Attlee, Clement Richard


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Attlee, Clement Richard

 

Born Jan. 3, 1883, in Putney, London; died Oct. 8, 1967, in London. British state figure. Leader and ideologist of the Labour Party.

Attlee joined the Fabian Society in 1907 and the Independent Labour Party in 1908. He was a Labour member of the House of Commons from 1922 to 1955. Attlee was a member of the first Labour government in 1924 and the second Labour government from 1929 to 1931. He was the leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. From 1940 to 1942 he was lord privy seal, and from 1942 to 1945 he served as deputy prime minister, secretary of state for the dominions, and lord president of the council in W. Churchill’s coalition government. After the victory of the Labour Party in the parliamentary elections of July 1945, he held the post of prime minister until 1951 and that of minister of defense until 1946. Attlee attended the Potsdam Conference of 1945.

The Attlee government nationalized the Bank of England, the railroads, civil aviation, communications, and several industries; responding to an upsurge in the democratic movement, it enacted several measures to improve social insurance, education, and public health. Yielding to the pressure of the national liberation struggle, it granted independence to India, which was partitioned along religious lines into India and Pakistan, in 1947 and to Burma in 1948. The Attlee government helped implement the Marshall Plan and took part in the founding of NATO in 1949. Attlee was created an earl in 1955.