University of Wolverhampton
Browse
Collection All
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
Listed communities
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet

Wolverhampton Intellectual Repository and E-Theses > E-Theses > E-Theses > Confronting the challenge of socialism: the British Empire Union and the National Citizens’ Union 1917-1927

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2436/129933
    Del.icio.us     LinkedIn     Citeulike     Connotea     Facebook     Stumble it!



Title: Confronting the challenge of socialism: the British Empire Union and the National Citizens’ Union 1917-1927
Authors: Thomas, Ian
Advisors: Durham, Martin
Gildart, Keith.
Publisher: University of Wolverhampton
Issue Date: 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2436/129933
Abstract: This thesis discusses two important anti-socialist organisations which have received little attention from historians: the British Empire Union (BEU) and the National Citizens’ Union (NCU). It assesses the ideology, activity and impact of these bodies between 1917 and 1927. Difficulties arise in this task due to the absence in the archives of substantial amounts of manuscript evidence such as minute books and correspondence. The history of these organisations has, therefore, been reconstructed primarily from contemporary published sources. This material allows us to develop a picture of these organisations which reveals a close affinity with mainstream Conservatism both in terms of ideology and personnel. This contradicts to an extent the impression given in the relatively thin treatment of these organisations in the historiography, which tends to focus on their alleged extremism. The thesis shows that the BEU and the NCU embodied opinions which encompassed a range of political positions, ranging from support for the Liberal-led post-war Coalition as a means of uniting all those ‘Constitutionalist’ forces opposed to socialism, to calls for the setting up of an ‘English Fascisti’ to emulate Mussolini’s example in Italy and physically destroy the socialist movement in Britain. The thesis examines the role of the BEU in combating the alleged menace of ‘British Bolshevism’. It assesses the importance of the NCU in the events leading to the collapse of the Coalition government in October 1922; and its role in strikebreaking. It looks at how both organisations had a part in the development of Conservative strategies for defeating the electoral challenge of the Labour Party. It assesses the relationship between the British anti-socialist right and fascism as it was understood in the 1920s. The thesis concludes that the two organisations under discussion were relatively influential inside the Conservative Party, particularly among backbench MPs and party activists; they were important catalysts in the development of anti-socialist alliances in municipal elections, which arguably influenced Conservative strategies in parliamentary contests; and they were able to divert potentially ‘fascist’ energies and obsessions into the respectable, mainstream political discourse of British Conservatism. Ironically the Conservative Party's openness to anti-socialism contributed significantly to the marginalisation of the BEU and the NCU, as did the weakness of the revolutionary socialist threat in Britain, particularly after the failure of the General Strike in May 1926.
Type: Thesis or dissertation
Language: en
Description: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Master of Philosophy
Keywords: Anti-socialist
Anti-communist
General strike
Conservative
Radical-right
Fascism
Strikebreaking
Anti-labour
Unionist
Appears in Collections: E-Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description Size Format View/Open
Thomas_ M.Phil thesis.pdf7672KbAdobe PDFThumbnail
View/Open

All Items in WIRE are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Fairtrade - Guarantees a better deal for Third World Producers

University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY

Course enquiries: 0800 953 3222, General enquiries: 01902 321000,
Email: enquiries@wlv.ac.uk | Freedom of Information | Disclaimer and copyright | Website feedback | The University as a charity

OR Logo Powered by Open Repository | Cookies