Labour and the Cold War: the TGWU and the politics of anti-Communism, 1945-55

Phillips, Jim
March 1999
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Spring99, Vol. 64 Issue 1, p44
Academic Journal
This article examines the involvement of the British Labour Party in the Cold War and the nature of anti-communism in the party. Historical writing on British Labour's role in the Cold War has tended to concentrate on prominent parliamentary personalities and episodes. A debate has centered on the policy of Ernest Bevin, Labour's foreign secretary from 1945 to 1951, which culminated in the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1949 and helped to define the 40-year conflict. The opposite poles in this debate imply that Bevin's anti-communist approach was either a humane and therefore justifiable attempt to defend liberal democracy and social justice, or a reactionary consolidation of capitalist control in Western Europe and imperial power in Africa and Asia. Work on Labour's post-1951 participation in the Cold War has focused on the center-right of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which shared Bevin's anti-communism and North Atlanticism.


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