Glasgow's Catholics played their full part in defeating the Kaiser's armies during the First World War. This participation in battle helped allay some fears among native Glaswegians that Catholics in some sense owed their allegiance to a foreign power!
During this period the links between Catholicism and the infant Labour movement were formed. Leading Catholic, John Wheatley (1869-1930), became an influential figure, leading the rent strikes of 1915. In the 1922 General Election he was one of the ten Labour candidates elected to represent the city in the House of Commons. He went on to serve as Minister of Health in the first Labour government in 1924. Labour activist Alice Cullen (1891-1969) was Glasgow's first Catholic woman councillor in 1938 and was later Britain's first female Catholic MP, elected to the Gorbals constituency in 1948.
During the 1930s Catholics suffered something of a backlash as the Depression took hold. Anti-Catholic feeling swept the city and institutionalised sectarianism, especially in the job market, made life difficult for Catholics. Once more, war was to change perceptions. A common enemy in the shape of Adolf Hitler encouraged Glaswegians to set aside sectarian bigotry for a while. After the Second World War the Catholic population, originally concentrated in pockets around the banks of the Clyde, dispersed and this led to the foundation of dozens of new parishes in the post-war housing schemes.
By the 1950s, Catholicism was flourishing in Glasgow, with almost every district having its own Catholic primary school and its own Catholic church, often the focal point of social life in the area. With vocations to the priesthood and religious orders booming and Catholics moving through higher education and into the professions, the decade of the 1950s was a halcyon period for Glasgow's Catholics.
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