ACROSS EUROPE the end of the war meant workers had high hopes that society would change for the better. In Britain that was seen with the election of the first majority Labour government under Attlee. It was under pressure to deliver reforms like the welfare state and nationalisation of key industries.
Resistance movements like those in Greece and Italy had fought brave battles against occupying armies. Many of those partisans wanted more than merely to see the old order re-established. The rulers of the Allied countries crushed the organised workers’ opposition movements, which had now become ‘dangerous rebels’. The rulers did not want any challenge to profits flowing again.
‘THE socialist revolution has already begun in Europe. The upper classes in every country are selfish, depraved, dissolute and decadent. They look to the British army and British people to protect them against the just wrath of the people who have been fighting underground against them for four years. We must see that does not happen.’
DENIS HEALEY, Labour Party conference delegate in 1945. Healey later became Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1974-9 government which attacked workers
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