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The British People and the League of NationsDemocracy, Citizenship and Internationalism, c. 1918–45$
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Helen McCarthy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086168

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086168.001.0001

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The League of Nations, public opinion and the New Diplomacy

The League of Nations, public opinion and the New Diplomacy

(p.15) 1 The League of Nations, public opinion and the New Diplomacy
The British People and the League of Nations

Helen McCarthy

Manchester University Press

This chapter addresses the League movement as a product of new strands of thought and action emerging from the First World War which collectively became known as the ‘New Diplomacy’. It investigates the significance of the category of ‘public opinion’ for League supporters in light of their efforts to make foreign policy more accountable to the electorate. It concentrates on the educational campaigns and media strategy of the League of Nations Union (LNU) and the Peace Ballot of 1934–35. The movement's faith in voters' readiness to absorb complex ideas became harder to sustain over the course of the 1930s. The LNU was internally divided over the success of the Ballot. The Peace Ballot proved that Britain's quiet citizens could be induced to break their silence on occasion, and there can be little doubt that foreign affairs produced many such occasions between the wars.

Keywords:   New Diplomacy, League of Nations Union, Peace Ballot, foreign policy, public opinion, Britain

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