The six years after the Second World War were an extraordinary period in British history, with the creation of a national health service, the
first Family Allowances act and the building of a million new homes. Wars often prompt huge, unexpected changes to the political landscape. But is the same true of other types of crisis? Peter Hennessy, Farhan Samanani and Jane Alison discuss.

Two West Indian Waitresses, painted by Eva Frankfurther

Eva Frankfurther, West Indian Waitresses, c.1955 (from the exhibition, ‘Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965’ Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK)