Skip to Content

The Labour Party and War

Labour Governments and armaments

The Labour Party has always prided itself on being different from the Liberals and Tories it its attitude to armaments and war. It charged the Liberals with having been responsible for the First World War and has often called the Tory leaders war makers. It declared its trust in the League of Nations and later in United Nations as means of preventing war, and condemned the Tories in particular for lack of enthusiasm in supporting the League and UNO. It was always to the fore in declaring its belief in disarmament and in securing peace among the nations through peaceful discussion to settle disputes. It attracted and tolerated a fringe of self-styled pacifists. In its early days it gave a certain amount of lip service to ideas of international working class action to prevent war.

A Comparison

 Comparisons are odious,” says the proverb. They may, nevertheless, be informative. Marx avers that history repeats itself, the first event being tragedy, the second farce. Occurrences in the political world—especially in parties claiming to speak on behalf of the working-class, here and abroad, since the outbreak of the second World War of 1939, will evoke Homeric laughter from posterity.

 World War No. 1, despite the flood of imperialistic enthusiasm it released, also produced a certain amount of luke-warm opposition from the officials of the Labour Party and T.U.C. On Sunday, August 2nd, 1914, these gentry were to be found on the historic plinth at Trafalgar Square haranguing a considerable crowd, who subsequently passed a resolution, declaring their common interest with workers of other nations and calling on British workers to maintain neutrality.

Syndicate content