• 1910

    Copenhagen Congress  Copenhagen Congress of 2nd International called for workers to oppose war
  • 1912

    Don’t Shoot  leaflet (Guy Bowman, Tom Mann, Fred Crowsley –all imprisoned)
  • 1914

    Industrial Peace 1914 (end of Aug) TUC and LP declared ‘industrial truce’, supported by Hyndman
  • 1914 Union of Democratic Control (UDC) formed

    Opposed the war from the start, as did Sylvia Pankhurst whose organisation, the East London
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Socialist Support for the War

The resolutions of the Second International, in condemning colonialism (1907 Stuttgart Congress) and calling for workers to oppose war (1910 Copenhagen Congress), were promptly forgotten in the rush to arms and the International itself collapsed.

British labour leaders maintained an anti-war stance up until the point, on August 4th 1914, that the government finally declared war on Germany. By the end of August, the Labour Party and the TUC declared an 'industrial truce' for the duration of the war and lent their support to an all-party recruitment campaign.

By May 1915, there were three Labour MP's in the Coalition Government, one of them, Arthur Henderson, in the cabinet. The two Treasury Agreements signed by government and trade union representatives confirmed labour's promise to abandon strike action for the duration of the war. It also drew the unions (including the Amalgamated Society, whose members were principally affected) into agreeing to suspend 'restrictive practices' in skilled trades by agreeing to the use of unskilled or semi-skilled labour (particularly that of women) in the war industries. (This was known as 'dilution'.)

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