Patriotic labour in the era of the great war

Swift, David (2014) Patriotic labour in the era of the great war. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Despite the vast amount of scholarship completed on the First World War, relatively little work has focused on the British Left and the conflict. The aim of this thesis is to rectify this, by examining left-wing support for the war effort, and the implications of this for the labour movement.
This study aims to ascertain the extent and nature of support for the war effort amongst the Left. It will survey the relationship between patriotism and the Left in the years before 1914, in order to give context for the events of the war years. It will then examine the reactions of the men and women of the Left – at both an elite and subaltern level – to the First World War.
Furthermore, it will investigate how left-wing patriotism in this period impacted on the fortunes of the labour movement after the Armistice. The war also saw a great increase in the size and scope of the state, and the significance and implications of this will be examined. Finally, this thesis will aim to enhance our understanding as to why and how the labour movement was able to remain united and purposeful in the war years and immediately after 1918.
Overall, this thesis will contribute to our understanding of the nature and extent of support for the war on the Left, the impact of the war on Labour’s electoral fortunes, the relationship between the Left and the state, and labour movement cohesion in this period.

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