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Financial policy, coalition and Sir Kingsley Wood, 1940–1

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-96
JournalTwentieth Century British History
Volume26
Issue number1
Early online date10 Sep 2014
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2015

Abstract

There has recently been renewed interest in British politics during the Second World War. Meanwhile the financial strategy pursued by the Churchill government—widely considered an important step towards ‘Keynesian’ measures—has long received extensive attention from scholars. This article makes a fresh contribution to the literature, exploring the process through which the political legitimacy of that strategy was established and communicated in the first year of the coalition. It places particular emphasis upon the role of Sir Kingsley Wood, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in integrating the coalition government. He gradually constructed support for the policy and worked to avoid destabilizing rows over finance between the major parties. The article concentrates on the crucial period during 1940 and 1941 when policies were being simultaneously formulated and explained. It seeks to give a sense of how Wood’s policies were justified—particularly the methods and language employed to sell them—in the context of coalition.

    Research areas

  • Conservative party, finance, Churchill coalition, Second World War

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