Dads Navy Days - A brief social and political history

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Dads Navy Days | A brief history | Documents (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Maps (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Gambia - ship (1950), (1951), (1952) | Collision (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Gambia - crew (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4) | HMS Gambia - places (1950), (1951) | HMS Gambia - visitors | HMS Warrior - ship (1953), (Vietnam), (1954), (Equator), (Life), (More 1954) | HMS Warrior - crew | HMS Warrior - places (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Warrior - planes (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Other ships (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 3), (Page 4), (Page 5) | Before & After | ARA Independencia (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4), (Page 5), (Page 6) | Spithead '53 (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Chevron (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Liverpool | HMS Cook | Peanut Club | Other Sites

A brief social and political history:

Apart from the obvious naval historical interest these photos hold they also contain a view on the social and political history of the world. In the early 1950's the world was still rebuilding itself in the aftermath of WWII. In the UK, and other countries, great social changes were beginning. Countries realigned themselves - or had realignment forced on them. Russia decided that she'd lost too much in the War and gathered other countries as a defensive wall, any future war would be fought in Central Europe not the Motherland - and even as I write this (13th June 1999) we are seeing the results of that. (Last night British troops entered Kosovo and already a row has broken out because the Russians were there first.)

America had emerged as the Saviour of the Free World, and set about strengthening links with its allies, finding new ones and started its witchhunt against anything Communist, which in turn led it into conflicts all over the world, Korea, Vietnam and Granada to name three. It also had a new toy, the Atom bomb, which in the 1950's became THE fashion accessory that simply everyone wanted to have.

As for the UK, the Empire and Commonwealth, already a little shaky, was starting to fall apart as country after country demanded its independence. Malaya, Ceylon and Palestine in 1948. India and Indonesia in 1949, Egypt and Libya in 1951 and so on.

At home, rationing was still in force. That for bread ended in 1948, clothes in 1949, petrol and soap in 1950, sweets and sugar in 1953 and the end of all food rationing in 1954.

This then, was the world as my parents knew it, a world of shortages, inadequate housing and new wars springing up from the old. But things were not all bad, in 1948 the National Health Service was formed and for the first time everyone was entitled to free medical treatment, new housing estates were being built and the Social Services were being reformed. The Labour Government of the time assumed responsibility of nearly all industrial output, influencing where factories were built and so reducing unemployment. 1951 saw the 'Festival of Britain'. 1953 saw Hillary and Tenzing reach the top of Everest. Professor Piccard reaches farther beneath the sea than anyone else in history (10,000ft) and the first transatlantic telephone cable was planned. In 1954 Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than 4 minutes.

On 25th June 1950 North Korean troops invaded South Korea. US forces retaliated. On 6th September British forces arrived, and on 19th October the North Korean capital, Pyongyang was taken by UN forces. On 2nd November, however, the Chinese joined in and on 4th December took Pyongyang back. Fighting continued until the armistice, signed at Panmunjom, on 27th July 1953.

Mind you, the French were having their own troubles with their colony in Vietnam, where they'd been fighting since 1946. In 1954 they were defeated at Dien Bien Phu after an eight week siege and 20 hours of fighting. In 1955 the American backed Hgo Dinh Diem became Prime Minister of South Vietnam. The civil war between the North and South resumed. On 2nd August 1964 two US Warships were attacked in the Gulf of Tonking (off the North Vietnamese coast). America bombed North Vietnam in retaliation. In June 1965 the go ahead was given to use US ground forces. The rest, as they say, is history.

Notes and further reading:

I am not an historian, but I've tried to give the correct dates for the brief history above. Any shortcomings with any of the historical notes contained within my pages are obviously my own fault and so are any inferences I make from them. An example of this is the last couple of words on dads Certificate of Character from his school that read "He should make a useful workman". To the people living 50 years ago this may have seemed perfectly normal, but as we approach the Millennium it seems that back then your life was planned and you got no better than your upbringing or class entitled you to.

For much fuller information on these subjects please refer to the web pages below. They contain a wealth of information that is researched far better than I've got the time or inclination to go into here.

http://www.arab.net - all things to do with the East

http://www.history1900s.about.com/ - history in general, with links to other sites

http://www.kimsoft.com/korea/eyewit.htm - a history of Korea and the war

http://www.vwam.com/vets/ - a history of Vietnam, the war and humanitarian aid

 

Dads Navy Days | A brief history | Documents (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Maps (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Gambia - ship (1950), (1951), (1952) | Collision (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Gambia - crew (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4) | HMS Gambia - places (1950), (1951) | HMS Gambia - visitors | HMS Warrior - ship (1953), (Vietnam), (1954), (Equator), (Life), (More 1954) | HMS Warrior - crew | HMS Warrior - places (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Warrior - planes (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Other ships (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 3), (Page 4), (Page 5) | Before & After | ARA Independencia (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4), (Page 5), (Page 6) | Spithead '53 (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Chevron (Page 1), (Page 2) | HMS Liverpool | HMS Cook | Peanut Club | Other Sites

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This page last modified 18th April 2005