Europe's Democracy and “American Imperialism”:
Despite Truman's Election the Fear Persists
Any inquiry into the present state of relations between progressives in Britain and in the United States must start with the recent presidential election. In this country we believed Dr. Gallup too; and, as a matter of fact, the impact of Truman’s liberal-labor victory was perhaps greater here than in America itself—if only because Europeans can no longer afford to take political upsets philosophically.
In this country it was the Conservative party, and in particular Mr. Churchill, that felt the shock, just as in France it was General de Gaulle. The day after the vote count, Labor was more firmly in the saddle here than it has been since its own astounding sweep in 1945, and the prospects of winning the crucial 950 election had become distinctly brighter. The Truman victory also sharpened the dispute between the Churchill-Woolton-Beaverbrook wing of official Conservatism, which clings to laissez-faire and hopes to win the next election on the furious reaction against planning and controls, and the Eden-Butler-Stanley wing, which plumps for Tory-controlled planning (and a modified version of corporatism). Finally, the election destroyed the basis of Churchill’s notorious Llandudno speech of last October, with its open appeal to the United States to bring matters to a head over the Berlin dispute in the near future. Whether or not President Truman revives the projected Vinson mission, it seems clear that “atomic diplomacy” will be at a discount for some considerable time. Labor party headquarters were in any case inclined to make the Llandudno speech the basis of a general “warmongering” charge against Churchill and the Tories at the next general election; what held them back was fear of a Dewey administration (although Mr. Attlee and the Cabinet are said to have received very accurate pre-election forecasts—among the few that there were). Now that this danger is past, it is pretty certain that the next election will largely be fought on the peace issue, and that the Conservatives will be thrown on the defensive.
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