By Henry Pelling (auth.)
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34 CHAPTER III Henderson) s Party: War and Reconstruction (19 1 4- 22) ALTHOUGH the Labour Party had by no means ignored questions offoreign policy before July 1914, it was only with the outbreak of war that they became of paramount importance. From then onwards until 1918 and indeed in the early post-war years, up to 1922, issues of war and diplomacy were dominant in the party's councils. As the Sarajevo crisis reached its climax at the end of July, the Labour Party took a vigorous share in the agitation against war which was sponsored throughout Europe by the Socialist International.
P. leaders naturally found it particularly obnoxious, and they began to talk of leaving the party. P. candidates for the Executive. . If a split were to come owing to the oppressive use of the block vote of some of the larger unions, I would do what I could to form a new Labour combination for political purposes. 3 As it happened, however, - or was this Henderson's deliberate stage-management? - the proposal had only come up after the election of the Executive members for the following year; and by 1918, as we shall see, the political situation had entirely changed, so that the use of the block vote became far from 'oppressive', at least in the sense that MacDonald wished to imply.
When in 1 g08 Henderson became chairman, therefore, he was not without experience. But Hardie regarded him with grave suspicion as being little more than a Liberal. P. colleague Bruce Glasier at the end of Henderson's first year of office: I suppose we are in for another year of Henderson's chairmanship, which means that reaction and timidity will be in the ascendancy with disastrous effects to our side of the movement in the country. I grow weary of apologising for a state of things for which I am not responsible and with which I have scant sympathy.