Chapter

The quiet citizen silenced: the failure of political centrism, 1936–39

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719086168.003.0009
The quiet citizen silenced: the failure of political centrism, 1936–39

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This chapter concentrates on the period from early 1936 to the outbreak of the Second World War. These years marked a turning point for the League of Nations Union (LNU) generally and for the League and the conduct of foreign policy more broadly. The link between League membership and collective security was only very imperfectly understood by the general public. The LNU's non-party rule had always been vulnerable to criticism, but in the later 1930s its inability to bear close scrutiny could no longer be denied. The radicalisation of the youth wing set the LNU's centrist dilemma in sharp relief. The souring of relations between absolutist pacifism and liberal pacificism did not eliminate all space for common action. The period between the close of the Peace Ballot and the outbreak of the Second World War were years of disappointment and frustration for the League movement.

Keywords: League of Nations Union; Second World War; foreign policy; absolutist pacifism; liberal pacificism; Peace Ballot

Chapter.  14408 words. 

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