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Democracy, citizenship and internationalism, c.1918–45
Author: Helen McCarthy

In the decades following Europe's first total war, millions of British men and women looked to the League of Nations as the symbol and guardian of a new world order based on international co-operation. Founded in 1919 to preserve peace between its member-states, the League inspired a rich, participatory culture of political protest, popular education and civic ritual that found expression in the establishment of voluntary societies in dozens of countries across Europe and beyond. Through the hugely popular League of Nations Union (LNU), this pro-League movement touched Britain in profound ways. Foremost amongst the League societies, the LNU became a pioneering advocate of democratic accountability and popular engagement in the making of foreign policy. This book offers an account of this popular League consciousness, revealing the extraordinarily vibrant character of associational life between the wars. It explores the complex constituencies making up the popular League movement and shows how internationalism intersected with class, gender, religion and party politics during a period of profound social, cultural and political change.

Helen McCarthy

1 The League of Nations, public opinion and the New Diplomacy The Democratic Spirit may be relied upon if the democratic mind is sufficiently informed. (Lord Robert Cecil, 1920)1 In short, the Union believes that the problem of maintaining world peace is mainly a problem of education. (Report on the Work of the LNU, 1921)2 In the official history rushed out by the LNU in summer 1935, its author justified the Peace Ballot as a unique exercise which had, for the first time, made knowable the will of the people on vital questions of foreign policy. ‘If our

in The British people and the League of Nations
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The Anglo-American new world order from Wilson to Bush (Second edition)
Editor: Andrew Williams

This book explores the way in which the Anglo-American new world order (NWO) debate changed by 9/11, and the encouragement this has given to the 'neoconservatives' or 'neocons' within the George W. Bush Administration. It examines the policy-making process as it developed before the Versailles Conference of 1919. An extensive literature exists on the 'lessons of Versailles' and particularly on the 'failure' of the League of Nations (LON), one that started even before the signature of the Treaty of Versailles. The book then explores how the Conference and the LON attempted to frame the immediate problems of the post-war period. It shows how NWO architects' thinking developed in what might be called the area of 'global security' from the period of the First World War until the present. The clear evidence is that the American thinking on the NWO had a huge impact in Britain's processes in the same direction. President Theodore Roosevelt shared a deep suspicion of British motives for the post-war settlement in line with most Americans. He attributed blame for the inter-war crisis as much to British and French intransigence and balance of power politics at Versailles as to German aggression. The results of the Versailles settlement hung like a cloud over Allied relationships during the Second World War and gave a powerful impetus in American circles for an attitude of 'never again'. The variety of historical archival material presented provided the background to the current and historical American obsession with creating the world order.

In the name of others

The book traces the history of international humanitarianism from the anti-slavery movement to the end of the Cold War. It is based on an extensive survey of the international literature and is retold in an original narrative that relies on a close examination of the sources. It explains how relief entered both the national and the supranational institutions' agenda, and the programmes of non-governmental organisations, contributing to shape the relationship between the global North and South. The reconstruction of humanitarianism’s long history unfolds around some crucial moments and events: the colonial expansion of European countries, the two World Wars and their aftermaths, the emergence of a new postcolonial order. Salvatici looks especially closely at the major actors of aid operations (such as the Red Cross, Save the Children, the United Nations agencies, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders) and highlights how the meaning of international humanitarianism has changed over time.

Rhiannon Vickers

policy areas.3 The Labour Party and minority Labour governments had considerable impact on Britain’s stance on open diplomacy, internationalism, the arms trade, and the League of Nations. From the early 1920s to the late 1930s, the internationalist, anti-war section of the party, strongly influenced by the UDC, dominated Labour Party thinking on international affairs. While this wing of the party had initially been highly critical of the League of Nations, they came to see it as the avenue through which peace could be maintained. Despite, or possibly because of, the

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
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The respectable face of troublemaking
Helen McCarthy

, while still accepting its general assumptions. The Dissenter repudiates its aims, its methods, its principles.’1 According to this formula, those evangelising on behalf of the League of Nations between the wars, who form the subject of this book, lacked the necessary credentials to win a place in Taylor’s pantheon of history’s ‘troublemakers’. The leading lights of the League of Nations Union (LNU), the League’s strongest champion in Britain, were too high-minded, too cosy with the ‘Establishment’ and altogether too respectable to inherit the mantle of Fox, Cobden and

in The British people and the League of Nations
Internationalist education between the wars
Helen McCarthy

years have given rise. (SH Bailey, 1938)1 There is no reason why the ‘international sense’ should not become part of the stock-in-trade of the ordinary man. A hundred years ago, it was regarded as equally inconceivable that the ordinary man should become literate, or capable of reading a map. (Alfred Zimmern, 1932)2 We taught about the Covenant of the League of Nations as science teachers explained wireless sets, or attempted to explain Einstein, except that we were not impartial. We went too far with our wishful thinking and so added to the shock of disillusionment

in The British people and the League of Nations
Christianity, religion and the League
Helen McCarthy

published shortly before the end of the First World War, the Bishop of Oxford, Charles Gore, fastened upon the League of Nations as a source of spiritual regeneration for a society reeling from the collective trauma of bereavement and brutalisation. For far too long, he argued, power-hungry nations had pursued ‘economic selfishness and a narrow patriotism’ unchecked by the Christian conscience. Now, statesmen and religious authorities alike had no choice but to embark upon a ‘great repentance’, recognising that the nation was but ‘the servant in a cause which is to

in The British people and the League of Nations
The League in party politics
Helen McCarthy

, adequately educated by party machinery. There are, however, some questions – and world affairs are among them – which must be kept out of the maelstrom of party politics. Such was the reason which led the leaders of all the political parties fourteen years ago to join in the formation of the League of Nations Union.’3 This Headway editorial of 1933 neatly summarised the foundation myth which explained and legitimised the LNU’s much-advertised ‘non-party’ status. Given that the League was an institution which knew no party, this narrative went, so too was the LNU compelled

in The British people and the League of Nations
League, empire, nation
Helen McCarthy

5 Enlightened patriots: League, empire, nation The League of Nations Union is a permanent form of public service. We have churches for the worship of God; schools and colleges for the education of children; hospitals for the care of the sick; local government for the ordering of our counties and towns. The Union has a no less valuable place to fill in our national life; it is there to keep alive the sense of our country’s rights and duties as a member of the international community, of her advantages as a member of the League of Nations, no less than of her

in The British people and the League of Nations