Britain is facing the most difficult and perhaps important period in its modern history.
The British electorate is divided. The voting this week will have a major effect on the country's social and economic future. But it appears the election results will do little to end political divisions that could extend into the next generation.
During the 20th century, Britain fought alongside and against Europeans. The peace that followed World War II helped make the British economy grow strong and many of its citizens wealthy.
This election will decide whether Britain's relationship with the European Union ends or continues.
During World War II, Britain faced years of punishing conflict, German bombings raids and self-sacrifice.
When the fighting ended in 1945, many British voters were ready for change. After Victory in Europe Day, voters rejected wartime leader Winston Churchill and his Conservative Party. They instead elected Labour Party candidates, who had promised to rebuild the economy.
In the nearly 75 years since then, there have been other big votes – in 1964, in 1979, 1997 and 2010.
This Thursday, the "Brexit election" will shape the country's future. Politicians and reporters use the term Brexit when talking about Britain's decision to exit, or withdraw, from the EU.
Churchill Ousted as Prime Minister in 1945
Churchill came to symbolize Britain in its war years: His fighting spirit and the famous victory sign are world famous. Yet that did had little effect on voters in 1945. They were tired of war and everyday shortages. Those voters provided the biggest election swing in the country's history.
No elections had been held since 1935. Churchill's Conservative Party had led a national government during the war. It was removed from power by the Labour Party, under Clement Attlee.
丘吉尔在战争年代成为英国的象征：他的战斗精神和著名的胜利标志举世闻名。 但这对1945年的选民影响不大。他们厌倦了战争和每天的短缺。 这些选民提供了该国历史上最大的选举挥舞。
自1935年以来，没有举行过任何选举。丘吉尔的保守党在战争期间领导了一个国民政府。 工党在克莱门特·艾德礼（Clement Attlee）的领导下将其撤职。
Labour candidates won on an economic program that observers likened to the 1930s New Deal in the United States under President Franklin Roosevelt. In Britain, the National Health Service and welfarestate came into being. The goal was full employment with social reform. These programs lasted until after Conservative Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979.
工党候选人赢得了一项经济计划，观察员将其比作1930年代美国总统富兰克林·罗斯福（Franklin Roosevelt）领导的美国新政。 在英国，国家卫生局和福利国家应运而生。 目标是通过社会改革实现充分就业。 这些计划一直持续到保守党玛格丽特·撒切尔（Margaret Thatcher）在1979年掌权之后。
Labour's Wilson ends Conservative rule in 1964
In the early 1960s, the Conservative government began to experience problems. The country still faced economic problems and the old party establishment could not keep up with social changes. Finally, party members were linked to the Profumo Affair, a sex scandal that had threatened national security.
Voters wanted change. Labour's Harold Wilson, an economist, seemed to represent the end of the class structure that had governed much of life in Britain. He had moved up in life from a small northern town to the job of prime minister.
在1960年代初期，保守党政府开始遇到问题。 该国仍然面临经济问题，旧的党组织无法跟上社会变革的步伐。 最终，该党成员与普罗富莫事件（Profum Affair）有联系，该丑闻曾威胁到国家安全。
选民希望改变。 工党经济学家哈罗德·威尔逊（Harold Wilson）似乎代表了统治英国大部分生活的阶级结构的终结。 他的生活从北部的一个小镇升为总理。
During the 1960s, Britain was known for pop culture, especially its rock-and-roll music. The Beatles were the country's greatest export. But Wilson had to fix the still-broken economy. He devalued the pound, British money, when government debt became too big.
Wilson also faced plots to throw out his leadership both in the 1960s and again when he served as prime minister in the 1970s.
在1960年代，英国以流行文化而闻名，尤其是摇滚音乐。 甲壳虫乐队是该国最大的出口商品。 但是威尔逊不得不修复仍然破裂的经济。 当政府债务过大时，他使英镑，英国货币贬值。
Thatcher taking power in 1979
The "Winter of Discontent" is a term used to describe a time in the late 1970s when British trade unions launched a series of nationwide strikes. This opened up the leadership to a new kind of prime minister: Margaret Thatcher. Her years would lead to sharp divisions in the country.
Thatcher was known as the "Iron Lady." Britain's right-wing press fully supported her government. Thatcher saw the unions as the "enemy" and wanted them destroyed. Under her leadership, Britain fought a war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands and won.
不满之冬”是一个术语，用来描述1970年代后期英国工会发起一系列全国性罢工的时期。 这为新任总理玛格丽特·撒切尔（Margaret Thatcher）开辟了领导层。 她的岁月将导致该国分裂。
撒切尔被称为“铁娘子”。 英国的右翼媒体完全支持她的政府。 撒切尔夫人将工会视为“敌人”，并希望将其销毁。 在她的领导下，英国与福克兰群岛的阿根廷战争并获胜。
Parts of British society profited under Thatcher during the 1980s. But then, unemployment and poverty worsened, especially in the north of the country where long-established industries, like mining, were destroyed. Thatcher won three consecutiveelections, but was removed from her own party over her opposition to strengthening Britain's partnership with the EU.
在1980年代撒切尔夫人统治下，英国社会的某些地区获利。 但是随后，失业和贫困加剧了，特别是在该国北部，采矿等历史悠久的工业遭到破坏。 撒切尔赢得了连续三届大选，但由于反对加强英国与欧盟的伙伴关系而被罢免。
Cameron's coalition wins 2010 elections
Brown led the country during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and the economic weakness that followed. The Associated Press notes that his leadership was less appealing to voters than Blair's.
In 2010, Brown faced a young David Cameron on election day. Cameron attempted to make Conservatives appear more caring than in years past.
Now British Conservative Party leader and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are about to show that politics in Britain are about one thing: Brexit, and no one knows how it will turn out.
Words in This Story：
symbolize – v.to represent; to be a sign of something
swing – n.the act of moving or changing from one position to another
welfare – adj. a social system in which a government is responsible for the economic and social condition of its citizens
scandal – n.an event in which people are shocked and because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong
consecutive– adj.following continuously
right-wing– adj.conservative or reactionary