Wartime Radicals Envision a New Order, 1940–2

Geoffrey G. Field

in Blood, Sweat, and Toil

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604111
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731686 | DOI:
Wartime Radicals Envision a New Order, 1940–2

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This chapter examines growing public dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war at home and on the battlefield 1940–2. It discusses the features of the public ‘arena of public debate’ peculiar to wartime, and the flood of radical criticism that appeared in books, pamphlets, and the press calling for sweeping reform. One section discusses the growing popularity and rapid growth of the Communist Party once the USSR entered the war against Hitler. The chapter details efforts by radical writers and intellectuals to intervene more directly in politics via by-elections and the Common Wealth Party; it also analyses the politics of workers in factories. It concludes that there was a significant radicalization or ‘swing to the left’ of popular opinion, but that it lacked a unified voice or vehicle. From 1943 the political context changed; radical alternative politics receded, replaced by a return to normal party politics, hitherto in abeyance.

Keywords: Wartime radicalization; ‘Russomania’ or pro-Soviet opinion; wartime by-elections; Stafford Cripps; British Communist Party; Common Wealth Party; Sir Richard Acland; Churchill coalition's critics

Chapter.  20450 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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