Chapter

The 1950s: new conflicts, rearmament and the bomb

Rhiannon Vickers

in The Labour Party and the World

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719067464
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703243 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719067464.003.0003
The 1950s: new conflicts, rearmament and the bomb

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This chapter focuses on the foreign policy of the Labour Party during the opposition years of the 1950s. During this period, Labour became increasingly divided over the issues of rearmament, nuclear weapons and Great Britain's role in the world, and there was a clear split between left and right. While the right of the party, led by Hugh Gaitskell, were pushing the party along traditional foreign and defence lines, those on the left wanted the party to take an ethical stance and provide moral leadership by renouncing nuclear weapons altogether. Despite this, the party won the 1964 general election with a manifesto largely based on its late 1950s policies.

Keywords: foreign policy; Labour Party; rearmament; nuclear weapons; Great Britain; Hugh Gaitskell; moral leadership; 1964 general election

Chapter.  12539 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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