Helen McCarthy
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Enlightened patriots
League, empire, nation
in The British people and the League of Nations
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This chapter presents an analysis of the movement's popular base by examining how the supporters of the League of Nations Union (LNU) positioned their cause in relation to interwar pacifism, popular militarism and imperialism. It specifically describes how the LNU's desire to create enlightened patriots out of Britons had implications which stretched beyond the classroom and lecture-hall and involved the careful positioning of the movement's liberal-internationalist values in relation to three major currents within interwar political culture: pacifism, militarism and imperialism. The League became a powerful symbol for post-war conciliation and exuded a ready appeal to the pacifically minded. The principles standing at the heart of the LNU's ‘enlightened patriotism’ helped to reshape British people's understanding of their nation's relationship with the rest of the world. The chapter then turns to explore how far the LNU's enlightened patriots were equally zealous imperialists. LNU leaders accepted the limited legal and institutional framework of the League.

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The British people and the League of Nations

Democracy, citizenship and internationalism, c.1918–45


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