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Durham e-Theses
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The British labour party and the League of Nations 1933-5

Corthorn, Paul Steven (1999) The British labour party and the League of Nations 1933-5. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines the divisions over foreign policy that emerged within the Labour movement from 1933, and culminated in a debate between its leaders at the 1935 party conference. In a steadily worsening international environment, pacifists and the Left had tentatively begun to develop influential critiques of the party line, which through the efforts of Henderson, Dalton, Attlee, Bevin and Citrine was becoming increasingly committed to a sanctionist League of Nations. However, it was only in the summer of 1935, with Mussolini's impending invasion of Abyssinia, that the pacifists, led by Lansbury and Ponsonby, the leaders of the Labour party in the two Houses of Parliament, and the leftist Socialist League, led by Cripps, openly began to voice their dissent from the party line. In discussing the various dimensions of this debate, this thesis draws on a wider range of source material than previous accounts of Labour's foreign policy in these years. In addition to the frequently consulted published material, it makes extensive use of private records - those of the Labour party itself, the TUC and also of key individuals. This thesis offers a substantial revision of the established literature, which has tended to overlook the significance of the Labour party's debates over the imposition of sanctions in 1935. It argues that the way in which these intra-party conflicts were resolved at the 1935 party conference placed the movement firmly behind armed collective security. In doing so it re-established Labour's political credibility and facilitated its inclusion in Churchill's wartime government.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:45

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