The First Labour Government, 1924

By Richard W. Lyman | Go to book overview

XI
RUSSIA Path of Most Resistance

THE pacification of Europe, to be complete, would have to include a resumption of normal relations with the Soviet Union; of this Labour people were convinced in 1924. There were perhaps few in the party who retained the rapturous enthusiasm of 1918-20, typified by George Lansbury's account of his trip to Russia: "[I] finally found myself . . . cheering the Red Flag in the midst of soldiers, not one of whom understood a word we were saying. However, it was a great joy for me to feel myself in a Socialist country, even though the masses were starving."1 The TUC's flirtation with the Soviets, which reached a climax with the delegates cheering the future purge victim, Tomsky, at Scarborough in 1925, owed something, at least, to the onslaughts of Tories and Liberals upon the Labour Government's Russian policy in 1924. It often happened that the attempts of anti-Soviet politicians and newspapers to portray the Labour Party as a nest of uncritical Russophiles caused Labourites to defend the Soviets more energetically than they might otherwise have done. There was also an illusion of solidarity from the fact that the Soviets, like the Labour Party, had stood for a peace without indemnities or annexations. Yet recognition of the Communists' totalitarian tendencies became more and more widespread in the Labour movement, and the party moved steadily, from 1920, towards barring the British Communists from taking part in its activities. It also took a leading part in reviving the Second International, in opposition to the Leninist Third. Within the world of socialism, the British Labour Party fought the Communists; in the broader world of international affairs, Labour argued for the restoration of Russia to the European family, tended to discount unfavourable reports on Soviet affairs as anti-socialist propaganda, and

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The First Labour Government, 1924
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • I - The Labour Party, 1918-1923 1
  • Notes 16
  • II - The Election of 1923: the Conservatives 18
  • Notes 39
  • III - The Election of 1923: the Liberals Lloyd George and the Dragon 42
  • Notes 52
  • IV - The Election of 1923; Labour The Politics of Glorious Aspirations 53
  • Notes 67
  • V - Results of the Election of 1923 A House Divided 69
  • Notes 80
  • VI - The Path to Office 81
  • Notes 94
  • VII - Cabinet Making 96
  • Notes 107
  • VIII - Housing 110
  • Notes 129
  • IX - Unemployment The Intractable Million 131
  • Notes 154
  • X - The European Problem Year of Opportunity 157
  • Notes 181
  • XI - Russia Path of Most Resistance 184
  • Notes 207
  • XII - Labourites, Socialists and Reformers 210
  • Notes 227
  • XIII - Problems of Minority Government 230
  • Notes 245
  • XIV - The Election of 1924 Red Letter Day 248
  • Notes 262
  • XV - The Election of 1924 Dimensions of Defeat 264
  • Notes 271
  • XVI - Aftermath 272
  • Notes 281
  • Appendix A: the First Labour Ministry - (january 22 to November 4, 1924) 284
  • Appendix B: the Unsolved Mystery of The Zinoviev Letter 286
  • Notes 289
  • Bibliographical Note 290
  • Index 295
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