Classes and cultures? League activism and class politics

Helen McCarthy

in The British People and the League of Nations

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780719086168
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702659 | DOI:
Classes and cultures? League activism and class politics

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This chapter discusses how the League of Nations Union (LNU) was led at a national level by aristocrats, professionals and businessmen and at a local level by the provincial middle classes, with working-class people more likely to support the League through their own organisations. It is argued that this reproduced broader inter-class dynamics and also proved that the League did not reinforce class politics. As Cecil insisted, the plausibility of the movement's claim to represent the national community rested upon its skill in appealing to ‘all classes of citizenhood’. It then addresses how far the LNU remained hampered by inter-class differences and animosities. The LNU experienced some success in engaging different working-class audiences through the labour movement and workplace and through localised interventions into working-class leisure forms. The LNU would remain on the periphery of debates about social and economic reconstruction at home, where class politics were never far from the surface.

Keywords: League of Nations Union; class politics; inter-class dynamics; labour movement; workplace; Cecil

Chapter.  12173 words. 

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