The United Front and the Popular Front in the North East of England, 1936-1939
This thesis examines the united and popular front campaigns in the north east of England. The region was important for the national success of both projects since it was dominated by a moderate and loyal labour movement. Chapter one examines united and popular front activity in the region in 1936 and provides an explanation of why there was so little of it. The second chapter focuses on divisions within the labour movement which provided significant barriers to united and popular front supporters. Chapter three examines the divisions related to the significant number of Catholics within the labour movement. It argues that Catholic disquiet over the labour movement's attitude to the Spanish civil war did not provoke serious internal divisions, though Catholics remained opposed to Communism and therefore to the united and popular fronts. The Unity Campaign of 1937 and its effect is discussed in chapter four. This campaign drew very little support from within the labour movement and failed to improve relations between the left parties. Its effect, however, was not as damaging as some have claimed. The following four chapters deal solely with aspects of the popular front. Chapter five discusses the 1938 United Peace Alliance campaign and examines the fresh potential that the aftermath of the Munich settlement offered. The 1939 Cripps Petition campaign is examined in chapter six. Both campaigns failed to mobilise significant labour movement support in the region. Chapter seven considers the attitudes of Conservatives and Liberals to the popular front. Liberal support was almost non-existent. Liberal attitudes were generally characterised by opposition to both socialism and communism, therefore their natural allies were the Conservatives, who largely supported Chamberlain and thus opposed the popular front. Chapter eight, on the Tyneside foodship, assesses the argument that the 'Aid Spain' campaigns constituted the closest thing to a popular front in Britain. Generally speaking, these campaigns cannot be seen as de facto popular fronts as they were humanitarian and not political. The thesis concludes that the united front was not very united, nor was the popular front very popular in the region, reflecting their failures at national level.