Ernest Bevin

(redirected from Ernie Bevin)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Ernie Bevin: Ernest Bevin

Bevin, Ernest

(bĕv`ən), 1881–1951, British labor leader and statesman. An orphan who earned his own living from childhood, he began a long career as a trade union official when he became secretary of the dockworkers' union in 1911. In 1921, Bevin merged his own union with many others to form the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union, of which he became general secretary. From 1925 to 1940 he sat on the general council of the Trade Union Congress, serving as chairman in 1937. Bevin played a leading organizing role in the general strike of 1926, but after the failure of that strike he worked to achieve greater cooperation between labor and the employers. He was enormously influential in Labour party politics in the 1930s but did not enter Parliament until invited to join Winston Churchill's coalition government in 1940. In that government he was minister of labor and national service and thus was responsible for mobilizing manpower for war uses. As foreign minister in the Labour government of 1945 to 1951, Bevin devoted himself to building up the strength of Western Europe in close cooperation with the United States and helped lay the groundwork for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He favored the establishment of a federated Arab-Israeli state in Palestine, but that proved impossible to achieve.


See biography by A. Bullock (3 vol., 1960–83).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bevin, Ernest


Born Mar. 9,1881, in Winsford; died Apr. 14, 1951, in London. English political figure. One of the right-wing leaders of the Labour Party and of trade unions.

Bevin was an agricultural worker and chauffeur until 1909. From 1910 to 1921 he was one of the leaders of the Dockers’ Union. From 1922 to 1940 he was general secretary of the united Transport and General Workers’ Union. He was a member of the general council of the British Trades Union Congress from 1925 to 1940, and he served as its chairman in 1937. From 1940 to 1945 he was minister of labor and national service in W. Churchill’s coalition government. He was foreign secretary of C. Attlee’s Labour government from 1945 to 1951, with a foreign policy course that aimed at escalating the cold war and creating anti-Soviet military blocs. Bevin worked to implement the Marshall Plan, as well as the Brussels (1948) and North Atlantic (1949) pacts. He supported the policies of a divided Germany and a remilitarized West Germany.


Williams, F. E. Bevin. London, [1952].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
On one occasion when Attlee faced a challenge, the chief plotter came to see him suggesting that Ernie Bevin should replace Attlee as prime minister.
"And wouldn't Clem Attlee and Ernie Bevin have applauded when in Kosovo, faced with racial genocide, it was Britain and this Government that helped defeat it?"
It was the Labour Government after the war, in the person of Ernie Bevin, which did much to set up Nato and secure Marshall Aid.
"He described me as a cross between Ernie Bevin and Demosthenes.
When it was said that Nye Bevan was his own worst enemy, Foreign Secretary Ernie Bevin retorted: "Not while I'm alive, he ain't!"
Mr Cameron told Tony Blair at Prime Minister's Question Time: "I know you don't want to talk about the deputy leadership campaign, because the contest looks like it could achieve the impossible, which is to make the current Deputy Prime Minister look like a cross between Ernie Bevin and Demosthenes."
Ernie Bevin, Labour's greatest Foreign Secretary, said when a colleague observed that Morrison was his own worst enemy: "Not while I'm alive, he ain't."
When I met him not long ago, he reminded me of an old-style British union leader, someone like Ernie Bevin.
He may still emerge as one of Britain's better Foreign Secretaries and could even beat hero Ernie Bevin's post-war record of six years in the job.