Trying For a Better Society

A Look at British Socialism Post World War II


  • Clarence C. Walker


Between 1945 and 1951, the Labour Party initiated reforms guided in part by the Beveridge Report that laid out reform for Great Britain’s health insurance sectors. Under the leadership of Clement Attlee, the party was able to implement some of the social reforms that could not have been done during the war years or prior. Author George Orwell believed the Beveridge Report neither contained enough socialist ideology nor empowered the government. Orwell’s writing about the dangers of a corrupted communist political system was considered to be on the fringes of the Left within Britain. With the political shifts happening within Europe during the first half of the twentieth century, the years of 1939 to 1945 and 1945 to 1951 were important for the culmination of policies bringing socialist policies to Britain. Since the Labour Party government of 1945-51 was unable to keep popular support in the years to come, they were unable to implement what some hoped would be a fully socialist agenda. Without the high level of nationalism that Britain experienced due to the victory of World War II, the Labour Party would not have been able to take Britain from being a predominately capitalist to a socialist society.