Charlie Chaplin’s war
A British radical in tumultuous times
in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
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Carr’s chapter builds on his recent biography of the filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, who rose to become the most famous man in cinema, and one of the famous in the world, all told. British born Chaplin would view the war from the comfortable surroundings of Los Angeles, California, but he would be profoundly shaped by its developments. This essay teases out his reaction to the conflict, and the controversy his reluctance to serve at the front generated. It then moves on to discuss how the conflict affected his own left wing politics, which were always of a radical nature but did not universally subscribe to the increasing consensus that the big state was a force for good.

Editors: Lucy Bland and Richard Carr


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