British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940

British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940

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Since World War II, the British Labour Party has played a central role in dealing with complex international issues. Achieving real power in parliament for the first time, Labour governments have acted responsibly, and are usually in accord with the views of a substantial majority of the British people. Such was not always the case. In British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940, Henry R. Winkler synthesizes twenty years' study of the subject to offer the first full-scale treatment of the Labour Party's evolution in foreign affairs. The Labour Party came into existence at the beginning of the twentieth century to deal with the domestic problems of the working class, and it showed relatively little interest in foreign policy issues. In the aftermath of World War I, however, small groups of moderates made the case against the bitter rejection of the Versailles Treaty by many in the Labour Party and the trade union movement. Most of these argued that the League of Nations could be used to remedy some of the deficiencies of the settlement and that such a League must have the sanction of force if it was to be effective. During the 1930s, the failures of the League--in the Far East, Abyssinia, Spain, and Central Europe--compelled some of its advocates to conclude that, League or no League, the threat from Nazi Germany mandated support for a program of preparedness and rearmament even under the aegis of a hated National Government. The result, by 1937, was the final formal abandonment of many of the radical illusions of the twenties and thirties, as Labour reluctantly but formally assumed a posture that enabled it to share in the governance of wartime Britain and to take a key role in dealing with the international issues that emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War. This volume contains valuable lessons on the responsibilities of political parties as well as the pros and cons of specific policies. It is essential reading for understanding Britain's later stands as its leaders tried to adjust to Britain's diminished power in the post-World War II world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 207 pages
  • 157.5 x 238.8 x 10.2mm | 453.6g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 0765802643
  • 9780765802644

Review quote

-A lifetime of scholarly engagement lies behind this magisterial reassessment by Henry R. Winkler, an acknowledged authority on the foreign policy of the British Labour Party in the early twentieth century. Tracing the party's views through writings and political debates from its insular, anti-imperial, pacifist origins [in British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940], Winkler reveals a party gradually coming to terms with the realities of international affairs and the need for collective security in response to foreign threats. As an analysis of party policy, this judicious, nuanced interpretation can scarcely be bettered.- - Professor Emeritus Fred Leventhal, Boston University -Henry Winkler has put more than a half-century of scholarship to good use in providing this brief account of the British Labour party's approach to foreign affairs. [British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940] will be the standard introduction to the subject.- - Marvin Swartz, Department of History, University of Massachusetts -Henry R. Winkler has already published seminal studies of the League of Nations movement and of the British Labour Party's early internationalism. British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy is a mature work of characteristic shrewdness. Its account of the complex currents which shaped the party's thinking about international relations during the First World War and the 1920s in particular has not been bettered.- - Professor Ceadel, professor of politics, Oxford University -Professor Winkler has written an important book that fills a gap in the history of Britain's relations with the international world in the first half of the twentieth century. The attitude of the Labour Party towards international crises is often mentioned in isolated snippets, but [British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940] is the first full length study that puts these snippets into a wider context of Labour and National history. Winkler is to be congratulated for his clear-sighted analysis.- - Professor Andrew J.Crozier, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London "A lifetime of scholarly engagement lies behind this magisterial reassessment by Henry R. Winkler, an acknowledged authority on the foreign policy of the British Labour Party in the early twentieth century. Tracing the party's views through writings and political debates from its insular, anti-imperial, pacifist origins [in British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940], Winkler reveals a party gradually coming to terms with the realities of international affairs and the need for collective security in response to foreign threats. As an analysis of party policy, this judicious, nuanced interpretation can scarcely be bettered." - Professor Emeritus Fred Leventhal, Boston University "Henry Winkler has put more than a half-century of scholarship to good use in providing this brief account of the British Labour party's approach to foreign affairs. [British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940] will be the standard introduction to the subject." - Marvin Swartz, Department of History, University of Massachusetts "Henry R. Winkler has already published seminal studies of the League of Nations movement and of the British Labour Party's early internationalism. British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy is a mature work of characteristic shrewdness. Its account of the complex currents which shaped the party's thinking about international relations during the First World War and the 1920s in particular has not been bettered." - Professor Ceadel, professor of politics, Oxford University "Professor Winkler has written an important book that fills a gap in the history of Britain's relations with the international world in the first half of the twentieth century. The attitude of the Labour Party towards international crises is often mentioned in isolated snippets, but [British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940] is the first full length study that puts these snippets into a wider context of Labour and National history. Winkler is to be congratulated for his clear-sighted analysis." - Professor Andrew J.Crozier, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London "A lifetime of scholarly engagement lies behind this magisterial reassessment by Henry R. Winkler, an acknowledged authority on the foreign policy of the British Labour Party in the early twentieth century. Tracing the party's views through writings and political debates from its insular, anti-imperial, pacifist origins [in "British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940"], Winkler reveals a party gradually coming to terms with the realities of international affairs and the need for collective security in response to foreign threats. As an analysis of party policy, this judicious, nuanced interpretation can scarcely be bettered." - Professor Emeritus Fred Leventhal, Boston University "Henry Winkler has put more than a half-century of scholarship to good use in providing this brief account of the British Labour party's approach to foreign affairs. ["British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940"] will be the standard introduction to the subject." - Marvin Swartz, Department of History, University of Massachusetts "Henry R. Winkler has already published seminal studies of the League of Nations movement and of the British Labour Party's early internationalism. "British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy" is a mature work of characteristic shrewdness. Its account of the complex currents which shaped the party's thinking about international relations during the First World War and the 1920s in particular has not been bettered." - Professor Ceadel, professor of politics, Oxford University "Professor Winkler has written an important book that fills a gap in the history of Britain's relations with the international world in the first half of the twentieth century. The attitude of the Labour Party towards international crises is often mentioned in isolated snippets, but ["British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940"] is the first full length study that puts these snippets into a wider context of Labour and National history. Winkler is to be congratulated for his clear-sighted analysis." - Professor Andrew J.Crozier, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London "A lifetime of scholarly engagement lies behind this magisterial reassessment by Henry R. Winkler, an acknowledged authority on the foreign policy of the British Labour Party in the early twentieth century. Tracing the party's views through writings and political debates from its insular, anti-imperial, pacifist origins [in "British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940"], Winkler reveals a party gradually coming to terms with the realities of international affairs and the need for collective security in response to foreign threats. As an analysis of party policy, this judicious, nuanced interpretation can scarcely be bettered."- Professor Emeritus Fred Leventhal, Boston University"Henry Winkler has put more than a half-century of scholarship to good use in providing this brief account of the British Labour party's approach to foreign affairs. ["British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940"] will be the standard introduction to the subject."- Marvin Swartz, Department of History, University of Massachusetts"Henry R. Winkler has already published seminal studies of the League of Nations movement and of the British Labour Party's early internationalism. "British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy" is a mature work of characteristic shrewdness. Its account of the complex currents which shaped the party's thinking about international relations during the First World War and the 1920s in particular has not been bettered."- Professor Ceadel, professor of politics, Oxford University"Professor Winkler has written an important book that fills a gap in the history of Britain's relations with the international world in the first half of the twentieth century. The attitude of the Labour Party towards international crises is often mentioned in isolated snippets, but ["British Labour Seeks a Foreign Policy, 1900-1940"] is the first full length study that puts these snippets into a wider context of Labour and National history. Winkler is to be congratulatedshow more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Background 2. The First World War 3. Labour and the Paris Settlement 4. The First Labour Government 5. The Locarno Era 6. The Second Labour Government 7. The Early 1930s 8. The Triple Crisis 9. The Chamberlain Factor 10. Prelude to War Epilogue Notes Selected Bibliography Indexshow more

About Henry Winkler

Henry R. Winkler is president emeritus of the University of Cincinnati. He spent thirty years at Rutgers University where he retired as University Professor of History and executive vice president. He is the author of Paths Not Taken, Great Britain in the Twentieth Century, and The League of Nations Movement in Great Britain, 1914-1919.show more