Woodman, Dorothy

Journalist, parliamentary candidate, vegetarian, and pacifist was born to a PM family in Swindon, Wilts.. At University College, Exeter, she became a socialist. After a short time as a teacher, she became the Secretary of the Women’s International League and then from 1928 Secretary of the Union of Democratic Control. Through the UDC she met the political journalist Kingsley Martin, newly appointed editor of the New Statesman, and this began a forty-year relationship which ended only with his death in 1969. It has been claimed that she was the only PM woman to stand for parliament: she stood unsuccessfully as the Labour candidate for Aylesbury in 1931, and for Wood Green in 1935.

As a journalist in Berlin in 1933, following the Reichstag fire she helped in the successful defence of Georgi Dimitrov Mihaylov (1882-1949), a Communist. She was also the Asian correspondent for the New Statesman and in her writings opposed colonialism; she was a strong supporter of independence in India, Burma, Indonesia, and Vietnam. She published more than a dozen books, including Hitler Rearms (1934), Europe Rises: The Story of Resistance in Occupied Europe (1943), Indo-China and World Peace (1954) and Himalayan Frontiers: a political review of British, Chinese, Indian and Russian Rivalries (1969). The British Special Intelligence Service watched her closely, believing she was a Soviet spy. She died in September 1970.

  • ‘Miss Dorothy Woodman. Socialist who championed international causes’, The Times, 2 October 1970, p. 12
  • Adrian Smith, ‘Martin, (Basil) Kingsley’, ODNB
  • Melvin Johnson, ‘The National Politics and Politicians of Primitive Methodism, 1886-1922’, University of Hull PhD diss., 2016, p. 202.

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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