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The Conservative Party and the extreme right, 1945-1975

Pitchford, Mark Joseph 2009. The Conservative Party and the extreme right, 1945-1975. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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My thesis examines the Conservative Party's relationship with the extreme right in the period 1945-75 by investigating its actions towards various groups and individuals. It reveals how the Conservative Party adopted some of the extreme-right's themes, whilst at the same time sticking to its long constitutional practice. It also investigates the role of the Conservative Party's bureaucracy and wider Conservatism. I begin by outlining the Conservative Party's connections with the extreme right before the Second World War. I then show that after 1945, the extreme-right re-emerged as difficult issues arose, such as decolonisation, immigration, industrial unrest and Europe. The Conservative Party shunned any groups or individuals that espoused or even exhibited any form of fascism. The Party was also wary of non-fascist groups that occupied political space to the right of the party. I explain why and how the Conservative Party approved or disapproved of these particular groups and individuals, and how it consistently posed dilemmas for them, whether they were inside or outside the party. The thesis concludes that the Conservative Party did indeed help to thwart the extreme right. However, it also argues that this is as much a consequence of the Conservative Party's practical measures against such groups as its attraction of its supporters. Thus, whilst the Conservative Party's critics might be correct in identifying the role the party played in ensuring the extreme-right's failure, the reasons why, and methods by which this occurred, does not confirm their perception of the Conservative Party as 'semi-fascist itself.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
ISBN: 9781303214202
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:31

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