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Semi-Detached IdealistsThe British Peace Movement and International Relations,
1854-1945$
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Martin Ceadel

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199241170

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241170.001.0001

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Polarization, January 1936–March 1939

Polarization, January 1936–March 1939

Chapter:
(p.326) 10 Polarization, January 1936–March 1939
Source:
Semi-Detached Idealists
Author(s):

Martin Ceadel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241170.003.0010

Britain's attitude towards international relations was altered by the triple crisis of 1936: the remilitarization of the Rhineland, the final defeat of Abyssinia in May, and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Both the peace movement and public opinion had started to polarize. One current of opinion was drawn to the pole of accommodation: many pacifists advocated peaceful change: many defencists supported appeasement; unprecedented numbers of pacifists threw in their lot with the Peace Pledge Union and other new associations; and a section of the far left still favoured war resistance. Another current of opinion was attracted by the opposite pole of containment: the leaders of the League of Nations Union still supported collective security even though they now understood that it required rearmament: many socialist pacificists came to advocate a ‘peace front’ of the progressive states against the fascist ones: and those defencists who shared the concerns of Winston Churchill, since 1929 a backbencher, called for more energetic rearmament.

Keywords:   international relations, foreign policy, remilitarisation, Abyssinia, Spanish Civil War, peace movement, pacifists, defencists, war resistance

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