Political parties formed the cornerstone of the liberal democracy for which Britain claimed it was fighting in the Second World War. However, that conflict represented the most sustained challenge to the British party system during the twentieth century. War forced the suspension of normal electoral politics, and exerted considerable extra demands on the time and loyalties of party activists and organizers. This all posed a serious challenge to the Conservative, Labour and Liberal parties. Parties at War uses an unusually broad and deep range of records of the main political parties to explore how they responded to the challenge of war. Extensive use of the local as well as the national-level papers of the major parties offers a fuller picture than ever previously attempted. Andrew Thorpe focuses on what parties actually did, at both local and national levels, to sustain their organization during the war. He assesses the varying impacts of war, not just on each of the parties, but also over time, and between the different regions and areas of Britain.
Thorpe demonstrates how wartime struggles over organization had significance not just for the election of the first majority Labour government in 1945, but also for the longer-term development of 'party' in modern British politics.
Buy Parties at War book by Andrew Thorpe from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(242mm x 163mm x 24mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
Author Biography - Andrew Thorpe
After growing up in the North-East Derbyshire town of Dronfield, Andrew Thorpe took first class honours in Medieval and Modern History at the University of Birmingham in 1983. He then researched his PhD on 'The British general election of 1931' at the University of Sheffield under the supervision of Dr John Stevenson. He was appointed Lecturer in History at the University of Exeter in 1987, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1996. In 2002 he was appointed Professor of Modern British History at the age of 40. He was Head of Exeter's History Department between 2004 and 2007. He is the author of numerous books, articles and chapters on aspects of British political history in the twentieth century, and was one of the first British scholars to make use of the Moscow archives of the British Communist party when they were opened up in the early 1990s. That same commitment to using lesser-known or under-used sources was one of the considerations that led him to write Parties at War.