Britain and the Problem of International Disarmament, 1919-1934

By Carolyn J. Kitching | Go to book overview

5

THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENTS, 1922-3, AND THE FIRST LABOUR GOVERNMENT, 1924

The two separate administrations, Conservative and Labour, are dealt with together in one chapter first because they were both of short duration, and second because there is a great similarity in their approaches to the question of disarmament. Both were responsible, at least in theory, for overseeing attempts to achieve indirect systems of disarmament through the League of Nations, and each was responsible for undermining the attempts of the other, although in the case of the Labour government the attempt was destroyed by the incoming 1924 Conservative administration. For the sake of continuity, the Conservative administrations of Bonar Law and Baldwin are treated as one, as there was nothing to distinguish the foreign policy, at least as far as disarmament is concerned, of one from the other.


The Conservative governments of Bonar Law and Baldwin

The Conservative government of Andrew Bonar Law which took office in October 1922 firmly repudiated the interference in international affairs which, it was believed, had helped in the downfall of Lloyd George. Its election manifesto declared that 'The nation's first need…is, in every walk of life, to get on with its own work, with the minimum of interference at home and of disturbance abroad'. 1 Bonar Law carried this lack of interference to the running of the country; his ministers, including Curzon who remained at the Foreign Office, were very much allowed to get on with their own business. On the resignation of Bonar Law in May 1923, Stanley Baldwin largely retained the Cabinet, and the policies, of his predecessor. 2 The Conservative Party at this time was split between those who supported the decision to remove Lloyd George from office, and those who still supported the Coalition ideal. The Conservative administrations of 1922-3, therefore, were restricted in their make-up by the unwillingness of the two factions to work together. Austen Chamberlain, Balfour and Birkenhead, as Coalition

-65-

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Britain and the Problem of International Disarmament, 1919-1934
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Concept and Context of Disarmament, 1919-34 7
  • 3 - The Human Element 23
  • 4 - The Lloyd George Coalition Government, 1918-22 42
  • 5 - The Conservative Governments, 1922-3, and the First Labour Government, 1924 65
  • 6 - The Conservative Government, 1924-9 87
  • 7 - The Labour Government, 1929-31 115
  • 8 - The National Government, 1931-4 136
  • 9 - Conclusion 174
  • Notes 181
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 216
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