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UK general election, 1945

The British general election of 1945 held on July 5th 1945 was one of the most significant general elections of the 20th Century.

Held just months after VE Day, it was the first general election to be held since 1935 (general elections had been cancelled for the duration of World War II). It resulted in the shock election defeat of the Conservatives led by Winston Churchill and the landslide victory of the Labour Party led by Clement Attlee, who won a majority of 145 seats.

The result of the election was almost totally unexpected, given the hero status of Winston Churchill, but reflected the voters' belief that the Labour Party were better able to rebuild the country following the war than the Conservatives.

The Conservatives had become associated with the unemployment and misery of the 1930s, during the Great Depression and there was little appetite for a return to pre-war Conservative policies. The Labour Party, on the other hand, promised to create full employment, a tax funded universal National Health Service, and a cradle-to-grave welfare state.

Party Votes Seats Loss/Gain Share of Vote (%)
Labour 11,967,746 393 48.0
Conservative 9,101,099 197 36.2
Liberals 2,252,430 12 9.0
National Liberals 737,732 11 2.9
National Party 133,179 3 0.2
Communist Party 102,780 2 + 1 0.4
Independent Labour Party 46,769 3 0.2
Irish Nationalists 737,732 2 0.4