Against the Cold War : the nature and traditions of pro-Soviet sentiment in the British Labour Party 1945-89
Ideas and ideological attachments are a powerful motivating force over political activity. This thesis studies how a group of British Labour parliamentarians developed an ideological link to the Soviet Union and how this attachment acted as a prism through which they viewed the world. This led to an opposition to the Cold War to develop that was sympathetic to the objectives of the Soviet Union. This led pro-Sovietism to become an established, but minority, tradition of British socialism. This is explored through a study of the ideals and activities associated with these beliefs by focussing on individual MPs. Using MPs as case studies, and studying them within the context of a period of the Cold War, we are able to understand how their activism became reactive to international relations and how their ideas filtered into developing traditions within the party's left-wing. The thesis rejects the notion that those who engaged in pro-Soviet activism were agents of the Soviet Union and crypto-Communists and develops a framework within which these figures can be understood as principled socialists who shared the objectives of preventing an escalation of the Cold War and establishing a socialist future.