National Socialist Party (UK)

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The National Socialist Party was a small political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1916. It originated as a minority group within the British Socialist Party who supported British participation in World War I; while historically linked with the Marxist left, the party grew more moderate. It affiliated to the Labour Party and was eventually absorbed by it.

Origins

The National Socialist Party was founded by Henry M. Hyndman and his followers after his defeat in the leadership elections of the British Socialist Party. They believed that it was desirable to support the United Kingdom in World War I against "Prussian militarism". Although maintaining that they were a Marxist party, after affiliation to the Labour Party in 1918, they renounced vanguardism and saw in the Russian Revolution only the danger that it might weaken the United Kingdom's war effort. The party was grouped around the newspaper Justice.

1918 election

Three members of the party were elected to Parliament in the 1918 election; Dan Irving and Will Thorne were elected for the Labour Party, and Jack Jones under the National Socialist Party name.[1]

In 1919, the group changed its name to the Social Democratic Federation, reverting to the name that the British Socialist Party had previously used. At one point there were eleven MPs, but after the death of Hyndman in 1921, the group gradually dissolved into the Labour Party. It finally disbanded in 1941.[2]

Other notable members included H. W. Lee, Hunter Watts, John Stokes[disambiguation needed] and Joseph Burgess.[1]

'National Socialism'

It should not be confused with the German NSDAP, which was created three years after the British NSP. At the time when the NSP was established, the term "national socialism" carried none of its present-day right-wing connotations. The British NSP was firmly on the left-wing of politics and was in no way associated with the doctrine of Nazism (in fact, the NSP was dissolved by the time German Nazism began to emerge).[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b Max Beer, A History of British Socialism
  2. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations