Ernest Bevin

Ernest Bevin (9 March 1881 – 14 April 1951) was a British statesman, trade union leader, and Labour politician. He co-founded and served as General Secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union in the years 1922–1940, and served as Minister of Labour and National Service in the war-time coalition government. He succeeded in maximising the British labour supply, for both the armed services and domestic industrial production, with a minimum of strikes and disruption.


Ernest Bevin
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
In office
9 March 1951  14 April 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byThe Viscount Addison
Succeeded byRichard Stokes
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
27 July 1945  9 March 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byAnthony Eden
Succeeded byHerbert Morrison
Minister of Labour and National Service
In office
13 May 1940  23 May 1945
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byErnest Brown
Succeeded byRab Butler
Member of Parliament
for Woolwich East
In office
23 February 1950  14 April 1951
Preceded byGeorge Hicks
Succeeded byChristopher Mayhew
Member of Parliament
for Wandsworth Central
In office
22 June 1940  23 February 1950
Preceded byHarry Nathan
Succeeded byRichard Adams
General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
In office
1 January 1922  27 July 1945
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byArthur Deakin
Personal details
Born9 March 1881
Winsford, Somerset, England
Died14 April 1951(1951-04-14) (aged 70)
London, England
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)
Florence Anne Townley
(m. 1906)
Children1

His most important role came as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour government, 1945–1951. He gained American financial support, strongly opposed communism, and aided in the creation of NATO. Bevin was also instrumental to the founding of the Information Research Department (IRD), a secret propaganda wing of the UK Foreign Office which specialised in disinformation, anti-communism, and pro-colonial propaganda. Bevin's tenure also saw the end of British rule in India and the independence of India and Pakistan, as well as the end of the Mandate of Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel. His biographer Alan Bullock said that Bevin "stands as the last of the line of foreign secretaries in the tradition created by Castlereagh, Canning and Palmerston in the first half of the 19th century".[1]