First published in 1998, illuminating the principles and practices which impelled British Labour’s international attitudes, this book focuses on relationships between social democratic and communist organisations in the troubled scene of Europe between the wars. Peace and disarmament were the first priorities, giving way to the fight against fascism after 1933; the Spanish Civil War was the watershed when disarmament ceased to be a tenable option.
Against this background, contacts made with the Labour and Socialist International and the International Federation of Trades Unions are considered and the distinctive approaches of women and young people are discussed. The history of these formal organisations is balanced by an account of the wide-ranging contacts of the broad Labour Movement in fields such as sport, education, Esperanto, music and art. Its protagonists’ belief in international socialism is seen to be a faith which survived fascism and war, and continued to give hope for the future.
This book will be of interest to students of Labour history and politics, as well as international and European studies.
Table of Contents
1. Strike for Peace: The British Labour Movement and the International Federation of Trades Unions. 2. Paths of European Unity, 1918-33: The Labour Party and the Labour and Socialist International. 3. The Fascist Challenge, 1933-39: The Labour Party and the Labour and Socialist International. 4. The International Faith: Subject and Special Interest Groups. 5. ‘Arise ye Starvelings’: The Language of Internationalism. 6. ‘Matters Affecting Women’: International Contacts between Women, Young People and Cooperators.
'...a working-class internationalist culture flourished in [the 1930s] and it is this culture, poised as it was between hope and apprehension, that Christine Collette captures so effectively in her carefully researched and well-illustrated monograph.' Labor History, Vol. 40, No. 3 'Collette admirably conveys the spirit of the period, when a horror of war, faith in the Bolshevik revolution, and opposition to Fascism inspired in groups of working people...a vision of a new international community...' International History Review, Vol. XXI, No. 3 'This book provides an excellent source for an important and under-researched subject.' Labour History Review, Vol. 64, No. 3 'Collette sheds light on a neglected topic, and does so with élan...a work of considerable quality... should be required reading for all those who are interested in British politics, the British left, and nationalism and internationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.' Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 11