History 2

A Short History of the Labour Party by Henry Pelling (auth.)

By Henry Pelling (auth.)

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As the Sarajevo crisis reached its climax at the end of July, the Labour Party took a vigorous share in the agitation against war which was sponsored throughout Europe by the Socialist International. On Sunday 1St August Germany declared war on Russia; and next day Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson took part in a mass demonstration in Trafalgar Square, urging the government i to keep out. On Monday 3rd August Germany declared ~ar on France; and that morning the Parliamentary Labour Party met and decided to oppose British intervention when the Commons debated the question in the afternoon.

Meanwhile several members of the Parliamentary Labour Party had remained as members of the Lloyd George Coalition. When the war ended on 11th November, a decision had to be taken on the question of withdrawal from the government. The idea of withdrawal was not welcome to the ministers concerned: Barnes enjoyed being in the War Cabinet and was easily persuaded by Lloyd George of the need for Labour to take part in the post-war settlement; and Clynes, who had become Food Controller, was also happily engaged in administration.

58. 5. , Let Us Reform the Labour Party (1910), p. 3. 6. MacDonald to Master of Elibank, 4 Oct. 191 I, quoted Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey (1954), pp. 207 f. 7. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, ser. 5, xxvi, 725. 8. Quoted W. P. , 1934), p. 209. 9. MacDonald to Hardie, I Feb. 1910, Hardie Papers. FUR THER READING Documented narratives of Labour Party history covering this and later periods are to be found in Carl F. , 1965), and R. Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism (1961), which has a strong left-wing bias.

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