Labour History Review

Preparing for the People's War: Labour and Patriotism in the 1930s

Labour History Review (2002), 67, (2), 171–185.

Abstract

In the 1930s the Labour Party was engaged in an intense debate over the direction of its foreign policy in response to the rise of expansionist fascist powers in Europe. The left of the party rejected rearmament by the National government. Others, like Hugh Dalton, called for rearmament. Some historians have seen this second stance as incompatible with socialism, describing it as an adjustment to reality. This article argues that the Labour re-armers accommodated national defence within their socialism, and that this benefited the party when in 1940 it entered the Churchill coalition and in 1945 when it faced the electorate.

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Ward, Paul