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The son of a socialist and pacifist minister, Martin grew up with a strong political influence in his life. After grade school he earned a scholarship to Mill Hill School. Not a short time later in 1916, while he was still attending school, Martin was drafted by the British Army. Being a pacifist, he was totally opposed to the war and refused to fight in it, but he did not object to helping his country, and served as a medical orderly for a few months caring for the wounded soldiers. He later joined, the FAU (Society of Friends Ambulance Unit) and was eventually sent later that year to the western front to serve with them.
After the war he returned to his academic life at Magdalene College, Cambridge. While studying at the college he became politically active and joined many groups such as the Union of Democratic Control and the Fabian Society. After obtaining a degree from Cambridge, Martin moved to the US to teach at Princeton University for a year. When Kingsley returned to England, he was hired as a book reviewer for the journal, The Nation. His employer also used his connections to get Martin a teaching job at the London School of Economics. As well as a new job, Kingsley also managed to publish one of his earlier books, The Triumph of Lord Palmerston. Kingsley remained at the London School for three years, before he was proposed a job offer as the lead writer at the Manchester Guardian. Martin kindly accepted the offer, and during his time there he published another work; French Liberal Thought in the Eighteenth Century.
He became editor of the New Statesmen in 1930, taking up the post at the beginning of 1931. With Martin as editor, the New Statesman (renamed New Statesman and Nation after absorbing The Nation in 1931) became a significant influence on Labour politics. During this period, Martin and the Statesman were criticised for pursuing an erratic response to the regime of Stalin in the Soviet Union; Martin was despised by George Orwell. Despite all this, the circulation of the Statesman grew from 14,000 to 80,000 over the course of Martin's thirty years in the editor's chair..
Kingsley Martin remained at the New Statesmen until 1960 when he retired. In The Crown And The Establishment, a short book published by Hutchinson in 1962, he put forward the first modern argument for British Republicanism.
In his remaining years he published two autobiographical works; Father Figures (1966) and Editor (1968).
Charles Mostyn Lloyd
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