The United States entered the war after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. In August 1942, Churchill met with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. The Soviet Union had entered the war in June 1941, changing sides after being invaded by Germany. Almost immediately, Stalin had demanded that the British open a second fighting front in Western Europe to relieve the strain on the Soviet Union. Churchill refused saying that it would be disastrous to open a second front in 1942 because the allies were unprepared.
In February 1945, the "Big Three" met in Yalta in the Soviet Union. The end of the war in Europe was in sight. The three leaders agreed on plans to occupy defeated Germany. Churchill distrusted Stalin, believing correctly that the Soviet Union would keep the territories in Eastern Europe that its troops had occupied. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, almost 5 years to the day after Churchill became prime minister.
About 360,000 British servicemen, servicewomen, and civilians died in the war. Great sections of London, most of Coventry and other cities had been destroyed by bombs. The war had shattered the economy, and the UK had piled up huge depts. The United States and the Soviet Union came out of the war as the world's most powerful nations.
In July, Churchill met with Truman and Stalin in Potsdam, Germany, to discuss the administration of Germany, to discuss the administration of Germany. But Churchill's presence at the meeting was cut short. He had lost his post as prime minister. An election had been held in Britain. The Conservatives suffered an overwhelming defeat by the Labour party. The Labour party's promise of sweeping socialist reform appealed to the voters. The defeat hurt Churchill deeply.
Clement Attlee became prime minister, and the Labour Party stayed in power until 1951. During those six years, the UK became a welfare state. The nations social security system was expanded to provide welfare for the people "from the cradle to the grave." The Labour government also began to nationalize industry by putting private businesses under public control. The nationalized industries included the Bank of England, the coal mines, the iron and steel industries, the railways, the road haulage industry, gas, electricity and water.
After World War II, the peoples of Africa and Asia increased their demands for independence. In 1947, India and Pakistan became independent nations within the Commonwealth, and Newfoundland became a province of Canada.
While the UK was breaking up its empire during the post-war years, other nations of Western Europe joined together in various organizations to unite economically and politically. The UK was reluctant to join them. Throughout history, the UK had preferred to stay out of European affairs, except to keep the balance of power in Europe. By joining the new organization, the UK feared it might lose some of its independence, and would also be turning its back on the Commonwealth.
In the 1950's, the UK refused to join the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Most important, it did not join the European Economic Community (EEC), which eventually became the European Union. This association, also called the European Common Market, was set up by France and five other nations. After the EEC showed signs of succeeding, the UK set up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with six other nations. But it was only a mild success, and the UK later regretted its refusal to join the EEC.
In the years after World War II, British foreign policy was closely allied with that of the United States. The UK joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and fought in the Korean War (1950-1953).
In the 1970 elections, the Conservative Party regained control of the government. Edward Heath became prime minister. In 1971, agreement was reached on terms for the UK's entry into the EEC. The UK joined the EEC in 1973. But continuing inflation, fuel shortages, major strikes, and other matters caused serious problems for the Conservative government.
Elections held in May 1979 returned the conservatives to power. Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. She became the first woman ever to hold the office. As Prime Minister, Thatcher worked to reduce government involvement in the economy and promote the interests of the wealthy. Her policy was also to attempt to dismantle the Welfare State and make most services payable. A further major policy was the ending of manufacture and the production of resources, especially coal and steel, in order to focus on providing a "Service Economy" to the world.
Initially this was successful as the government sold its interests in many industries to private citizens and businesses, and income to the state budget suddenly increased. But, in the words of Harold Macmillan, a former Conservative prime minister, she "sold off the family silver".
Since 1833, the UK has ruled the Falkland Islands, which lie about 515 kilometers east of the southern coast of Argentina. But Argentina has long claimed ownership of the islands. In April 1982, argentine troops invaded and occupied the Falklands. British and Argentine forces fought for control of the Falkland Islands. The Argentine forces surrendered in June 1982.
In November 1990, Thatcher was forced to resign as Conservative Party leader and prime minister, as the country started to become bankrupt, leaving a dwindling super rich elite. She was the only prime minister ever to the bundled out of office. To the amazement of many of population, the Conservatives managed to hold power until elections held in May 1997 resulted in a landslide victory for the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, ending the Conservative Party's 18-year period in government. Blair had reformed the Labour Party, abandoning some of its leftwing policies to broaden its appeal to voters.
Aboriginal peoples, known in Canada as the First Nations for about 10,000 years, have inhabited Canada.
This is the current title used by Canada to describe the various societies of the indigenous peoples, called Native Americans in the U.S. They have also been known as Native Canadians, Aboriginal Americans, or Aboriginals, and in fact are officially called Indians in the Indian Act, which defines the status of First Nations, and in the Indian Register, the official record of members of First Nations. Today ''Indian'' is generally offensive and came about from the very first explorers confusing North America with Asia.
The First Nations people of Canada are made up of four main groups, excluding the Inuit in the north and Metis. The collective term for all three aboriginal groups is First Peoples. Each of these main groups contained many tribes, each of which had adapted to their environments which were all slightly different. The following geographic areas subdivided the four main groups:
The Pacific coast and mountains. Among the largest tribes were the Haida, Nootka, and Salish. They made glorious totem poles, a trait often attributed to other tribes as well.
The Plains. The plains nations included primarily the Sioux, Blackfoot, the Plains-Cree, and the Plains-Ojibwa. These people used tipis as their homes, covered with skins. Their main sustenance was the buffalo, which they used as food, and for all their garments. Tribal leaders often wore large headdresses made of feather, something which is wrongfully attributed to all first nations people.
The St. Lawrence valley. The largest group near the St. Lawrence waterway was the Iroquois. They included the Huron peoples of central Ontario and the League of Five Nations who lived in the USA, South of Lake Ontario.
The North-East Woodlands. These included the Algonquints, Mi'kmaqs, the Innu in Quebec, and the Cree and Ojibwa in Northern Ontario and Manitoba.
The term is used to designate bands of aboriginal people for whom reserves have been provided under the Canadian Indian Act. A representative body in existence today for Canadian First Nations is the Assembly of First Nations.
The Inuit left are traditionally hunters who fish and hunt whale, walrus, and seal by kayak or by boat or by waiting at airholes in the ice. They use igloos as hunting or emergency shelters. They make use of animal skins in their clothing, and Dog sleds that are used for travel pulled by Inuit Sled Dogs, though snowmobiles have largely replaced this mode of travel.
The European arrival caused a great deal of damage to the Inuit way of life, causing mass death and other suffering. Around 1970, Inuit leaders came forward and pushed for respect for the Inuit and their territories. One of the resulting landclaims agreements created the Canadian territory of Nunavut, the largest landclaims agreement in Canadian history. In recent years, circumpolar cultural and political groups have come together to promote the Inuit people and to fight against ecological problems, such as greenhouse effect and resulting global warming, which heavily affects the Inuit population due to the melting and thinning of the arctic ice and possible extinction of arctic mammals.