From 1918 to 1945, the British Labour Party worked closely with some of the most prominent names in international relations (IR) scholarship. Through such structures as the 'Advisory Committee on International Questions', academic IR specialists were instrumental in the construction of Labour foreign policy, preparing a wealth of memoranda, reports and pamphlets for the Party. Here, Lucian Ashworth examines the crucial role played by IR theorists. He puts the international theories of five key writers - Leonard Woolf, H.N. Brailsford, Philip Noel Baker, Norman Angell and David Mitrany - into the context of both the development of Labour's international policy and the evolution of the international environment between the wars. He demonstrates the inadequacy of the current interpretation within IR of the inter-war period and argues the obsession with the anachronistic division between realism and idealism - terms that had different connotations before World War II - masks both the very different debates that were going on at the time, and the changing international landscape of the inter-war period itself.
Lucian Ashworth is Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick, Ireland.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1: Inter-War International Relations and the Rise of the Labour Party The problem with idealism Labour's great transformation. The Party in 1918 The Labour Party Advisory Committee on International Questions Chapter 2: Losing the Peace? 1918 to 1921 H. N. Brailsford Opposition to the peace treaties Criticisms of the League of Nations French imperialism and the renewal of the international anarchy The democratisation of foreign policy Pacifism and radical socialism. The splits in Labour over foreign policy The peace treaties as a continuation of the international anarchy Chapter 3: The League and the New Diplomacy. 1922-1931 Philip Noel Baker Labour as a party of government 1922-31 Making the League work. From 'reconstitution' to 'a League foreign policy' Disarmament, arbitration and sanctions The Second Labour Government and the 'Peace of Nations' Making the League work. Labour and the last chance for peace Chapter 4: Peaceful Change and the Rise of Fascism. 1931 to 1939 Norman Angell Does capitalism cause war? Labour in the wilderness: rearmament v. 'pacifism' and 'socialism' The rise of the dictators and the weakness of League security The National Government and appeasement Defending capitalism? The road to war Chapter 5: A Working Peace System? 1939 to 1945 David Mitrany Labour and the war years. Chamberlain's fall and the Churchill Coalition Peace without recriminations? Immediate war aims and the Party intellectuals The shape of the new order. Federal or functional proposals The Prospects for Allied unity Chapter 6: Conclusion. Labour and the Idealist Muddle in IR Leonard Woolf The role of Labour's inter-war international experts The Idealist muddle: Towards a better understanding of inter-war IR Socialists and liberals. The problems of a social democratic foreign policy