BLOSFELD E.G. The Movement of People’s Convent (Summer of 1940 - Spring 1941)


Evgeniya G. Blosfeld

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor,

Department of World History and Technology of Teaching History and Social Science, Volgograd State Social-Pedagogical University,

Prosp. Lenina, 27, 400013 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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Abstract. This article analyses the little known episode of the English working movement – the People’s Convent Movement in summer of 1940 - spring of 1941. This event is researched neither in English, nor Soviet and Post-Soviet historiography. This fact determines the scientific novelty and relevance of the article. However, this episode not only fills in the “blank spot” in the history, it is also relevant in modern life. The author determines the reasons, motive powers and the character of the Movement.

At that time W. Churchill was at the head of the government. He stood on the position of active resistance to German fascism. But former supporters of policy appeasement with Hitler (“munichs”) yet remained in the government. The unemployment was considerable as before, strikes were forbidden because of the war. Working masses were burdened with war hardships, while capitalists received vast profits. In this situation the Communism Party of Great Britain (CPGB) headed the People’s Convent Movement. The party demanded the creation of People’s Convent government, the dismissal of “munichs” from the government, the renewal of trade unions rights, the alliance with the USSR, and war termination.

The representatives of different working class parties and democratic organizations took part in this movement. For example, the participants included a number of big trade unions, the unemployed, big number of Labour Party representatives, communists.

The Movement had the great public resonance. The influence of the Communism Party grew considerable.nBut the leadership of the Labour Party appeared sharp against the People’s Convent Movement. So, the majority ofntrade unions did not take participate in it. Due to this fact, the movement was doomed to failure. Besides, thenmovement advanced the democratic demands but it didn’t project the means to create the People’s Conventngovernment. The estimation of international situation was not correct: the central task at that time was the organizationnof the struggle against German fascism. The Labour leadership used it to accuse the communists and all thenparticipants in antipatriatism. The attack of German on the USSR had revealed the delusiveness of the CPGB tacticsnand put an end to the movement. The Communists changed their position.

Key words: People’s Convent Movement, the Communism Party, the Labour Party, the Comintern, trade unions.

Citation. Blosfeld E.G. The Movement of People’s Convent (Summer of 1940 - Spring 1941). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Serija 4, Istorija. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnoshenija [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2017, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 64-74. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

The Movement of People’s Convent (Summer of 1940 - Spring 1941) by Blosfeld E.G. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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