

Vols. 19 to 20;
v.19(4): 267–345
1928 Jan
v.20(1): 1–72
1928 Apr
v.20(2): 75–144
1928 Jul
v.20(3): 153–224
1928 Oct

Vols. 18 to 19;
v.18(4): 285–375
1927 Jan
v.19(1): 1–60
1927 Apr
v.19(2): 103–143
1927 Jul
v.19(3): 181–258
1927 Oct

Vols. 17 to 18;
v.17(4): 233–332
1926 Jan
v.18(1): 1–55
1926 Apr
v.18(2): 91–181
1926 Jul
v.18(3): 189–257
1926 Oct

Vols. 16 to 17;
v.16(4): 259–320
1925 Jan
v.17(1): 1–51
1925 Apr
v.17(2): 73–124
1925 Jul
v.17(3): 141–222
1925 Oct

Vols. 15 to 16;
v.15(4): 545–641
1924 Jan
v.16(1): 1–73
1924 Apr
v.16(2): 93–171
1924 Jul
v.16(3): 177–239
1924 Oct

Vols. 14 to 15;
v.14(4): 225–300
1923 Jan
v.15(1): 305–375
1923 Apr
v.15(2): 383–453
1923 Jul
v.15(3): 459–532
1923 Oct

Vols. 13 to 14;
v.13(4): 499–559
1922 Jan
v.14(1): 1–60
1922 Apr
v.14(2): 71–135
1922 Jul
v.14(3): 149–214
1922 Oct

Vols. 12 to 13;
v.12(4): 257–318
1921 Jan
v.13(1): 325–375
1921 Apr
v.13(2): 381–424
1921 Jul
v.13(3): 439–494
1921 Oct

Vols. 11 to 12;
v.11(4): 175–248
1920 Jan
v.12(1): 1–73
1920 Apr
v.12(2): 81–130
1920 Jul
v.12(3): 147–251
1920 Oct

Vols. 10 to 11;
v.10(4): 195–239
1919 Jan
v.11(1): 1–50
1919 Apr
v.11(2): 53–109
1919 Jul
v.11(3): 113–157
1919 Oct

Vols. 9 to 10;
v.9(4): 277–355
1918 Jan
v.10(1): 1–54
1918 Apr
v.10(2): 63–114
1918 Jul
v.10(3): 133–176
1918 Oct

Vols. 8 to 9;
v.8(4): 297–373
1917 Jan
v.9(1): 1–70
1917 Apr
v.9(2): 95–155
1917 Jul
v.9(3): 183–259
1917 Oct

Vols. 7 to 8;
v.7(4): 229–303
1916 Jan
v.8(1): 1–75
1916 Apr
v.8(2): 93–176
1916 Jul
v.8(3): 189–276
1916 Oct

Vols. 6 to 7;
v.6(4): 271–327
1915 Jan
v.7(1): 1–68
1915 Apr
v.7(2): 91–140
1915 Jul
v.7(3): 163–214
1915 Oct

Vols. 5 to 6;
v.5(4): 295–373
1914 Jan
v.6(1): 1–72
1914 Apr
v.6(2): 97–174
1914 Jul
v.6(3): 195–252
1914 Oct

Vols. 4 to 5;
v.4(4): 331–412
1913 Jan
v.5(1): 1–79
1913 Apr
v.5(2): 93–179
1913 Jul
v.5(3): 197–282
1913 Oct

Vols. 3 to 4;
v.3(4): 287–365
1912 Jan
v.4(1): 1–106
1912 Apr
v.4(2): 117–212
1912 Jul
v.4(3): 223–320
1912 Oct

Vols. 2 to 3;
v.2(4): 253–329
1911 Jan
v.3(1): 1–71
v.3(2): 83–182
1911 Jul
v.3(3): 187–278
1911 Oct

Vols. 1 to 2;
v.1(4): 221–295
1910 Jan
v.2(1): 1–87
v.2(2): 89–154
1910 Jul
v.2(3): 161–250
1910 Nov

Vol. 1
v.1(1): 1–63
1909 Apr
v.1(2): 65–137
1909 Jul
v.1(3): 141–216
1909 Oct
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:33 am

Green Park, Delhi
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/20

The Young Lamas' Home School opened in a large, detached house in Green Park in south Delhi in October 1961....

Lang-Sims saw at close quarters the setting up of the Home School. The house was newly built with stone floors, standing on raised ground on an 'exceptionally pleasant' site amid an expanse of scrubland.
She was invited to stay there but demurred because the plumbing didn't seem to be up-and-running, but she was on hand when the first pupils moved in.

Immediately before the opening of the school two contingents of young Lamas arrived at the [Bedis'] flat. All were refugees and in sore need of the robes with which Freda intended to provide each one as a welcome-present. Several were no more than children; but the behaviour even of these was strangely adult. They sat smiling and talking quietly in Tibetan, accepting everything that was done for them with perfect courtesy and no trace of anxiety or fuss. When the time came for the move they piled into the taxis together with all the furniture, crates, boxes, bedding-rolls and miscellaneous oddments, their gentle gaiety as undisturbed as if they were off on a picnic.

Two days later, Lang-Sims -- feeling guilty that she had abandoned Freda and the young lamas for a hotel -- returned to see how they were settling in. 'I followed Freda into the house and gazed about me in astonishment. The disorder was cleared away; everything was in its place even to the tankas [religious paintings] on the walls; there was an atmosphere of peace. I remembered the plumbing and glanced at a large pool of water in the vicinity of the wash-place. Something had overflowed but at least there was water to flow.' Still more impressive was the shrine that had been constructed in one of the two principal rooms, taking up the whole of a wall, 'a thing of wonder and yet made out of nothing but the simplest oddments, an ordered profusion of colours and shapes seeming as if it had fallen into a pattern of itself. There were a few small images; a number of crude prints and tinted photographs; scarves; ribbons; bits of coloured materials; rows of offering cakes (called 'tormas'); bowls containing water and offerings of seeds, sweets and rice; and, of course, the lighted butter-lamps.' Seated on floor mats, the pupils were chanting their morning office each one crouched over a sacred book and rocking to and fro. 'The boys, on Freda's instructions but left entirely to themselves, had produced this shrine in a day by their own unaided imagination and efforts. They were all working hard; although, of course, they did not expect to be asked to perform "menial" tasks: the actual work of the house was done entirely by Freda's servants and the servant-monks.'

Freda's energy, drive and organisation had established the school and marshalled the young lamas. She was every bit as effective at developing the profile of the new school, which was so important in ensuring continued government support and private fundraising. With an eye perhaps on both goals, Freda took Lois Lang-Sims to meet Nehru, then in his early seventies and increasingly worn-out after fourteen years in office. 'Freda expressed her gratitude for his encouragement and assistance in her school project: suddenly he really smiled, seeming to wake out of his dream, and said teasingly, in a very low, quiet voice: "It was not for you I did it." Then he half closed his eyes and appeared almost to go to sleep.'...

Within a few weeks of the founding of the school, the New York Times came calling -- though they weren't allowed inside. '"We're sorry, but one of our young lamas is in bed with chicken pox,'" their reporter was told. 'Mrs. Bedi treats the seventeen boys at the school as members of her family. She listens patiently to their problems of growing up. "Even lamas have them," she says.' Freda explained that the purpose of the school was to impart traditional education in the context of the modern world. '"It aims," Mrs Bedi said, "at constructing a bridge of understanding between the young lamas and the changing young people of their own generation. It will make them aware of the new world into which they have found their way after the tragic fate of Tibet.'" She estimated that there were in total about seventy-five incarnate lamas under the age of twenty-five in India. Each group would study for six months, then a new intake would take their place. Four such intakes would cover all the tulkus, then the initial group would return. The plan was to give three semesters of instruction to each group of lamas in rotation -- a six-year project. And the school was hoping for financial contributions from abroad, towards which goal sympathetic coverage in one of America's leading daily papers was as good as gold dust.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Green Park Neighbourhood
Location in Delhi, India
Country India
State Delhi
District South Delhi
Metro New Delhi

Green Park is an upscale and affluent locality, in the South Delhi district of Delhi, India. It is among the most posh and popular districts of Delhi. The Locality falls under Category 'A' of residential colonies in Delhi alongside other Category 'A' colonies like Greater Kailash , Defense Colony and Gulmohar Park.The neighbourhood registered a 4.4% growth in residential sales and was recently featured alongside Greater Kailash, Defense Colony, Vasant Vihar and Anand Niketan in the 2019 edition of Knight Frank's quarterly report on prime luxury residential properties in various mega cities around the globe.

The locality is divided into two parts i.e. Main and Extension.

Real Estate

Established in the early 1960's, Green Park today is among the most desired neighborhoods in the capital city. The Locality not only has its very own metro station on the yellow line but also has numerous professionally maintained parks in each block. It has its own prime market which hosts numerous chic salons, boutiques and eating joints. It also borders the famous Deer Park which is known to be among the very few large green spaces left in today's heavily urbanized Delhi.

Hauz Khas Jheel located inside Deer Park

Deer Park, Delhi

Green Park Delhi

The real estate market however has been witnessing a downturn due to the increased circle rates of the colony. This has discouraged fresh purchases of builder floors and independent villas in the colony which now cost anywhere between INR 6-50 crores (US $800,000 - $7,000,000). The plot sizes are plenty and range from 200 sq. yards to 1500 sq.yards. Rental values have however witnessed a constant increase due to the direct metro connectivity and plenty of other facilities which other colonies of New Delhi lack. To address the parking problems in the colony due to the heavy footfall, two multilevel parking towers are being built near the metro station which will accommodate 60-70 cars at a given time.


It was established in early 1960's and today has all the amenities of a rich cosmopolitan culture along with large residential and commercial areas and many religious places. Green Park is considered by some as the "lungs" of Delhi, as it is near one of the largest green areas in the city. It is also believed to be an upscale residential area with real estate prices soaring as high as ₹100 crore (US $14.5 million). It is part of the New Delhi (Lok Sabha constituency), and its current electorate member is Meenakshi Lekhi of BJP

It is divided into two parts: Green Park Main and Green Park Extension. The Main hosts a medium-sized market with several restaurants and a shopping complex. The Extension mostly consists of residential areas. It has a number of open and wooded spaces in its vicinity -- Deer Park, District Park and Rose Garden. These are very popular areas with morning walkers and laughter clubs.

The Uphaar Cinema fire, one of the worst fire tragedies in recent Indian history, occurred on Friday, 13 June 1997 at Uphaar Cinema, near Green Park Extension Block A, Delhi, during the premiere screening of Border, a Hindi movie. 59 people died and 103 were seriously injured in the subsequent stampede; most of the victims were trapped on the balcony and were asphyxiated as they tried to reach dimly marked exits to escape the smoke and fire, and found the doors locked.

The fire broke out at 5:10 pm, after the transformer at the parking level burst, and 20 cars in the parking lot caught fire, eventually leading to a large scale fire in the five-storey building which housed the cinema hall and several offices. The cinema hall was situated in one of the busiest areas of South Delhi and the fire services were delayed owing to the heavy evening traffic. At least 48 fire tenders were pressed into service at 5.20 p.m. and it took them over an hour to put out the fire. Later the dead and the injured were rushed to the nearby All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital, where scenes of chaos and pandemonium followed, as relatives and family members of the victims scurried around to look for known faces.

The victims of the tragedy and the families of the deceased later formed 'The Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy' (AVUT), which filed the landmark Civil compensation case and won Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million) in civil compensation for the relatives and families of victims, the judgment is now considered a breakthrough in Compensation Law in India; today they meet at every anniversary at 'Smriti Upavan' memorial, outside the hall, where a prayer meeting is held. However the Supreme Court on 13/10/2011, nearly halved the sum of compensation awarded to them by the Delhi high court and slashed punitive damages to be paid by cinema owners Ansal brothers from Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 25 lakh. Contents


It is bounded on the 4 sides by major avenues: Inner Ring Road, Outer Ring Road, Aurobindo Marg and Africa Avenue. Hauz Khas, Safdarjung Enclave, SDA are adjoining colonies and 2 major hospitals, AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital touch its boundaries.

Dadi-Poti ka Gumbad (mausoleums), at the edge of Green park, close to the Hauz Khas Complex, Delhi

Historical places

The adjoining areas of Green Park is Hauz Khas, of great historical significance with numerous monuments dating back to the medieval period of the Delhi Sultanate, and the Deer Park, which is a large public space with greenery and also the DLTA Tennis courts. and Uphaar Cinema is in Green Park.


Green Park market includes various restaurants of various cuisines, ranging from pizzas, kebabs to South Indian delights.[1]

Religious places

Jagannath Temple, New Delhi, Iyappa Temple, Balaji Temple (backside of GP, R K Puram), and Shri Parashnath Digambar Jain Mandir (Green Park Extension) is also situated in the locality.

Shri Sanatan Dharm Mandir


The Green Park area is served by the Green Park metro station of the Delhi Metro.


1. "Reviews".

External links

• Green Park, Delhi, webpage
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:56 pm

Communist Party of India
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/20

Communist Party of India
Abbreviation: CPI
Secretary: D. Raja[1]
Lok Sabha leader: K. Subbarayan
Rajya Sabha leader: Binoy Viswam
Founder: M.N. Roy; Abani Mukherji; Ahmed Hasan; Hasrat Mohani; Rafiq Ahmed; Sultan Ahmed Khan Tarin
Founded: 26 December 1925 (94 years ago) at Cawnpore, British Raj (presently Kanpur, India)
Headquarters: Ajoy Bhavan, 15, Indrajit Gupta Marg, New Delhi, India-110002
Newspaper: New Age (English); Mukti Sangharsh (Hindi); Janayugom (Malayalam); Kalantar (Bengali); Janasakthi (Tamil); Kholao Thakhai (Manipuri); Prajapaksham (Telugu); Nuadunia (Odia); Kembavuta (Kannada)
Student wing: AISF
Youth wing: AIYF
Women's wing: NFIW
Labour wing: AITUC and BKMU
Peasant's wing: AIKS (AB)
Ideology: Communism[2]; Marxism–Leninism[3]; Socialism[2]; Secularism[2]
Political position: Left-wing[4][5]
International affiliation: IMCWP
Colours: Red
ECI Status: National Party[6]
Alliance: UPA (2004–2008); LF West Bengal; LF Tripura; LDF Kerala; PDA
Seats in Lok Sabha: 2 / 543
Seats in Rajya Sabha: 1 / 245
Seats in: 19 / 140 (Kerala Legislative Assembly (2016); 1 / 294 (West Bengal Legislative Assembly 2016)
Election symbol

The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the oldest communist political party in India, and one of the eight national parties in the country.[7][8] There are different views on exactly when it was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925.[9] The Communist Party of India (Marxist), also a national party, separated from the CPI in 1964 following an ideological rift between China and the Soviet Union, continues to claim having been founded in 1920. The party remains committed to Marxism–Leninism.[3]



The Communist Party of India has officially stated that it was formed on 26 December 1925 at the first Party Conference in Kanpur, then Cawnpore. S.V. Ghate was the first General Secretary of CPI. But as per the version of CPI (M), the Communist Party of India was founded in Tashkent, Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on 17 October 1920, soon after the Second Congress of the Communist International. The founding members of the party were M.N. Roy, Evelyn Trent Roy (Roy's wife), Abani Mukherji, Rosa Fitingof (Abani's wife), Mohammad Ali (Ahmed Hasan), Mohammad Shafiq Siddiqui, Hasrat Mohani, Rafiq Ahmed of Bhopal and M.P.T. Aacharya, and Sultan Ahmed Khan Tarin of North-West Frontier Province.[10][11][12] The CPI says that there were many communist groups formed by Indians with the help of foreigners in different parts of the world and the Tashkent group was only one of. contacts with Anushilan and Jugantar groups in Bengal. Small communist groups were formed in Bengal (led by Muzaffar Ahmed), Bombay (led by S.A. Dange), Madras (led by Singaravelu Chettiar), United Provinces (led by Shaukat Usmani) and Punjab and Sindh (led by Ghulam Hussain). However, only Usmani became a CPI party member.[13]

Involvement in independence struggle

During the 1920s and the early 1930s the party was badly organised, and in practice there were several communist groups working with limited national co-ordination. The British colonial authorities had banned all communist activity, which made the task of building a united party very difficult. Between 1921 and 1924 there were three conspiracy trials against the communist movement; First Peshawar Conspiracy Case, Meerut Conspiracy Case and the Kanpur Bolshevik Conspiracy Case. In the first three cases, Russian-trained muhajir communists were put on trial. However, the Cawnpore trial had more political impact. On 17 March 1924, Shripad Amrit Dange, M.N. Roy, Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani, Singaravelu Chettiar, Ghulam Hussain and R.C. Sharma were charged, in Cawnpore (now spelt Kanpur) Bolshevik Conspiracy case. The specific pip charge was that they as communists were seeking "to deprive the King Emperor of his sovereignty of British India, by complete separation of India from imperialistic Britain by a violent revolution." Pages of newspapers daily splashed sensational communist plans and people for the first time learned, on such a large scale, about communism and its doctrines and the aims of the Communist International in India.[14]

Singaravelu Chettiar was released on account of illness. M.N. Roy was in Germany and R.C. Sharma in French Pondichéry, and therefore could not be arrested. Ghulam Hussain confessed that he had received money from the Russians in Kabul and was pardoned. Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani and Dange were sentenced for various terms of imprisonment. This case was responsible for actively introducing communism to a larger Indian audience.[14] Dange was released from prison in 1927. Rahul Dev Pal was a prominent communist leader

On 25 December 1925 a communist conference was organised in Kanpur.[15] Colonial authorities estimated that 500 persons took part in the conference. The conference was convened by a man called Satyabhakta. At the conference Satyabhakta argued for a 'National communism' and against subordination under Comintern. Being outvoted by the other delegates, Satyabhakta left the conference venue in protest. The conference adopted the name 'Communist Party of India'. Groups such as Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan (LKPH) dissolved into the unified CPI.[16] The émigré CPI, which probably had little organic character anyway, was effectively substituted by the organisation now operating inside India.

Soon after the 1926 conference of the Workers and Peasants Party of Bengal, the underground CPI directed its members to join the provincial Workers and Peasants Parties. All open communist activities were carried out through Workers and Peasants Parties.[17]

The sixth congress of the Communist International met in 1928. In 1927 the Kuomintang had turned on the Chinese communists, which led to a review of the policy on forming alliances with the national bourgeoisie in the colonial countries. The Colonial theses of the 6th Comintern congress called upon the Indian communists to combat the 'national-reformist leaders' and to 'unmask the national reformism of the Indian National Congress and oppose all phrases of the Swarajists, Gandhists, etc. about passive resistance'.[18] The congress did however differentiate between the character of the Chinese Kuomintang and the Indian Swarajist Party, considering the latter as neither a reliable ally nor a direct enemy. The congress called on the Indian communists to utilise the contradictions between the national bourgeoisie and the British imperialists.[19] The congress also denounced the WPP. The Tenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, 3 July 1929 – 19 July 1929, directed the Indian communists to break with WPP. When the communists deserted it, the WPP fell apart.[20]

Portrait of 25 of Meerut Prisoners taken outside the jail. Backrow:(left to right) K.N. Sehgal, S.S. Josh, H.L. Hutchinson, Shaukat Usmani, B.F. Bradly, A. Prasad, Philip Spratt, and G. Adhikari. Middle Row: K.R. Mitra, Gopan Chakravarthy, Kishore Lal Ghosh, K.L. Kadam, D.R. Thengdi, Goura Shanker, S. Banerjee, K.N. Joglekar, Puran Chand Joshi, and Muzaffar Ahmed. Front Row: M.G. Desai, G. Goswami, R.S. Nimkar, S.S. Mirajkar, S.A. Dange, S.V. Ghate and Gopal Basak.

On 20 March 1929, arrests against WPP, CPI and other labour leaders were made in several parts of India, in what became known as the Meerut Conspiracy Case. The communist leadership was now put behind bars. The trial proceedings were to last for four years.[21][22]

As of 1934, the main centres of activity of CPI were Bombay, Calcutta and Punjab. The party had also begun extending its activities to Madras. A group of Andhra and Tamil students, amongst them P. Sundarayya, were recruited to the CPI by Amir Hyder Khan.[23]

The party was reorganised in 1933, after the communist leaders from the Meerut trials were released. A central committee of the party was set up. In 1934 the party was accepted as the Indian section of the Communist International.[24]

When Indian leftwing elements formed the Congress Socialist Party in 1934, the CPI branded it as Social Fascist.[18]

The League Against Gandhism, initially known as the Gandhi Boycott Committee, was a political organisation in Calcutta, founded by the underground Communist Party of India and others to launch militant anti-Imperialist activities. The group took the name ‘League Against Gandhism’ in 1934.[25]

In connection with the change of policy of the Comintern toward Popular Front politics, the Indian communists changed their relation to the Indian National Congress. The communists joined the Congress Socialist Party, which worked as the left wing of Congress. Through joining CSP, the CPI accepted the CSP demand for a Constituent Assembly, which it had denounced two years before. The CPI however analysed that the demand for a Constituent Assembly would not be a substitute for soviets.[26]

In July 1937, the first Kerala unit of CPI was founded at a clandestine meeting in Calicut. Five persons were present at the meeting, P. Krishna Pillai E.M.S. Namboodiripad, N.C. Sekhar, K. Damodaran and S.V. Ghate. The first four were members of the CSP in Kerala. The latter, Ghate, was a CPI Central Committee member, who had arrived from Madras.[27] Contacts between the CSP in Kerala and the CPI had begun in 1935, when P. Sundarayya (CC member of CPI, based in Madras at the time) met with EMS and Krishna Pillai. Sundarayya and Ghate visited Kerala at several times and met with the CSP leaders there. The contacts were facilitated through the national meetings of the Congress, CSP and All India Kisan Sabha.[23]

In 1936–1937, the co-operation between socialists and communists reached its peak. At the 2nd congress of the CSP, held in Meerut in January 1936, a thesis was adopted which declared that there was a need to build 'a united Indian Socialist Party based on Marxism-Leninism'.[28] At the 3rd CSP congress, held in Faizpur, several communists were included into the CSP National Executive Committee.[29]

In Kerala communists won control over CSP, and for a brief period controlled Congress there.

Two communists, E.M.S. Namboodiripad and Z.A. Ahmed, became All India joint secretaries of CSP. The CPI also had two other members inside the CSP executive.[26]

On the occasion of the 1940 Ramgarh Congress Conference CPI released a declaration called Proletarian Path, which sought to utilise the weakened state of the British Empire in the time of war and gave a call for general strike, no-tax, no-rent policies and mobilising for an armed revolutionary uprising. The National Executive of the CSP assembled at Ramgarh took a decision that all communists were expelled from CSP.[30]

In July 1942, the CPI was legalised, as a result of Britain and the Soviet Union becoming allies against Nazi Germany.[31] Communists strengthened their control over the All India Trade Union Congress. At the same time, communists were politically cornered for their opposition to the Quit India Movement.

CPI contested the Provincial Legislative Assembly elections of 1946 of its own. It had candidates in 108 out of 1585 seats. It won in eight seats. In total the CPI vote counted 666 723, which should be seen with the backdrop that 86% of the adult population of India lacked voting rights. The party had contested three seats in Bengal, and won all of them. One CPI candidate, Somnath Lahiri, was elected to the Constituent Assembly.[32]

After independence

During the period around and directly following Independence in 1947, the internal situation in the party was chaotic. The party shifted rapidly between left-wing and right-wing positions. In February 1948, at the 2nd Party Congress in Calcutta, B. T. Ranadive (BTR) was elected General Secretary of the party.[33] The conference adopted the 'Programme of Democratic Revolution'. This programme included the first mention of struggle against caste injustice in a CPI document.[34]

In several areas the party led armed struggles against a series of local monarchs that were reluctant to give up their power. Such insurgencies took place in Tripura, Telangana and Kerala.[citation needed] The most important rebellion took place in Telangana, against the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Communists built up a people's army and militia and controlled an area with a population of three million. The rebellion was brutally crushed and the party abandoned the policy of armed struggle. BTR was deposed and denounced as a 'left adventurist'.

In Manipur, the party became a force to reckon with through the agrarian struggles led by Jananeta Irawat Singh. Singh had joined CPI in 1946.[35] At the 1951 congress of the party, 'People's Democracy' was substituted by 'National Democracy' as the main slogan of the party.[36]

Communist Party was founded in Bihar in 1939. Post independence, communist party achieved success in Bihar (Bihar and Jharkhand). Communist party conducted movements for land reform, trade union movement was at its peak in Bihar in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Achievement of communists in Bihar placed the communist party in the forefront of left movement in India. Bihar produced some of the legendary leaders like Kishan leaders Sahjanand Saraswati and Karyanand Sharma, intellectual giants like Jagannath Sarkar, Yogendra Sharma and Indradeep Sinha, mass leaders like Chandrashekhar Singh and Sunil Mukherjee, Trade Union leaders like Kedar Das and others. It was in Bihar that JP's total revolution was exposed and communist party under the leadership of Jagannath Sarkar fought Total Revolution and exposed its hollowness. "Many Streams" Selected Essays by Jagannath Sarkar and Reminiscing Sketches, Compiled by Gautam Sarkar, Edited by Mitali Sarkar, First Published : May 2010, Navakaranataka Publications Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore . In the Mithila region of Bihar Bhogendra Jha led the fight against the Mahants and Zamindars. He later went on the win Parliamentary elections and was MP for seven terms.

In early 1950s young communist leadership was uniting textile workers, bank employees and unorganised sector workers to ensure mass support in north India. National leaders like S A Dange, Chandra Rajeswara Rao and P K Vasudevan Nair were encouraging them and supporting the idea despite their differences on the execution. Firebrand Communist leaders like Homi F. Daji, Guru Radha Kishan, H L Parwana, Sarjoo Pandey, Darshan Singh Canadian and Avtaar Singh Malhotra were emerging between the masses and the working class in particular. This was the first leadership of communists that was very close to the masses and people consider them champions of the cause of the workers and the poor. In Delhi, May Day (majdoor diwas or mai diwas) was organised at Chandni Chowk Ghantaghar in such a manner that demonstrates the unity between all the factions of working classes and ignite the passion for communist movement in the northern part of India.

In 1952, CPI became the first leading opposition party in the Lok Sabha, while the Indian National Congress was in power.

Communist movement or CPI in particular emerged as a front runner after Guru Radha Kishan undertook a fast unto death for 24 days to promote the cause of textile workers in Delhi. Till than it was a public misconception that communists are revolutionaries with arms in their hands and workers and their families were afraid to get associated with the communists but this act mobilised general public in the favour of communist movement as a whole. During this period people with their families used to visit 'dharna sthal' to encourage CPI cadre.

This model of selflessness for the society worked for the CPI far more than what was expected. This trend was followed by almost all other state units of the party in the Hindi heartland. Communist Party related trade union AITUC became a prominent force to unite the workers in textile, municipal and unorganised sectors, the first labour union in unorganised sector was also emerged in the leadership of Comrade Guru Radha Kishan during this period in Delhi's Sadar Bazaar area. This movement of mass polarisation of workers in the favour of CPI worked effectively in Delhi and paved the way for great success of CPI in the elections in working class dominated areas in Delhi. Comrade Gangadhar Adhikari and E.M.S. Namboodiripad applauded this brigade of dynamic comrades for their selfless approach and organisational capabilities. This brigade of firebrand communists gained more prominence when Telangana hero Chandra Rajeswara Rao rose to be General Secretary of the Communist Party of India.

In the 1952 Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly election, Communist Party was banned, so it couldn't take part in the election process.[37] In the general elections in 1957, the CPI emerged as the largest opposition party. In 1957, the CPI won the state elections in Kerala. This was the first time that an opposition party won control over an Indian state. E. M. S. Namboodiripad became Chief Minister. At the 1957 international meeting of Communist parties in Moscow, the Communist Party of China directed criticism at the CPI for having formed a ministry in Kerala.[38]

Ideological differences lead to the split in the party in 1964 when two different party conferences were held, one of CPI and one of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). There is a common misconception that the rift during the Sino-Indian war, when Communist Party Of India proudly supported China in the war led to the 1962 split.[citation needed] In fact, the split was leftists vs rightists, rather than internationalists vs nationalists.[citation needed] The presence of nationalists in CPI, and internationalists P. Sundarayya, Jyoti Basu, and Harkishan Singh Surjeet in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) proves this fact.

During the period 1970–77, CPI was allied with the Congress party. In Kerala, they formed a government together with Congress, with the CPI-leader C. Achutha Menon as Chief Minister. After the fall of the regime of Indira Gandhi, CPI reoriented itself towards co-operation with CPI(M).

In 1986, the CPI's leader in the Punjab and MLA in the Punjabi legislature Darshan Singh Canadian was assassinated by Sikh extremists. Then on 19 May 1987, Deepak Dhawan, General Secretary of Punjab CPI(M), was murdered. Altogether about 200 communist leaders out of which most were Sikhs were killed by Sikh extremists in Punjab.[citation needed]

Present situation

[RED] State/s which had a chief minister from the Communist Party of India (CPI).
[ORANGE] State/s which had a chief minister from the CPI-M.
[MAROON] State/s which had chief ministers from both the CPI-M and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
[GREY] States which did not have/had a chief minister from the CPI-M or the CPI.
[WHITE] Union territories without a state government.

Mural in Thiruvananthapuram

CPI was recognised by the Election Commission of India as a 'National Party'. To date, CPI happens to be the only national political party from India to have contested all the general elections using the same electoral symbol. Owing to a massive defeat in 2019 Indian general election where the party saw its tally reduce to 2 MP, the Election Commission of India has sent a letter to CPI asking for reasons why its national party status should not be revoked.[39][40][41][42][43] If similar performance is repeated in the next election, the CPI will no longer be a national party.

On the national level they supported the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government along with other parliamentary Left parties, but without taking part in it. Upon attaining power in May 2004, the United Progressive Alliance formulated a programme of action known as the Common Minimum Programme. The Left bases its support to the UPA on strict adherence to it. Provisions of the CMP mentioned to discontinue disinvestment, massive social sector outlays and an independent foreign policy.

On 8 July 2008, the General Secretary of CPI(M), Prakash Karat, announced that the Left was withdrawing its support over the decision by the government to go ahead with the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act. The Left parties combination had been a staunch advocate of not proceeding with this deal citing national interests.[44]

In West Bengal it participates in the Left Front. It also participated in the state government in Manipur. In Kerala the party is part of Left Democratic Front. In Tripura the party is a partner of the Left Front, which governed the state till 2018. In Tamil Nadu it is part of the Progressive Democratic Alliance. It is involved in the Left Democratic Front in Maharashtra

The current general secretary of CPI is D. Raja.

Party Congress

22nd Congress of Communist Party of India being held in Pondicherry

Party Congress / Year / Place

1 / 1925 December 25 to 28 / Kanpur [45]
2 / 1948 February 28 to March 27 / Calcutta
3 / 1953 December 27 to January 4 / Madhura
4 / 1956 April 19 to 29 / Palakkad
5 / 1958 April 6 to 13 / Amritsar
6 / 1961 April 7 to 16 / Vijayawada
7 / 1964 December 13-23 / Bombay
8 / 1968 February 7–15 / Patna
9 / 1971 October / Cochin
10 / 1975 January 27 - 2 February / Vijayawada
11 / 1978 March 31-April 7 / Bathinda
12 / 1982 March 22 to 28 / Varanasi
13 / 1986 March 2 to 17 / Patna
14 / 1989 March 6–12 / Calcutta
15 / 1992 April 10 to 16 / Hyderabad
16 / 1995 October / Delhi
17 / 1998 September 14-19 / Chennai
18 / 2002 March 26 to 31 / Thiruvananthapuram
19 / 2005 March 29 0 April 3 / Chandigarh
20 / 2008 March 23–27 / Hyderabad
21 / 2012 March 27–31 / Patna
22 / 2015 March 25–29 / Pondicherry
23 / 2018 April 25–29 / Kollam


Newly Elected CPI National Leadership The following are the members of the Central Control Commission, National Council and Candidate Members to National Council, National Executive, National Secretariat and Party Programme Commission elected at the 23rd Party Congress of Communist Party of India held from 25 to 29 April 2018 in Kollam, Kerala:

Central Control Commission

1. Pannian Ravindran (Chairman)
2. C.A. Kurien
3. Dr Joginder Dayal (Punjab)
4. C.R. Bakshi (Chattisgarh)
5. P.J.C. Rao (Andhra Pradesh)
6. Bijoy Narayan Mishra (Bihar)
7. Moti Lal (Uttar Pradesh)
8. M. Sakhi Devi (Tripura)
9. T. Narsimhan (Telangana)
10. M. Arumugham (Tamil Nadu)
11. Apurba Mandal (West Bengal)

National Council Members

• S. Sudhakar Reddy
• Gurudas Dasgupta
• D. Raja
• Shameem Faizee
• Atul Kumar Anjaan
• Ramendra Kumar
• Amarjeet Kaur
• Dr. K. Narayana
• Nagendranath Ojha
• Dr. B.K. Kango
• Binoy Viswam
• Pallab Sengutpa
• Kanhaiya Kumar
• Azeez Pasha
• Annie Raja - Women Front
• CH Venkatachalam - Bank Front
• B.V. Vijaylakshmi - TU Front
• S. V. Damle - TU Front
• Vidyasagar Giri - TU Front
• R.S. Yadav - Mukti Sangharsh
• Manish Kunjam - Tribal Front
• C. Srikumar - Defence
• Gargi Chakravarthy - Women Front
• Anil Rajimwale - Education Department
• Viswajeet Kumar - Student Front
• R. Thirumalai - Youth Front
• A.A. Khan - Minority Front

Andhra Pradesh

• K. Ramakrishna
• M.N. Rao
• J.V.S.N. Murthy
• Jalli Wilson
• Akkineni Vanaja


• Munin Mahanta
• Kanak Gogoi


• Satya Narayan Singh
• Ram Naresh Pandey
• Janki Paswan
• Jabbar Alam
• Rajendra Prasad Singh
• Rageshri Kiran
• Om Prakash Narayan
• Pramod Prabhakar
• Ram Chandra Singh
• Nivedita


• R.D.C.P. Rao
• Rama Sori


• Dhirendra K. Sharma
• Prof. Dinesh Varshney


• Chirstopher Fonseca


• Raj Kumar Singh
• Vijay Shenmare


• Dariyao Singh Kashyap

Himachal Pradesh

• Shayam Singh Chauhan


• Bhubaneshwar Prasad Mehta
• K.D. Singh
• Rajendra Prasad Yadav
• Mahendra Pathak

Jammu and Kashmir



• P.V. Lokesh
• Saathi Sundaresh


• Kanam Rajendran
• K.E. Ismail
• K. Prekash Babu
• E. Chandrasekharan
• Adv. P. Vasantham
• T.V. Balan
• C.N. Jayadevan
• K.P. Rajendran
• J. Chinju Rani
• Adv. N. Anirudhan
• Adv. Rajan


• M. Nara Singh
• L. Sotin Kumar


• Samudra Gupta


• Tukaram Bhasme
• Namdev Gavade
• Ram Baheti
• Prakash Reddy

Madhya Pradesh

• Arvind Shrivastava
• Haridwar Singh


• Dibakar Nayak
• Ashish Kanungo
• Abhaya Sahoo
• Ramakrushna Panda
• Souribandhu Kar


• A.M. Saleem
• A. Ramamoorthy


• Bant Singh Brar
• Jagrup Singh
• Hardev Singh Arshi
• Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal
• Jagjit Singh Joga


• Narendra Acharya
• Tara Singh Sidhu



Tamil Nadu

• R. Nallakkannu
• D. Pandian
• R. Mutharasan
• C. Mahendran
• K. Subbarayan
• M. Veerapandian
• T.M. Murthi
• G. Palaniswamy
• P. Padmavathi
• P. Sethuraman


• Chada Venkat Reddy
• Palla Venkat Reddy
• K. Sambasiva Rao
• Pasya Padma
• K. Srinivas Reddy
• K. Shanker
• T. Srinivas Rao

Uttar Pradesh

• Dr. Girish Sharma
• Arvind Raj Swarup
• Imtiyaz Ahmed
• Prof. Nisha Rathor
• Ram Chand Saras


• Samar Bhandari

West Bengal

• Swapan Banerjee
• Manju Kumar Mazumdar
• Santosh Rana
• Shyama Sree Das
• Ujjawal Chaudhury
• Chittaranjan Das Thakur
• Prabir Deb
• Tarun Das

Candidate Members

• Krishna Jha (New Age)
• Prof. Arun Kumar (Teachers)
• Aftab Alam Khan (Youth Front)
• Wali – Ullah – Khadri (Student Front)
• N. Chidambaram (New Age/Office)
• Dr. Arun Mitra (Doctor’s Front)
• M. Bal Narsima (Telangana)
• Mithlesh Jha (Bihar)
• Suhaas Naik (Goa)
• Mahesh Kakkath (Kerala)
• Kh. Surchand Singh (Manipur)
• Richard B. Thabah (Meghalaya)
• G. Obulesu (Andhra Pradesh)

Invitee Members Lakshdweep

National Executive

1. S. Sudhakar Reddy
2. D. Raja
3. Shameem Faizee
4. Atul Kumar Anjaan
5. Amarjeet Kaur
6. Ramendra Kumar
7. Dr. K. Narayana
8. Kanam Rajendran
9. Binoy Viswam
10. Dr. B.K. Kango
11. Pallab Sengupta
12. Nagendra Nath Ojha
13. Dr. Girish Sharma
14. Annie Raja
15. Azeez Pasha
16. K. Ramakrishna
17. Satya Narayan Singh
18. Janaki Paswan
19. Ram Naresh Pandey
20. Bhubaneshwar Prasad Mehta
21. K.E. Ismail
22. Dr. M. Nara Singh
23. Dibakar Naik
24. R. Mutharasan
25. C. Mahendran
26. Chada Venkata Reddy
27. K. Subbarayan
28. Swapan Banerjee
29. Bant Singh Brar
30. Munin Mahanto
31. C.H. Venkatachalam

Ex-Officio Members

1. Pannian Ravindran (Chairperson, Central Control Commission)
2. Gurudas Dasgupta (Chairman, Permanent Programme Commission)

National Secretariat

1. S. Sudhakar Reddy
2. D. Raja
3. Shameem Faizee
4. Atul Kumar Anjaan
5. Amarjeet Kaur
6. Ramendra Kumar
7. Dr. K. Narayana
8. Kanam Rajendran
9. Binoy Viswam
10. Dr. B.K. Kango
11. Pallab Sen Gupta

Party Programme Commission

1. Gurudas Dasgupta (Chairman)
2. Pallab Sen Gupta (Secretary)
3. Prekash Babu
4. C.R. Bakshi
5. Dr. Nara Singh
6. Anil Rajimwale

State Committee secretaries

• Andhra Pradesh : K.Ramakrishna
• Assam : Munin Mahanta
• Bihar : Satya Narayan Singh
• Chhattisgarh : RDCP Rao
• Delhi :Prof.Dinesh Varshney
• Goa : RD Mangueshkar
• Gujarat : Rajkumar Singh
• Haryana : Dariyao Singh Kashyap
• Himachal Pradesh : Shayam Singh Chauhan
• Jharkhand : Bhubneshwar Prasad Mehta
• Kerala : Kanam Rajendran
• Karnataka : Saathi Sundaresh
• Maharashtra : Tukaram Bhasme
• Madhya Pradesh : Arvind Shrivastava
• Manipur : L. Sotin Kumar
• Meghalaya : Samudra Gupta
• Odisha : Ashish Kanungo
• Puducherry : A.M. Saleem
• Punjab : Bant Singh Brar
• Rajasthan : Narendra Acharya
• Tamilnadu : R. Mutharasan
• Telangana : Chada Venkat Reddy
• Uttar Pradesh : Dr. Girish Sharma
• Uttarakhand : Samar Bhandari
• West Bengal : Swapan Banerjee

Principal mass organisations

• All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)
• All India Youth Federation (AIYF)
• All India Students Federation (AISF)
• National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW)
• All India Kisan Sabha - AIKS (peasants organisation)
• Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union - BKMU (agricultural workers)
• Indian People's Theatre Association - IPTA (cultural wing)
• All India State Government Employees Federation (State government employees)
• Indian Society for Cultural Co-operation and Friendship (ISCUF)
• All India Peace and Solidarity Organization (AIPSO)

General Secretaries

• Sachchidanand Vishnu Ghate
• Gangadhar Adhikari
• Puran Chand Joshi
• B. T. Ranadive
• Chandra Rajeswara Rao
• Ajoy Ghosh
• E. M. S. Namboodiripad
• Indrajit Gupta
• Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan
• Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy
• D Raja (Present)

Notable leaders

• N.E. Balaram - Founding leader of the communist movement in Kerala, India
• Mohit Banerji (Mohit Bandopadhay) (1912–1961)
• M. N. Govindan Nair – Kerala state secretary during the first communist ministry and a freedom fighter
• C. Achutha Menon – Finance minister in first Kerala ministry Former chief minister of Kerala
• Hasrat Mohani – founding member
• T. V. Thomas – Minister in first Kerala ministry
• M. Kalyanasundaram – Parliamentarian
• P. K. Vasudevan Nair – Ex. Chief minister of Kerala,Former AISF general secretary,Former AIYF general secretary
• Puran Chand Joshi – first general secretary of the Communist Party of India
• Indrajit Gupta – Parliamentarian, former general secretary and a former central minister
• Bhupesh Gupta – Parliamentarian
• Ajoy Ghosh – Former general secretary of CPI, freedom fighter
• Chandra Rajeswara Rao – former general secretary, Telangana freedom fighter
• Jagannath Sarkar – former National Secretary, freedom fighter, builder of communist movement in Bihar and Jharkhand
• Hirendranath Mukherjee-Parliamentarian & He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1990 and Padma Vibhushan in 1991 by the President of India for his lifelong services.
• Geeta Mukherjee - Parliamentarian & Former President of National Federation of Indian Women
• Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan – Former general secretary & Parliamentarian
• Chaturanan Mishra parliamentarian & former Central Minister of India
• Gurudas Dasgupta - Parliamentarian & Former General Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) .
• Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy – current general secretary of the party
• D. Raja – parliamentarian & secretary of the party
• Shripad Amrit Dange – Freedom fighter & former chairman of the party
• Hijam Irabot – Founder leader of CPI in Manipur
• P. S. Sreenivasan – Former minister of Kerala
• C. K. Chandrappan – Parliamentarian & former Kerala state secretary of the party
• Annabhau Sathe - Samyukta Maharashtra movement leader
• Pannyan Raveendran – Former Kerala state secretary of the party
• Kanam Rajendran – Current Kerala state secretary of the party
• Nallakannu – Parliamentarian & former Tamil Nadu state secretary of the party
• D. Pandian - Parliamentarian & former Tamil Nadu state secretary
• Binoy Viswam – Member of Rajya Sabha, Former minister in the Government of Kerala
• Bhalchandra Kango - Veteran Trade Unionist, Marxist Thinker, CPI National Secretariat Member
• Thoppil Bhasi – Writer, film director & parliamentarian
• Veliyam Bharghavan – Parliamentarian & Former Kerala state secretary of the party
• E. Chandrasekharan Nair – Senior leader and Former Minister in the Government of Kerala
• Ramendra Kumar – Former Parliamentarian, national executive member, national president AITUC
• Meghraj Tawar – Udaipur district secretary
• Govind Pansare – Prominent activist and lawyer
• R.Sugathan - Prominent trade unionist, mass leader and member of Kerala Legislative assembly
• Kanhaiya Kumar - CPI National Council Member, Ex JNUSU President, Leader of AISF National Council
• C. Divakaran - Senior leader, former minister and National Council Member from Kerala
• C. N. Jayadevan - Senior leader, parliamentarian
• Rajaji Mathew Thomas - Journalist, former MLA and CPI National council Member, from Kerala
• Chittayam Gopakumar - Kerala MLA and State council member

Former Chief Ministers

• E. M. S. Namboodiripad(First communist Government Kerala 1957-1959)
• C. Achutha Menon-Kerala(1969-1970)(1970-1977)
• P. K. Vasudevan Nair-Kerala(1978-1979)

Lok Sabha election tally

Performance of Communist Party of India in Lok Sabha elections

Lok Sabha / Year / Lok Sabha constituencies / Seats Contested / Won / Net Change in seats / Votes / Votes % / Change in vote % / Reference

First 1952 489 49 16 - 3,487,401 3.29% - [48]
Second 1957 494 109 27 Increase 11 10,754,075 8.92% Increase 5.63% [49]
Third 1962 494 137 29 Increase 02 11,450,037 9.94% Increase 1.02% [50]
Fourth 1967 520 109 23 Decrease 06 7,458,396 5.11% Decrease 4.83% [51]
Fifth 1971 518 87 23 Steady 00 6,933,627 4.73% Decrease 0.38% [52]
Sixth 1977 542 91 7 Decrease 16 5,322,088 2.82% Decrease 1.91% [53]
Seventh 1980 529 ( 542* ) 47 10 Increase 03 4,927,342 2.49% Decrease 0.33% [54]
Eighth 1984 541 66 6 Decrease 04 6,733,117 2.70% Increase 0.21% [55][56]
Ninth 1989 529 50 12 Increase 06 7,734,697 2.57% Decrease 0.13% [57]
Tenth 1991 534 43 14 Increase 02 6,898,340 2.48% Decrease 0.09% [58][59]
Eleventh 1996 543 43 12 Decrease 02 6,582,263 1.97% Decrease 0.51% [60]
Twelfth 1998 543 58 09 Decrease 03 6,429,569 1.75% Decrease 0.22% [61]
Thirteenth 1999 543 54 04 Decrease 05 5,395,119 1.48% Decrease 0.27% [62]
Fourteenth 2004 543 34 10 Increase 06 5,484,111 1.41% Decrease 0.07% [63]
Fifteenth 2009 543 56 04 Decrease 06 5,951,888 1.43% Increase 0.02% [64]
Sixteenth 2014 543 67 01 Decrease 03 4,327,298 0.78% Decrease 0.65% [65]
Seventeenth 2019 543 02 Increase 01
* : 12 seats in Assam and 1 in Meghalaya did not vote.[66]

State / No. of candidates 2014 / No. of elected 2014 / No. of candidates 2009 / No. of elected 2009 / Total no. of seats in the state

Andhra Pradesh 1 0 2 0 (25)(2014)/42(2009)
Arunachal Pradesh 0 0 0 0 2
Assam 1 0 3 0 14
Bihar 2 0 7 0 40
Chhattisgarh 2 0 1 0 11
Goa 2 0 2 0 2
Gujarat 1 0 1 0 26
Haryana 2 0 1 0 10
Himachal Pradesh 0 0 0 0 4
Jammu and Kashmir 0 0 1 0 6
Jharkhand 3 0 3 0 14
Karnataka 3 0 1 0 28
Kerala 4 1 4 0 20
Madhya Pradesh 5 0 3 0 29
Maharashtra 4 0 3 0 48
Manipur 1 0 1 0 2
Meghalaya 1 0 1 0 2
Mizoram 0 0 0 0 1
Nagaland 0 0 0 0 1
Odisha 4 0 1 1 21
Punjab 5 0 2 0 13
Rajasthan 3 0 2 0 25
Sikkim 0 0 0 0 1
Tamil Nadu 8 0 3 1 39
Tripura 0 0 0 0 2
Uttar Pradesh 8 0 9 0 80
Uttarakhand 1 0 1 0 5
West Bengal 3 0 3 2 42

Union Territories:

Andaman and Nicobar Islands 0 0 0 0 1
Chandigarh 0 0 0 0 1
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 0 0 0 0 1
Daman and Diu 0 0 0 0 1
Delhi 1 0 1 0 7
Lakshadweep 1 0 0 0 1
Puducherry 1 0 0 0 1
Total: 67 1 56 4 543

State election results

State / No. of candidates / No. elected / Total no. of seats in Assembly / Year of Election

Andhra Pradesh 38 0 294 2014
Assam 15 0 126 2016
Bihar 98 0 243 2015
Chhattisgarh 13 0 90 2013
Delhi 5 0 70 2015
Goa 2 0 40 2017
Gujarat 3 0 182 2012
Haryana 14 0 90 2014
Himachal Pradesh 6 0 68 2012
Jammu and Kashmir 3 0 87 2014
Jharkhand 24 0 81 2014
Karnataka 8 0 224 2013
Kerala 25 19 140 2016
Madhya Pradesh 23 0 230 2013
Maharashtra 33 0 288 2014
Manipur 6 0 60 2017
Meghalaya 1 0 60 2013
Mizoram 0 0 40 2013
Odisha 32 0 147 2014
Puducherry 7 0 30 2016
Punjab 23 0 117 2017
Rajasthan 23 0 200 2013
Tamil Nadu 25 0 234 2016
Tripura 1 0 60 2018
Uttar Pradesh 68 0 403 2017
Uttarakhand 4 0 70 2017
West Bengal 11 1 294 2016

Results from the Election Commission of India website. Results do not deal with partitions of states (Bihar was bifurcated after the 2000 election, creating Jharkhand), defections and by-elections during the mandate period.

See also

• List of political parties in India
• Politics of India
• List of communist parties
• Marxist League (India)
• Jana Yuddha
• Calcutta Thesis


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Further reading

• N.E. Balaram, A Short History of the Communist Party of India. Kozikkode, Cannanore, India: Prabhath Book House, 1967.
• John H. Kautsky, Moscow and the Communist Party of India: A Study in the Postwar Evolution of International Communist Strategy. New York: MIT Press, 1956.
• M.R. Masani, The Communist Party of India: A Short History. New York: Macmillan, 1954.
• Samaren Roy, The Twice-Born Heretic: M.N. Roy and the Comintern. Calcutta: Firma KLM Private, 1986.
• Wendy Singer, "Peasants and the Peoples of the East: Indians and the Rhetoric of the Comintern," in Tim Rees and Andrew Thorpe, International Communism and the Communist International, 1919-43. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998.
• G. Adhikari (ed.), Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India: Volume One, 1917-1922. New Delhi: People's Publishing House, 1971.
• G. Adhikari (ed.), Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India: Volume Two, 1923-1925. New Delhi: People's Publishing House, 1974.
• V.B. Karnick (ed.), Indian Communist Party Documents, 1930-1956. Bombay: Democratic Research Service/Institute of Public Relations, 1957.

External links

• Official website
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Liberty (advocacy group) [National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL)]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/20

The National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL)
Motto: To protect civil liberties and promote human rights for everyone
Formation: 22 February 1934; 86 years ago
Type: Political pressure group
Legal status: Trust
Purpose: Human rights
Headquarters: London, England
Director: Martha Spurrier

Liberty, formerly called the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL),[1] is an advocacy group and membership organisation based in the United Kingdom, which campaigns to challenge injustice, protect civil liberties and promote human rights – through the courts, in Parliament and in the wider community.

The NCCL was founded in 1934 by Ronald Kidd and Sylvia Crowther-Smith (later Scaffardi).[2]

Ronald Hubert Kidd (11 July 1889 – 13 May 1942) was a British civil rights campaigner.


Born in London, England, the son of surgeon Leonard Joseph Kidd, grandson of doctor Joseph Kidd, and nephew of doctors Percy Kidd and Walter Aubrey Kidd, Ronald Hubert Kidd had a variety of jobs before finding his vocation as a campaigner against injustices in 1930s and 1940s Britain.

In 1934, angered by Police responses to hunger marchers, he founded the Council for Civil Liberties (later the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and now known as Liberty), which included such figures as E. M. Forster as its President, and Clement Attlee, Aneurin Bevan, Havelock Ellis, Aldous Huxley, J. B. Priestley, Bertrand Russell, and H. G. Wells among its vice-presidents....

Kidd continued to administer the Council's affairs, despite serious illness, until his death in 1942.

-- Ronald Kidd, by Wikipedia


Sylvia Scaffardi (born Crowther-Smith; 20 January 1902 – 27 January 2001) was a civil rights campaigner and one of the co-founders of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), later known as Liberty. Later in life, she became a published writer, with her first book published in 1982.[2]

In the late 1980s, Scaffardi joined the Green Party UK.

Scaffardi was working as an actress in London in 1926 when she met Ronald Kidd, with whom she went on to set up the NCCL. The formation of the NCCL in 1934 was the high point of their political collaboration, which ended with his death in 1942. Scaffardi continued to sit on the organisation's Executive Committee until the mid-1950s, and remained a lifelong supporter of Liberty.

-- Sylvia Scaffardi, by Wikipedia


I met Sylvia Scaffardi, who was one of the people who risked her life to protest Moseley.[sic] She went on to found the National Council for Civil Liberties. I don't think she would have supported 'No Platform' policies. She fought for free speech. (Her papers are collected at Hull U)

-- by JamesHeartfield@JamesHeartfield, Sep 9, 2018

Liberty's aim is to not only protect civil liberties but also to engender a "rights culture" within British society.[2]

Liberty announced Martha Spurrier as its new director on 31 March 2016.[3]


Foundation and early years

The immediate spur to the organisation's formation was the National Hunger March of 1932.[4] The first Secretary was Ronald Kidd, and first President E. M. Forster; Vice-Presidents were the politician and author A. P. Herbert and the journalist Kingsley Martin of the New Statesman. H. G. Wells, Vera Brittain, Clement Attlee, Rebecca West, Edith Summerskill and Harold Laski were also founder members.[5]

The National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) was founded in 1934. The inaugural meeting took place in the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London on 22 February. A letter published in The Times and The Guardian newspapers announced the formations of the group, citing "the general and alarming tendency to encroachment on the liberty of the citizen" as the reason for its establishment.[6] The first campaign was against the criminalisation of pacifist or anti-war literature. Under the proposed Incitement to Disaffection Bill, commonly known as the 'Sedition Bill', it would have been a criminal offence to possess pacifist literature, for example anti-war pamphlets. Although the Bill became law as the Incitement to Disaffection Act 1934, NCCL succeeded in watering it down.[5] Other prominent early themes included campaigning against fascists, against film censorship and support for striking miners in Nottinghamshire.[7]

World War II

When Oswald Mosley was released from prison in 1943 (he had been imprisoned without trial under Defence Regulation 18B), the National Council for Civil Liberties oddly demanded his continued imprisonment. A.W. Brian Simpson notes that the NCCL "had become an enthusiastic supporter of detention without trial".[8] Harold Nicolson and 38 others resigned from the NCCL over the issue.[9]


In 1989 NCCL changed its name to "Liberty". During this period, the organisation was headed by Andrew Puddephatt and John Wadham.

On 10 September 2001, Shami Chakrabarti joined Liberty.[10] After working as in-house counsel, she was appointed director of Liberty in 2003. As director, she began campaigning against what the pressure group saw as the "excessive" anti-terrorist measures that followed the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, such as the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA).[11] Liberty became increasingly high-profile, with Chakrabarti making regular appearances in the media. She was described in The Times newspaper as "the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years".[12][13]

Since the 2015 UK general election, Liberty has spearheaded the campaign to save the Human Rights Act. In August 2015, Chakrabarti said Liberty intended to become "more vigilant and active" in Scotland.[14] She later shared a platform with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to jointly defend the HRA.[15]

In January 2016 it emerged that Chakrabarti was standing down as Liberty's director.[16] Martha Spurrier took up the post at the end of May.[3][17]

Since 2016, Liberty's work has been dominated by taking a High Court challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act, and campaigning against the so-called 'hostile environment' policies and for an end to the use of indefinite immigration detention in the UK.[18][19]



BBC ban

During the 1940s, the NCCL led protests against a BBC ban on artists who attended a 'People's Convention' organised by the Communist Party.[5]

Soldiers' civil liberties

In the years following the Second World War, the NCCL campaigned for better civil liberties protections for members of the Armed Forces, including for better education and vocational training, a fairer military justice system and freedom of voluntary association.[20]

Miscarriages of justice

At this time NCCL was also involved in several miscarriage of justice cases, including that of Emery, Powers and Thompson, who were sentenced to between four and ten years imprisonment for assaulting a police officer, even though someone else confessed to the crime and the prosecution evidence was flawed. NCCL found a witness who confirmed the men's alibi and they were released from prison and granted a royal pardon.[21]

Reform of the Mental Health System

During the 1950s NCCL campaigned for reform of the mental health system, under which people known to be sane but deemed 'morally defective' – unmarried mothers, for example – could be locked up in an asylum.

By 1957, the campaign had seen the release of around 2,000 former inmates, the abolition of the Mental Health Act 1913 and the establishment of new Mental Health Review Tribunals and the Mental Health Act 1959.[22]


The 1960s saw the organisation broaden its scope, particularly from 1966 under new general secretary Tony Smythe. It campaigned on racial issues, on behalf of gypsies, children, prisoners and servicemen who had changed their decision about joining the forces.[7] This broader range of campaigning resulted in a large rise in membership and a higher profile in the media.[23]

Opposition to racial discrimination

After 1960, NCCL responded to the tightening of immigration laws and a rise in race-hate incidents by lobbying for the Race Relations Act, which came into force in 1965. NCCL also published pamphlets exposing the effective 'colour bar', whereby black and Asian people were refused service in certain pubs and hotels.[5]

Following Conservative MP Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech in 1968 the NCCL set about organising an emergency "Speak out on Race" meeting and also presented an NCCL petition to the Prime Minister.

Women's rights

Campaigning for women's rights was also a major part of NCCL's work in this period, including successfully calling for reform of jury service laws that effectively prevented women and the poor from serving on juries by means of a property qualification.[5]

Right to public protest

NCCL intervened on behalf of groups refused permission to protest and monitoring the policing of demonstrations such as those against the Vietnam War.[5]

Support for reluctant servicemen

NCCL also campaigned to raise awareness of the difficulty faced by 'reluctant servicemen' – men in the armed forces who had often signed-up as teenagers then realised they'd made a mistake but were prevented from discharging themselves for anything up to 16 years.[5]

Northern Ireland

In 1972 NCCL campaigned for civil rights in Northern Ireland.[24]

Data protection

In 1975 NCCL bought 3 million credit rating files from Konfax Ltd after they were offered for sale in the Evening Standard. The files were destroyed and the major privacy protection 'Right to Know' campaign to give individuals greater control over their personal information was launched in 1977.[5]


Near the end of 1974, Patricia Hewitt, later a Labour cabinet minister, was appointed as general secretary.[7] A number of other future high-profile Labour politicians worked at the organisation at this time, such as Harriet Harman, who worked as the legal officer from 1978–82, Jack Dromey, later her husband, was a member (1970–79) and chairman of the Executive Committee, and Diane Abbott was employed as Race Relations Officer (1978–80).[25]


In 1976, the NCCL in a submission to the Criminal Law Revision Committee of the British Parliament argued that "Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage… The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage". The NCCL also sought to place the "onus of proof on the prosecution to show that the child was actually harmed" rather than having a blanket ban on child pornography and advocated the decriminalisation of incest.[26] Organisations such as Paedophile Information Exchange (P.I.E.), a pro-paedophile activist group, and Paedophile Action for Liberation became affiliated to the pressure group.[27] Prominent pro-paedophile activist Tom O'Carroll also sat on the NCCL's sub-committee for gay rights.[28] Shami Chakrabarti, the former director of Liberty, issued an apology about the links between the NCCL and the PIE. In December 2013, she said: "It is a source of continuing disgust and horror that even the NCCL had to expel paedophiles from its ranks in 1983 after infiltration at some point in the 70s."[29][30]

Gay rights and censorship

NCCL acted for the owners of Gay's the Word bookshop, whose stock was confiscated by Customs officers in 1984. All charges were dropped in 1986.[31]

Miners' strike

During the miners' strike, NCCL campaigned on behalf of miners stopped from picketing outside their home regions.[5]

MI5 surveillance

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that MI5 surveillance of Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt during the pair's tenure at Liberty breached the European Convention on Human Rights.[21]


Detention without charge

During the Gulf War, Liberty successfully campaigned for the release of over 100 Iraqi nationals – some of whom were openly opposed to Saddam Hussein – detained without charge in Britain on the grounds that they posed a risk to national security.[5]

Miscarriage of justice

Throughout the 1990s Liberty focused again on miscarriage of justice cases and campaigned for reform of the criminal justice system. High-profile cases included that of the Birmingham Six, who were released after 16 years in prison for IRA bombings they did not commit.[5]

Human Rights Act

At the start of the 2000s, Liberty used the protections in the new Human Rights Act 1998 to fight a number of landmark cases, including supporting terminally-ill Diane Pretty's fight to die with dignity and Christine Goodwin's fight for transgender rights.

A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department

Liberty intervened in the long-running A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department case following which the Law Lords ruled that detaining non-British nationals without trial was unlawful. In a 2005 judgment the Law Lords also confirmed that evidence obtained through torture was not admissible in British courts.[32]

Katherine Gun

In 2004, Liberty acted for the translator and whistleblower Katharine Gun who claimed that the American National Security Agency had requested the British Government's help in illegal surveillance on the UN. She was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989. The charges were dropped when the prosecution failed to offer any evidence.[21]


Pre-charge detention

During 2007 and 2008 Liberty led the opposition to government plans to extend detention without charge for those suspected of terrorism to 42 days.[33] Chakrabarti and Liberty claimed a major campaign victory when the government dropped the proposal after it was rejected by the House of Lords in October 2008.[34]

Gooch Gang

In April 2009, Liberty protested against a poster campaign by Greater Manchester Police which depicted a series of notorious Manchester gangsters, the Gooch Gang, as pensioners. The billboard campaign used computer-generated images of Colin Joyce and Lee Amos to show how the "aged" criminals would look when they are finally released from prison in the 2040s. Liberty supported claims that the posters should be removed following complaints from family members of the gangsters, not involved with their relative's criminality, who claimed they were being targeted in the community after the posters were erected.[35]

Cream of Conscience

November 2011 saw Liberty successfully assist in preventing Westminster City Council from implementing a proposed byelaw which would have essentially criminalised "soup runs" within areas of Southwark.[36][37]

Freedom Games?

In response to the vast security systems which were put in place ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Liberty raised concerns with regards to the infringements to civil liberties which would subsequently occur. Liberty argued that neither peaceful protest nor the right to free speech were a factor in ensuring the safety of the Games.[38]

For their eyes only

Another prominent campaign in 2012 was "For their eyes only"[39] in response to the proposed Justice and Security Bill which was introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. The Bill was introduced as a result of prolific media investigations and litigation surrounding the UK Government and proposed "secret courts"[40] and evidence which would be non-disclosable. A campaign presence and attendance by Shami Chakrabarti at the Liberal Democrats Conference in September 2012 in Brighton successfully led to the passing of a motion by Jo Shaw, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Holborn and St Pancras, against the Bill.[41] Nevertheless, the substantially unchanged Bill became law in April 2013.[42]

Extradition Watch

A prominent campaign by Liberty was in relation to fairer extradition laws and the opposition of unfair extradition proceedings, the most prominent case being that of Gary McKinnon who gained world wide press attention. Other prolific cases included that of Babar Ahmed, Talha Ahsan and Christopher Tappin.

Gary McKinnon

16 October 2012 saw a victory for Gary McKinnon, after a decade-long ordeal, as the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced that she was refusing to allow Gary's extradition to the US on the basis that doing so would breach his Human Rights.[43] Gary McKinnon was charged in 2002 of hacking into US military and NASA systems, but maintains that he was looking for UFOs and evidence of free energy suppression. Gary, who has Asperger syndrome, could have spent up to 70 years in a US jail if convicted[44] and it was argued by his lawyers in an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that because of this factor and because the crime was committed in the UK that he should be tried in the UK. Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti said of the Home Secretary's decision "This is a great day for rights, freedoms and justice in the United Kingdom."[45] The Home Office also admitted that it was the Human Rights Act which essentially prevented the extradition.[46][47]

Gay rights

Liberty intervened in the case of gay couple Michael Black and John Morgan who were turned away from a bed and breakfast because of the owner's religious views. On 18 October 2012 it was ruled that the B&B owner was in breach of equality legislation by unlawfully discriminating against the couple on the basis of their sexual orientation. Liberty's Legal Director James Welch, said of the decision "Hopefully today's ruling signals the death knell of such 'no gays' policies – policies that would never be tolerated if they referred to a person's race, gender or religion."[48][49]

2015 onwards

Save our Human Rights Act

Immediately following the 2015 General Election result, Liberty launched a campaign to save the Human Rights Act. The Conservative Party – which had won a majority – had included a pledge in its manifesto to repeal the Act.[50] Liberty called this "a knowing attempt by Government ministers to hand itself the right to end the universality of human rights and choose when and to whom they apply".[51]

In May 2016, Liberty, Amnesty International UK and the British Institute of Human Rights published a statement opposing repeal of the Act, backed by more than 130 organisations including UK Families Flight 103, Friends of the Earth, Refuge, Quakers in Britain, Stonewall, the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Down's Syndrome Association and the Football Supporters' Federation.[52]

In July 2015, Liberty coordinated an intervention from a number of former Anti-Apartheid campaigners including Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane and Denis Goldberg.[53]

The Deepcut inquests

Liberty represents the families of three of four young soldiers who died of gunshot wounds at Deepcut army barracks between 1995 and 2002 – Cheryl James, Sean Benton and James Collinson.[54] Liberty used the Human Rights Act to compel Surrey Police to disclose evidence about the deaths to the families, which they were then able to use to apply for fresh inquests.

The second inquest into the death of Cheryl James took place at Woking Coroner's Court from January to April 2016. On 3 June 2016, Coroner Brian Barker QC recorded a verdict of suicide, delivering a narrative verdict that strongly condemned the culture at Deepcut.[55] Following the verdict, Liberty called for reform to tackle the "pervasive sexualised culture" in the Armed Forces.

The second inquest into the death of Sean Benton also took place from January to June 2018, also in Woking. On 18 July 2018, Coroner Peter Rook QC also recorded a verdict of suicide and again strongly criticised failings at Deepcut and in the Surrey Police investigation.[56] Following the verdict, Liberty and Sean's family called for all serious crimes within the Armed Forces to be investigated by the civilian police, rather than the Royal Military Police.[57]

Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement

Liberty represented the family of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, a Royal Military Police Office who took her own life in 2011 after alleging that she had been raped by two colleagues.[54] The allegations were investigated by military police themselves, and no charges were brought.[58]

An initial inquest in March 2012 recorded a verdict of suicide, but Anne-Marie's family, represented by Liberty, used the Human Rights Act to secure a second, more thorough inquest. They alleged that Anne-Marie had been bullied and that the Royal Military Police had failed in their duty of care.[59]

On 3 July 2014, Nicholas Rheinberg – Coroner in the second inquest – ruled that bullying, the lingering effect of the alleged rape and "work-related despair" had contributed to Anne-Marie's suicide.[58]

In 2013, Anne-Marie's family, represented by Liberty, also used the threat of legal action under the Human Rights Act to compel the Ministry of Defence and Royal Military Police to agree to refer the Anne-Marie's rape allegations for a fresh, independent investigation. This was carried out by RAF Police and Bedfordshire Police, overseen by the Crown Prosecution Service.[60]

On 29 October 2015, the Service Prosecuting Authority announced that two former soldiers had been charged with raping Anne-Marie and stated that "the original decision by the SPA not to prosecute was "wrong.[61] The two men were acquitted on 20 April 2016.[62]

In October 2016, the Royal Military Police apologised to Anne-Marie's family for failings and mistakes in the original rape investigation.[63]

In November 2017, the Ministry of Defence announced it would stop Commanding Officers investigation allegations of sexual assault themselves – a call Liberty had made from Corporal Ellement's 2014 inquest.[64]

Mass surveillance

Following Edward Snowden's whistleblowing in 2013, mass surveillance became a major part of Liberty's work.

Shortly after the revelations, Liberty brought a legal challenge to the UK government's practices with a coalition of other organisations, including Amnesty International, Privacy International and ACLU.[65] In September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that GCHQ's bulk interception practices had violated privacy rights and failed to provide sufficient safeguards.[66]

In 2014, Liberty represented MPs David Davis and Tom Watson in a legal challenge to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), claiming that it breached privacy rights.[67] The case was referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the Court of Appeal, and in December 2016 the ECJ ruled that the general and indiscriminate retention of emails and electronic communications by governments was illegal.[68] In January 2018, the Court of Appeal found DRIPA unlawful.[69]

Throughout 2016, Liberty campaigned against what it believed to be a serious lack of privacy safeguards in the Investigatory Powers Bill. The Bill passed in November 2016. In January 2017, Liberty launched a crowdfunder to raise funds to challenge the Act in the High Court, raising more than more than £53,000 in a week.[70]

Liberty's challenge to various parts of the Investigatory Powers Act is ongoing. In April 2018, the High Court issued its ruling on the first part of the challenge, giving the government six months to rewrite core parts of the Act, which it found incompatible with EU law.[71]

Equal pensions for same-sex couples

Liberty represented John Walker in a legal challenge to a loophole in the Equality Act which let employers exempt same-sex spouses from spousal pension benefits. Upon retirement from Innospec, John had discovered that his husband would only receive a few hundred pounds a year. If he were married to a woman, she would have received around £45,000.

In July 2017, the Supreme Court found the loophole unlawful under EU law.[72]

Hostile environment policies

Liberty campaigned against the introduction of the 'hostile environment' policies and has since campaigned for their repeal.[73] It has also campaigned against data-sharing arrangements between immigration enforcement and public services including hospitals, schools and police. In August 2017, Liberty exposed that the Home Office had secretly gained access to nationality data on homeless people in London.[74]

Facial recognition

In June 2018, Liberty announced it would be representing Cardiff resident Ed Bridges in a legal challenge to South Wales Police's use of facial recognition technology in public spaces.[75] Liberty argues that the technology "is dangerously inaccurate and has the potential to trample on the freedoms we all take for granted".[76]

Immigration detention

In January 2017, Liberty launched a campaign calling for a 28-day statutory limit on immigration detention in the UK.[19]


Liberty is both a non-profit company that employs staff and runs campaigns, and a member-based association. Both work closely with the Civil Liberties Trust. Liberty is divided into three organisations:

• Liberty – an unincorporated association

A democratically-run membership association, which individuals can join.[77]

• Liberty – the company

A non-profit company that employs staff and runs campaigns etc. It leases buildings and works closely with the Civil Liberties Trust (see below).[77]

• The Civil Liberties Trust

The Civil Liberties Trust (CLT) is a registered charity (No. 1024948), independent of Liberty. The CLT has no staff, but commissions Liberty to conduct charitable work such as providing public advice and information, also research, policy work, and litigation.[78]

Causes and associations

The main issues Liberty is campaigning in 2018 include:

• Mass surveillance
• Police use of facial recognition and other intrusive surveillance technology such as IMSI catchers
• Human rights in the UK after Brexit
• Hostile environment policies and public service data-sharing with UK immigration enforcement
• Soldiers' rights, in particularly campaigning for an overhaul of the military justice system
• Immigration detention
• Public spaces protection orders

In addition, Liberty campaigns on a number of 'core' issues that remain constant:

• Torture
• Privacy
• Free speech
• Equality
• Protest rights
• Policing

General secretaries and directors

1932: Ronald Kidd
1942: Elizabeth Acland Allen
1960: Martin Ennals
1966: Tony Smythe
1973: Martin Loney
1974: Patricia Hewitt
1984: Larry Gostin
1985: Sarah Spencer
1989: Andrew Puddephatt
1995: John Wadham
2003: Shami Chakrabarti
2016: Martha Spurrier


Liberty produces briefings on its campaign issues, as well as researching and writing reports on particular areas of human rights and civil liberties.


• A Guide to the Hostile Environment: The border controls dividing our communities and how we can bring them down. April 2018.
• Bringing human rights home? What's at stake for rights in the incorporation of EU law after Brexit. February 2018.
• Military Justice: Proposals for a fair and independent military justice system. June 2014. ISBN 978-0-946088-62-1
• A Journalist's Guide to the Human Rights Act. January 2011. ISBN 978-0-946088-60-7
• Parliamentarian's Guide to the Human Rights Act (PDF) (Report). September 2010. ISBN 978-0-946088-58-4.
• Common Sense - Reflections on the HRA book (PDF) (Report). June 2010. ISBN 978-0-946088-57-7.
• Comparative Law Study - Pre-charge Detention (PDF) (Report). July 2010.
• a Manifesto for Justice (PDF) (Report). the Bar Council. December 2009.
• Churchill's Legacy - the Conservative Case for the HRA (PDF) (Report). October 2009. ISBN 978-0-946088-56-0.
• Overlooked: Surveillance and personal privacy in modern Britain (PDF) (Report). December 2007.
• Setting the record straight: the Dangers of ‘Off the Record’ Briefings to the Media During Police Counter-Terrorist Operations (PDF) (Report). May 2007.
• Litigating the Public Interest, July 2006[79]
• Twelve Point Terror Package Initial Thoughts, August 2005[80]
• Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 summary[81]
• Impact of Anti-Terror Measures on British Muslims, June 2004[82]
• ID Card Bill key points, 2004[83]
• A New 'Suspect Community', October 2003[84]
• Rights of victims of crime, February 2003[85]
• Magistrates Court Review, February 2003[86]
• Casualty of War – Counter Terror Legislation in Rural England, 2003[87]
• An Independent Police Complaints Commission, April 2000[88]

Policy Papers

Being a cross-party, non-party political organisation, Liberty regularly publishes briefings to MPs and peers, to provide consultation to parliamentary committees and to respond to consultations on issues relating to human rights and civil liberties in the UK.[89]

See also

• American Civil Liberties Union, an American equivalent[90]
• Civil libertarianism


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External links
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• WorldCat Identities: viaf-151870378


National Council for Civil Liberties
by Working Class Movement Library (WCML)
June, 2010

Pamphlets of the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty)

The National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) was founded in 1934, by Ronald Kidd, to defend ‘the whole spirit of British freedom', after he had witnessed brutal police attacks at the 1932 Hunger Marches.

From its foundation it has worked to protect civil liberties and promote human rights. In the 1930s-1950s the key issues were the fight against fascism, fighting major miscarriages of justice and mental health reform.

The national Council for Civil Liberties has always interested itself in freedom of speech. It has recognised that during the war certain restrictions have been necessary in the interests of defeating Fascism, but it insists that those restrictions must be clearly related to that objective.
The Civil Service Branch of the Council comprises Civil Servants who are individual members of the Council, and it realises that Civil Servants have a close affinity with men and women serving in the Forces. Both come under the control of the Government in its capacity as employer, and Civil Servants know that liberty is indivisible. If the very limited freedom of our Forces colleagues is still further curtailed in an arbitrary manner without any reasonable justification in the national interest, then the freedom not only of Civil Servants but of all men and women is placed in jeopardy, and so in the interests of our fundamental liberties we tell this story.

In the 1960s-1980s the NCCL became more involved in equality; campaigning for women's rights and against race discrimination. In the 1990s-2000s they campaigned against the detention without charge of Iraqi nationals in the Gulf War. The Human Rights Act was passed in the late 1990s and the NCCL have used this to fight some landmark cases and the excesses of the ‘War on Terror'.

The National Council for Civil Liberties is now called Liberty and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2009.

We hold a collection of 5 boxes of the National Council for Civil Liberties papers including annual reports and pamphlets. Ref no. ORG/NCCL

Standing up for your RIGHTS!, liberty, National Council for Civil Liberties

Civil Liberty: NCCL annual report, 1971

Resources about the National Council for Civil Liberties in the library collection

• Brian Dyson, Liberty in Britain, 1934-1994: a diamond jubilee history of the National Council for Civil Liberties (1994) - Shelfmark: N26

• Sylvia Scaffardi, Fire under the carpet: working for civil liberties in the thirties (1986) - Shelfmark: H25

• National Council for Civil Liberties, Civil liberty (1937-1990 - not complete) - Shelfmark: AB Periodicals main sequence

• National Council for Civil Liberties, Civil liberty agenda (1991-1997) - Shelfmark: AB Periodicals main sequence

• National Council for Civil Liberties, Rights (1973-1984 - not complete) - Shelfmark: AB Periodicals main sequence

• National Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty: protecting civil liberties, promoting human rights (1998-2004 - not complete) - Shelfmark: AB Periodicals main sequence
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Clement Attlee
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/20

The Right Honourable The Earl Attlee KG OM CH PC FRS
Attlee in 1945
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office: 26 July 1945 – 26 October 1951
Monarch: George VI
Deputy: Herbert Morrison
Preceded by: Winston Churchill
Succeeded by: Winston Churchill
Leader of the Opposition
In office: 26 October 1951 – 25 November 1955
Monarch: George VI; Elizabeth II
Prime Minister: Winston Churchill; Sir Anthony Eden
Preceded by: Winston Churchill
Succeeded by: Herbert Morrison
In office: 25 October 1935 – 11 May 1940
Monarch: George V; Edward VIII; George VI
Prime Minister: Stanley Baldwin; Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by: George Lansbury
Succeeded by: Hastings Lees-Smith
Leader of the Labour Party
In office: 25 October 1935 – 7 December 1955
Deputy: Arthur Greenwood; Herbert Morrison
Preceded by: George Lansbury
Succeeded by: Hugh Gaitskell
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office: 25 October 1932 – 25 October 1935
Leader: George Lansbury
Preceded by: J. R. Clynes
Succeeded by: Arthur Greenwood
Wartime ministerial offices
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office: 19 February 1942 – 23 May 1945
Prime Minister: Winston Churchill
Preceded by: Office created
Succeeded by: Herbert Morrison
Lord President of the Council
In office: 24 September 1943 – 23 May 1945
Prime Minister: Winston Churchill
Preceded by: Sir John Anderson
Succeeded by: The Lord Woolton
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
In office: 15 February 1942 – 24 September 1943
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by: The Viscount Cranborne
Succeeded by: The Viscount Cranborne
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
In office: 11 May 1940 – 15 February 1942
Prime Minister: Winston Churchill
Preceded by: Sir Kingsley Wood
Succeeded by: Sir Stafford Cripps
Interwar ministerial offices
Postmaster General
In office: 13 March 1931 – 25 August 1931
Prime Minister: Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by: Hastings Lees-Smith
Succeeded by: William Ormsby-Gore
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office: 23 May 1930 – 13 March 1931
Prime Minister: Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by: Sir Oswald Mosley
Succeeded by: The Lord Ponsonby
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War
In office: 23 January 1924 – 4 November 1924
Prime Minister: Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by: Wilfrid Ashley
Succeeded by: Richard Onslow
Parliamentary offices
Member of the House of Lords, Lord Temporal
In office: 16 December 1955 – 8 October 1967
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded by: Earldom created
Succeeded by: The 2nd Earl Attlee
Member of Parliament for Walthamstow West
In office: 23 February 1950 – 16 December 1955
Preceded by: Valentine McEntee
Succeeded by: Edward Redhead
Member of Parliament for Limehouse
In office: 15 November 1922 – 3 February 1950
Preceded by: Sir William Pearce
Succeeded by: Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born: Clement Richard Attlee, 3 January 1883, Putney, Surrey, England
Died: 8 October 1967 (aged 84), Westminster, London, England
Resting place: Westminster Abbey
Political party: Labour
Spouse(s): Violet Millar (m. 1922; died 1964)
Children: 4, including Martin Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee
Alma mater: University College, Oxford; London School of Economics
Occupation: Lawyer politician soldier
Military service
Allegiance: United Kingdom
Branch/service: British Army
Years of service: 1914–1919
Rank: Major
Battles/wars: First World War; Gallipoli campaign; Mesopotamian campaign; Western Front
Awards: 1914–15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal

Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. He was twice Leader of the Opposition (1935–1940, 1951–1955).

The son of a London solicitor, Attlee was born into a middle-class family. After attending private schools and the University of Oxford, he practised as a barrister. The volunteer work he carried out in London's East End exposed him to poverty and his political views shifted leftwards thereafter. He joined the Independent Labour Party, gave up his legal career, and began lecturing at the London School of Economics. His work was interrupted by service as an officer in the First World War. In 1919, he became mayor of Stepney and in 1922 was elected Member of Parliament for Limehouse. Attlee served in the first Labour minority government led by Ramsay MacDonald in 1924, and then joined the Cabinet during MacDonald's second minority (1929–1931). After retaining his seat in Labour's landslide defeat of 1931, he became the party's Deputy Leader. Elected Leader of the Labour Party in 1935, and at first advocating pacificism and opposing re-armament, he became a critic of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler and Mussolini in the lead-up to the Second World War. Attlee took Labour into the wartime coalition government in 1940 and served under Winston Churchill, initially as Lord Privy Seal and then as Deputy Prime Minister from 1942.[note 1]

After the end of the war, the coalition was dissolved and Attlee led Labour to a landslide victory at the 1945 general election,[note 2] forming the first Labour majority government. His government's Keynesian approach to economic management aimed to maintain full employment, a mixed economy and a greatly enlarged system of social services provided by the state. To this end, it undertook the nationalisation of public utilities and major industries, and implemented wide-ranging social reforms, including the passing of the National Insurance Act 1946 and National Assistance Act, the foundation of the National Health Service (1948) and the enlargement of public subsidies for council house building. His government also reformed trade union legislation, working practices and children's services; it created the National Parks system, passed the New Towns Act 1946 and established the town and country planning system.

In foreign policy, Attlee delegated to Ernest Bevin, but oversaw the partition of India (1947), the independence of Burma and Ceylon, and the dissolution of the British mandates of Palestine and Transjordan. He and Bevin encouraged the United States to take a vigorous role in the Cold War; unable to afford military intervention in Greece, he called on Washington to counter Communists there, establishing the Truman Doctrine.[1] He supported the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe with American money and, in 1949, promoted the NATO military alliance against the Soviet bloc. After leading Labour to a narrow victory at the 1950 general election, he sent British troops to fight in the Korean War.[note 3]

Attlee had inherited a country close to bankruptcy after the Second World War and beset by food, housing and resource shortages; despite his social reforms and economic programme, these problems persisted throughout his premiership, alongside recurrent currency crises and dependence on US aid. His party was narrowly defeated by the Conservatives in the 1951 general election, despite winning the most votes. He continued as Labour leader but retired after losing the 1955 election and was elevated to the House of Lords; after a long retirement, he died in 1967. In public, he was modest and unassuming, but behind the scenes his depth of knowledge, quiet demeanour, objectivity and pragmatism proved decisive. Often rated as one of the greatest British prime ministers, Attlee's reputation among scholars has grown, thanks to his creation of the modern welfare state and involvement in building the coalition against Stalin in the Cold War. He remains the longest-serving Labour leader in British history.

Early life and education

Attlee was born on 3 January 1883 in Putney, Surrey (now part of London), into a middle-class family, the seventh of eight children. His father was Henry Attlee (1841–1908), a solicitor, and his mother was Ellen Bravery Watson (1847–1920), daughter of Thomas Simons Watson, secretary for the Art Union of London.[2] He was educated at Northaw School, a boys' preparatory school near Pluckley in Kent; Haileybury College; and University College, Oxford, where in 1904 he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts with second-class honours in modern history.

Attlee then trained as a barrister at the Inner Temple and was called to the bar in March 1906. He worked for a time at his father's law firm Druces and Attlee but did not enjoy the work, and had no particular ambition to succeed in the legal profession.[3] He also played football for non-League club Fleet.[4]

Early career

In 1906, he became a volunteer at Haileybury House, a charitable club for working-class boys in Stepney in the East End of London run by his old school, and from 1907 to 1909 he served as the club's manager. Until then, his political views had been more conservative. However, after his shock at the poverty and deprivation he saw while working with the slum children, he came to the view that private charity would never be sufficient to alleviate poverty and that only direct action and income redistribution by the state would have any serious effect. This sparked a process that caused him to convert to socialism. He subsequently joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1908 and became active in local politics. In 1909, he stood unsuccessfully at his first election, as an ILP candidate for Stepney Borough Council.[5]

He also worked briefly as a secretary for Beatrice Webb in 1909, before becoming a secretary for Toynbee Hall. In 1911, he was employed by the UK Government as an "official explainer"—touring the country to explain Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George's National Insurance Act. He spent the summer of that year touring Essex and Somerset on a bicycle, explaining the act at public meetings. A year later, he became a lecturer at the London School of Economics.[6]

Military service during the First World War

Following the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Attlee applied to join the British Army. Initially his application was turned down, as at the age of 31 he was seen as being too old; however, he was finally allowed to join in September, and was commissioned[7] in the rank of Captain with the 6th (Service) Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, part of the 38th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division, and was sent to fight in the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey. His decision to fight caused a rift between him and his older brother Tom, who, as a conscientious objector, spent much of the war in prison.[8]

After a period fighting in Gallipoli, he collapsed after falling ill with dysentery and was put on a ship bound for England to recover. When he woke up he wanted to get back to action as soon as possible, and asked to be let off the ship in Malta where he stayed in hospital to recover. His hospitalisation coincided with the Battle of Sari Bair, which saw a large number of his comrades killed. Upon returning to action, he was informed that his company had been chosen to hold the final lines during the evacuation of Suvla. As such, he was the penultimate man to be evacuated from Suvla Bay, the last being General Stanley Maude.[9]

Attlee (seen in the centre) in 1916, aged 33, whilst serving in Mesopotamia.

The Gallipoli Campaign had been engineered by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. Although it was unsuccessful, Attlee believed that it was a bold strategy, which could have been a success if it had been better implemented on the ground. This gave him an admiration for Churchill as a military strategist, which would make their working relationship in later years productive.[10]

He later served in the Mesopotamian Campaign in what is now Iraq, where in April 1916 he was badly wounded, being hit in the leg by shrapnel while storming an enemy trench during the Battle of Hanna. He was sent firstly to India, and then back to the UK to recover. In February 1917, he was promoted to the rank of Major,[11] leading him to be known as "Major Attlee" for much of the inter-war period. He would spend most of 1917 training soldiers at various locations in England.[12] From 2 to 9 July 1917, he was the temporary commanding officer (CO) of the newly formed L (later 10th) Battalion, the Tank Corps at Bovington Camp, Dorset. From 9 July, he assumed command of 30th Company of the same battalion; however, he did not deploy to France with it in December 1917.[13]

After fully recovering from his injuries, he was sent to France in June 1918 to serve on the Western Front for the final months of the war. After being discharged from the Army in January 1919, he returned to Stepney, and returned to his old job lecturing part-time at the London School of Economics.[14]

Marriage and children

Attlee met Violet Millar while on a long trip with friends to Italy in 1921. They fell in love[15] and were soon engaged, marrying at Christ Church, Hampstead, on 10 January 1922. It would come to be a devoted marriage, with Attlee providing protection and Violet providing a home that was an escape for Attlee from political turmoil. She died in 1964.[16] They had four children:

• Lady Janet Helen (1923–2019),[17] she married the scientist Harold Shipton (1920–2007)[18] at Ellesborough Parish Church in 1947.[19]
• Lady Felicity Ann (1925–2007), married the business executive John Keith Harwood (d. 1989) at Little Hampden in 1955[20][21]
• Martin Richard, Viscount Prestwood, later 2nd Earl Attlee (1927–1991)
• Lady Alison Elizabeth (1930–2016),[22] married Richard Davis at Great Missenden in 1952.[23]

Early political career

Local politics

Attlee returned to local politics in the immediate post-war period, becoming mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney, one of London's most deprived inner-city boroughs, in 1919. During his time as mayor, the council undertook action to tackle slum landlords who charged high rents but refused to spend money on keeping their property in habitable condition. The council served and enforced legal orders on homeowners to repair their property. It also appointed health visitors and sanitary inspectors, reducing the infant mortality rate, and took action to find work for returning unemployed ex-servicemen.[24]

In 1920, while mayor, he wrote his first book, The Social Worker, which set out many of the principles that informed his political philosophy and that were to underpin the actions of his government in later years. The book attacked the idea that looking after the poor could be left to voluntary action. He wrote on page 30:

In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways – they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community.[25]

and went on to say at page 75:

Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient's character, and terminable at his caprice.[26]

In 1921, George Lansbury, the Labour mayor of the neighbouring borough of Poplar, and future Labour Party leader, launched the Poplar Rates Rebellion; a campaign of disobedience seeking to equalise the poor relief burden across all the London boroughs. Attlee, who was a personal friend of Lansbury, strongly supported this. However, Herbert Morrison, the Labour mayor of nearby Hackney, and one of the main figures in the London Labour Party, strongly denounced Lansbury and the rebellion. During this period, Attlee developed a lifelong dislike of Morrison.[27][28][29]

Member of Parliament

At the 1922 general election, Attlee became the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Limehouse in Stepney. At the time, he admired Ramsay MacDonald and helped him get elected as Labour Party leader at the 1922 leadership election. He served as MacDonald's Parliamentary Private Secretary for the brief 1922 parliament. His first taste of ministerial office came in 1924, when he served as Under-Secretary of State for War in the short-lived first Labour government, led by MacDonald.[30]

Attlee opposed the 1926 General Strike, believing that strike action should not be used as a political weapon. However, when it happened, he did not attempt to undermine it. At the time of the strike, he was chairman of the Stepney Borough Electricity Committee. He negotiated a deal with the Electrical Trade Union so that they would continue to supply power to hospitals, but would end supplies to factories. One firm, Scammell and Nephew Ltd, took a civil action against Attlee and the other Labour members of the committee (although not against the Conservative members who had also supported this). The court found against Attlee and his fellow councillors and they were ordered to pay £300 damages. The decision was later reversed on appeal, but the financial problems caused by the episode almost forced Attlee out of politics.[31]

In 1927, he was appointed a member of the multi-party Simon Commission, a royal commission set up to examine the possibility of granting self-rule to India. Due to the time he needed to devote to the commission, and contrary to a promise MacDonald made to Attlee to induce him to serve on the commission, he was not initially offered a ministerial post in the Second Labour Government, which entered office after the 1929 general election.[32] Attlee's service on the Commission equipped him with a thorough exposure to India and many of its political leaders. By 1933 he argued that British rule was alien to India and was unable to make the social and economic reforms necessary for India's progress. He became the British leader most sympathetic to Indian independence (as a dominion), preparing him for his role in deciding on independence in 1947.[33]

In May 1930, Labour MP Oswald Mosley left the party after its rejection of his proposals for solving the unemployment problem, and Attlee was given Mosley's post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In March 1931, he became Postmaster General, a post he held for five months until August, when the Labour government fell, after failing to agree on how to tackle the financial crisis of the Great Depression.[34] That month MacDonald and a few of his allies formed a National Government with the Conservatives and Liberals, leading them to be expelled from Labour. MacDonald offered Attlee a job in the National Government, but he turned down the offer and opted to stay loyal to the main Labour party.[35]

After Ramsay MacDonald formed the National Government, Labour was deeply divided. Attlee had long been close to MacDonald and now felt betrayed—as did most Labour politicians. During the course of the second Labour government, Attlee had become increasingly disillusioned with MacDonald, whom he came to regard as vain and incompetent, and of whom he later wrote scathingly in his autobiography. He would write:[36]

In the old days I had looked up to MacDonald as a great leader. He had a fine presence and great oratorical power. The unpopular line which he took during the First World War seemed to mark him as a man of character. Despite his mishandling of the Red Letter episode, I had not appreciated his defects until he took office a second time. I then realised his reluctance to take positive action and noted with dismay his increasing vanity and snobbery, while his habit of telling me, a junior Minister, the poor opinion he had of all his Cabinet colleagues made an unpleasant impression. I had not, however, expected that he would perpetrate the greatest betrayal in the political history of this country... The shock to the Party was very great, especially to the loyal workers of the rank-and-file who had made great sacrifices for these men.

1930s opposition

Deputy Leader

The 1931 general election held later that year was a disaster for the Labour Party, which lost over 200 seats, returning only 52 MPs to Parliament. The vast majority of the party's senior figures, including the Leader Arthur Henderson, lost their seats. Attlee, however, narrowly retained his Limehouse seat, with his majority being slashed from 7,288 to just 551. He was one of only three Labour MPs who had experience of government to retain their seats, along with George Lansbury and Stafford Cripps. Accordingly Lansbury was elected Leader unopposed with Attlee as his deputy.[37]

Most of the remaining Labour MPs after 1931 were elderly trade union officials who could not contribute much to debates, Lansbury was in his 70s, and Stafford Cripps another main figure of the Labour front bench who had entered Parliament in 1931, was inexperienced. As one of the most capable and experienced of the remaining Labour MPs, Attlee therefore shouldered a lot of the burden of providing an opposition to the National Government in the years 1931–35, during this time he had to extend his knowledge of subjects which he had not studied in any depth before, such as finance and foreign affairs in order to provide an effective opposition to the government.[38]

Attlee effectively served as acting leader for nine months from December 1933, after Lansbury fractured his thigh in an accident, which raised Attlee's public profile considerably. It was during this period, however, that personal financial problems almost forced Attlee to quit politics altogether. His wife had become ill, and at that time there was no separate salary for the Leader of the Opposition. On the verge of resigning from Parliament, he was persuaded to stay by Stafford Cripps, a wealthy socialist, who agreed to make a donation to party funds to pay him an additional salary until Lansbury could take over again.[39]

During 1932–33 Attlee flirted with, and then drew back from radicalism, influenced by Stafford Cripps who was then on the radical wing of the party, he was briefly a member of the Socialist League, which had been formed by former Independent Labour Party (ILP) members, who opposed the ILP's disaffiliation from the main Labour Party in 1932. At one point he agreed with the proposition put forward by Cripps that gradual reform was inadequate and that a socialist government would have to pass an emergency powers act, allowing it to rule by decree to overcome any opposition by vested interests until it was safe to restore democracy. He admired Oliver Cromwell's strong-armed rule and use of major generals to control England. After looking more closely at Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and even his former colleague Oswald Mosley, leader of the new blackshirt fascist movement in Britain, Attlee retreated from his radicalism, and distanced himself from the League, and argued instead that the Labour Party must adhere to constitutional methods and stand forthright for democracy and against totalitarianism of either the left or right. He always supported the crown, and as Prime Minister was close to King George VI.[40][41]

Leader of the Opposition

George Lansbury, a committed pacifist, resigned as the Leader of the Labour Party at the 1935 Party Conference on 8 October, after delegates voted in favour of sanctions against Italy for its aggression against Abyssinia. Lansbury had strongly opposed the policy, and felt unable to continue leading the party. Taking advantage of the disarray in the Labour Party, the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin announced on 19 October that a general election would be held on 14 November. With no time for a leadership contest, the party agreed that Attlee should serve as interim leader, on the understanding that a leadership election would be held after the general election.[42] Attlee therefore led Labour through the 1935 election, which saw the party stage a partial comeback from its disastrous 1931 performance, winning 38 per cent of the vote, the highest share Labour had won up to that point, and gaining over one hundred seats.[43]

Attlee stood in the subsequent leadership election, held soon after, where he was opposed by Herbert Morrison, who had just re-entered parliament in the recent election, and Arthur Greenwood: Morrison was seen as the favourite, but was distrusted by many sections of the party, especially the left-wing. Arthur Greenwood meanwhile was a popular figure in the party; however, his leadership bid was severely hampered by his alcohol problem. Attlee was able to come across as a competent and unifying figure, particularly having already led the party through a general election. He went on to come first in both the first and second ballots, formally being elected Leader of the Labour Party on 3 December 1935.[44]

Throughout the 1920s and most of the 1930s, the Labour Party's official policy had been to oppose rearmament, instead supporting internationalism and collective security under the League of Nations.[45] At the 1934 Labour Party Conference, Attlee declared that, "We have absolutely abandoned any idea of nationalist loyalty. We are deliberately putting a world order before our loyalty to our own country. We say we want to see put on the statute book something which will make our people citizens of the world before they are citizens of this country".[46] During a debate on defence in Commons a year later, Attlee said "We are told (in the White Paper) that there is danger against which we have to guard ourselves. We do not think you can do it by national defence. We think you can only do it by moving forward to a new world. A world of law, the abolition of national armaments with a world force and a world economic system. I shall be told that that is quite impossible".[47] Shortly after those comments, Adolf Hitler proclaimed that German rearmament offered no threat to world peace. Attlee responded the next day noting that Hitler's speech, although containing unfavourable references to the Soviet Union, created "A chance to call a halt in the armaments race...We do not think that our answer to Herr Hitler should be just rearmament. We are in an age of rearmaments, but we on this side cannot accept that position".[48]

In April 1936, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, introduced a Budget which increased the amount spent on the armed forces. Attlee made a radio broadcast in opposition to it, saying:

[The budget] was the natural expression of the character of the present Government. There was hardly any increase allowed for the services which went to build up the life of the people, education and health. Everything was devoted to piling up the instruments of death. The Chancellor expressed great regret that he should have to spend so much on armaments, but said that it was absolutely necessary and was due only to the actions of other nations. One would think to listen to him that the Government had no responsibility for the state of world affairs. [...] The Government has now resolved to enter upon an arms race, and the people will have to pay for their mistake in believing that it could be trusted to carry out a policy of peace. [...] This is a War Budget. We can look in the future for no advance in Social Legislation. All available resources are to be devoted to armaments.[49]

In June 1936, the Conservative MP Duff Cooper called for an Anglo-French alliance against possible German aggression and called for all parties to support one. Attlee condemned this: "We say that any suggestion of an alliance of this kind—an alliance in which one country is bound to another, right or wrong, by some overwhelming necessity—is contrary to the spirit of the League of Nations, is contrary to the Covenant, is contrary to Locarno is contrary to the obligations which this country has undertaken, and is contrary to the professed policy of this Government".[50] At the Labour Party conference at Edinburgh in October Attlee reiterated that "There can be no question of our supporting the Government in its rearmament policy".[51]

However, with the rising threat from Nazi Germany, and the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations, this policy eventually lost credibility. By 1937, Labour had jettisoned its pacifist position and came to support rearmament and oppose Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement.[52]

In 1938, Attlee opposed the Munich Agreement, in which Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler to give Germany the German-speaking parts of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland:

We all feel relief that war has not come this time. Every one of us has been passing through days of anxiety; we cannot, however, feel that peace has been established, but that we have nothing but an armistice in a state of war. We have been unable to go in for care-free rejoicing. We have felt that we are in the midst of a tragedy. We have felt humiliation. This has not been a victory for reason and humanity. It has been a victory for brute force. At every stage of the proceedings there have been time limits laid down by the owner and ruler of armed force. The terms have not been terms negotiated; they have been terms laid down as ultimata. We have seen to-day a gallant, civilised and democratic people betrayed and handed over to a ruthless despotism. We have seen something more. We have seen the cause of democracy, which is, in our view, the cause of civilisation and humanity, receive a terrible defeat. ... The events of these last few days constitute one of the greatest diplomatic defeats that this country and France have ever sustained. There can be no doubt that it is a tremendous victory for Herr Hitler. Without firing a shot, by the mere display of military force, he has achieved a dominating position in Europe which Germany failed to win after four years of war. He has overturned the balance of power in Europe. He has destroyed the last fortress of democracy in Eastern Europe which stood in the way of his ambition. He has opened his way to the food, the oil and the resources which he requires in order to consolidate his military power, and he has successfully defeated and reduced to impotence the forces that might have stood against the rule of violence.[53]

At the end of 1937, Attlee and a party of three Labour MPs visited Spain and visited the British Battalion of the International Brigades fighting in the Spanish Civil War. One of the companies was named the "Major Attlee Company" in his honour.[54]

In 1937, Attlee wrote a book entitled The Labour Party in Perspective that sold fairly well in which he set out some of his views. He argued that there was no point in Labour compromising on its socialist principles in the belief that this would achieve electoral success. He wrote: "I find that the proposition often reduces itself to this – that if the Labour Party would drop its socialism and adopt a Liberal platform, many Liberals would be pleased to support it. I have heard it said more than once that if Labour would only drop its policy of nationalisation everyone would be pleased, and it would soon obtain a majority. I am convinced it would be fatal for the Labour Party." He also wrote that there was no point in "watering down Labour's socialist creed in order to attract new adherents who cannot accept the full socialist faith. On the contrary, I believe that it is only a clear and bold policy that will attract this support".[55]

In the late 1930s, Attlee sponsored a Jewish mother and her two children, enabling them to leave Germany in 1939 and move to the UK. On arriving in Britain, Attlee invited one of the children into his home in Stanmore, north-west London, where he stayed for several months.[56]

Deputy Prime Minister

Attlee as Lord Privy Seal, visiting a munitions factory in 1941

Attlee remained as Leader of the Opposition when the Second World War broke out in September 1939. The ensuing disastrous Norwegian Campaign would result in a motion of no confidence in Neville Chamberlain.[57] Although Chamberlain survived this, the reputation of his administration was so badly and publicly damaged that it became clear a coalition government would be necessary. Even if Attlee had personally been prepared to serve under Chamberlain in an emergency coalition government, he would never have been able to carry Labour with him. Consequently, Chamberlain tendered his resignation, and Labour and the Conservatives entered a coalition government led by Winston Churchill on 10 May 1940.[28]

Attlee and Churchill quickly agreed that the War Cabinet would consist of three Conservatives (initially Churchill, Chamberlain and Lord Halifax) and two Labour members (initially himself and Arthur Greenwood) and that Labour should have slightly more than one third of the posts in the coalition government.[58] Attlee and Greenwood played a vital role in supporting Churchill during a series of War Cabinet debates over whether or not to negotiate peace terms with Hitler following the Fall of France in May 1940; both supported Churchill and gave him the majority he needed in the War Cabinet to continue Britain's resistance.[59][60]

Only Attlee and Churchill remained in the War Cabinet from the formation of the Government of National Unity in May 1940 through to the election in May 1945. Attlee was initially the Lord Privy Seal, before becoming Britain's first ever Deputy Prime Minister in 1942, as well as becoming the Dominions Secretary and the Lord President of the Council.[28][60]

Attlee himself played a generally low key but vital role in the wartime government, working behind the scenes and in committees to ensure the smooth operation of government. In the coalition government, three inter-connected committees effectively ran the country. Churchill chaired the first two, the War Cabinet and the Defence Committee, with Attlee deputising for him in these, and answering for the government in Parliament when Churchill was absent. Attlee himself instituted, and later chaired the third body, the Lord President's Committee, which was responsible for overseeing domestic affairs. As Churchill was most concerned with overseeing the war effort, this arrangement suited both men. Attlee himself had largely been responsible for creating these arrangements with Churchill's backing, streamlining the machinery of government and abolishing many committees. He also acted as a concilliator in the government, smoothing over tensions which frequently arose between Labour and Conservative Ministers.[61][28][62]

Many Labour activists were baffled by the top leadership role for a man they regarded as having little charisma; Beatrice Webb wrote in her diary in early 1940:

He looked and spoke like an insignificant elderly clerk, without distinction in the voice, manner or substance of his discourse. To realise that this little nonentity is the Parliamentary Leader of the Labour Party... and presumably the future P.M. [Prime Minister] is pitiable".[63]

Prime Minister

Further information: Attlee ministry

See also: History of the United Kingdom (1945–present)

Attlee meeting King George VI after Labour's 1945 election victory
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1945 election

Main article: 1945 United Kingdom general election

Following the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the War in Europe in May 1945, Attlee and Churchill favoured the coalition government remaining in place until Japan had been defeated. However, Herbert Morrison made it clear that the Labour Party would not be willing to accept this, and Churchill was forced to tender his resignation as Prime Minister and call an immediate election.[28]

The war had set in motion profound social changes within Britain, and had ultimately led to a widespread popular desire for social reform. This mood was epitomised in the Beveridge Report of 1942, by the Liberal economist William Beveridge. The Report assumed that the maintenance of full employment would be the aim of post-war governments, and that this would provide the basis for the welfare state. Immediately on its release, it sold hundreds of thousands of copies. All major parties committed themselves to fulfilling this aim, but most historians say that Attlee's Labour Party were seen by the electorate as the party most likely to follow it through.[64][65]

Labour campaigned on the theme of "Let Us Face the Future", positioning themselves as the party best placed to rebuild Britain after the war,[66] and were widely viewed as having run a strong and positive campaign, while the Conservative campaign centred entirely around Churchill.[65] Despite opinion polls indicating a strong Labour lead, opinion polls were then viewed as a novelty which had not proven their worth, and most commentators expected that Churchill's prestige and status as a "war hero" would ensure a comfortable Conservative victory.[65] Before polling day, The Manchester Guardian surmised that "the chances of Labour sweeping the country and obtaining a clear majority ... are pretty remote".[67] The News of the World predicted a working Conservative majority, while in Glasgow a pundit forecast the result as Conservatives 360, Labour 220, Others 60.[68] Churchill, however, made some costly errors during the campaign. In particular, his suggestion during one radio broadcast that a future Labour Government would require "some form of a gestapo" to implement their policies was widely regarded as being in very bad taste, and massively backfired.[28]

When the results of the election were announced on 26 July, they came as a surprise to most, including Attlee himself. Labour had won power by a huge landslide, winning 47.7 per cent of the vote to the Conservatives' 36 per cent.[69] This gave them 393 seats in the House of Commons, a working majority of 146. This was the first time in history that the Labour Party had won a majority in Parliament.[70] When Attlee went to see King George VI at Buckingham Palace to be appointed Prime Minister, the notoriously laconic Attlee and the famously tongue-tied King stood in silence; Attlee finally volunteered the remark, "I've won the election". The King replied "I know. I heard it on the Six O'Clock News".[71]

Attlee at opening ceremony of Olympic Games in London, 1948

As Prime Minister, Attlee appointed Hugh Dalton as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ernest Bevin as Foreign Secretary, and Herbert Morrison as Deputy Prime Minister, with overall responsibility for nationalisation. Additionally, Stafford Cripps was made President of the Board of Trade, Aneurin Bevan became Minister of Health, and Ellen Wilkinson, the only woman to serve in Attlee's government, was appointed Minister of Education. The Attlee government proved itself to be a radical, reforming government. From 1945 to 1948, over 200 public Acts of Parliament were passed, with eight major pieces of legislation placed on the statute book in 1946 alone.[72]

Domestic policy

Francis (1995) argues there was consensus both in the Labour's national executive committee and at party conferences on a definition of socialism that stressed moral improvement as well as material improvement. The Attlee government was committed to rebuilding British society as an ethical commonwealth, using public ownership and controls to abolish extremes of wealth and poverty. Labour's ideology contrasted sharply with the contemporary Conservative Party's defence of individualism, inherited privileges, and income inequality.[73] On 5 July 1948, Clement Attlee replied to a letter dated 22 June from James Murray and ten other MPs who raised concerns about West Indians who arrived on board the HMT Empire Windrush.[74] As for the prime minister himself, he was not much focused on economic policy, letting others handle the issues.[75]


Trafford General Hospital, known as the birthplace of the NHS

Attlee's Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, fought hard against the general disapproval of the medical establishment, including the British Medical Association, by creating the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. This was a publicly funded healthcare system, which offered treatment free of charge for all at the point of use. Reflecting pent-up demand that had long existed for medical services, the NHS treated some 8 and a half million dental patients and dispensed more than 5 million pairs of spectacles during its first year of operation.[76]


The government set about implementing the wartime plans of Liberal William Beveridge for the creation of a "cradle to grave" welfare state. It set in place an entirely new system of social security. Among the most important pieces of legislation was the National Insurance Act 1946, in which people in work were required to pay a flat rate of national insurance. In return, they (and the wives of male contributors) were eligible for a wide range of benefits, including pensions, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and funeral benefit. Various other pieces of legislation provided for child benefit and support for people with no other source of income.[77] In 1949, unemployment, sickness and maternity benefits were exempted from tax.[78]


The New Towns Act of 1946 set up development corporations to construct new towns, while the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 instructed county councils to prepare development plans and also provided compulsory purchase powers.[79] The Attlee government also extended the powers of local authorities to requisition houses and parts of houses, and made the acquisition of land less difficult than before.[80] The Housing (Scotland) Act of 1949 provided grants of 75 per cent (87.5 per cent in the highlands and islands) towards modernisation costs payable by Treasury to local authorities.[81]

In 1949, local authorities were empowered to provide people suffering from poor health with public housing at subsidised rents.[82]

To assist home ownership, the limit on the amount of money that people could borrow from their local authority to purchase or build a home was raised from £800 to £1,500 in 1945, and to £5,000 in 1949.[83] Under the National Assistance act of 1948, local authorities had a duty "to provide emergency temporary accommodation for families which become homeless through no fault of their own".[84]

A large house-building programme was carried out with the intention of providing millions of people with high-quality homes.[76] A housing bill passed in 1946 increased Treasury subsidies for the construction of local authority housing in England and Wales.[79] Four out of five houses constructed under Labour were council properties built to more generous specifications than before the Second World War, and subsidies kept down council rents. Altogether, these policies provided public-sector housing with its biggest-ever boost up until that point, while low-wage earners particularly benefited from these developments. Although the Attlee government failed to meet its targets, primarily due to economic constraints, over a million new homes were built between 1945 and 1951 (a significant achievement under the circumstances) which ensured that decent, affordable housing was available to many low-income families for the first time ever.[76]

Women and children

A number of reforms were embarked upon to improve conditions for women and children. In 1946, universal family allowances were introduced to provide financial support to households for raising children.[85][86] These benefits had been legislated for the previous year by Churchill's Family Allowances Act 1945, and was the first measure pushed through parliament by Attlee's government.[87] Conservatives would later criticise Labour for having been "too hasty" in introducing family allowances.[80]

A Married Women (Restraint Upon Anticipation) Act was passed in 1949 "to equalise, to render inoperative any restrictions upon anticipation or alienation attached to the enjoyment of property by a woman", while the Married Women (Maintenance) Act of 1949 was enacted with the intention of improving the adequacy and duration of financial benefits for married women.[88]

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 1950 amended an Act of 1885 to bring prostitutes within the law and safeguard them from abduction and abuse.[89] The Criminal Justice Act of 1948 restricted imprisonment for juveniles and brought improvements to the probation and remand centres systems, while the passage of the Justices of the Peace Act of 1949 led to extensive reforms of magistrates' courts.[90] The Attlee government also abolished the marriage bar in the Civil Service, thereby enabling married women to work in that institution.[91]

In 1946, the government set up a National Institute of Houseworkers as a means of providing a social democratic variety of domestic service.[92]

By late 1946, agreed standards of training were established, which was followed by the opening of a training headquarters and the opening of an additional nine (9) training centres in Wales, Scotland, and then throughout Great Britain. The National Health Service Act of 1946 indicated that domestic help should be provided for households where that help is required "owing to the presence of any person who is ill, lying-in, an expectant mother, mentally defective, aged or a child not over compulsory school age". 'Home help' therefore included the provision of home-helps for nursing and expectant mothers and for mothers with children under the age of five, and by 1952 some 20,000 women were engaged in this service.[93]

Planning and development

Development rights were nationalised while the government attempted to take all development profits for the State. Strong planning authorities were set up to control land use, and issued manuals of guidance which stressed the importance of safeguarding agricultural land. A chain of regional offices was set up within its planning ministry to provide a strong lead in regional development policies.[94]

Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs), a designation under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947, allowed local authorities to acquire property in the designated areas using powers of compulsory purchase in order to re-plan and develop urban areas suffering from urban blight or war damage.[95]

Workers' rights

Various measures were carried out to improve conditions in the workplace. Entitlement to sick leave was greatly extended, and sick pay schemes were introduced for local authority administrative, professional and technical workers in 1946 and for various categories of manual workers in 1948.[96] Worker's compensation was also significantly improved.[97]

The Fair Wages Resolution of 1946 required any contractor working on a public project to at least match the pay rates and other employment conditions set in the appropriate collective agreement.[98][99][100] In 1946, purchase tax was removed completely from kitchen fittings and crockery, while the rate was reduced on various gardening items.[92]

The Fire Services Act 1947 introduced a new pension scheme for fire-fighters,[101] while the Electricity Act 1947 introduced better retirement benefits for workers in that industry.[102] A Workers' Compensation (Supplementation) Act was passed in 1948 that introduced benefits for workers with certain asbestos-related diseases which had occurred before 1948.[103] The Merchant Shipping Act of 1948 and the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Act of 1949 were passed to improve conditions for seamen. The Shops Act of 1950 consolidated previous legislation which provided that no one could be employed in a shop for more than six hours without having a break for at least 20 minutes. The legislation also required a lunch break of at least 45 minutes for anyone who worked between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm and a half-hour tea break for anyone working between 4 pm and 7 pm.[104] The government also strengthened a Fair Wages Resolution, with a clause that required all employers getting government contracts to recognise the rights of their workers to join trade unions.[105]

The Trades Disputes Act 1927 was repealed, and a Dock Labour Scheme was introduced in 1947 to put an end to the casual system of hiring labour in the docks.[106] This scheme gave registered dockers the legal right to minimum work and decent conditions. Through the National Dock Labour Board (on which trade unions and employers had equal representation) the unions acquired control over recruitment and dismissal. Registered dockers laid off by employers within the Scheme had the right either to be taken on by another, or to generous compensation.[107] All dockers were registered under the Dock Labour Scheme, giving them a legal right to minimum work, holidays and sick pay.[108]

Wages for members of the police force were significantly increased.[109] The introduction of a Miner's Charter in 1946 instituted a five-day work week for miners and a standardised day wage structure,[110] and in 1948 a Colliery Workers Supplementary Scheme was approved, providing supplementary allowances to disabled coal-workers and their dependants.[111][112] In 1948, a pension scheme was set up to provide pension benefits for employees of the new NHS, as well as their dependents.[113] Under the Coal Industry Nationalisation (Superannuation) Regulations of 1950, a pension scheme for mineworkers was established.[114] Improvements were also made in farmworkers' wages,[115] and the Agricultural Wages Board in 1948 not only safeguarded wage levels, but also ensured that workers were provided with accommodation.[116]

A number of regulations aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of people at work were also introduced during Attlee's time in office. Regulations issued in February 1946 applied to factories involved with "manufacturing briquettes or blocks of fuel consisting of coal, coal dust, coke or slurry with pitch as a binding substance", and concerned "dust and ventilation, washing facilities and clothing accommodation, medical supervision and examination, skin and eye protection and messrooms".[117]


Attlee's government also carried out their manifesto commitment for nationalisation of basic industries and public utilities. The Bank of England and civil aviation were nationalised in 1946. Coal mining, the railways, road haulage, canals and Cable and Wireless were nationalised in 1947, and electricity and gas followed in 1948. The steel industry was nationalised in 1951. By 1951 about 20 per cent of the British economy had been taken into public ownership.[77]

Nationalisation failed to provide workers with a greater say in the running of the industries in which they worked. It did, however, bring about significant material gains for workers in the form of higher wages, reduced working hours,[118] and improvements in working conditions, especially in regards to safety.[119] As historian Eric Shaw noted of the years following nationalisation, the electricity and gas supply companies became "impressive models of public enterprise" in terms of efficiency, and the National Coal Board was not only profitable, but working conditions for miners had significantly improved as well.[120]

Within a few years of nationalisation, a number of progressive measures had been carried out which did much to improve conditions in the mines, including better pay, a five-day working week, a national safety scheme (with proper standards at all the collieries), a ban on boys under the age of 16 going underground, the introduction of training for newcomers before going down to the coalface, and the making of pithead baths into a standard facility.[121]

The newly established National Coal Board offered sick pay and holiday pay to miners.[122] As noted by Martin Francis:

Union leaders saw nationalisation as a means to pursue a more advantageous position within a framework of continued conflict, rather than as an opportunity to replace the old adversarial form of industrial relations. Moreover, most workers in nationalised industries exhibited an essentially instrumentalist attitude, favouring public ownership because it secured job security and improved wages rather than because it promised the creation of a new set of socialists relationships in the workplace.[92]


The Attlee government placed strong emphasis on improving the quality of life in rural areas, benefiting both farmers and other consumers. Security of tenure for farmers was introduced, while consumers were protected by food subsidies and the redistributive effects of deficiency payments. Between 1945 and 1951, the quality of rural life was improved by improvements in gas, electricity, and water services, as well as in leisure and public amenities. In addition, the 1947 Transport Act improved provision of rural bus services, while the Agriculture Act 1947 established a more generous subsidy system for farmers.[110] Legislation was also passed in 1947 and 1948 which established a permanent Agricultural Wages Board to fix minimum wages for agricultural workers.[123][124]

Attlee's government made it possible for farm workers to borrow up to 90 per cent of the cost of building their own houses, and received a subsidy of £15 a year for 40 years towards that cost.[92] Grants were also made to meet up to half the cost of supplying water to farm buildings and fields, the government met half the cost of bracken eradication and lime spreading, and grants were paid for bringing hill farming land into use that had previously been considered unfit for farming purposes.[115]

In 1946, the National Agricultural Advisory Service was set up to supply agricultural advice and information.[125] The Hill Farming Act of 1946 introduced for upland areas a system of grants for buildings, land improvement, and infrastructural improvements such as roads and electrification. The act also continued a system of headage payments for hill sheep and cattle that had been introduced during the war. The Agricultural Holdings Act of 1948 enabled (in effect) tenant farmers to have lifelong tenancies and made provision for compensation in the event of cessations of tenancies.[126] In addition, the Livestock Rearing Act of March 1951[127] extended the provisions of the 1946 Hill Farming Act to the upland store cattle and sheep sector.[128]

At a time of world food shortages, it was vital that farmers produced the maximum possible quantities. The government encouraged farmers via subsidies for modernisation, while the National Agricultural Advisory Service provided expertise and price guarantees. As a result of the Attlee government's initiatives in agriculture, there was a 20 per cent increase in output between 1947 and 1952, while Britain adopted one of the most mechanised and efficient farming industries in the world.[129]


The Attlee government ensured provisions of the Education Act 1944 were fully implemented, with free secondary education becoming a right for the first time. Fees in state grammar schools were eliminated, while new, modern secondary schools were constructed.[130]

The school leaving age was raised to 15 in 1947, an accomplishment helped brought into fruition by initiatives such as the H.O.R.S.A. ("Huts Operation for Raising the School-leaving Age") scheme and the S.F.O.R.S.A. (furniture) scheme.[131] University scholarships were introduced to ensure that no one who was qualified “should be deprived of a university education for financial reasons,”[132] while a large school building programme was organised.[133] A rapid increase in the number of trained teachers took place, and the number of new school places was increased.[134]

Increased Treasury funds were made available for education, particularly for upgrading school buildings suffering from years of neglect and war damage.[135] Prefabricated classrooms were built and 928 new primary schools were constructed between 1945 and 1950. The provision of free school meals was expanded, and opportunities for university entrants were increased.[136] State scholarships to universities were increased,[137] and the government adopted a policy of supplementing university scholarships awards to a level sufficient to cover fees plus maintenance.[131]

Many thousands of ex-servicemen were assisted to go through college who could never have contemplated it before the war.[138] Free milk was also made available to all schoolchildren for the first time.[139] In addition, spending on technical education rose, and the number of nursery schools was increased.[140] Salaries for teachers were also improved, and funds were allocated towards improving existing schools.[80]

In 1947, the Arts Council of Great Britain was set up to encourage the arts.[141]

A Ministry of Education was established, and free County Colleges were set up for the compulsory part-time instruction of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 who were not in full-time education.[142] An Emergency Training Scheme was also introduced which turned out an extra 25,000 teachers in 1945–1951.[143] In 1947, Regional Advisory Councils were set up to bring together industry and education to find out the needs of young workers "and advise on the provision required, and to secure reasonable economy of provision".[144] That same year, thirteen Area Training Organisations were set up in England and one in Wales to coordinate teacher training.[145]

Attlee's government, however, failed to introduce the comprehensive education for which many socialists had hoped. This reform was eventually carried out by Harold Wilson's government. During its time in office, the Attlee government increased spending on education by over 50 per cent, from £6.5 billion to £10 billion.[146]


The most significant problem facing Attlee and his ministers remained the economy, as the war effort had left Britain nearly bankrupt. The war had cost Britain about a quarter of her national wealth.[clarification needed][citation needed] Overseas investments had been used up to pay for the war. The transition to a peacetime economy, and the maintaining of strategic military commitments abroad led to continuous and severe problems with the balance of trade. This resulted in strict rationing of food and other essential goods continuing in the post war period to force a reduction in consumption in an effort to limit imports, boost exports, and stabilise the Pound Sterling so that Britain could trade its way out of its financial state.

The abrupt end of the American Lend-Lease program in August 1945 almost caused a crisis. Some relief was provided by the Anglo-American loan, negotiated in December 1945. The conditions attached to the loan included making the pound fully convertible to the US dollar. When this was introduced in July 1947, it led to a currency crisis and convertibility had to be suspended after just five weeks.[77] The UK benefited from the American Marshall Aid program in 1948, and the economic situation improved significantly. Another balance of payments crisis in 1949 forced Chancellor of the Exchequer, Stafford Cripps, into devaluation of the pound.[77]

Despite these problems, one of the main achievements of Attlee's government was the maintenance of near full employment. The government maintained most of the wartime controls over the economy, including control over the allocation of materials and manpower, and unemployment rarely rose above 500,000, or 3 per cent of the total workforce.[77] Labour shortages proved a more frequent problem. The inflation rate was also kept low during his term.[120] The rate of unemployment rarely rose above 2 per cent during Attlee's time in office, whilst there was no hard-core of long-term unemployed. Both production and productivity rose as a result of new equipment, while the average working week was shortened.[147]

The government was less successful in housing, which was the responsibility of Aneurin Bevan. The government had a target to build 400,000 new houses a year to replace those which had been destroyed in the war, but shortages of materials and manpower meant that less than half this number were built. Nevertheless, millions of people were rehoused as a result of the Attlee government's housing policies. Between August 1945 and December 1951, 1,016,349 new homes were completed in England, Scotland, and Wales.[110]

When the Attlee government was voted out of office in 1951, the economy had been improved compared to 1945. The period from 1946 to 1951 saw continuous full employment and steadily rising living standards, which increased by about 10 per cent each year. During that same period, the economy grew by 3 per cent a year, and by 1951 the UK had "the best economic performance in Europe, while output per person was increasing faster than in the United States".[148] Careful planning after 1945 also ensured that demobilisation was carried out without having a negative impact upon economic recovery, and that unemployment stayed at very low levels.[135] In addition, the number of motor cars on the roads rose from 3 million to 5 million from 1945 to 1951, and seaside holidays were taken by far more people than ever before.[149] A Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act was passed in 1948, which allowed for investigations of restrictive practices and monopolies.[150]


1947 proved a particularly difficult year for the government; an exceptionally cold winter that year caused coal mines to freeze and cease production, creating widespread power cuts and food shortages. The Minister of Fuel and Power, Emanuel Shinwell was widely blamed for failing to ensure adequate coal stocks, and soon resigned from his post. The Conservatives capitalised on the crisis with the slogan 'Starve with Strachey and shiver with Shinwell' (referring to the Minister of Food John Strachey).[151]

The crisis led to an unsuccessful plot by Hugh Dalton to replace Attlee as Prime Minister with Ernest Bevin. Later that year Stafford Cripps tried to persuade Attlee to stand aside for Bevin. These plots petered out after Bevin refused to cooperate. Later that year, Hugh Dalton resigned as Chancellor after inadvertently leaking details of the budget to a journalist. He was replaced by Cripps.[152]

Foreign policy

Attlee with Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945

Attlee shaking hands with US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes upon his arrival at National Airport in Washington, 1945

Europe and the Cold War

In foreign affairs, the Attlee government was concerned with four main issues; post-war Europe, the onset of the Cold War, the establishment of the United Nations, and decolonisation. The first two were closely related, and Attlee was assisted by Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin. Attlee also attended the later stages of the Potsdam Conference, where he negotiated with President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Government faced the challenge of managing relations with Britain's former war-time ally, Stalin and the Soviet Union. Ernest Bevin was a passionate anti-communist, based largely on his experience of fighting communist influence in the trade union movement. Bevin's initial approach to the USSR as Foreign Secretary was "wary and suspicious, but not automatically hostile".[110] Attlee himself sought warm relations with Stalin. He put his trust in the United Nations, rejected notions that the Soviet Union was bent on world conquest, and warned that treating Moscow as an enemy would turn it into one. This put Attlee at sword's point with his foreign minister, the Foreign Office, and the military who all saw the Soviets as a growing threat to Britain's role in the Middle East. Suddenly in January 1947, Attlee reversed his position and agreed with Bevin on a hard-line anti-Soviet policy.[153]

In an early "good-will" gesture that was later heavily criticised, the Attlee government allowed the Soviets to purchase, under the terms of a 1946 UK-USSR Trade Agreement, a total of 25 Rolls-Royce Nene jet engines in September 1947 and March 1948. The agreement included an agreement not to use them for military purposes. The price was fixed under a commercial contract; a total of 55 jet engines were sold to the USSR in 1947.[154] However, the Cold War intensified during this period and the Soviets, who at the time were well behind the West in jet technology, reverse-engineered the Nene and installed their own version in the MiG-15 interceptor. This was used to good effect against US-UK forces in the subsequent Korean War, as well as in several later MiG models.[155]

After Stalin took political control of most of Eastern Europe, and began to subvert other governments in the Balkans, Attlee's and Bevin's worst fears of Soviet intentions were realised. The Attlee government then became instrumental in the creation of the successful NATO defence alliance to protect Western Europe against any Soviet expansion.[156] In a crucial contribution to the economic stability of post-war Europe, Attlee's Cabinet was instrumental in promoting the American Marshall Plan for the economic recovery of Europe. He called it, one of the "most bold, enlightened and good-natured acts in the history of nations".[157]

A group of Labour MPs, organised under the banner of "Keep Left" urged the government to steer a middle way between the two emerging superpowers, and advocated the creation of a "third force" of European powers to stand between the US and USSR. However, deteriorating relations between Britain and the USSR, as well as Britain's economic reliance on America following the Marshall Plan, steered policy towards supporting the US.[77] In January 1947, fear of both Soviet and American nuclear intentions led to a secret meeting of the Cabinet, where the decision was made to press ahead with the development of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent, an issue which later caused a split in the Labour Party. Britain's first successful nuclear test, however, did not occur until 1952, one year after Attlee had left office.[77]

The London dock strike of July 1949, led by Communists, was suppressed when the Attlee government sent in 13,000 Army troops and passed special legislation to promptly end the strike. His response reveals Attlee's growing concern that Soviet expansionism, supported by the British Communist Party, was a genuine threat to national security, and that the docks were highly vulnerable to sabotage ordered by Moscow. He noted that the strike was caused not by local grievances, but to help communist unions who were on strike in Canada. Attlee agreed with MI5 that he faced "a very present menace".[158]

Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin (left) with Attlee in 1945


Decolonisation was never a major election issue but Attlee gave the matter a great deal of attention and was the chief leader in planning and achieving the process of decolonisation of the British Empire, starting in Asia.[159][160]

China and Hong Kong

In August 1948, the Chinese Communists' victories caused Attlee to begin preparing for a Communist takeover of China. It kept open consulates in Communist-controlled areas and rejected the Chinese Nationalists' requests that British citizens assist in the defence of Shanghai. By December, the government concluded that although British property in China would likely be nationalised, British traders would benefit in the long run from a stable, industrialising Communist China. Retaining Hong Kong was especially important; although the Chinese Communists promised to not interfere with its rule, Britain reinforced the Hong Kong Garrison during 1949. When the victorious Chinese Communists government declared on 1 October 1949 that it would exchange diplomats with any country that ended relations with the Chinese Nationalists, Britain became the first western country to formally recognise the People's Republic of China in January 1950.[161]

In 1954, a Labour Party delegation including Attlee visited China at the invitation of then Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai. Attlee became the first high-ranking western politician to meet Mao Zedong.[162]

India and Pakistan

Attlee orchestrated the granting of independence to India and Pakistan in 1947. Attlee in 1928–1934 had been a member of the Indian Statutory Commission (otherwise known as the Simon Commission). He became the Labour Party expert on India and by 1934 was committed to granting India the same independent dominion status that Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had recently been given.[163] He faced strong resistance from the die-hard Conservative imperialists, led by Churchill, who opposed both independence and efforts led by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to set up a system of limited local control by Indians themselves.[164] Attlee and the Labour leadership were sympathetic to the Congress movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.[165] During the Second World War, Attlee was in charge of Indian affairs. He set up the Cripps Mission in 1942, which tried and failed to bring the factions together. When the Congress called for passive resistance in the "Quit India" movement of 1942–1945, it was Attlee who ordered the arrest and internment for the duration of tens of thousands of Congress leaders and crushed the revolt.[166]

Labour's election Manifesto in 1945 called for "the advancement of India to responsible self-government", but did not mention independence.[167] In 1942 the British Raj tried to enlist all major political parties in support of the war effort. Congress, led by Nehru and Gandhi, demanded immediate independence and full control by Congress of all of India. That demand was rejected by the British, and Congress opposed the war effort with its "Quit India campaign". The Raj immediately responded in 1942 by imprisoning the major national, regional and local Congress leaders for the duration. Attlee did not object.[168] By contrast, the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and also the Sikh community, strongly supported the war effort. They greatly enlarged their membership and won favour from London for their decision. Attlee retained a fondness for Congress and until 1946, accepted their thesis that they were a non-religious party that accepted Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and everyone else.[169]

Four nations (India, Pakistan, Dominion of Ceylon, and Union of Burma) that gained independence in 1947 and 1948

The Muslim league insisted that it was the only true representative of all of the Muslims of India, and by 1946 Attlee had come to agree with them. With violence escalating in India after the war, but with British financial power at a low ebb, large-scale military involvement was impossible. Viceroy Wavell said he needed a further seven army divisions to prevent communal violence if independence negotiations failed. No divisions were available; independence was the only option.[170] Given the demands of the Muslim league, independence implied a partition that set off heavily Muslim Pakistan from the main portion of India.[171]

The Labour government gave independence to India and Pakistan in an unexpectedly quick move in 1947. Historian Andrew Roberts says the independence of India was a "national humiliation" but it was necessitated by urgent financial, administrative, strategic and political needs.[172] Churchill in 1940–1945 had tightened the hold on India and imprisoned the Congress leadership, with Attlee's approval. Labour had looked forward to making it a fully independent dominion like Canada or Australia. Many of the Congress leaders in the India had studied in England, and were highly regarded as fellow idealistic socialists by Labour leaders. Attlee was the Labour expert on India and took special charge of decolonisation.[173] Attlee found that Churchill's viceroy, Field Marshal Wavell, was too imperialistic, too keen on military solutions (he wanted seven more Army divisions) and too neglectful of Indian political alignments.[174] The new Viceroy was Lord Mountbatten, the dashing war hero and a cousin of the King.[175] The boundary between the newly created states of Pakistan and India involved the widespread resettlement of millions of Muslims and Hindus (and many Sikhs). Extreme violence ensued when Punjab and Bengal provinces were split. Historian Yasmin Khan estimates that between a half-million and a million men, women and children were killed.[176][177] Gandhi himself was assassinated by a Hindu activist in January 1948.[178]

The final result was two nations consisting of a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan (which incorporated East Pakistan, now Bangladesh). Both joined the Commonwealth.

Attlee also sponsored the peaceful transition to independence in 1948 of Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).[179]


British-controlled Jerusalem in 1945

One of the most urgent problems concerned the future of the Palestine Mandate. It had become too troublesome and much too expensive to handle. British policies there were perceived by the Zionist movement and the Truman Administration as pro-Arab and anti-Jewish. In the face of an armed revolt of Jewish militant groups and increasing violence of the local Arab population, Britain had found itself unable to control events. This was a very unpopular commitment, and the evacuation of British troops and subsequent handing over of the issue to the United Nations was widely supported by the British public.[180]

African colonies

The government's policies with regard to the other colonies, particularly those in Africa, focused on keeping them as strategic Cold War assets while modernising their economies. The Labour Party had long attracted aspiring leaders from Africa and had developed elaborate plans before the war. Implementing them overnight with an empty treasury proved too challenging.[181] A major military base was built in Kenya, and the African colonies came under an unprecedented degree of direct control from London. Development schemes were implemented to help solve Britain's post-war balance of payments crisis and raise African living standards. This "new colonialism" worked slowly and had failures such as the Tanganyika groundnut scheme.[182]
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1950 election

The 1950 election gave Labour a massively reduced majority of five seats compared to the triple-digit majority of 1945. Although re-elected, the result was seen by Attlee as very disappointing, and was widely attributed to the effects of post-war austerity denting Labour's appeal to middle-class voters.[183] With such a small majority leaving him dependent on a small number of MPs to govern, Attlee's second term was much tamer than his first. Some major reforms were nevertheless passed, particularly regarding industry in urban areas and regulations to limit air and water pollution.[184][185]

1951 election

By 1951, the Attlee government was exhausted, with several of its most senior ministers ailing or ageing, and with a lack of new ideas.[186] Attlee's record for settling internal differences in the Labour Party fell in April 1951, when there was a damaging split over an austerity Budget brought in by the Chancellor, Hugh Gaitskell, to pay for the cost of Britain's participation in the Korean War. Aneurin Bevan resigned to protest against the new charges for "teeth and spectacles" in the National Health Service introduced by that Budget, and was joined in this action by several senior ministers, including the future Prime Minister Harold Wilson, then the President of the Board of Trade. Thus escalated a battle between the left and right wings of the Party that continues today.[187]

Finding it increasingly impossible to govern, Attlee's only chance was to call a snap election in October 1951, in the hope of achieving a more workable majority and to regain authority.[188] The gamble failed: Labour narrowly lost to the Conservative Party, despite winning considerably more votes (achieving the largest Labour vote in electoral history). Attlee tendered his resignation as Prime Minister the following day, after six years and three months in office.[189]

Return to opposition

Following the defeat in 1951, Attlee continued to lead the party as Leader of the Opposition. His last four years as leader were, however, widely seen as one of the Labour Party's weaker periods.[77]

The period was dominated by infighting between the Labour Party's right wing, led by Hugh Gaitskell, and its left, led by Aneurin Bevan. Many Labour MPs felt that Attlee should have retired after the 1951 election and allowed a younger man to lead the party. Bevan openly called for him to stand down in the summer of 1954.[190] One of his main reasons for staying on as leader was to frustrate the leadership ambitions of Herbert Morrison, whom Attlee disliked for both political and personal reasons.[77] At one time, Attlee had favoured Aneurin Bevan to succeed him as leader, but this became problematic after Bevan almost irrevocably split the party.[191]

In an interview with the News Chronicle columnist Percy Cudlipp in mid-September 1955, Attlee made clear his own thinking together with his preference for the leadership succession, stating:

Labour has nothing to gain by dwelling in the past. Nor do I think we can impress the nation by adopting a futile left-wingism. I regard myself as Left of Centre which is where a Party Leader ought to be. It is no use asking, 'What would Keir Hardie have done?' We must have at the top men brought up in the present age, not, as I was, in the Victorian Age.[192]

Attlee, now aged 72, contested the 1955 general election against Anthony Eden, which saw Labour lose 18 seats, and the Conservatives increase their majority. He retired as Leader of the Labour Party on 7 December 1955, having led the party for twenty years, and on 14 December Hugh Gaitskell was elected as his replacement.[193][194]


He subsequently retired from the House of Commons and was elevated to the peerage to take his seat in the House of Lords as Earl Attlee and Viscount Prestwood on 16 December 1955.[69] He believed Eden had been forced into taking a strong stand on the Suez Crisis by his backbenchers.[195] In 1958, he was, along with numerous notables, to establish the Homosexual Law Reform Society. The society campaigned for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in private by consenting adults, a reform which was voted through Parliament nine years later.[196]

In 1962, he spoke twice in the House of Lords against the British government's application for the UK to join the European Economic Community ("Common Market"). In his second speech delivered in November, Attlee claimed that Britain had a separate parliamentary tradition from the Continental countries that composed the EEC. He also claimed that if Britain was a member, EEC rules would prevent the British government from planning the economy and that Britain's traditional policy had been outward looking rather than Continental.[197]

He attended Winston Churchill's funeral in January 1965. He was elderly and frail by that time, and had to remain seated in the freezing cold as the coffin was carried, having tired himself out by standing at the rehearsal the previous day. He lived to see the Labour Party return to power under Harold Wilson in 1964, but also to see his old constituency of Walthamstow West fall to the Conservatives in a by-election in September 1967.[198]


Attlee died peacefully in his sleep of pneumonia, at the age of 84 at Westminster Hospital on 8 October 1967.[191] Two thousand people attended his funeral in November, including the then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the Duke of Kent, representing the Queen. He was cremated and his ashes were buried at Westminster Abbey.[199][200]

Upon his death, the title passed to his son Martin Richard Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee (1927–1991). It is now held by Clement Attlee's grandson John Richard Attlee, 3rd Earl Attlee. The third earl (a member of the Conservative Party) retained his seat in the Lords as one of the hereditary peers to remain under an amendment to Labour's 1999 House of Lords Act.[201]

Attlee's estate was sworn for probate purposes at a value of £7,295,[202] a relatively modest sum for so prominent a figure, and only a fraction of the £75,394 in his father's estate when he died in 1908.[203]


Portrait by George Harcourt, 1946

The quotation about Attlee, "A modest man, but then he has so much to be modest about", is commonly ascribed to Churchill—though Churchill denied saying it, and respected Attlee's service in the War Cabinet.[204] Attlee's modesty and quiet manner hid a great deal that has only come to light with historical reappraisal. Attlee himself is said to have responded to critics with a limerick: "There were few who thought him a starter, Many who thought themselves smarter. But he ended PM, CH and OM, an Earl and a Knight of the Garter".[205]

The journalist and broadcaster Anthony Howard called him "the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century".[206]

His leadership style of consensual government, acting as a chairman rather than a president, won him much praise from historians and politicians alike. Christopher Soames, the British Ambassador to France during the Conservative government of Edward Heath and cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher, remarked that "Mrs Thatcher was not really running a team. Every time you have a Prime Minister who wants to make all the decisions, it mainly leads to bad results. Attlee didn't. That's why he was so damn good".[207]

Thatcher herself wrote in her 1995 memoirs, which charted her beginnings in Grantham to her victory at the 1979 general election, that she admired Attlee, writing: "Of Clement Attlee, however, I was an admirer. He was a serious man and a patriot. Quite contrary to the general tendency of politicians in the 1990s, he was all substance and no show".[208]

Attlee's government presided over the successful transition from a wartime economy to peacetime, tackling problems of demobilisation, shortages of foreign currency, and adverse deficits in trade balances and government expenditure. Further domestic policies that he brought about included the creation of the National Health Service and the post-war Welfare State, which became key to the reconstruction of post-war Britain. Attlee and his ministers did much to transform the UK into a more prosperous and egalitarian society during their time in office with reductions in poverty and a rise in the general economic security of the population.[209]

Statue of Attlee in its former position outside Limehouse Library

In foreign affairs, he did much to assist with the post-war economic recovery of Europe. He proved a loyal ally of the United States at the onset of the Cold War. Due to his style of leadership, it was not he, but Ernest Bevin who masterminded foreign policy. It was Attlee's government that decided Britain should have an independent nuclear weapons programme, and work on it began in 1947.[210]

Bevin, Attlee's Foreign Secretary, famously stated that "We've got to have it and it's got to have a bloody Union Jack on it". The first operational British A Bomb was not detonated until October 1952, about one year after Attlee had left office. Independent British atomic research was prompted partly by the US McMahon Act, which nullified wartime expectations of postwar US–UK collaboration in nuclear research, and prohibited Americans from communicating nuclear technology even to allied countries. British atomic bomb research was kept secret even from some members of Attlee's own cabinet, whose loyalty or discretion seemed uncertain.[211]

Although a socialist, Attlee still believed in the British Empire of his youth. He thought of it as an institution that was a power for good in the world. Nevertheless, he saw that a large part of it needed to be self-governing. Using the Dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as a model, he continued the transformation of the empire into the modern-day British Commonwealth.[212]

His greatest achievement, surpassing many of these, was perhaps the establishment of a political and economic consensus about the governance of Britain that all three major parties subscribed to for three decades, fixing the arena of political discourse until the late-1970s.[213] In 2004, he was voted the most successful British Prime Minister of the 20th century by a poll of 139 academics organised by Ipsos MORI.[214]

Blue plaque erected in 1984 by Greater London Council at 17 Monkhams Avenue

A blue plaque unveiled in 1979 commemorates Attlee at 17 Monkhams Avenue, in Woodford Green in the London borough of Redbridge.[215]

Attlee was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1947.[216] Attlee was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Queen Mary College on 15 December 1948.[217]

Statues of Clement Attlee

The statue of Attlee in its new position at Queen Mary University of London

On 30 November 1988, a bronze statue of Clement Attlee was unveiled by Harold Wilson (the next Labour Prime Minister after Attlee) outside Limehouse Library in Attlee's former constituency.[218] By then Wilson was the last surviving member of Attlee's cabinet,[219] and the unveiling of the statue would be one of the last public appearances by Wilson, who was by that point in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease; he died at the age of 79 in May 1995.[220]

Limehouse Library was closed in 2003, after which the statue was vandalised. The council surrounded it with protective hoarding for four years, before eventually removing it for repair and recasting in 2009.[219] The restored statue was unveiled by Peter Mandelson in April 2011, in its new position less than a mile away at the Queen Mary University of London's Mile End campus.[221]

There is also a statue of Clement Attlee in the Houses of Parliament[222] that was erected, instead of a bust, by parliamentary vote in 1979. The sculptor was Ivor Roberts-Jones.


• Honours of Clement Attlee


Coat of arms of Clement Attlee


Coronet: A Coronet of an Earl
Crest: On a Mount Vert two Lions addorsed Or
Escutcheon: Azure, on a Chevron Or between three Hearts of the Last winged Argent as many Lions rampant Sable
Supporters: On either side a Welsh Terrier sejant Proper
Motto: Labor vincit omnia (Labour conquers all)[223]

Religious views

Although one of his brothers became a clergyman and one of his sisters a missionary, Attlee himself is usually regarded as an agnostic. In an interview he described himself as "incapable of religious feeling", saying that he believed in "the ethics of Christianity" but not "the mumbo-jumbo". When asked whether he was an agnostic, Attlee replied "I don't know".[224]

Cultural depictions

Further information: Cultural depictions of British prime ministers § Clement Attlee

Major legislation enacted during the Attlee government

• Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946
• Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946
• Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act 1946
• National Health Service Act 1946
• National Insurance Act 1946
• National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946
• New Towns Act 1946
• Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1946
• Hill Farming Act 1946
• Agriculture Act 1947
• Pensions (Increase) Act 1947
• Electricity Act 1947
• Town and Country Planning Act 1947
• Transport Act 1947
• National Assistance Act 1948
• Children Act 1948
• Factories Act 1948
• Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1948
• Agricultural Holdings Act 1948
• British Nationality Act 1948
• Employment and Training Act 1948
• Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act 1948
• Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948
• Local Government Act 1948
• Representation of the People Act 1948
• Housing Act 1949
• Superannuation Act 1949
• House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949
• Landlord and Tenant (Rent Control) Act 1949
• Lands Tribunal Act 1949
• Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949
• Adoption of Children Act 1949
• Marriage Act 1949
• National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
• Parliament Act 1949
• Representation of the People Act 1949
• Distribution of Industry Act 1950
• Coal-Mining (Subsidence) Act 1950
• Allotments Act 1950
• Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation) Act 1951

See also

• Ethical socialism


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3. Attlee sent British troops to fight in the Malayan Emergency (1948) and the Royal Air Force to participate in the Berlin Airlift, and commissioned an independent nuclear deterrent for the UK.
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• Beckett, Francis (1998). Clem Attlee: A Biography. Blake. ISBN 978-1860661013.
• Pearce, Robert (1997). Attlee. Longman. ISBN 0582256909.
• Beech, Matt; Lee, Simon (2008). Ten Years of New Labour. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230574434.
• Hill, C. P. (1970). British Economic and Social History, 1700–1964(3rd rev. ed.). Hodder & Stoughton Educational. ISBN 978-0713116243.
• Kay, Kingsley (1946). "Development of industrial hygiene in Canada" (PDF). Industrial Safety Survey. Montreal. XXII (1). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2016.
• Lowe, Norman (1997). Mastering Modern World History. Palgrave Master Series (3rd rev. ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0333685235.
• Morgan, Kenneth O. (1984). Labour in Power, 1945–51. OUP. ISBN 978-0192158659.
• Munro, Donald, ed. (1948). Socialism: The British Way. Essential Books.
• Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (2012). Attlee: A Life in Politics. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1780762159.


• Clement Attlee published his memoirs, As it Happened, in 1954.
• Francis Williams' A Prime Minister Remembers, based on interviews with Attlee, was published in 1961.

Attlee's other publications

• The Social Worker (1920);
• Metropolitan Borough Councils Their Constitution, Powers and Duties – Fabian Tract No 190 (1920)
• The Town Councillor (1925);
• The Will and the Way to Socialism (1935);
• The Labour Party in Perspective (1937);
• Collective Security Under the United Nations (1958);
• Empire into Commonwealth (1961).

Further reading


• Beckett, Francis. Clem Attlee (1998) – updated and revised and expanded edition, Clem Attlee: Labour's Great Reformer (2015)
• Bew, John. Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee, (London: 2016, British edition); Clement Attlee: The Man Who Made Modern Britain(New York: Oxford U.P. 2017, U.S. edition).
• Burridge, Trevor. Clement Attlee: A Political Biography, (1985), scholarly
• Crowcroft, Robert. Attlee's War: World War II and the Making of a Labour Leader (IB Tauris, 2011).
• Harris, Kenneth. Attlee (1982), scholarly authorised biography.
• Howell, David. Attlee (2006)
• Jago, Michael. Clement Attlee: The Inevitable Prime Minister (2014)
• Pearce, Robert. Attlee (1997), 206pp
• Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus. Attlee: A Life in Politics (IB Tauris, 2010).
• Whiting, R. C. "Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 accessed 12 June 2013 doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30498
Biographies of his cabinet and associates
• Rosen, Greg. ed. Dictionary of Labour Biography. (Politicos Publishing, 2002); ISBN 1-902301-18-8
• Morgan, Kenneth O. Labour people: leaders and lieutenants, Hardie to Kinnock (1987).
Scholarly studies
• Addison, Paul. No Turning Back: The Peaceful Revolutions of Post-War Britain (2011) excerpt and text search
• Brady, Robert A. (1950). Crisis in Britain. Plans and Achievements of the Labour Government.... University of California Press., detailed coverage of nationalisation, welfare state and planning.
• Crowcroft, Robert, and Kevin Theakston. "The Fall of the Attlee Government, 1951." in Timothy Heppell and Kevin Theakston, eds. How Labour Governments Fall (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2013). PP 61–82.
• Francis, Martin. Ideas and policies under Labour, 1945–1951: building a new Britain (Manchester University Press, 1997).
• Golant, W. "The Emergence of CR Attlee as Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 1935." Historical Journal 13#2 (1970): 318–332. in JSTOR
• Hennessy, Peter (2006). Never Again: Britain 1945–51 (2 ed.). London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-101602-7.
• Jeffreys, Kevin. "The Attlee Years, 1935–1955." The Labour Party. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2000. 68-86.
• Kynaston, David. Austerity Britain, 1945–1951 (2008).
• Mioni, Michele. "The Attlee government and welfare state reforms in post-war Italian Socialism (1945–51): Between universalism and class policies." Labor History 57#2 (2016): 277–297. DOI:10.1080/0023656X.2015.1116811
• Morgan, Kenneth O. Labour in Power 1945–1951 (1984), 564 pp.
• Ovendale, R. ed., The foreign policy of the British Labour governments, 1945–51 (1984) •
• Pugh, Martin. Speak for Britain!: A New History of the Labour Party (2011) excerpt and text search
• Smith Raymond, Zametica John (1985). "The Cold Warrior: Clement Attlee Reconsidered, 1945-7". International Affairs. 61 (2): 237–252. doi:10.2307/2617482. JSTOR 2617482.
• Swift, John. Labour in Crisis: Clement Attlee & the Labour Party in Opposition, 1931–1940 (2001)
• Tomlinson, Jim. Democratic Socialism and Economic Policy: The Attlee Years, 1945–1951 (2002) Excerpt and text search
• Weiler, Peter. "British Labour and the cold war: the foreign policy of the Labour governments, 1945–1951." Journal of British Studies 26#1 (1987): 54–82. in JSTOR

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Clement Attlee
• More about Clement Attlee on the Downing Street website.
• Works by or about Clement Attlee at Internet Archive
• Works by Clement Attlee at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• "Archival material relating to Clement Attlee". UK National Archives.
• Annotated bibliography for Clement Attlee from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
• Portraits of Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee at the National Portrait Gallery, London
• Newspaper clippings about Clement Attlee in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW.
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J. B. Priestley
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/20

J. B. Priestley, OM
J. B. Priestley
Born: John Priestley, 13 September 1894, Manningham, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: 14 August 1984 (aged 89), Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Occupation: Writer
Nationality: British
Period: 20th century
Spouse: Pat Tempest (1921–1925, her death); Jane Wyndham-Lewis (m. 1925; div. 1953); Jacquetta Hawkes (1953–1984; his death)

John Boynton Priestley, OM (/ˈpriːstli/; 13 September 1894 – 14 August 1984) was an English novelist, playwright, screenwriter, broadcaster and social commentator.

His Yorkshire background is reflected in much of his fiction, notably in The Good Companions (1929), which first brought him to wide public notice. Many of his plays are structured around a time slip, and he went on to develop a new theory of time, with different dimensions that link past, present, and future.

In 1940, he broadcast a series of short propaganda radio talks that were credited with strengthening civilian morale during the Battle of Britain. In the following years, his left-wing beliefs brought him into conflict with the government and influenced the birth of the welfare state.

Early years

Priestley was born on 13 September 1894 at 34 Mannheim Road, Manningham, which he described as an "extremely respectable" suburb of Bradford.[1] His father Jonathan Priestley (1868–1924) was a headmaster. His mother Emma (nee Holt) (1865–1896) died when he was just two years old, and his father remarried four years later.[2] Priestley was educated at Belle Vue Grammar School, which he left at sixteen to work as a junior clerk at Helm & Co., a wool firm in the Swan Arcade. During his years at Helm & Co. (1910–1914), he started writing at night and had articles published in local and London newspapers. He was to draw on memories of Bradford in many of the works he wrote after he had moved south, including Bright Day and When We Are Married. As an old man, he deplored the destruction by developers of Victorian buildings in Bradford such as the Swan Arcade, where he had his first job.

Priestley served in the British army during the First World War, volunteering to join the 10th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington's Regiment on 7 September 1914, and being posted to France as a Lance-Corporal on 26 August 1915. He was badly wounded in June 1916, when he was buried alive by a trench mortar. He spent many months in military hospitals and convalescent establishments, and on 26 January 1918 was commissioned as an officer in the Devonshire Regiment and posted back to France late summer 1918. As he describes in his literary reminiscences, Margin Released, he suffered from the effects of poison gas, and then supervised German prisoners of war, before being demobilised in early 1919.

After his military service, Priestley received a university education at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
By the age of 30, he had established a reputation as an essayist and critic. His novel Benighted (1927) was adapted into the James Whale film The Old Dark House (1932); the novel has been published under the film's name in the United States.


Priestley's first major success came with a novel, The Good Companions (1929), which earned him the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and made him a national figure. His next novel, Angel Pavement (1930), further established him as a successful novelist. However, some critics were less than complimentary about his work, and Priestley threatened legal action against Graham Greene for what he took to be a defamatory portrait of him in the novel Stamboul Train (1932).

In 1934 he published the travelogue English Journey, an account of what he saw and heard while travelling through the country in the depths of the Great Depression.[3]

Priestley is today seen as having a prejudice against the Irish,[4][5][6] as is shown in his work, English Journey: "A great many speeches have been made and books written on the subject of what England has done to Ireland... I should be interested to hear a speech and read a book or two on the subject of what Ireland has done to England... if we do have an Irish Republic as our neighbour, and it is found possible to return her exiled citizens, what a grand clearance there will be in all the western ports, from the Clyde to Cardiff, what a fine exit of ignorance and dirt and drunkenness and disease." [7]

He moved into a new genre and became equally well known as a dramatist. Dangerous Corner (1932) was the first of many plays that would enthral West End theatre audiences. His best-known play is An Inspector Calls (1945). His plays are more varied in tone than the novels, several being influenced by J. W. Dunne's theory of time, which plays a part in the plots of Dangerous Corner (1932) and Time and the Conways.

In 1940, Priestley wrote an essay for Horizon magazine, where he criticised George Bernard Shaw for his support of Stalin: "Shaw presumes that his friend Stalin has everything under control. Well, Stalin may have made special arrangements to see that Shaw comes to no harm, but the rest of us in Western Europe do not feel quite so sure of our fate, especially those of us who do not share Shaw's curious admiration for dictators."[8]

The Webbs
by George Bernard Shaw

The Webbs, Sidney and Beatrice, officially The Right Honourable the Baron and Lady Passfield, are a superextraordinary pair. I have never met anyone like them, either separately or in their most fortunate conjunction. Each of them is an English force; and their marriage was an irresistible reinforcement. Only England could have produced them. It is true that France produced the Curies, a pair equally happily matched; but in physics they found an established science and left it so, enriched as it was by their labors; but the Webbs found British Constitutional politics something which nobody had yet dreamt of calling a science or thinking of as such.

When they began, they were face to face with Capitalism and Marxism. Marxism, though it claims to be scientific, and has proved itself a mighty force in the modern world, was then a philosophy propounded by a foreigner without administrative experience, who gathered his facts in the Reading Room of the British Museum, and generalized the human race under the two heads of bourgeoisie and proletariat apparently without having ever come into business contact with a living human being.

The Quarrel with Capitalism

Capitalism was and is a paper Utopia, the most unreal product of wishful thinking of all the Utopias. By pure logic, without a moment's reference to the facts, it demonstrated that you had only to enforce private contracts and let everybody buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest to produce automatically a condition in which there would be no unemployment, and every honest and industrious person would enjoy a sufficient wage to maintain himself and his wife and reproduce his kind, whilst an enriched superior class would have leisure and means to preserve and develop the nation's culture and civilization, and, by receiving more of the national income than they could possibly consume, save all the capital needed to make prosperity increase by leaps and bounds.

What Karl Marx Did

Karl Marx's philosophy had no effect on public opinion here or elsewhere; but when he published the facts as to the condition to which Capitalism had reduced the masses, it was like lifting the lid off hell. Capitalism has not yet recovered from the shock of that revelation, and never will.

Sixty years ago, the Marxian shock was only beginning to operate in England. I had to read Das Kapital in a French translation, there being no English version as yet. A new champion of the people, Henry Mayers Hyndman, had met and talked with Karl Marx. They quarrelled, as their habit was, but not before Hyndman had been completely converted by Marx; so his Democratic Federation presently became a Social-Democratic Federation. Socialism, in abeyance since the slaughter of the Paris Commune in 1871, suddenly revived; but Marx, its leader and prophet, died at that moment and left the movement to what leadership it could get.

Socialism was not a new thing peculiar to Marx. John Stuart Mill, himself a convert, had converted others, among them one very remarkable young man and an already famous elderly one. The elderly one was the great poet and craftsman William Morris, who, on reading Mill's early somewhat halfhearted condemnation of communism, at once declared that Mill's verdict was against the evidence, and that people who lived on unearned incomes were plainly "damned thieves." He joined Hyndman, and when the inevitable quarrel ensued, founded The Socialist League.

Sidney Webb, the Prodigy

The younger disciple had followed Mill's conversion and shared it. His name was Sidney Webb. He was an entirely unassuming young Londoner of no extraordinary stature, guiltless of any sort of swank, and so naively convinced that he was an ordinary mortal and everybody else as gifted as himself that he did not suffer fools gladly, and was occasionally ungracious to the poor things.

The unassuming young cockney was in fact a prodigy. He could read a book as fast as he could turn the leaves, and remember everything worth remembering in it. Whatever country he was in, he spoke the language with perfect facility, though always in the English manner. He had gone through his teens gathering scholarships and exhibitions as a child gathers daisies, and had landed at last in the upper division of the civil service as resident clerk in the Colonial Office. He had acquired both scholarship and administrative experience, and knew not only why reforms were desirable but how they were put into practice under our queer political system.
Hyndman and his Democratic Federation were no use to him, Morris and his Socialist League only an infant school. There was no organization fit for him except the Liberal Party, already moribund, but still holding a front bench position under the leadership of Gladstone. All Webb could do was something that he was forbidden to do as a civil servant: that is, issue pamphlets warning the Liberal Party that they were falling behind the times and even behind the Conservatives. Nevertheless he issued the pamphlets calmly. Nobody dared to remonstrate.

G. B. S. [George Bernard Shaw] Meets the Man he Sought

This was the situation when I picked him up at a debating society which I had joined to qualify myself as a public speaker. It was the year 1879, when I was 23 and he a year or two younger. I at once recognized and appreciated in him all the qualifications in which I was myself pitiably deficient. He was clearly the man for me to work with. I forced my acquaintance on him; and it soon ripened into an enduring friendship. This was by far the wisest step I ever took. The combination worked perfectly.

We were both in the same predicament in having no organization with which we could work. Our job was to get Socialism into some sort of working shape; and we knew that this brainwork must be done by groups of Socialists whose minds operated at the same speed on a foundation of the same culture and habits. We were not snobs; but neither were we mere reactionists against snobbery to such an extent as to believe that we could work in double harness with the working men of the Federation and the League, who deeply and wisely mistrusted us as "bourgeois," and who would inevitably waste our time in trying to clear up hopeless misunderstandings. Morris was soon completely beaten by his proletarian comrades: he had to drop the League, which immediately perished. The agony of the Social-Democratic Federation was longer drawn out; but it contributed nothing to the theory or practice of Socialism, and hardly even pretended to survive the death of Hyndman.

The Fabian Society's Rise to Power

One day I came upon a tract entitled Why Are The Many Poor? issued by a body of whom I had never heard, entitled The Fabian Society. The name struck me as an inspiration. I looked the Society up, and found a little group of educated middle class persons who, having come together to study philosophy, had finally resolved to take to active politics as Socialists. It was just what we needed. When I had sized it up, Webb joined, and with him Sydney Olivier, his fellow resident clerk at the Colonial Office. Webb swept everything before him; and the history of the Fabian Society began as the public knows it today. Barricades manned by Anarchists, and Utopian colonies, vanished from the Socialist program; and Socialism became constitutional, respectable, and practical. This was the work of Webb far more than of any other single person.

Marriage to Beatrice Potter

He was still a single person in another sense when the Fabian job was done. He was young enough to be unmarried when a young lady as rarely qualified as himself decided that he was old enough to be married. She had arrived at Socialism not by way of Karl Marx or John Stuart Mill, but by her own reasoning and observation. She was not a British Museum theorizer and bookworm; she was a born firsthand investigator. She had left the West End, where she was a society lady of the political plutocracy, for the East End, where she disguised herself to work in sweaters' dens and investigate the condition of the submerged tenth just discovered by Charles Booth and the Salvation Army. The sweaters found her an indifferent needlewoman, but chose her as an ideal bride for Ikey Mo: a generic name for their rising sons. They were so pressing that she had to bring her investigation to a hasty end, and seek the comparatively aristocratic society of the trade union secretaries, with whom she hobnobbed as comfortably as if she had been born in their houses. She had written descriptions of the dens for Booth's first famous Enquiry, and a history of Cooperation which helped powerfully to shift its vogue from producers' cooperation to consumers' cooperation. Before her lay the whole world of proletarian organization to investigate.

It was too big a job for one worker. She resolved to take a partner. She took a glance at the Fabian Society, now two thousand strong, and at once dismissed nineteen hundred and ninety-six of them as negligible sheep; but it was evident that they were not sheep without a shepherd. There were in fact some half-dozen shepherds. She investigated them personally one after the other, and with unerring judgment selected Sidney Webb, and gathered him without the least difficulty, as he had left himself defenseless by falling in love with her head over ears.

Their Literary Partnership

And so the famous partnership began. He took to her investigation business like a duck to water. They started with a history of trade unionism so complete and intimate in its information that it reduced all previous books on the subject to waste paper, and made organized labor in England class-conscious for the first time. It travelled beyond England and was translated by Lenin. Then came the volume on Industrial Democracy which took trade unionism out of its groove and made it politically conscious of its destiny. There followed a monumental history of Local Government which ran into many volumes, and involved such a program of investigations on the spot all over the country, and reading through local archives, as had never before been attempted. Under such handling not only Socialism but political sociology in general became scientific, leaving Marx and Lassalle almost as far behind in that respect as they had left Robert Owen. The labor of it was prodigious; but it was necessary. And it left the Webbs no time for argybargy as between Marx's Hegelian metaphysics and Max Eastman's Cartesian materialism. The question whether Socialism is a soulless Conditioned Reflex a la Pavlov or the latest phase of The Light of the World announced by St. John, did not delay them: they kept to the facts and the methods suggested by the facts.

Finally came the work in which those who believe in Divine Providence may like to see its finger. The depth and genuineness of our Socialism found its crucial test in the Russian revolution which changed crude Tsarism into Red Communism. After the treaty of Brest Litovsk, Hyndman, our arch-Marxist, denounced it more fiercely than Winston Churchill. The history of Communist Russia for the past twenty years in the British and American Press is a record in recklessly prejudiced mendacity. The Webbs waited until the wreckage and ruin of the change was ended, its mistakes remedied, and the Communist State fairly launched. Then they went and investigated it In their last two volumes they give us the first really scientific analysis of the Soviet State, and of its developments of our political and social experiments and institutions, including trade unionism and cooperation, which we thought they had abolished. No Russian could have done this all-important job for us. The Webbs knew England, and knew what they were talking about. No one else did.

They unhesitatingly gave the Soviet system their support, and announced it definitely as a New Civilization.

It has been a wonderful life's work. Its mere incidental by-blows included Webb's chairmanship of the London County Council's Technical Education Committee which abolished the old Schoolboard, the creation of the London School of Economics, the Minority Report which dealt a death blow to the iniquitous Poor Law, and such comparative trifles as the conversion of bigoted Conservative constituencies into safe Labor seats, and a few years spent by Webb in the two Houses of Parliament. They were the only years he ever wasted. He was actually compelled by the Labor Government to accept a peerage; but nothing could induce Beatrice to change the name she had made renowned throughout Europe for the title of Lady Passfield, who might be any nobody.

For the private life of the Webbs, I know all about it, and can assure you that it is utterly void of those scandalous adventures which make private lives readable. Mr. Webb and Miss Potter are now Darby and Joan: that is all.

-- The Truth About Soviet Russia, by Sidney and Beatrice Webb

During the Second World War, he was a regular broadcaster on the BBC. The Postscript, broadcast on Sunday night through 1940 and again in 1941, drew peak audiences of 16 million; only Churchill was more popular with listeners. Graham Greene wrote that Priestley "became in the months after Dunkirk a leader second only in importance to Mr. Churchill. And he gave us what our other leaders have always failed to give us -– an ideology."[9] But his talks were cancelled.[10] It was thought that this was the effect of complaints from Churchill that they were too left-wing; however, in 2015 Priestley's son said in a talk on the latest book being published about his father's life that it was in fact Churchill's Cabinet that brought about the cancellation by supplying negative reports on the broadcasts to Churchill.[11][12]

Priestley chaired the 1941 Committee, and in 1942 he was a co-founder of the socialist Common Wealth Party. The political content of his broadcasts and his hopes of a new and different Britain after the war influenced the politics of the period and helped the Labour Party gain its landslide victory in the 1945 general election. Priestley himself, however, was distrustful of the state and dogma, though he did stand for the Cambridge University constituency in 1945.

Priestley's name was on Orwell's list, a list of people which George Orwell prepared in March 1949 for the Information Research Department (IRD), a propaganda unit set up at the Foreign Office by the Labour government. Orwell considered or suspected these people to have pro-communist leanings and therefore to be unsuitable to write for the IRD.[13]

He was a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958.

In 1960, Priestley published Literature and Western Man, a 500-page survey of Western literature in all its genres from the second half of the 15th century to the present (the last author discussed is Thomas Wolfe).

His interest in the problem of time led him to publish an extended essay in 1964 under the title of Man and Time (Aldus published this as a companion to Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols). In this book he explored in depth various theories and beliefs about time as well as his own research and unique conclusions, including an analysis of the phenomenon of precognitive dreaming, based in part on a broad sampling of experiences gathered from the British public, who responded enthusiastically to a televised appeal he made while being interviewed in 1963 on the BBC programme, Monitor.

Statue outside the National Media Museum

The University of Bradford awarded Priestley the title of honorary Doctor of Letters in 1970, and he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Bradford in 1973. His connections with the city were also marked by the naming of the J. B. Priestley Library at the University of Bradford, which he officially opened in 1975,[14] and by the larger-than-life statue of him, commissioned by the Bradford City Council after his death, and which now stands in front of the National Media Museum.[15]

Personal life

Priestley had a deep love for classical music, especially chamber music. This love is reflected in a number of Priestley's works, notably his own favourite novel Bright Day (Heinemann, 1946). His book Trumpets Over the Sea is subtitled "a rambling and egotistical account of the London Symphony Orchestra's engagement at Daytona Beach, Florida, in July–August 1967".[16]

In 1941 he played an important part in organising and supporting a fund-raising campaign on behalf of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which was struggling to establish itself as a self-governing body after the withdrawal of Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1949 the opera The Olympians by Arthur Bliss, to a libretto by Priestley, was premiered.

Priestley snubbed the chance to become a life peer in 1965 and also declined appointment as a Companion of Honour in 1969.[17] But he did become a member of the Order of Merit in 1977. He also served as a British delegate to UNESCO conferences.

Married life

Priestley was married three times. Priestley also had a number of affairs, including a serious relationship with the actress Peggy Ashcroft. Writing in 1972, Priestley described himself as 'lusty' and as one who has 'enjoyed the physical relations with the sexes … without the feelings of guilt which seems to disturb some of my distinguished colleagues'.[18]

In 1921 Priestley married Emily "Pat" Tempest, a music-loving Bradford librarian. Two daughters were born, Barbara (later known as the architect Barbara Wykeham[19]) in 1923 and Sylvia (a designer known as Sylvia Goaman following her marriage to Michael Goaman[20]) in 1924, but in 1925 his wife died of cancer.[21]

In September 1926, Priestley married Jane Wyndham-Lewis (ex-wife of the one-time 'Beachcomber' columnist D. B. Wyndham-Lewis, no relation to the artist Wyndham Lewis); they had two daughters (including music therapist Mary Priestley, conceived while Jane was still married to D. B. Wyndham-Lewis) and one son.[18] During the Second World War, Jane ran several residential nurseries for evacuated mothers and their children, many of whom had come from poor districts.[22]

In 1953, Priestley divorced his second wife then married the archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes, with whom he collaborated on the play Dragon's Mouth.[23] The couple lived at Alveston, Warwickshire, near Stratford-upon-Avon later in his life.

Priestley's ashes were buried at St Michael and All Angels' Church in Hubberholme in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.


Priestley died of pneumonia on 14 August 1984.

His ashes were buried in Hubberholme Churchyard, at the head of Wharfedale in Yorkshire.[24] The exact location of his ashes has never been made public and was only known to the three people present. A plaque in the church just states that his ashes are buried 'nearby'. Three photographs exist, showing the ashes being interred, and were taken by Dr. Brian Hoyle Thompson who, along with his wife, were two of the three people present. The brass plate on the box containing the ashes reads J. B. Priestley and can be seen clearly in one of the pictures.


Priestley began placing his papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin in 1960, with additions being made throughout his lifetime. The Center has continued to add to the collection through gifts and purchases when possible. The collection currently amounts to roughly 23 boxes, and includes original manuscripts for many of his works and an extensive series of correspondence.[25]



• Adam in Moonshine (1927)
• Benighted (1927) (filmed as The Old Dark House)
• The Good Companions (1929)
• Angel Pavement (1930)
• Faraway (1932)
• Wonder Hero (1933)
• Albert Goes Through (1933)
• They Walk in the City (1936)
• The Doomsday Men (1937)
• Let the People Sing (1939)
• Blackout in Gretley (1942)
• Daylight on Saturday (1943)
• Three Men in New Suits (1945)
• Bright Day (1946)
• Jenny Villiers (1947)
• Festival at Farbridge (1951)
• Low Notes on a High Level (1954)
• The Magicians (1954)
• Saturn over the Water (1961)
• The Thirty-First of June (1961)
• Salt Is Leaving (1961)
• The Shapes of Sleep (1962)
• Sir Michael and Sir George (1964)
• Lost Empires (1965)
• It's an Old Country (1967)
• The Image Men Vol. 1: Out of Town (1968)
• The Image Men Vol. 2: London End (1968)
• Found, Lost, Found (1976)

Other fiction

• Farthing Hall (1929) (Novel written in collaboration with Hugh Walpole)
• The Town Major of Miraucourt (1930) (Short story published in a limited edition of 525 copies)
• I'll Tell You Everything (1932) (Novel written in collaboration with Gerald Bullett)
• Albert Goes Through (1933) (Novelette)
• The Other Place (1952) (Short Stories)
• Snoggle (1971) (Novel for children)
• The Carfitt Crisis (1975) (Two novellas and a short story)
Novelizations by Ruth Mitchell (author of the wartime novel The Lost Generation and Priestley's sister-in-law by way of his second marriage):
• Dangerous Corner (1933), based on the later Broadway draft of the play, with a foreword by Priestley (paperback)
• Laburnum Grove (1936), based on the play and subsequent screenplay, published as a hardcover tie-in edition to the film

Selected plays

See also: J. B. Priestley's Time Plays

• The Good Companions (1931)
• Dangerous Corner (1932)
• Laburnum Grove (1933)
• Eden End (1934)
• Cornelius (1935)
• People at Sea (1936)
• Bees on the Boat Deck (1936)
• Time and the Conways (1937)
• I Have Been Here Before (1937)
• When We Are Married (1938)
• Johnson Over Jordan (1939)
• The Long Mirror (1940)
• They Came to a City (1943)
• An Inspector Calls (1945)
• Ever Since Paradise (1946)
• The Linden Tree (1947)
• Summer Day's Dream (1949)
• Mother's Day (1950)
• The White Countess (1954)
• Mr. Kettle and Mrs. Moon (1955)
• The Glass Cage (1957)
• The Thirty-first of June: A Tale of True Love, Enterprise and Progress in the Arthurian and AD-Atomic Ages
o Novel. December 1961: hardback; ISBN 0-434-60326-0 / ISBN 978-0-434-60326-8 (UK edition); William Heinemann Ltd
o BBC radio dramatisation; one and a half hours
o Novel. 1996: paperback; ISBN 0-7493-2281-0 / ISBN 978-0-7493-2281-6 (UK edition); Mandarin
o 31 June (1978) (TV) Soviet film; aka 31 июня
• Benighted (2016, adapted from his 1928 novel by Duncan Gates)
• The Roundabout (1931)


• Sing As We Go (1934)
• The Princess Comes Across (1936)
• Jamaica Inn (1939)
• Britain at Bay (1940, Short)
• The Foreman Went to France (1942)
• Last Holiday (1950, wrote story, screenplay and produced the film)

Television work

• You Know What People Are (1955)
• Armchair Theatre: Now Let Him Go (ABC – 15 September 1957)
• Doomsday for Dyson (Granada – 10 March 1958)
• Out of the Unknown: Level Seven (BBC2 – 27 October 1966, adaptation of a story by Mordecai Roshwald)
• Shadows: The Other Window (Thames – 15 October 1975, co-written with Jacquetta Hawkes)

Literary criticism

• The English Comic Characters (1925)
• The English Novel (1927)
• Literature and Western Man (1960)
• Charles Dickens and his world (1969)

Social and political works

• English Journey (1934)
• Out of the people (1941)
• The Secret Dream: an essay on Britain, America and Russia (1946)
• The Arts under Socialism (1947)
• The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency (1969)
• The Edwardians (1970)
• Victoria's Heyday (1972)
• The English (1973)
• A Visit to New Zealand (1974)

Autobiography and essays

• Essays of To-day and Yesterday (1926)
• Apes and Angels (1928)
• The Balconinny (1931)
• Midnight on the Desert (1937)
• Rain Upon Godshill: A Further Chapter of Autobiography (1939)
• Postscripts (1940)
• Delight (1949)
• Journey Down a Rainbow (co-authored with Jacquetta Hawkes, 1955)
• Margin Released (1962)
• Man and Time (1964)
• The Moments and Other Pieces (1966)
• Over the Long High Wall (1972)
• The Happy Dream (Limited edition, 1976)
• Instead of the Trees (1977)


1. Cook, Judith (1997). "Beginnings and Childhood". Priestley. London: Bloomsbury. p. 5. ISBN 0-7475-3508-6.
2. Lincoln Konkle, J. B. Priestley, in British Playwrights, 1880–1956: A Research and Production Sourcebook, by William W. Demastes, Katherine E. Kelly; Greenwood Press, 1996
3. Marr, Andrew (2008). A History of Modern Britain. Macmillan. p. xxii. ISBN 978-0-330-43983-1.
4. "Irish butt of English racism for more than eight centuries".
5. Roger Fagge (15 December 2011). The Vision of J.B. Priestley. A&C Black. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-4411-0480-9.
6. Colin Holmes (16 October 2015). John Bull's Island: Immigration and British Society, 1871-1971. Routledge. pp. 149–. ISBN 978-1-317-38273-7.
7. J. B. Priestley, English Journey (London: William Heinemann, 1934), pp. 248-9
8. J. B. Priestley, "The War – And After", in Horizon, January 1940. Reprinted in Andrew Sinclair, War Decade: An Anthology of the 1940s, Hamish Hamilton, 1989. ISBN 0241125677 (p. 19).
9. Cited in Addison, Paul (2011). The Road To 1945: British Politics and the Second World War. Random House. ISBN 9781446424216.
10. Page, Robert M. (2007). Revisiting the Welfare State. Introducing Social Policy. McGraw-Hill Education (UK). p. 10. ISBN 9780335234981.
11. "?". Archived from the original on 15 September 2008.
12. "Priestley war letters published". BBC News website. 6 October 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
13. Ezard, John (21 June 2003). "Blair's babe Did love turn Orwell into a government stooge?". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
14. J. B. Priestley Archive. University of Bradford. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
15. A "sentimental journey"? Priestley's Lost City. (26 September 2008). Retrieved 2 May 2012.
16. Fagge, Roger (2011). The Vision of J.B. Priestley. Bloomsbury Publishing. Note 9 to Chapter 6. ISBN 9781441163790.
17. "Individuals, now deceased, who refused honours between 1951 and 1999" (PDF) (Press release). Cabinet Office. 25 January 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
18. Priestley, John Boynton (1894–1984), writer | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31565.
19. "Barbara Wykeham". Retrieved 15 August 2018.
20. "Sylvia Goaman". Retrieved 15 August 2018.
21. JB Priestley (estate). Retrieved 2 May 2012.
22. Women’s Group on Public Welfare. The Neglected Child and His Family. Oxford University Press: London, 1948, p. x.
23. "Biography". J. B. Priestley website. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2007.
24. "Hubberholme Church". Retrieved 6 July 2019.
25. "J. B. Priestley: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center". Retrieved 3 November 2017.


• Brome, Vincent (1988). J.B. Priestley. ISBN 0-241-12560-X
• Bright Day: A special collectors' edition, by J.B. Priestley
• Works by or about J. B. Priestley at Internet Archive

External links

• The Official J. B. Priestley website
• The J. B. Priestley Society
• J. B. Priestley Papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
• J. B. Priestley biography at Spartacus Educational
• J. B. Priestley Archive at the University of Bradford
• Priestley in the Theatre Collection, University of Bristol
• John Angerson's English Journey. Photographer Angerson retraces J.B. Priestley's footsteps 75 years after publication of Priestley's seminal travelog, English Journey. Article by Graham Harrison for the Photo Histories web site.
• 1944 film of Priestley at work at British Pathé
• Works by J. B. Priestley at Project Gutenberg
• J. B. Priestley at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
• J. B. Priestley on IMDb
• J. B. Priestley at Library of Congress Authorities, with 338 catalogue records
• Newspaper clippings about J. B. Priestley in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
• BBC Archives – J. B. Priestley's 'Postscript' – radio broadcast from 5 June 1940
• Wolfe, Graham (2019). Theatre-Fiction in Britain from Henry James to Doris Lessing: Writing in the Wings. Routledge. ISBN 9781000124361.
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Nehru–Gandhi family
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/26/20

Nehru Family
Current region: New Delhi, Delhi, India
Place of origin: Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Members: Raj Kaul
Gangadhar Nehru
Nandlal Nehru
Motilal Nehru
Swarup Rani Nehru
Brijlal Nehru
Rameshwari Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Uma Nehru
Krishna Hutheesing
Indira Gandhi
Braj Kumar Nehru
Nayantara Sahgal
Feroze Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi
Sanjay Gandhi
Arun Nehru
Sonia Gandhi
Maneka Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi
Priyanka Vadra
Varun Gandhi
Robert Vadra

The Nehru–Gandhi Family is an Indian political family that has occupied a prominent place in the politics of India. The involvement of the family has traditionally revolved around the Indian National Congress, as various members have traditionally led the party. Three members of the family: Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi, have served as the Prime Minister of India, while several others have been members of the parliament.

The Guardian wrote in 2007, "The Nehru brand has no peer in the world — a member of the family has been in charge of India for 40 of the 60 years since independence. The allure of India's first family blends the right to rule of British monarchy with the tragic glamour of America's Kennedy clan."[1]

The Gandhi surname came from Feroze Gandhi, a politician of Gujarati Parsi ancestry, who changed the spelling of his surname, from Ghandy to Gandhi, after joining the independence movement to bring it in line with that of Mahatma Gandhi.[2][3] Indira Priyadarshini Nehru (the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru) married Feroze Gandhi in 1942 and adopted his surname.[4]

Family trees

Earliest record

Anand Bhavan, ancestral home of the Nehru-Gandhi Family in Allahabad, now a museum.

• Raj Kaul (late 1600s to early 1700s) a Kashmiri Pandit, he is the earliest recorded ancestor of the Nehru family. He is believed to have moved from Kashmir to Delhi in 1716 AD. A Jagir with a house situated on the banks of a canal was granted to Raj Kaul, and, from the fact of this residence, 'Nehru' (from Nahar, a canal) came to be attached to his name. Kaul was the original family name; this changed to Kaul-Nehru; and, in later years, Kaul was dropped out and the family name became only "Nehru".[5]
• During the early part of the 19th century, Gangadhar's father, Lakshmi Narayan Nehru, worked as a scribe in Delhi for the East India Company.[6][7]

First generation

• Gangadhar Nehru (1827–1861), a direct descendant of Raj Kaul, he was the last Kotwal of Delhi (equivalent to Chief of Police), prior to the Indian Rebellion of 1857. He was the father of freedom fighter Motilal Nehru and grandfather of Jawaharlal Nehru who was the first Prime Minister of India, thus part of the Nehru family.

Second generation

• Bansi Dhar Nehru, Gangadhar's eldest son worked in the judicial department of the British Government and, being appointed successively to various places, was partly cut off from the rest of the family.
• Nandlal Nehru (1845–1887), older brother of Motilal Nehru. He was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of the princely state of Khetri in Rajputana.
• Motilal Nehru (1861–1931), patriarch of Nehru–Gandhi family. He was a lawyer and a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement. He served as the Congress President twice, 1919–1920 and 1928–1929.
• Swarup Rani Nehru (1868–1938), wife of Motilal Nehru.

Third generation

Nehru family, standing (L to R) Jawaharlal Nehru, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Krishna Hutheesing, Indira Gandhi and Ranjit Sitaram Pandit; Seated: Swaroop, Motilal Nehru and Kamala Nehru (circa 1927)

• Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964), son of Motilal Nehru. He was the first Prime Minister of India and was one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement. He had succeeded his father as President of the Congress in 1929.
• Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (1900–1990), eldest daughter of Motilal Nehru. She was an Indian diplomat and politician who later became the President of the United Nations General Assembly. Married Ranjit Sitaram Pandit in 1921.
• Krishna Nehru Hutheesing (1907–1967) was an Indian writer, the youngest sister of Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, and part of the Nehru–Gandhi family.
• Kamala Nehru (1899–1936), wife of Jawaharlal Nehru. She was a prominent social reformer and was an active member of the All India Congress Committee.
• Brijlal Nehru (1884-1964), son of Nandlal Nehru and a nephew of Motilal Nehru. He was the Finance Minister of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir during the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.
• Rameshwari Nehru (1886–1966), wife of Brij Lal Nehru. She was a journalist and social worker who co-founded All India Women's Conference
• Ratan Kumar Nehru (1902-1981), civil servant and diplomat

Fourth generation

• Indira Priyadarshini Nehru (later Indira Gandhi) (1917–1984), only daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. She became the first woman Prime Minister of India.
• Feroze Gandhi (1912–1960), husband of Indira. He was a politician and journalist.
• Braj Kumar Nehru (1909–2001), son of Brijlal Nehru. He served as the Indian diplomat and ambassador to the United States and as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He later served as Governor of several Indian states and was an adviser to his cousin Indira Gandhi.
• Magdolna Nehru (1908–2017), nicknamed Fori, wife of Braj Kumar Nehru.
• Balwant Kumar Nehru (1916–1996), son of Brijlal Nehru and brother of Braj Kumar Nehru. Engineer and corporate manager who rose to become the Deputy Chairman of ITC and the President of the All-India Management Association.
• Sarup Nehru, wife of Balwant Kumar Nehru.
• Harsha Hutheesing (1935–1991) and Ajit Hutheesing (1936–2017), sons of Krishna Nehru Hutheesing and Raja Hutheesing
• Chandralekha Mehta, the eldest of the three daughters born to Jawaharlal Nehru's sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
• Nayantara Sahgal (born 10 May 1927), the second of the three daughters born to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
• Rita Dar, the youngest of the three daughters born to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Fifth generation

Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi (circa 1949).

• Arun Nehru, (1944-2013), great grand son of Nandlal Nehru. He was a politician and union minister during the 1980s.
• Rajiv Gandhi (1944–1991), eldest son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi. He became the 7th Prime Minister of India after Indira's death.
• Sanjay Gandhi (1946–1980), second son of Indira. He was also one of the most trusted lieutenants of his mother during the 1970s and was widely expected to succeed his mother as Prime Minister of India. But met with an untimely death in a plane crash.
• Sonia Gandhi (née Maino 1946), widow of Rajiv Gandhi. She was born in Italy and took Indian citizenship, 11 years after marrying Rajiv Gandhi. She was the President of the Indian National Congress from 1998 to 2017 and has served as the Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance since 2004.
• Maneka Gandhi (née Anand 1956), widow of Sanjay Gandhi. She is a noted environmentalist and animal welfare activist. She is a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. She has served as a cabinet minister in four government.She also served as the Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development in the BJP led Government of 2014-19.
• Subhadra Nehru, wife of Arun Nehru.
• Sunil Nehru (b.1946) -- eldest son of Balwant Kumar Nehru. Engineer and corporate strategist, senior company executive at Max India, adventurer, scuba diver, and ardent trekker.
• Neena Nehru (b.1946 née Neena Heble) -- wife of Sunil Nehru. Artist, poet, architect.
• Nikhil Nehru (b.1948) -- second son of Balwant Kumar Nehru. He had a stellar career in advertising, rising to become the President of McCann-Erickson and Chairman of Results International Group, India.
• Samhita Nehru—wife of Nikhil Nehru.
• Vikram Nehru (b.1952) -- third son of Balwant Kumar Nehru. Entered the field of international development with a career at the World Bank. Became the World Bank's Chief Economist and Director for Poverty Reduction,Economic Management, Private and Financial Sector Development for East Asia and the Pacific. Subsequently, became the Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC and then Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Sixth generation

• Rahul Gandhi (1970), son of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. He was the president of the Congress party from 2017 and 2019,[8] and was a member of Parliament from Amethi, UP since 2004 to 2019.And Lost from Amethi in Indian general election 2019 He was the Chairman of the Congress coordination panel for 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He is currently the MP from Wayanad, Kerala in the Lok Sabha.
• Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (née Gandhi, 1972), daughter of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Priyanka is married to Robert Vadra, a businessman.
• Varun Gandhi (1980), son of Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, National Executive and the youngest National Secretary in the history of the party. He is a member of 2014 Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India, representing the Sultanpur constituency.[9]
• Yamini Gandhi, wife of Varun Gandhi.

Seventh generation

• Anasuya Gandhi (2020), daughter of Varun Gandhi and Yamini Gandhi.
• Raihan Vadra and Miraya Vadra—children of Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra.[10]


Motilal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru

Kamala Nehru

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Krishna Hutheesing

Indira Gandhi

Rajiv Gandhi

Sanjay Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi

Maneka Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

Priyanka Gandhi

Varun Gandhi

See also

• List of political families


1. "The making of the Ghandy dynasty | News |". Guardian. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
2. Guha, Ramachandra (2011). India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. Pan Macmillan. p. 33, footnote 2 (chapter 14). ISBN 978-0330540209.: "Feroze Gandhi was also from the Nehrus' home town, Allahabad. A Parsi by faith, he at first spelt his surname 'Ghandy'. However, after he joined the national movement as a young man, he changed the spelling to bring it in line with that of Mahatma Gandhi."
3. Vishnu, Uma (2010). Idea Exchange: Opinion Makers, Critical Issues, Interesting Times. Penguin Books India. p. 87. ISBN 978-0670084890.
4. Lyon, Peter (2008) Conflict Between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 64. ISBN 978-1576077122. "Feroze Gandhi was no relation of Mahatma Gandhi."
5. Shashi Tharoor (16 October 2007). Nehru: The Invention of India. ISBN 9789351180180.
6. Pranay Gupte (February 2012). Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi. Penguin Books India. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-0-14-306826-6.
7. ... xF#image=1
8. Ghandy, Rahul (20 January 2013). "Rahul Gandhi gets bigger role in Congress, appointed party vice-president". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
9. ... 80086.html
10. Priyanka kids

External links

• The making of the Ghandhi dynasty at The Guardian
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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British intelligence agencies
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/20

"British Intelligence" redirects here.

The Government of the United Kingdom maintains intelligence agencies within several different government departments. The agencies are responsible for collecting and producing foreign and domestic intelligence, providing military intelligence, performing espionage and counter-espionage. Their intelligence assessments contribute to the conduct of the foreign relations of the United Kingdom, maintaining the national security of the United Kingdom, military planning and law enforcement in the United Kingdom.[1] The main organisations are the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), the Security Service (MI5), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI).

The history of the organisations goes back to the 19th century. The decryption of the Zimmermann Telegram in 1917 was described as the most significant intelligence triumph for Britain during World War I,[2] and one of the earliest occasions on which a piece of signals intelligence influenced world events.[3] During the Second World War and afterwards, many observers regarded Ultra as immensely valuable to the Allies of World War II. In 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, GCHQ interceptions of Soviet ship positions were sent directly to the White House.[4] Intelligence cooperation in the post-war period between the United Kingdom and the United States became the cornerstone of Western intelligence gathering and the "Special Relationship" between the United Kingdom and the United States.[5]

Current agencies

Agency / Description / Personnel

Domestic intelligence / Security Service (MI5)[6] / Counter terrorism and counter espionage intelligence gathering and analysis. / 4,053[7]

Domestic intelligence / Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) / Counter terrorism and protecting critical national infrastructure. / 551[7]

Domestic intelligence / National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU)[8] / Counter extremism and public disorder intelligence gathering and analysis. / --

Domestic intelligence / National Crime Agency (NCA)[9] Organised crime intelligence gathering and analysis. / 4,516[10]

Domestic intelligence / National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NBIS)[11] / Illegal firearms intelligence analysis. / 40[12]

Domestic intelligence / National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)[13] / Economic crime intelligence gathering and analysis. / 90[14]

Foreign intelligence / Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6)[15] / Foreign intelligence gathering. / 2,594[7]

Foreign intelligence / Defence Intelligence (DI)[16] / Military intelligence gathering and analysis. / 3,655[7]

Signals intelligence / Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)[17] / Signals intelligence gathering and analysis. / 5,806[7]

Joint intelligence / Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO)[18] / Joint intelligence analysis. / 58[7]


Organised intelligence collection and planning for the government of the United Kingdom and the British Empire was established during the 19th century. The War Office, responsible for the administration of the British Army, formed the Intelligence Branch in 1873, which became the Directorate of Military Intelligence. The Admiralty, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy, formed the Foreign Intelligence Committee in 1882,[19] which evolved into the Naval Intelligence Department (NID) in 1887.[20] The Committee of Imperial Defence, established in 1902, was responsible for research, and some co-ordination, on issues of military strategy.

The Secret Service Bureau was founded in 1909 as a joint initiative of the Admiralty and the War Office to control secret intelligence operations in the UK and overseas, particularly concentrating on the activities of the Imperial German government. The Bureau was split into naval and army sections which, over time, specialised in foreign espionage and internal counter-espionage activities respectively. This specialisation, formalised prior to 1914, was a result of the Admiralty intelligence requirements related to the maritime strength of the Imperial German Navy. In 1916, during World War I, the two sections underwent administrative changes so that the internal counter-espionage section became the Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5) and the foreign section became the Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 6 (MI6), names by which the Security Service and Secret Intelligence Service are commonly known today.

The Naval Intelligence Division led the Royal Navy's highly successful cryptographic efforts, Room 40 (later known as NID25). The decryption of the Zimmermann Telegram was described as the most significant intelligence triumph for Britain during World War I,[2] and one of the earliest occasions on which a piece of signals intelligence influenced world events.[3]

The Imperial War Cabinet was the British Empire's wartime coordinating body. In 1919, the Cabinet's Secret Service Committee, recommended that a peacetime codebreaking agency should be created.[21] Staff were merged from NID25 and MI1b into the new organisation,[22] which was given the cover-name the "Government Code and Cypher School" (GC&CS).[23]

The Joint Intelligence Committee was founded in 1936 as a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence.[24] During World War II, it became the senior intelligence assessment body for the United Kingdom government.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the RAF Intelligence Branch was established, although personnel had been employed in intelligence duties in the RAF since its formation in 1918.

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a World War II organisation operational from 1940 until early 1946. SOE conducted espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe and later in occupied Southeast Asia against the Axis powers and aided local resistance movements.

During the Second World War, the Government Code and Cypher School was based largely at Bletchley Park working on, most significantly, the German Enigma machine (codenamed Ultra) and Lorenz ciphers,[25] but also a large number of other systems. Winston Churchill was reported to have told King George VI, when presenting to him Stewart Menzies (head of the Secret Intelligence Service and the person who controlled distribution of Ultra decrypts to the government): "It is thanks to the secret weapon of General Menzies, put into use on all the fronts, that we won the war!"[26] F. W. Winterbotham quoted the western Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, at war's end describing Ultra as having been "decisive" to Allied victory.[27] Sir Harry Hinsley, Bletchley Park veteran and official historian of British Intelligence in World War II, made a similar assessment about Ultra, saying that it shortened the war "by not less than two years and probably by four years"; and that, in the absence of Ultra, it is uncertain how the war would have ended.[28]

GC&CS was renamed the "Government Communications Headquarters" (GCHQ) in 1946.[29] Wartime signals intelligence cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States continued in the post-war period.[30] The two countries signed the bilateral UKUSA Agreement in 1948. It was later broadened to include Canada, Australia and New Zealand, known as the Five Eyes, as well as cooperation with several "third-party" nations. This became the cornerstone of Western intelligence gathering and the "Special Relationship" between the UK and the USA.[5] Since World War II, the chief of the London station of the United States Central Intelligence Agency has attended the Joint Intelligence Committee's weekly meetings. One former US intelligence officer has described this as the "highlight of the job" for the London CIA chief.[31] Resident intelligence chiefs from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand may attend when certain issues are discussed.[citation needed]

In 1946 the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) was established.[32] The JIB was structured into a series of divisions: procurement (JIB 1), geographic (JIB 2 and JIB 3), defences, ports and beaches (JIB 4), airfields (JIB 5), key points (JIB 6), oil (JIB 7) and telecommunications (JIB 8).[33]

The Joint Intelligence Committee moved to the Cabinet Office in 1957 with its assessments staff who prepared intelligence assessments for the committee to consider.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, GCHQ Scarborough intercepted radio communications from Soviet ships reporting their positions and used that to establish where they were heading. A copy of the report was sent directly to the White House Situation Room, providing initial indications of Soviet intentions with regards the US naval blockade of Cuba.[4]

When the Ministry of Defence was formed in 1964, the Joint Intelligence Bureau, Naval Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Air Intelligence were combined to form the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS).[34] The DIS focussed initially on Cold War issues.[35]

The Security Service Act 1989 established the legal basis of the Security Service (MI5) for the first time under the government led by Margaret Thatcher. GCHQ and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) were placed on a statutory footing by the Intelligence Services Act 1994 under the government led by John Major.

In 2009, the Defence Intelligence Staff changed its name to Defence Intelligence (DI).[35] The Joint Intelligence Organisation was formalised to provide intelligence assessment and advice on development of the UK intelligence community's analytical capability for the Joint Intelligence Committee and the National Security Council, which was established in 2010.[18]

The National Crime Agency, established in 2013, gathers and analyses intelligence on serious and organised crime.[9] It was preceded by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (2006–2013), National Criminal Intelligence Service (1992–2006), and the National Drugs Intelligence Unit (1970s–1992).

Four domestic intelligence units exist under the authority of the Home Office. The National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit, which dates back to 2004 and has been hosted by the Metropolitan Police Service since 2011; the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, created in 2007, which is responsible for leading work on counter-terrorism working closely with the police and security services; the National Ballistics Intelligence Service, which was created in 2008; and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which was established in 2010 by the City of London Police.[13]


Single Intelligence Account

The Single Intelligence Account (SIA) is the funding vehicle for the three main security and intelligence agencies: the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6),[36] Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)[37] and the Security Service (MI5).[38]

As of 2016, the Accounting Officer for the SIA is Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister.[38][37][39]

The current spending on the SIA is £3.2 billion in financial year 2017/18.[40]

See also

• Intelligence Corps (United Kingdom)
• Club de Berne
• Information Research Department
• List of intelligence agencies global list sorted by country
• UK cyber security community



1. See for example "Spies told to come clean on Cameron's order to kill". The Sunday Times. 19 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
2. "Why was the Zimmerman Telegram so important?". BBC. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
3. "The telegram that brought America into the First World War". BBC History Magazine. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
4. Corera, Gordon (2019-10-21). "Scarborough's Cuban missile crisis role revealed". Retrieved 2019-10-21.
5. Adam White (29 June 2010). "How a Secret Spy Pact Helped Win the Cold War". Time.
6. "The Security Service". MI5. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
7. Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament "Annual Report 2016–2017", Section 10: Administration and Expenditure. House of Commons (20 December 2017). Retrieved 4 June 2018.
8. "National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit". National Police Chief's Council. Archived from the originalon 2 February 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
9. "Intelligence". National Crime Agency. Archived from the original on 2017-01-22. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
10. National Crime Agency "Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17", page 58. Published 20 July 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
11. "NABIS - National Ballistics Intelligence Service". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
12. "Tracking firearms". The Economist. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
13. "General guide to the NFIB" (PDF). City of London Police. July 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
14. Meadows, Sam (2018-07-13). "What really happens when you report a scam? We go behind closed doors at Action Fraud". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
15. "SIS (MI6)". SIS. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
16. "Defence Intelligence - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
17. "GCHQ Home page". Archived from the original on 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
18. "Joint Intelligence Organisation - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
19. Allen. The Foreign Intelligence Committee. p. 68.
20. "Obituary". Obituaries. The Times (34523). London. 13 March 1895. col F, p. 10.
21. Johnson, 1997, p. 44
22. Johnson, 1997, p. 45 and Kahn, 1991, p. 82
23. Macksey, Kenneth (2003). The Searchers: How Radio Interception Changed the Course of Both World Wars. Cassell Military. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-304-36545-6.
24. Spying on the World. p. 10. ISBN 9780748678570.
25. Gannon, Paul (2006). Colossus: Bletchley Park's Greatest Secret. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-84354-331-2.
26. The original source for this quote is Gustave Bertrand, Enigma, p. 256, at the end of a short passage asserting the importance of Enigma-derived intelligence for Allied victory.
27. Winterbotham 1974, pp. 154, 191.
28. Hinsley 1996.
29. Smith, Michael (1998). Station X. Channel 4 books. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-330-41929-1.
30. "How the British and Americans started listening in". BBC. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
31. "Why no questions about the CIA?". New Statesman. September 2003. Archived from the original on 2013-07-06.
32. Dylan, p. xiii
33. Dylan, p. 31
34. Dylan, p. 184
35. "Defence Intelligence: Roles". Ministry of Defence. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
36. SIS: Funding and financial controls Archived 2014-11-10 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2 March 2014.
37. GCHQ funding & financial controls Retrieved on 2 March 2014.
38. "Funding | MI5 - The Security Service (2014)". Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
39. "Sir Mark Lyall Grant". GOV.UK. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
40. Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Annual Report 2015–2016, page 10. House of Commons (5 July 2016). Retrieved 14 December 2016.


• Dylan, Huw (2014). Defence Intelligence and the Cold War: Britain's Joint Intelligence Bureau 1945-1964. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199657025.
• Hinsley, Sir Harry (1996) [1993], The Influence of ULTRA in the Second World War (PDF), retrieved 23 July 2012 Transcript of a lecture given on Tuesday 19 October 1993 at Cambridge University
• Johnson, John (1997). The Evolution of British Sigint: 1653–1939. HMSO. ASIN B002ALSXTC.
• Winterbotham, F. W. (1974), The Ultra Secret, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 978-0-06-014678-8 The first published account of the previously secret wartime operation, concentrating mainly on distribution of intelligence. It was written from memory and has been shown by subsequent authors, who had access to official records, to contain some inaccuracies.
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