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Editors: Lucy Bland and Richard Carr

This volume offers a series of new essays on the British left – broadly interpreted – during the First World War. Dealing with grassroots case studies of unionism from Bristol to the North East of England, and of high politics in Westminster, these essays probe what changed, and what remained more or less static, in terms of labour relations. For those interested in class, gender, and parliamentary politics or the interplay of ideas between Britain and places such as America, Ireland and Russia, this work has much to offer. From Charlie Chaplin to Ellen Wilkinson, this work paints a broad canvass of British radicalism during the Great War.

Matthew Kidd

4 Labour and socialism during the First World War in Bristol and Northampton Matthew Kidd Over the last thirty years, formerly dominant interpretations of British political, cultural and social history have come under sustained attack from a diverse range of ‘revisionist’ scholars. This historiographical vanguard has, to varying extents, drawn attention to the enduring prevalence of populist political attitudes and trans-class social identities in early twentieth-century Britain. While this revisionist challenge has provided a valuable corrective to stage

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
Jack Southern

5 A stronghold of liberalism? The north-east Lancashire cotton weaving districts and the First World War Jack Southern The First World War fundamentally altered the cotton ‘weaving belt’ areas of Lancashire and was, despite a temporary reprieve in 1919/20, to spell the start of a slow, painful, economic and social decline. The disruption of trade arising from the war ultimately commenced the transformation of an area that prided itself on its independence and ability to ‘make’ money, to one that by the 1930s many operatives and owners looked to escape. As a

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
Marc Mulholland

10 Irish Labour and the ‘Co-operative Commonwealth’ in the era of the First World War Marc Mulholland This chapter takes a long-run view of attitudes to socialism in Ireland before, during and immediately following the First World War. In doing so, it highlights the specificity of the Irish form of socialism in the idea of the ‘Co-operative Commonwealth’. To begin with, then, we should note that from its origins in the mid-1820s until the 1870s, socialism as it developed in Europe was overwhelmingly an anti-statist ideology. It envisaged future society as based

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
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Philip M. Taylor

Chapter 21 The First World War The locomotive of historical change was set in full flight in 1914 for both warfare and propaganda. The war that began with dancing in the streets throughout Europe’s capitals ended four years later with an armistice signed in the Compiègne Forest amid sorrow, tragedy, and recrimination. It was a war that began with traditional volunteer armies and ended with all the belligerents having introduced conscription. It saw the destruction of four European empires – the Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman – and the creation

in Munitions of the Mind
Helen Boak

dented. Kathleen Canning has lamented the lack of scholarship exploring the significance for the post-war gender order of the transformations in women’s lives wrought by the war, though Benjamin Ziemann has challenged the appropriateness of the word ‘transformation’, an indication that the war’s legacy for women in the Weimar Republic is contested. 5 In general, historians divide into three schools of thought over the impact and legacy of the First World War on women’s role in German society: some see the Great War as a catalyst for change, some believe it merely

in Women in the Weimar Republic
Jane Martin

8 Revolutionary politics and the First World War Therefore, being one of those individuals who have a trick of gravitating towards a minority, I find myself doing my little best in the direction of inducing British trade unionists to help their suffering comrades in Russia. Difficult though, at this terrible time, the task may be, I am encouraged by the thought that this organised British working class movement for their relief will help to strengthen that world-wide solidarity of Labour – the one great weapon with which the workers in any country can

in Making socialists
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A defeat borne of nationalist bloodshed
Ashley Lavelle

chapter 3 The First World War: a defeat borne of nationalist bloodshed The outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 was a calamitous defeat not just for humanity at large, but also for revolutionary socialism and internationalism. An undeniably imperialist war, the conflict was one in which ‘millions of people laid down their lives to wrest a few yards of land from the enemy’ (Deutscher, 1954: 212). Rosa Luxemburg recoiled in disgust at this exhibition of capitalist barbarism: ‘Shamed, dishonoured, wading in blood and dripping with filth … an orgy of anarchy … so

in The politics of betrayal
Ellen Wilkinson and the unionisation of shop workers, 1915–18
Matt Perry

Wilkinson herself made). Thus, similar objections greeted substitution in the Co-operative Movement and dilution in engineering. The AUCE’s rival, the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks (NAUSAWC, or the ‘Shop Assistants’ Union’), rejected the notion of equal pay for substituted labour, instead calling for 75 per cent of male wages.10 There was not even a consensus among 128  Labour, British radicalism and the First World War Labour women in favour of equal pay. On 28 July 1917, Wilkinson attended the Standing Joint Committee of Women

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
Nigel Grizzard

Introduction This period saw the transformation of Leeds Jewry from a migrant community to a community of Englishmen of the Jewish persuasion. The impact of the Aliens Act of 1905 on the community, the slowdown of immigration and the rising proportion of English-born children all changed the face of the community. The outbreak of the First World War put the Jewish community in the political firing line, with discussions about Jewish loyalty in the local press. The period 1914–18 was one

in Leeds and its Jewish Community