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oswald mosley, britain’s very own national socialist

 

Oswald Mosely speaking

“The National Socialist creed of British Union says to our countrymen, ‘If you love our country you are national, and if you love our people you are socialist’.”

index
chronology
fascist meeting, earl'’s court, london 1939
series of written answers from the british union to the picture post
report of the meeting
mosley understood the labour party and its close relationship with fascism
satirical responses to mosley
after ww2
socialist economics
counting crowds
bibliography
end notes

This page is subsidiary to fascism is socialism and British establishment interference with civil liberties during the 20th century: Rule 18B and 18B(1a), the example of Diana and Oswald Mosley.

related pages:
the psychology and development of Adolph Hitler Schicklgruber
Did Hitler know about the holocaust? A psychological assessment

chronology
Mosley’s voyage to the left
1896 - 1980 Oswald Mosley
1914 -1916 Mosley serves on the Western Front, transfers to the Royal Flying Corps, invalided out in 1916 after a ’plane crash.
1918 Becomes a Tory M.P. for Harrow at the General Election.
1922 The Conservative Party is not radical enough for him, he wins Harrow as an Independent. Two years later, he joins the Labour Party.
1927 Elected to Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (N.E.C.)
1929 Labour win 1929 General Election. Mosley appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. MacDonald rejects his proposals. Mosley resigns from office.
1930 Forms the ‘New Party’.
1932 Meets Mussolini. Forms the British Union of Fascists (probably funded by Mussolini).
1936 Marries Diana Freeman Mitford (divorced from Brian Guinness) in the house of Goebbels, Hitler present. [See Bibliography.]
1951 “Our aim is Europe a Nation, our faith is European Socialism.” Mosley [1]
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fascist meeting, earl’s court, london 1939

From Picture Post, July 29, 1939

British Fascists complain that their movement is ignored in the Press. Requests and challenges to attend a meeting came into our office. We decided to send a cameraman and journalist to make a completely objective record of the big Fascist meeting at Earl's Court.

WHEN we agreed to report the Fascist meeting at Earl's Court on July 16, we wrote to the British Union explaining what we wanted to do. We said we wished to present a completely unbiased report, both in our pictures and article, and for this reason we put nine questions for the British Union to answer. These are the questions, and the answers as received from the Union's Director-General :-

series of written answers from the british union to the picture post

QUESTION: What is your membership ?
ANSWER: On the foundation of our Movement it was stated that the total number of our membership would never be published. We have always adhered to this.

QUESTION: What pledges or undertakings are given by your members on joining? What is the subscription for members ?
ANSWER : The following undertaking is given by members on joining: "I, the undersigned, being a British Citizen, loyal to King and Empire, hereby enrol as a Member of the British Union. I accept the principles and constitution of the British Union and will be loyal to its Leadership." Subscriptions for active members are a minimum of 1s. a month if employed, 4d. a month if unemployed. For inactive members a minimum of 1d. a week, 4d. a month.

QUESTION: Do your members go through any form of physical training or drilling? If so, why?
ANSWER: Drilling is forbidden. It is prohibited by the Public Order Act. Our members are encouraged to keep fit by all forms of athletics.

QUESTION: How does the British Union contemplate getting into power?
ANSWER: As stated in our-Constitution and Rules, "The object of the British Union is to win power by vote of the people at a General Election."

QUESTION:: What are its immediate objectives on getting I into power?
ANSWER: Policy described in the Leader's book, "Tomorrow We Live."[.pdf]

QUESTION: Does your Party intend to contest seats at the next General Election. If so, how many ? What are they, and who are the candidates?
ANSWER : Yes, some seats will certainly be fought. The number will depend entirely upon the amount of money that can be raised. The final announcement will not be made until later.

QUESTION: Why did you stop calling the party Fascist ?
ANSWER: "British Union" have been the first two words in our name from the foundation of the Movement; and for a long time past we have only used these two words in the name. They are the two British words which best describe our purpose. On the other hand, we certainly do not deny that our creed is Fascist, vide again Constitution and Rules, 1st two lines: "The name of the Movement is the British Union and the faith of the Movement is the National Socialist and Fascist creed."

We are, in this respect only, in precisely the same position as the Labour Party. They are called the Labour Party with the International Socialist creed; we are called the British Union with the National Socialist, or Fascist, creed. Our Movement and our name are purely British. Our creed, on the other hand, is universal but, being a national creed, in every country has a character, policy, form, and method, suited to that country alone.

QUESTION: What are the contacts between the British Union and the National Socialist Party of Germany, and the Fascist Party of Italy?
ANSWER : Nil.[3] We are a National and not an International Movement and, therefore, are not organised in any international manner. Our only interest in foreign statesmen or foreign Movements is to preserve friendship in order to establish peace.

QUESTION: Does your Party support the foreign as well as the internal policy of Germany and Italy?
ANSWER: The suggestion that our Movement, either in internal, or foreign, policy, has any foreign model, is completely untrue. Our position in this matter has been defined by the Leader in the Foreword of his Book "Tomorrow We Live" (quotation given from book).

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report of the meeting:

To cover the meeting at Earl's Court, we sent a reporter who is not a member of any political party. This is his story:-

This was the British Union's first big indoor meeting in London for over three years. A blue-badged steward told me that they budgeted for an audience of 30,000 people, that everyone had to pay for tickets, and that with a good deal of luck they might break even on the rally.

The Daily Mirror and the Daily Express reported next day that a few minutes after the meeting had begun, officials shouted "There are plenty of free seats," and the crowds rushed in.

The News Chronicle said there were 20,000 people present. The Daily Mirror said "about 10,000 convinced Blackshirts." The Times said the hall, estimated to 30,000, was ''fairly well-filled." [2]

The crowds were already flooding into their places at six-thirty. I should say that they seemed to be a younger than average crowd and—perhaps because they were wearing Sunday suits—better dressed. In the first fifteen rows (where the seats cost 10s. 6d.) there were a few of the fashion-plate type of clubman. The proportion of men to women seemed to be about two to one. I was told that about 5,000 stewards were on hand.

By ten minutes past seven most of the crowd were in their seats and community singing started. The hall was arranged on a red, white and blue colour scheme with large slogans such as "Britons Fight for Britain Only" and "Unite for Peace and People." At the front of the hall was a flight of white cloth-covered steps, stretching from one side to the other, and in the middle was a large pulpit about twenty feet high from which Sir Oswald Mosley was to speak.

At seven-forty, action began. First came the Fascist drum-and-fife band. This was followed in succession by a man carrying a grimy Union Jack (used at the earliest meetings), men (rather poorly dressed) carrying red, white and blue Fascist banners, (drummer girls in blue and grey (the girls on the outside edge being the more attractive), men again in street clothes carrying black and yellow Fascist banners, men carrying Fascist pennants, and, finally, a man carrying a forked ecclesiastical-looking pennant.

The leader speaks.

After a fanfare, Mosley walked the length of the hall. He was dressed in a grey flannel suit. As he passed, you noted the deep-set eyes, twinkling smile, short white teeth, thick neck, well-pomaded black hair. The audience cheered and most saluted.

Stewards and audience salutes.

"Fellow Britons," said Mosley after he mounted the rostrum, "to-night the British people are here." The big meeting was on.

Most of the time I sat next to Mr. and Mrs. B—; B— is a civil engineer. "Don't mention my name, please," he asked. It was the first Fascist meeting he had been to. He had paid ten shillings for his seats and had come up from Carshalton.

"I have a great belief in Fascist things," he said. "Is there much Communism in Carshalton?" I asked.

"No," he said, "but there is an invasion of Jewish refugees and cut-price shops there. Terrible it is. I've given up reading the papers altogether .... You see, I've a certain flair for politics. This trade cycle seems totally unnecessary to me. How can Germany get rid of 6,000,000 unemployed and we not ... "

But the Leader was speaking. Mosley's voice, loud and compelling, gradually ascended the register as each of his sentences developed, rather in the manner of a car speeding up to the next gear-change. His chief gesture is a slow forward movement of the hand as of one who seeks to score a double-twenty on the dart board. His voice had its occasional hoarse breaks, but none of the rasp of Hitler's; his hoarser passages were bayed rather than shouted.

Listening to Mosley: Randolph Churchill
Of course, Churchill was correct and Mosley was merely foolish, as usual.

In most cases the applause that he got appeared entirely genuine, though once or twice it started before most of the audience could have seen point of the remark he was about to make.

Mosley's arguments were clearly put. He attacked the Press because it ignored him. "According to the Press, you don't exist at all," he told his audience. He attacked the present political system because "it divides the nation on issues that don't exist at all" and the financiers because, he said, they control both the Press and Parliament. He would like to make the British Empire entirely self-sufficient . He would like to give Hitler a free hand in Eastern Europe ("If anyone can keep order there, good luck to them"), return the Mandated Territories and call a disarmament conference.

He also referred to the Jewish forces working here 'to bring about a world war.' At this point Mr. B— applauded so vigorously that his hat fell to the ground. All through the evening the anti-Jewish outbursts were the lines that got the big applause.

Mosley ended his speech with a phrase bringing in "This vow which we have made for to-night ... for to-morrow ... for ever." It sounded impressive, even if you were not quite sure what vow you had taken. Then came the anthem "Britain Awake" and the procession, the band, the blue and grey girls, the men with the banners and the pennant.

Finally the Leader himself followed them and went through a door, next to some telephone kiosks, marked "Private." The big meeting was over.

PICTURE POST has no Connection with any political party. It believes in publishing the facts about all parties.

 

mosley understood the labour party and its close relationship with fascism

Of course in the nineteen thirties, everyone knew that National Socialism was just one variety of socialism. After the war, socialists worked overtime attempting to distance themselves from fascism/national-socialism by propaganda and mis-information.

“We are, in this respect only, in precisely the same position of the Labour Party. They are called the Labour Party with the International Socialist creed; we are called the British Union with the National Socialist, or Fascist creed. Our Movement and our name are purely British. Our creed, on the other hand, is universal but, being a national creed, in every country has a character, policy, form, and method, suited to that country alone.”
[Written answer from Mosley’s British Union, July 1939]

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“The National Socialist creed of British Union says to our countrymen, ‘If you love our country you are national, and if you love our people you are socialist’.”
[Quoted from Tomorrow we live - British Union Policy, 1938, the manifesto of the British Union Party]

 

satirical responses to mosley

P.G. Wodehouse in The Code of the Woosters, 1937.—

“Roderick Spode is the founder and head of the Saviours of Britain, a Fascist organization better known as the Black Shorts.” [Mosley’s organisation was the British Union of Fascists, commonly known as the Black Shirts.]

“The moment I had set eyes on Spode, if you remember, I had said to myself ‘What ho! A Dictator!’ and a Dictator he had proved to be. I couldn’t have made a better shot, if I had been one of those detectives who see a chap walking along the street and deduce that he is a retired manufacturer of poppet valves named Robinson with rheumatism in one arm, living in Clapham.
    ‘Well, I’m dashed! I thought he was something of that sort. That chin … Those eyes… And, for the matter of that, that moustache. By the way, when you say “shorts”, you mean “shirts”, of course.’
    ‘No. By the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left. He and his adherents wear black shorts.’
    ‘Footer bags, you mean?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘How perfectly foul.’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘Bare knees?’
    ‘Bare knees.’
    ‘Golly!’
    ‘Yes.’ [Chapter 3]

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“He was, as I had already been able to perceive, a breath-taking cove. About seven feet in height, and swathed in a plaid ulster which made him look about six feet across, he caught the eye and arrested it. It was as if Nature had intended to make a gorilla, and had changed its mind at the last moment.

““But it wasn't merely the sheer expanse of the bird that impressed. Close to, what you noticed more was his face, which was square and powerful and slightly moustached towards the centre. His gaze was keen and piercing. I don't know if you have even seen those pictures in the papers of Dictators with tilted chins and blazing eyes, inflaming the populace with fiery words on the occasion of the opening of a skittle alley, but that was what he reminded me of.” [Chapter 1]

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“The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?" ” [Chapter 7]

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Also, Nancy Mitford, in Wigs on the Green, where the British Union of Fascists became the Union Jack Movement, and the Black Shirts became the Union Jack Shirts. Wigs on the Green also satirised her sister Unity. This satirical work was not taken well by the Mitford family (aggravated by Unity’s attempted suicide), and Nancy Mitford and her family ever afterwards worked to ‘bury’ it. Therefore, as a result of this behaviour, Wigs on the Green had become virtually a banned book since its publication in 1935. This is a shame, because it forms an interesting, minor social document of those times. It is now close to unobtainable. Update, at last, 2010: reprints are now available.

    “Oh, good”, she said, coming down from her tub. She then began hitching up her skirt, disclosing underneath it a pair of riding breeches, from the pocket of which she produced two recruiting cards and a fountain pen. “You sign here—see? You have to promise that you will obey the Captain in all things and pay ninepence.”
    “I promise,” said Jasper.
    “It’s all very well,” said Noel, “I suppose that’s O.K., but look here, who is the Captain? Is he a nice chap? Couldn’t I promise in most things? He might want me to do something very peculiar, mightn’t he?”
    “Eugenia looked at him with a lowering brow, fingering her dagger. “You’d better be careful,” she said gloomily. “That is no way to speak of the Captain.”
    “I’m awfully sorry,” said Noel, nervously eyeing the weapon. “I’ll never do it again. Right then, here’s my ninepence.”

Nancy Mitford, Wigs on the Green, 1935 Thornton Butterworth, Ltd, p.22.

 

after world war two

Even after the war, Mosley’s superficial theories and vaunting ambitions remain. Like Napoleon and Hitler, he dreamed of European empire and subservient markets and resource supplies.

“Ourselves Alone” [Sinn Fein!]
“With or without American assistance, we Europeans can do it: if necessary with the motto "ourselves alone." Bring two hundred and seventy million people, whose fathers have produced every great invention of the world, into direct contact with the most extensive natural resources of the world which are to be found in Africa. Can anyone deny that the result will be the highest civilisation the world has yet seen; once Europeans have won the will to unite and to act? Yes, it is true that Britain has lost financial resources, man power and all the old means to save herself. But Britain in Europe and with Europe can provide and share with all Europeans more skilled man power and more resources and strength than any of us ever dreamt of having before. United we stand, divided we fall. Workers of Europe unite, you have nothing to lose but - the racket.”
[From The ABC of modern economics, Mosley, 1951]

Along with the usual contradictory and romantic notions of ‘economics’, so beloved within socialism, you may read a sample here if you can stand the turgid shallows. Here is a tedious sample to whet your appetite:

“4. The method of industrial organisation will be a dynamic pragmatism. We shall experiment, find out what works, change a method quickly if it does not work, and follow success with every energy. We will be bound by no preconceptions or economic shibboleths of the old world. Science has made them all obsolete. We believe the development of new enterprise is best done by an unfettered private enterprise which should not only be free but by every means encouraged. When private enterprise is exhausted and the concern becomes too big for any individual management, we prefer workers' ownership to state ownership or nationalisation. What is begun by a creative individual should finally be continued by a collective individualism of workers who own the enterprise to which they have given their lives, and not by a state bureaucracy without interest or contact with workers or industry.” [Printed in Nation Europa, 1956]

 

socialist economics

Oswald Mosley was constantly arguing for a closed and ‘planned’ economy run by experts.

‘Beggar thy neighbour’ and trade war, often regarded as an aggravation of the Great Depression. These always become part of the Left’s agenda at the first hint of recession, as is currently on display.

 

counting crowds

abelard.org, after studying the photographs above, and with some knowledge of the Earl’s Court arena seating plan, estimates that the audience at Mosley’s meeting was about 9,000 people. This estimate was made by counting heads across one row and counting a number of rows, multiplying up, and then estimating how many portions of that sized area are in the arena. A deduction was then made to allow for empty rows.

Earl's Court seating plan
Earl's Court seating plan
Above are photographs of the arena both looking towards and away from the stage.

As you see in the text above, the organisers had budgeted for an optimistic 30,000 paying spectators. Different newspapers made estimates between 10 and 30,000. In the end, the doors were opened so more seats could be filled:
“...officials shouted "There are plenty of free seats," and the crowds rushed in.”

Invariably, the organisers will assess numbers to be far more than the real numbers attending. The police are not adverse to exaggerating crowd numbers, to enhance the ‘need’ for ever more police. And newspapers ‘hype’ to draw in readers.

 

bibliography

European Socialism by Oswald Mosley,
first published June 1951 in the German magazine Nation Europa,
14-page reprint, Steven Books
Historical reprint series
ISBN: 1899435255

Marker at abelard.org

Another pamphlet with the same title:
European Socialism,
published 1956 in Nation Europa
available online


Why Mosley left the Labour government - his resignation speech on unemployment, House of Commons, 28 May 1930
14-page reprint, Steven Books
Historical reprint series
ISBN: 190411056

Marker at abelard.org

Response to Mosley’s speech on unemployment - Unemployment Policy (1930) Committee
UK national government archives
[CAB 24/211 1930]

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British Union manifesto, 1938:
Tomorrow We Live [.pdf]


Jeeves Omnibus 1 by P.G. Wodehouse

The Code of the Woosters is included in The Jeeves Omnibus 1, 1990 Hutchinson, p.237 - 238
ISBN-10: 009173987X
ISBN-13: 978-0091739874, pbk,
amazon.com / £11.21 [amazon.co.uk]


Marker at abelard.org

Bought and Paid For by Charles Gasparino

Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford

£5.04 [amazon.co.uk]
Penguin, pbk, 2010
ISBN-10: 0141047461
ISBN-13: 978-0141047461

 

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$10.17 [amazon.com]
Vintage, pbk, 2010
ISBN-10: 0307740854
ISBN-13: 978-0307740854

$13.29 [amazon.com]
Kindle version: 303 Kb
ePenguin, 2010
ASIN: B003AYZBJS

 

 

related documents at abelard.org

 

end notes

  1. Oswald Mosley (1896 – 1980), English politician who was the leader of the British Union of Fascists from 1932 to 1940 and of its successor, the Union Movement, from 1948 until his death. These groups were known for distributing anti-Semitic propaganda, conducting hostile demonstrations in the Jewish sections of east London, and wearing Nazi-style uniforms and insignia.

    Serving in the House of Commons from 1918 to 1931, Mosley, as he became ever more extreme, was successively a Conservative, an Independent, and a Labour Party member, serving in a Labour ministry in 1929 – 30. In 1931 he tried to form a socialist party but was defeated for reelection to Parliament. The next year he founded the British Union of Fascists, for which some enthusiasm was generated by his own powerful oratory and by the support of the newspaper publisher Viscount Rothermere (Daily Mail etc.). Interned after the outbreak of World War II, Mosley was released in 1943 because of illness. On Feb. 7, 1948, he launched the Union Movement.

    Mosley married in 1920 Lady Cynthia Blanche Curzon (died 1933), daughter of the 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston; and in 1936 Diana Guinness (née Freeman-Mitford), daughter of the 2nd Baron Redesdale, himself a prewar apologist of Nazi Germany. (Redesdale came to abhor the Nazis while his wife, Sydney, continued to revere Hitler. This was probably the basis for a growing rift between the couple). Mosley’s autobiography, My Life, was published in 1968.
    Enc. Brit., with changes by ab

  2. Before 1970, British currency was denominates in pounds, shillings and pence (singular: penny) £sd or LSD.
    One pound, £1
    = 20 shillings, 20s or 20/-
    = 240 pence, 240d, there being 12d to 1s.


    £1 in 1939 would be worth at least £50 in 2011 money.

  3. That is a complete lie. See 1936 in the Chronology above. It is also highly probable that Mussolini was secretly helping to fund Mosley.

  4. Wigs on the green,
    a colloquial expression (orig. Irish) for coming to blows or sharp altercation (wigs being liable to fall or be pulled off in a fray).[OED]

    In this extract, the character, Eugenia (who was based on Unity Mitford), was election campaigning, standing on an upturned washtub.

Some reference keywords/tags:
Oswald Mosley,Diana Mitford,Adolph Adolf Hitler,British Union,National Socialist Party,Fascism,Franco,Mussolini,England,UK,U.K.,[Mosely,Moseley]

 

 

 

 


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