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Economic lessons of 1945

Businesses mothballed, fears of mass unemployment. Welcome to postwar Britain in 1945. Ring any bells? What can the UK economy learn from the postwar period?

Businesses mothballed or trying to get back on their feet. The government paying the wages of more than seven million employees. Working from home as the new norm. Could we have predicted the impact that Covid-19 would have? Not necessarily. But perhaps there are lessons to be taken from another era that experienced a huge shock - 1945, at the end of World War Two. Getting back to a peacetime economy from a war footing was a big leap for British businesses. Evan Davis and guests discuss whether that era highlights the do’s and don’ts of how to kick-start our present day economy.

Margaret MacMillan - Emeritus Professor of International History, University of Oxford
Catherine Schenk, Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Oxford
David Edgerton, Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History, King’s College London.
Jim Tomlinson, Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow.

Produced in association with The Open University

Producer: Lesley McAlpine

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Last Thursday 20:30


  • Last Thursday 20:30

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