November 16, 1896 to December 3, 1980"/>
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Remembering Sir Oswald Mosley:
November 16, 1896 to December 3, 1980

845 words

Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats, was an English aristocrat (a fourth cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II) and statesman. Mosley was a Member of Parliament for Harrow from 1918 to 1924 and for Smethwick from 1926 to 1931. He was also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Labour Government of 1929–1931.

Mosley began his political career as a Conservative; then he broke with the Conservatives to become an independent; then he joined the Labour Party. In 1931, he broke with Labour and formed his “New Party.” After the New Party candidates failed in the elections of 1931, Mosley regrouped and founded the British Union of Fascists in 1932.

The BUF went through typical political ups and downs, but claimed a peak membership as high as 50,000, including prominent members of the aristocracy, military, press, business community, and intelligentsia. Furthermore, many Britons who sympathized and collaborated with Mosley and the BUF never officially joined the party. Adventurer T. E. Lawrence, author Henry Williamson, and conductor Sir Reginald Goodall have been profiled at Counter-Currents. For an extensive list, see the Wikipedia article on the BUF.

Like other fascist parties, the BUF was anti-communist, nationalistic, pro-private property, and anti-egalitarian. As fascists, the BUF recognized the necessity of cultivating individual excellence, ambition, and creativity. But they also wished to mitigate of the worst excesses of individualism and capitalism by opposing free trade (globalization) and usury and advocating better wages and benefits for workers, social welfare programs, and public spending on infrastructure.

Like Hitler and Mussolini, Mosley was a charismatic leader and speaker who sought to attain power by the creation of a mass political party. Public marches and speeches were staples of BUF activity. To protect BUF rallies from Communist and Jewish violence, Mosley formed a paramilitary “blackshirt” corps. There were many bloody brawls and police bans.

The largest meeting addressed by Mosley took place at Victoria Park, Bow, in July 1936. The crowd was estimated at 250,000 people. In July 1939, the BUF held the largest indoor meeting in the world at Earls Court in London, where Mosley addressed a Peace Rally of some 30,000 people.

Mosley’s strongest support was in East London, where in 1937, the BUF won up to one fourth of the vote.

At the beginning, the BUF, like Mussolini’s movement, was not anti-Semitic and actually had a number of Jewish members. However, over time, it became apparent that the vast bulk of the Jewish community was aggressively anti-BUF, thus the BUF became increasingly anti-Semitic.

The BUF was never a National Socialist party. Like Mussolini, Mosley never took biological race or anti-Semitism all that seriously. After Hitler’s rise to power, however, Mosley maintained cordial relations with the Third Reich. Mosley married his second wife, Diana Mitford, on October 6, 1936 in Berlin at the home of Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler was one of the guests.

In the late 1930s, as Jewish anti-German warmongering intensified, the BUF worked to save Britain and Europe from another war, campaigning on the theme of Mind Britain’s Business. After Britain and France started the Second World War by declaring war on Germany on September 3, 1939, Mosley campaigned for a negotiated peace.

On May 23, 1940 Mosley’s opposition to the war was silenced. He was interned under Defence Regulation 18B, which was used to silence the most active fascists and National Socialists in Britain. The BUF was later banned. Diana Mosley was also interned. The Mosleys lived together in a house in the grounds of Holloway prison until November 1943, when they were released from Holloway because of Sir Oswald’s ill health. They spent the rest of the war under house arrest.

After the war, Mosley returned to politics, in 1948 forming the Union Movement, which called for a European federation (called Europe a Nation) with an essentially fascist political and economic order. The idea of a European federation was advocated in the 1930s by fascists like Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, although it was always a minority viewpoint. After the Second World War, however, it became a central idea of the most far-sighted thinkers of the right, including Francis Parker Yockey, Jean Thiriart, and now Guillaume Faye.

In 1951, Mosley left Britain for Ireland. Later, he settled near Paris. He explained his decision to leave Britain by saying, “You don’t clear up a dungheap from underneath it.” In 1959, Mosley returned to Britain to run in the 1959 general election at Kensington North. In 1966, he ran in the 1966 general election at Shoreditch and Finsbury.

In 1968, Mosley published his autobiography, My Life. In his later years he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He died on December 3, 1980 in Orsay, near Paris, aged 84.

Counter-Currents has reprinted six pieces by Mosley:

See also:

For articles tagged Sir Oswald Mosley, click here.

For more information on Mosley’s life and work, see http://www.oswaldmosley.com/

 

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6 Comments

  1. Deviance
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Ah, Mosley… an interesting character, that’s for sure. A loveable character? I don’t know.

    It can be objectively said, since the failure is known, that the BUF was probably the worst possible way of changing Britain through politics in the 30s. Mosley’s work was counterproductive. It helped anti-Axis forces win the public debate during the crucial and sad year of 1938. Demagogue men running around in black turtleneck shirts, making friends with drunk proletarians, attacking the monarchy as “corrupt” (even if it were true) and talking about establishing a one-man dictatorship could only frighten the Englander gentile elites and be misinterpreted. Fascism took hold in Italy because Italy, is, well… Italy. Not the same situation at all. To be fair, Hitler too shared this idealization of Italy as a country similar to Germany or GB, something he quickly abandoned during his first trips there, and something he definitely dismissed after the poor show the Italian Army delivered.

    Also, as Greg Johnson mentioned above, Mosley never was a real anti-Semite and had a limited understanding of the biological reality of race. The way his sons turned out might be a good indication on how he raised them about the issue. He also had a very limited understanding of economics. It would not be unfair, in fine, to dismiss Mosley as a bored aristocrat who wanted to have fun, and perhaps, just perhaps, reach 10, Downing Street in the process.

    He was a good speaker, and did a lot to weave bonds between friendly British aristocrats and NS Germany, that’s for the compliments.

    As a side note, an excerpt from Irving’s Goebbels biography that I find relevant:

    When Mosley had visited Hitler on April 25, 1935, Goebbels noted in his unpublished diary: ‘He makes a good impression. A bit brash, which he tries to conceal behind a forced pushiness. Otherwise acceptable however. Of course he’s on his best behaviour. The Führer has set to work on him. Wonder if he’ll ever come to power?’

    [...]

    By 1936 Mosley is already receiving substantial secret aid from Mussolini, and now he is boldly asking Hitler for an infusion of one hundred thousand pounds (around half a million dollars).

    [...]

    Taking Diana and her sister Unity to see Hitler on June 19, 1936 Dr Goebbels procures (his diary claims) £10,000 for Mosley—less than the asking amount, but still a very substantial contribution given Germany’s currency shortages.

    He is dubious as to what good it might do, and nominates Franz Wrede, of the Party’s press
    office, to smuggle the cash over to London.

    ‘Mosley must work harder,’ summarizes Goebbels after Wrede reports back to him, ‘and be less mercenary.’

    [...]

    When she returns in August, asking for more, he fobs her off (with Hitler’s approval).

    [...]

    Discussing Mosley again, Hitler and Goebbels agreed that he was not a great man.

    [...]

    Mosley was ‘spending a fortune and getting nowhere,’ he concluded; he had won no seats at all in the municipal elections. ’I think he’s a busted flush,’ wrote Goebbels after a further panhandling visitation by Lady Mosley in August 1937.

  2. Dan
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Concerning Mosley’s attitudes towards race, in his book “100 Questions About Fascism” there is written that “Fascism teaches pride of race and racial culture,” and also the following:

    “93. Do you believe in the racial theories of the German Nazi Movement?

    They are German and we are English, therefore our views and our methods on many subjects will be different. In this particular we possess a great Empire comprising many different races. They possess no such Empire, and their aim is a revived German race, geographically united. We believe profoundly in our own British race which has created the Empire, but we know also it would be bad for the Empire to stigmatise by law other races within it as inferior or outcast. We have created that Empire without race mixture or pollution, by reason of the British social sense and pride of race. That is an achievement unique in history, and we can trust the British genius in this respect in the future as in the past. It should not be necessary to secure British racial purity by act of law. It should only be necessary by education and propaganda to teach the British what racial mixtures are bad. If a Briton understands that some action is bad for his race he will not do it. With the British this is a matter for the teacher rather than the legislator, but if legislation was ever necessary to preserve the race, Fascism would not hesitate to introduce it.”

    So I don’t know where people get the idea that he didn’t care about race at all.

    Also, I’d like to mention some of the good things about Mosley. You know, the things that make him loveable, that the above commenter has forgotten. First of all, while it was a tactical error on Mosley’s part to call himself a Fascist and to dress in black uniform, his “fascism” was nothing like Mussolini’s, and unlike Mussolini his policies were made to benefit the people of Britain and were not just centered around ideas of state-worship and dictatorship, such as Mussolini was focused on.

    Mosely wanted to finally bring about some justice in the British Empire and put an end to the oppression that was occurring in places like Ireland, India, the Middle East, etc. There are even many times when one can find an Irishman praising him for being a “friend of Ireland,” something which most of the “Englander gentile elites” are hardly ever called. Mosley also was more socialistic than other “fascists” like Franco or Mussolini and certainly wanted to help Britain’s workers.

    And the best parts of his writings are, in my opinion, the portions where he, ever so accurately, links the problems that the West was facing at that time – and would face for decades to come until present day – as being caused by big business, finance capitalism, and the corruption of money. It was about time that Britain would at last produce a political movement which was finally willing to help its own working class and end the exploitation of other peoples that was going in the British Empire and would finally, at last, stand up to the power of business. So I think it is obvious that this is a man that deserves respect and not just a bunch of snobbery and scorn thrown at him.

  3. selbstgebildete
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    ‘. . . The BUF went through typical political ups and downs, but claimed a peak membership as high as 50,000, including prominent members of the aristocracy, military, press, business community, and intelligentsia. Adventurer T. E. Lawrence . . . ‘

    Lawrence was associated with the BUF? There’s nothing on the Wiki page or the article here that indicates it.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted November 17, 2012 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      Lawrence was not a member of the BUF, but he was a fellow traveler, with a particularly close association with Henry Williamson.

  4. DJF
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    A short U-tube video of Mosley talking about what we now call globalism. He said it in the 1930’s but it describes the world of 2012.

    http://youtu.be/3NqG2lAojNQ

  5. fnn
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Of course it’s now all been captured by the left (given the Catastrophe of 1945) but here’s a post with
    many links on contemporary alternative (i.e., anti-banker) economics:
    http://uncouthreflections.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-collapse-part-three/

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