The Popular Front and the Progressive Tradition: Socialists, Liberals and the Quest for Unity, 1884-1939

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This book is an in-depth exploration of the Popular Front and United Front campaigns in Britain in the late 1930s. The author aims to dispel the myth that these campaigns can be understood largely as a ruse engineered by the Communists into which non-Communists were drawn blindly. Instead the author searches for the idea of 'progressive unity' in earlier episodes in the history of the British progressive tradition, including the early life of the Fabian Society, and the agitations against the Boer War, the First World War, and the Treaty of Versailles. By reassessing the significance of these episodes, and by reconsidering the role of seminal progressive thinkers in the formation of the ideas and political culture of Labour leftism, the author shows that the relationships between liberals and socialists, and between reformists and revolutionaries, had long been both intimate and fluid. By examining the reasons and assumptions behind individual Labour leftists' decisions to support the struggle for progressive unity in the late 1930s, it is shown that the Popular Front was neither an aberration nor a 'stunt', but a reasoned and culturally familiar response to the major political crisis presented by fascism and appeasement.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...valuable insight into the continued prevalence of progressive ideas into the 1930s. It will be of interest to students of the history of ideas and of the left in modern Britain." Canadian Journal of History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521413831
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/22/1992
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on the text
Introduction 1
1 The progressive side of politics 25
2 The colours of the rainbow 47
3 Imperialism and war 72
4 The pilgrims' progress 98
5 Inside the left 122
6 Fascism, unity, and loyalty: 1932-1937 147
7 The Popular Front 173
Conclusion 193
Notes 198
Bibliography 225
Index 241
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