VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > B. Europe, 1945–2000 > 6. Western Europe, 1945–2000
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
(See Nov. 11)
 
6. Western Europe, 1945–2000
 
EUROPE, 2000 (MAP)
 
a. Britain
 
Monarchs: George VI (r. 1936–52); Elizabeth II (r. 1952– ).  1
Prime ministers: Clement Atlee (1945–51, Labour); Winston Churchill (1951–55, Conservative); Anthony Eden (1955–57, Conservative); Harold Macmillan (1957–63, Conservative); Sir Alec Douglas-Home (1963–64, Conservative); Harold Wilson (1964–70, Labour); Edward Heath (1970–74, Conservative); Harold Wilson (1974–76, Labour); James Callaghan (1976–79, Labour); Margaret Thatcher (1979–90, Conservative); John Major (1990–97, Conservative); Tony Blair (1997– , Labour).  2
 
1945, May 7
 
Germans surrendered unconditionally to representatives of the U.S., USSR, France, and Great Britain in Reims, France. Britain lost a total of 398,000 military personnel over the course of World War II.  3
 
May 23
 
Prime Minister Winston Churchill resigned in the face of the collapse of the wartime coalition, established in 1940, of the Conservative and Labour Parties.  4
 
July 5
 
In an unexpected victory in the first general parliamentary elections in ten years, the British Labour Party won 388 seats out of 640.  5
 
July 26
 
A new Labour cabinet, with Clement R. Atlee as prime minister, was formed. Atlee replaced Churchill for the later sessions of the Potsdam Conference (See July 17–Aug. 2). The new government immediately embarked on an ambitious program of socialization. A brief period of postwar optimism was followed by an extended regime of economic austerity, due chiefly to the profound disruption of Britain's economy caused by the war. To facilitate the reconversion to peacetime production, demobilization of manpower and industry was carried out only gradually.  6
 
Oct. 15
 
The House of Commons voted to extend the government's wartime emergency powers for five years, to make up for the cessation of lend-lease, which came as a deep shock to Britain's economy.  7
 
Dec. 6
 
The United States granted a loan of $3.75 billion to Great Britain. Canada subsequently provided a loan of $1.25 billion. However, both these loans were exhausted by the end of 1947 due to high prices on the American market.  8
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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