Arthur Koestler, the twentieth-century ‘sceptic’,
and other Cold War pilgrims
Among the renegades who embraced a wide range of movements and causes –
in some instances, so many that the break with radicalism appears as just one
step in a long series – probably the most egregious is Arthur Koestler, the
Hungarian-born communist and novelist who became an equally dedicated
anti-communist. His biographer Cesarani has warned of the need to exercise caution in relation to Koestler’s own self-serving interpretation of his life
(Cesarani, 1998: vii). Thus
5 Vaccine production, national security anxieties and the
unstable state in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Mexico
Since pre-Columbian times, Mexico has
experienced notable periods of progress in science and technology. Political,
economic and social problems have, however, often interrupted these
developments, thus the country has been forced to rebuild
This chapter demonstrates the extent of women's involvement in a theatre of the Second World War, the Battle of the Atlantic, which in the popular memory is an entirely masculine affair. As victims of the Battle of the Atlantic, women had a particularly high value in the propaganda war. The chapter shows the diversity of contemporary and life-writing texts produced for women, about women and by women in relation to their involvement in this particular theatre. The ENIGMA texts are usually marked by a continuing discretion and deference to the male on gender issues. The chapter also shows how concerns about national morale, a willingness to utilise existing stereotypes about gender, led to the production of strikingly similar narratives to explain the involvement of women in the war at sea.
Family, gender and post-colonial issues in three Vietnam War texts
This chapter examines Vietnam through the post-colonial observer, J. M. Coetzee; the colonised, Le Ly Hayslip; and the one-time American soldier, Oliver Stone. Coetzee ensures that the reader is suspicious of suburban mythographer Eugene Dawn's reading of familial psychology. Like Coetzee, Stone was burdened by history and nation, and by gender and family, on public display during the film's making and release as his second marriage broke up. Hayslip's descriptions of the Vietnam War contrast starkly with Dawn's neurotically neat reading, and with Lyndon Johnson's simple image of family that stands behind it. Stone, known for personal engagement with issues in his films, made Heaven and Earth as a soldier, a father and a man, something elliptically recognised in Hayslip's lionising of him. Stone's film exemplifies the problems of responding to a text like Hayslip's, complicated by his own status as a combatant in Vietnam.
This chapter examines the British Labour Party’s attitude to Irish home rule and partition, the fortunes of the party in Edwardian Belfast, and the reasons for the collapse of its Irish organisation during the third home rule crisis, 1912-14. It argues that Belfast Labour’s problems had nothing to do with the reputedly divisive influence of socialist, James Connolly, during his time as an activist in the city in this period. For Labour, the primary contradiction was not the Catholic-Protestant divide but the contrast between a British Labour movement which was largely in favour of home rule, and a Belfast working class which was largely Unionist and, by extension, aligned with the Conservatives on the constitutional question.
This chapter looks at the British Labour cabinet’s response to events in Ireland in the wake of World War Two. That response was coloured by the lingering hostility in Britain regarding Éire’s neutrality during the War. The Irish reaction to Labour’s 1945 election victory is considered with reference to the fears and expectations of both unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland. Among nationalists, there was raised optimism of the end to partition, while unionists, who were close to the Conservatives, were at first anxious about the Labour agenda of a party with historical connections to Irish nationalism. The chapter proceeds to show how quickly a growing relationship between Stormont and Westminster laid those unionist fears to rest, while at the same time causing nationalists to fear that their hopes would be dashed.
This chapter examines security policy in Northern Ireland under the Labour government of 1974 to 1979. It utilises government archival material and the private papers of key protagonists to explore a substantial shift in strategy that primarily reflected the changing dynamics of the conflict, but which also revealed certain important distinctions between Labour and the Conservatives. It reconstructs discussions and disagreements between ministers, civil servants and senior members of the British security forces during the formulation and implementation of these changes as senior army figures in particular viewed the new policy to be too restrictive. The new strategy prompted criticism from the Conservative party, who regarded it as not tough enough, and from backbenchers of the Labour party, who considered it too aggressive. Ultimately, the chapter considers the inherent weaknesses of Labour’s security policies during these years and the Provisional IRA’s ability to adapt to the new conditions of the conflict.
There is a considerable, often highly polemical, literature on Labour’s 1980s-90s internal battles, as there is increasingly on British political debates and policies towards Northern Ireland in these years. Far less has been written on the intellectual roots of the rival positions advanced. This chapter attempts to remedy that deficiency, exploring the intellectual origins (especially in varied kinds of Marxist thought, and in rival readings of Irish history) of the often bitter disputes. On one side stood a group of positions broadly describable as anti-imperialist, and enjoining support for Irish nationalism, Republicanism and of course (though most contentiously and sometimes mutedly) for armed struggle. On the other lay a constellation of stances which was considerably more diffuse still: ‘two nations’ views, ‘primacy of class politics’, and ‘primacy of peacemaking’ perspectives. The chapter examines, then, the intellectual rigour and dynamics behind these multiple initiatives, lobbies and clashes.
After the British Labour Party adopted the position of favouring Irish unity by consent in 1981, it emphasised the importance of improving Anglo-Irish relations, believing that institutionalising and normalising cross-border co-operation, as well as harmonising the social and economic systems of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, would diminish the relevance of the border. To examine the implications of that position, this chapter considers Labour’s relationship with the Republic of Ireland between 1981 and 1994, with reference to its bipartisan support for government policy and the developments and debates over its Northern Ireland policy. Labour’s emphasis on improving relations is placed in the wider context of political developments in both countries. The period is also contrasted with the more fractious relationship between the Labour Party and the Republic of Ireland in the 1970s, and the notably improved relationship between the two governments in the 1990s, particularly under the leadership of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern.
Tony Blair, New Labour and Northern Ireland, 1993–2007
This chapter considers the origins and development of New Labour policy on Northern Ireland between 1993 and 2007. It addresses two key themes: what was the relationship between New Labour’s policy in Northern Ireland and the wider Blairite ‘project’, and how far did the party’s position in this period really radically depart from that of previous ‘Old Labour’ leaderships? Many commentators echo Tony Blair and Mo Mowlam’s assessment that New Labour shifted Labour’s ‘traditional pro-nationalist’ position of unity by consent to ‘a political settlement which could command the support of both communities’, a formulation deemed much more acceptable to unionists. This chapter will suggest that in fact there is rather more continuity than discontinuity between Old and New Labour positions than either Blair or his critics would care to admit.