Patriotism under Pressure: Lord Rothermere and British Foreign Policy

  • Paul Addison


During the National government of 1931–40 the Conservative party included a substantial, if fluctuating, right wing. Sometimes the Right attacked the government, as over India, and occasionally they applauded it, as over Spain, but they seldom determined policy. Neville Chamberlain, the dominating mind in foreign affairs, was no more influenced by the Anglo-German Fellowship, the society for Hitler’s fellow-travellers in Britain, than Labour governments by Red Clydeside. But as the history of the Labour party requires an understanding of socialism, so the Right merits attention as a component of Conservatism. Perhaps the Right could be defined by their feeling for nationalistic values: at home, the belief that nationality should override sectional claims, and abroad, advocacy of strength and intransigence. If so, the rise of Nazi Germany revealed a loss of self-confidence on the Right since the previous German challenge of the period before 1914. Moreover, the Right were now confused. In traditional John Bull terms, the new Germany posed a threat to British greatness, but on the social plane the Nazis were announcing Germany as the guarantor of Western Europe against Bolshevism. Which, then, was the true enemy, Germany or Russia?


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© Paul Addison 1975

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  • Paul Addison

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