How Austere was Britain 1945 - 54?

willo118_murphy
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Mind Map on How Austere was Britain 1945 - 54?, created by willo118_murphy on 03/29/2014.

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Created by willo118_murphy over 5 years ago
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How Austere was Britain 1945 - 54?
1 What were the key features of British society 1945-54?
1.1 The British emerged from the war with great austerity and bound by strong moral values, there was a strong sense of duty and deference. Mass media reflected this austerity.
1.2 Around 80% of Britons lived in urban areas, with 40% lvivng in densely populated areas of London, the West midlands, Merseyside, south-east Lancashire etc. 750,000 homes in these areas had been damaged by bombing. The poorest people were crowded into older, inadequate houses. Seven million of these homes didn ot have a hot water supply, 10% of homes did not have electricity and 25% lacked a proper toilet.
1.3 60% of the workforce was involved in manual labour. Many thought of themselves as 'working class'.
1.4 The launching of the National Health Service in 1948 helped make a rage of medical services available for more people for free.
1.5 The mini 'baby boom' that immediately followed the end of the war meant there were more teenagers. The population was very homogenous.
1.6 Rationing did not end, even bread became rationed and could only be purchased with ration coupons. Rationing was not totally abandoned until 1954.
2 British attitudes
2.1 Sources of information
2.1.1 Mass observation - Around 500 volunteers were asked to keep a diary about their everyday lives.
2.1.2 Polls -Large companies that specialise in finding out information on all kinds of topics.
2.1.3 Government papers - civil servants carry out a lo of research on behalf of politicians to help them prepare for debates.
2.1.4 BBC audience research - the BBC had a listener research department.
2.2 Class
2.2.1 It was not until the rise of large, powerful trade unions, and the progressive response of the liberal party and later the labour party, that many people began to think of themselves as belonging to a class.
2.2.2 Most working class people voted for the labour party while most middle to upper class people voted for the conservatives.
2.3 Authority
2.3.1 The royal family was hugely popular and policemen were widely respected.
2.3.2 While 70% of the population believed in God, only 17% went to church. Lack of deference towards religious leaders.
2.3.3 The general attitudes towards politicians was tat they were untrustworthy and self-seeking.
2.4 Women and family
2.4.1 While mamy women worked in the years after 1945, there was a clear expectation that they should stop work when they got married to fulfil their duties as housewives.
2.4.2 Divorce was very difficult to gain, divorce rates rose from 6000 to 60,000 due to war time strains on relationships.
2.5 Sex
2.5.1 Sex before marriage and homosexuality were all taboo in the years 1945-54 They still happened, but it was not acceptable to discuss or practise them openly
2.6 Racial minorities
2.6.1 The minor number of ethnic minorities meant that few Britons had much contact with other ethnic groups. Attitudes ranged from fear and contempt to curiosity and tolerance.
2.7 Consumerism
2.7.1 Many items of food remained rationed until 1954, spending on food was 1/3 of household expenditure. After clothing, fuel, transport and necessary services this did not leave much money for spending on luxuries.
2.7.2 People often mended and reused clothing. People were looking forward to more affluent times ahead. They were not obsessed with material goods.
3 Features of popular culture
3.1 Newspapers
3.1.1 Many independent, local region newspapers were closely linked with a political party. However there was a rise in 'press barons', who built up large chains of newspapers.
3.1.2 Often newspaper were used in support for political views, but as businessmen, they put profits before politics.
3.1.3 'Broadsheets' attracted elite, wealthier readers and charged heavy fees for advertising companies who wished to advertise in newspapers
3.1.4 For the 'tabloids', it was a case of total sales alone that dictated how much companies would pay for advertising space
3.2 Radio
3.2.1 Unlike fierce competition in newspaper sales, the BBC had a monopoly on radio broadcasting in the UK until 1973. Given that 90% of British homes had a wireless radio, the BBC had massive potential to influence national culture. The BBC would treat the audience as 'public' and not 'market' so they tried to improve cultural and educational standards.
3.2.2 Radio programmes were targeted at listeners at home. In this way, it promoted the domestication of leisure time. It also enhanced feelings of national identity through the ability to give immediacy to an event that reached most parts of the country.
3.2.3 On Sundays, when the light programme broadcast draery shows dedicated to religious services, many listeners abandoned the BBC and tuned into 'pirate radio' stations such as radio Luxembourg and radio Normandy who bradcasted into Britain from the sea.
3.3 Cinema
3.3.1 Cinema is a frm of escapism, and what was acceptable on screen might not necessarily be acceptable in the real world. The British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) acted to prevent bad language, se and subversive ideas from reaching British audiences.
3.3.2 Cinema predominantly attracted the working class, and increasingly youthful audience; what appealed to these cinema-goers might not appeal to everyone.
3.3.3 British cinema had always suffered from extremely strong American competition, around 80% of films in Britain were American.
3.3.4 The toning dwin of elite manners and accents made British films more popular. Ealing Studio comedies appealed heavily to British audiences. The 'spiv' film was very popular, it depicted a young, dangerous man, usually dressed like a gangster, profiting from criminal activity.

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