Militarism and the British Left, 1902-1914

Overview

Militarism is usually regarded as a phenomenon of the political right. It has traditionally been seen as alien-indeed, as antithetical ? to the values and principles of the left. In Britain during the years before the Great War, however, the relationship between militarism and the politics of the left was a highly complex one. Militarism in pre-war British society was manifest in a variety of forms, from popular enthusiasm for war and martial values, to demands for greater provision to be made for the nation's ...

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Militarism and the British Left, 1902-1914

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Overview

Militarism is usually regarded as a phenomenon of the political right. It has traditionally been seen as alien-indeed, as antithetical ? to the values and principles of the left. In Britain during the years before the Great War, however, the relationship between militarism and the politics of the left was a highly complex one. Militarism in pre-war British society was manifest in a variety of forms, from popular enthusiasm for war and martial values, to demands for greater provision to be made for the nation's defence, and even in calls for the militarization of society itself. The response of the political left to these challenges was ambivalent and contested. While militaristic sentiment and practice did not always sit comfortably alongside progressive principle, an ideological space existed on the left in which militaristic ideas could take root. Indeed, militarism could take on ostensibly 'progressive' from that proved particularly appealing to some elements on the left.

Moving beyond the focus on pacifism and anti-militarism that has characterized much of the existing scholarship on this subject, this book explores the ways in which Liberal, socialist, and other on the left of British politics were able to accommodate aspects of militarism during the years before 1914. In doing so, it offers an intriguing new perspective on the nature of militarism itself.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137274120
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/18/2013
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

MATTHEW JOHNSON is the Stevenson Junior Research Fellow in History at University College, Oxford. This is his first book

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgements ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction: Militarism and the Left: Conceptual Problems and the Case of Britain 1

1 Ideological Context: War, Martial Values, and Military Prestige 20

2 Civil-Military Relations under the Pre-War Liberal Governments 45

3 The Militarization of the State: Armaments, Popular Navalism, and the Liberal Party 66

4 The Militarization of Society: Compulsory Service, the National Service League, and Progressive Politics 90

5 Alternatives to Conscription: Richard Burdon Haldane and a 'Liberal' Nation-in-Arms 133

Conclusion and Epilogue: Militarism and the Left by 1914, the Great War, and the Coming of Conscription 156

Appendix I Liberal MPs with Military or Naval Experience Sitting in the House of Commons between 1900 and 1914 185

Appendix II Liberal MPs affiliated to the Navy League before 1914 186

Appendix III Members of the Liberal War Committee by December 1916 187

Notes 188

Bibliography 225

Index 240

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