This new edited collection of essays focuses on the history of Labour's second period in office during the 1929-1931 global financial crisis.
Contributions by leading historians and younger academics bring fresh perspectives to Labour's domestic problems, electoral and party matters, relations with the Soviet Union and ideological questions. An important range of new historical research provides a much-needed reappraisal of Ramsay MacDonald's second Labour government, which impressed few with its conventional policies for tackling mass unemployment.
Oswald Mosley, John Maynard Keynes and Ernest Bevin's alternative economic strategies are critically studied in key essays.
A more positive side of the government's policies is also adeptly revealed on consumerism and agriculture.
Significant new light is adroitly shed on the 1929 general election, the first fought on a universal franchise.
The intricate politics of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party are convincingly explored.
The influence of the Soviet Union on Labour's thoughts and actions is analysed in valuable accounts of Labour's foreign policy and Labour's turn to socialism after 1931. An important fresh account of opposition politics breaks new ground on the reaction of Tory politicians, including Harold Macmillan, to MacDonald's government.
The volume concludes with an absorbing analysis of the myths surrounding '1931' in Labour history. This timely volume makes accessible a major reassessment of existing knowledge and new scholarship that will appeal to students and teachers of British political and social history. It is essential reading for sixth form and university courses on twentieth-century history. -- .