• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did neither the CPGB nor the BUF have much political impact in 1930s Britain?

Extracts from this document...


Why did neither the CPGB nor the BUF have much political impact in 1930s Britain? The early 20th century brought the arrival of political extremism and radical ideologies in Europe. Major economic and social upheaval from WW1 changed the industrial, political and social nature of the countries affected by the war. Political extremism is radical left or right wing parties that want social/political change, usually by unconstitutional means. Communism emerged in Russia with the installation of the Soviet regime, and Fascism arrived in Italy and Germany. In Britain, although the BUF and the CPGB were set up, the economic and political circumstances during the 1930s allowed democracy to survive. To those concerned with British security, the BUF/CPGB were never a real threat, they were rather more of a nuisance. 1 The BUF and CPGB believed they would be able to capitalise on the depression, however this was not the case, as the conditions a revolution needed to prevail were not present in Britain. The economic circumstances in Italy, Germany and Russia, were completely different- the effects of the depression in Europe were more severe, and had more of a lasting effect, whereas Britain had recovered within two or three years. Economic circumstances meant that most people accepted capitalism, as living standards were rising. Demographic change, resulting in major loss of workforce and economic dislocation were other factors which encouraged the installation of dictatorships in Europe. Immigration also caused political/social unrest abroad, for example, in Germany; Jewish immigrants were blamed for the economic state. Britain's island status meant that the threat of political extremism was not as concerning as it was in most other parts of mainland Europe. ...read more.


As the brutality of the Soviet regime was revealed, i.e. 'show trials'- involving public executions of Stalin's enemies-, which were endorsed by the CPGB (the Daily Worker's headline read- "Shoot the reptiles".11) Labour did not want to be seen by voters as having any contact with this, and wanted to keep its earned image of respectability-connections with this would have greatly lowered their support. Labour was also extremely suspicious of the CPGB and believed that their desire to affiliate was in order to bring the party down and achieve global communist control. Labour worked to marginalize the CPGB, and by using popular and moderate policies such as gradualism, left-wing supporters still remained loyal to them. Again, the economic situation was satisfactory, so for the majority, there was no need to turn to communism. Dominated by Conservatives, the National Government denied the BUF space on the political right. The National Government was extremely popular, and was perhaps able to capitalize on Labour's 1931 crisis. The National Government was one of the only British governments that were supported by more than 50% of the electorate.12 Their success was mainly due to the range of people which it drew votes from- they were a coalition of elements from all major democratic parties, and so appealed to almost all sections of society. Therefore, they faced no serious opposition, and again, as Labour did, were able to effectively contain political extremism. Stability and reassurance were offered by the National Government, as they were seen as a safe-option both politically and socially, at a time when communism and the end of capitalism were feared. ...read more.


Without a successful government, which the National Government proved themselves to be, the economic situation may have been entirely different, and may have encouraged the installation of a dictatorship. Despite slow progress, the National Government was eventually able to steer Britain out of an economic crisis. Britain's public appeared to have great confidence in it's leaders, and traditional British political methods and democracy succeeded. If the government had not been as successful however, perhaps the BUF/CPGB may have had more political impact. Although important, internal problems within the CPGB/BUF, are of lesser significance. If the economic/political circumstances were different, these problems may not have hindered the growth of the parties. An economic situation similar to Europe, may have caused people to be desperate for a political/social change, without paying attention to problems suffered by the CPGB/BUF such as leadership and financing. However, with better tactics and administration, both parties may have made a greater impact on the 1930s political scene. 1 Colin Cook, British Fascism, Modern History Review p2 2 Stevenson, John and Cook, Chris, Britain in the Depression- Society and Politics 1929-39 Longman p15 3 Rees, Goronwy, The Great Slump, Weidenfeld & N p40 4 Class handout 5 Stevenson, John and Cook, Chris, Britain in the Depression- Society and Politics 1929-39 Longman p33 6 Stevenson, John and Cook, Chris, Britain in the Depression- Society and Politics 1929-39 Longman p33 7 Class handouts- The British economy in the 1920s 8 Pearce, Robert, Britain- Domestic Politics 1918-39 Hodder & Stoughten p112 9 Murphy, Derek, Britain 1914-2000 Collins Educational p83 10 Class notes 11 Class handout 12 Rowe, Christopher Britain 1929-98 Heinemann Advanced History p19 13 Class notes 14 Class handout 15 Class handout 16 Class handout 17 Class handout 18 Class handout ?? ?? ?? ?? Emily Kaill 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. How important were the actions of the National Government in preventing extremists getting mass ...

    It also meant that the government had no need to depend on any political alliances with the extremists. The National Government was in place for nine years, in itself a source of stability. In foreign policy, both Baldwin and Chamberlain avoided coming into conflict with either communist or fascist countries

  2. How important were the policies of the National Government in bringing about economic recovery ...

    Due to a combination of the lowered interest rates and leaving the Gold Standard, more people were taking out private loans and mortgages to buy new houses. This resulted in a private house building boom with roughly 2 million houses built during the 1930's.

  1. How Significant Was WW1 In Bringing About Votes For Some Women In 1918?

    More violent tactics which were often carried out by the WSPU included vandalism such as breaking windows and arson. One arson attack included setting fire to part of Lloyd George's country house in Surrey in 1913. Other illegal tactics included destroying letter boxes, telegraph wires and also destroying pieces of

  2. The National Government and Political Extremism

    Members were attracted to it in the 1930s for various reasons. It was based on a distinct philosophy that claimed to provide the working classes and their middle-class supporters with the model for a more equal and progressive society. After a communist regime was established in Russia from 1917, it

  1. Describe and comment upon how Labour weathered the crises in 1929-31 and why it ...

    The Conservatives and Liberals saw certain advantages in allowing MacDonald to continue as PM at a time when there had to be drastic economic cuts and generally unpopular measures taken. MacDonald himself may have wanted to remain in office, but he was also persuaded it was his duty to stay on.

  2. The Successes of Labour from 1945

    Working with such a small parliamentary majority, Labour again won a huge number of votes but insufficient seats and this time the Conservatives won an overall majority. It was the end of Labour rule for the next 13 years. Labour did not suffer a sudden or massive drop in voter

  1. Growth of Democracy in 19th Centuary Britain.

    Candidates were now to be held accountable for all their spending and involvement in corruption was punishable by law. The act also outlined what practices were out with the law for candidates, among imprisonment and fines candidates were disqualified for seven years.

  2. How successful were the National Governments in dealing with the problems of the 1930s?

    There was no longer a need for high interest rates so rates dropped from 6% to 2% so an era of ?cheap money? began enabling a consumer boom. The Import Duties Act of 1932 and Imperial Preference set up under the Ottawa Agreement (1931)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work