Gaitskell, Hugh Todd Naylor

Gaitskell, Hugh Todd Naylor

(gāt`skəl), 1906–63, British statesman. Educated at Oxford, he taught economics at the Univ. of London. During World War II he was a civil servant in the new ministry of economic warfare (1940–42) and in the Board of Trade (1942–45). He entered Parliament as a Labour member in 1945 and served as minister of fuel and power (1947–50) and chancellor of the exchequer (1950–51). In 1955 he succeeded Clement Attlee as leader of the Labour party. After Labour's defeat in the 1959 general election, Gaitskell supported some moderation of party policies. At the party conference of 1960 the left wing of the party defeated him on the issue of unilateral nuclear disarmament, which he opposed, but he had recovered his authority in the party by the time of his premature death.


See his diaries (1983); biography by P. Williams (1982).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gaitskell, Hugh Todd Naylor


Born Apr. 9, 1906, in London; died there Jan. 18, 1963. British political figure.

In 1927, Gaitskell graduated from Oxford University. He taught political economy at London University. In 1945 he was elected to Parliament, and from 1947 to 1951 he was a member of the government. After 1955 he was the leader of the Labour Party and, after 1957, vice-president of the Socialist International. He held the views of the right wing of the Labour Party. He advocated the theory of “democratic socialism” and “harmony of the classes,” and he opposed working with the Communists. In the field of foreign policy, he supported the principle of peaceful coexistence and at the same time favored strengthening the aggressive NATO bloc.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.