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After World War II socialist governments came to power in several countries and set about nationalizing heavy industry, especially coal. The goal was not efficiency but to put the union leaders (who had a loud voice in socialist parties) in a position to dictate terms for the benefit of the workers, rather than the nation as a whole. In no case were the workers put in control, though [[Tito]] talked of that in Yugoslavia.
After World War II many Europeans wanted strong state action to insure economic development since they blamed the timidity and conservatism of private capital for the economic dislocations of the 1930s. Nationalization in Britain, concerted economic planning in France, and a low-key economic management in Germany all grew out of this same impulse. Many of the smaller nations also utilized central economic planning in some form. The common features of all the planning systems were an increase in cooperation between government and the private sector, and the guiding of the economy along selected growth lines. Economic planning became the province of the technocrats rather than of the political <ref> Sima Lieberman, "The Ideological Foundations of Western European Planning" ''Journal of European Economic History'' 1981 10(2): 343-371. </ref>
The history of British nationalization began with 1) program formation during the 1930s and World War II; 2) widespread implementation in 1945-47; 3) scaled-back activities in 1947-51; 4) stagnation and program retreat in 1951-79; 5) privatization under [[Margaret Thatcher]]'s government after 1979-1990; 6) Labour acceptance of privitization under [[Tony Blair]].
In the years 1900-18 demands for nationalization were a byword of the British Left, especially socialist organizations. The dominant influences were Fabianism and syndicalism. The interwar period saw a number of demands for nationalization and redefinitions of proposals. However, the Labour governments of 1924 and 1929-31 failed to implement nationalization.
Since the end of the 19th century, British miners had loudly advocated the nationalization of mines. Before the 1930s the Miners' Federation supported a workers' control model; however, between 1931 and 1936, it abandoned this model of nationalization and adopted a public corporation model. Political pragmatism, efficiency, and the existence of a public corporation model induced the Miners' Federation to favor such a switch.
====World War II and after====
The mobilization of the national economy during World War II was immediately followed by the ascendancy of the Labour Party from 1945 to 1951. The Labour platform of nationalization, planning, and creation of a welfare state was translated into the nationalization of transport, energy, and heavy industries, while other sectors of the economy were left untouched.
* Foreman-Peck, James. ''Public and Private Ownership of British Industry, 1820-1990.'' (1994). 386 pp.
* Gourvish, Terry, and Mike Anson, ''British Rail, 1974-1997: From Integration To Privatisation,'' (2004) 700 pages; [ excerpt and text search]
* Hannah, Leslie. ''Engineers, Managers, and Politicians: The First Fifteen Years of Nationalised Electricity Supply in Britain.'' (1982). 336 pp.
* Millward, Robert. "The 1940s Nationalizations in Britain: Means to an End or the Means of Production?" ''Economic History Review'' 1997 50 (2): 209-234.
* Millward, Robert and Singleton, John, eds. ''The Political Economy of Nationalisation in Britain, 1920-1950.'' (1995). 325 pp.