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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Oswald Mosley - The Rise and Fall - British Union of Fascists in 1930s


The Rise and Fall of Oswald Mosley.

Oswald Mosley 1896 to 1980
Oswald Mosley was born in 1896 and died in 1980 age 84. He rose to prominence in the early 1920s as a young politician of great promise. He was of a British senior Aristocratic stock of Anglo/Irish heritage and probably one of the last old school Brits that tried to change with the times, but got it badly wrong in the long run.

After the war of 1914-1918, Oswald Mosley returned from the carnage of war determined to make a difference in the United Kingdom. He had seen the suffering of war and the humane side of this man wanted to build a better Britain. In the long run; one might say he was a perverted patriot who meant well. Adolf Hitler and Mussolini were men who wanted to serve their nations and perhaps Mosley was lucky not to be as dreadfully successful at winning power. His terrible legacy might have been more enhanced because he did advocate an anti-Jewish policy and one of his close party members would be William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) All this happened and came about after being frustrated with radical political adventures in the 1920s. All the good he tried to do was blown away when he tried to launch his British Union of Fascists in the 1930s

In his early days, Oswald Mosley gained prominence for his articulate ability and often made stirring speeches as a young politician. He championed a lot of working men’s causes and made compelling speeches that allured voters to him. He was also very outspoken against The Black and Tans and Auxiliary Police units that were causing great suffering in Ireland. So much so that he left the Conservative party and walked across the floor. This all seems very strange in the early days form a man that would lead the British Union of Fascists and try to make peace with Nazi Germany and Italy. These initial things brought Oswald Mosley much admiration and respect, especially championing the Irish cause against the thuggish police tactics of the Black and Tans.

The Labour party was new at the time and Mosley found a welcome from this new party after walking across the floor and leaving the coalition Conservative led government – Insulting and Shaming the Liberal Prime Minister Lloyd George. This was impact politics – very daring – very radical – and extremely attention gathering. This sort of thing gets attention, but if you are going to take things seriously; such extreme behaviour warrants distrust in the long run. Perhaps the newly emerging Labour party welcomed the positive publicity, but never really trusted the man Mosley in the long run. Perhaps he was too much of a loaded gun. He worked with the party for a long time but was never given a post of great prominence. He got frustrated and tried to bulldoze his way into the higher spectrum of the Labour party by putting forward a memorandum among other things.

He tried to do a lot to help the working man and the Mosley Memorandum to get British industry up and running with jobs for the working man all over the UK; got rejected by the Labour party cabinet. He tried to forward this proposal a second time and was further frustrated by rejection. This memorandum was believed to have been good in theory. Even after the decades went by; many thought that this Mosley Memorandum for getting British industry going might have been good if put to practise.

In the end Mosley once again walked away from his political party as he did with the Conservatives earlier in the decade. This time it was not too unexpected and it did not carry the media approval he anticipated. It was almost as though he was throwing his baby rattle out of the pram. He began to look like a man obsessed with his own conviction of vanity at an excessive level.


It was almost like he was too over eager to gain power and began to lose faith with democracy. From here on he slid into the arms of Fascism that was igniting all of Europe. He formed the British Union of Fascists and had many celebrities join. There was an organisation of Black Shirts who turned up at his political rallies, but he quickly attracted anti-reactionary political movements who often turned up at his rallies to heckle his ideas. Also Jewish groups who were concerned with such radical policies got into stand up brawls with the BUF too. There was a period where he attracted concern because many agreed with his extreme right wing politics. This was the man who had been in the Labour party and the Conservatives and could not succeed democratically. All others were misguided except for him – if only the masses would listen to him.

Eventually the war with Nazi Germany came and with Italy too. Mosley saw his BUF’s dwindling support collapse. His inner party member, William Joyce, went to Germany and began broadcasting for the Nazis.

Oswald Mosley was interned under national security regulations and was put into custody until 1943. His world would never be the same. He would try to make breakthroughs into British politics, but he was a spent force – little more than a joke after World War II. He went to live in Ireland for a time and then Paris. He would become a sad figure and to a degree somewhat sympathetic because he started with great potential as a young man. He may have got swallowed up and drowned in his own faith of self-importance. This is not meant in a wicked way, because in Mosley we might see what all humans can become if they are overdosed in admiration at a young age. I think Mosley might have tragically become overwhelmed in his own verdict – a would be champion that no one really wanted because he became too self-obsessed. Again, in his defence, it can happen to the best of young men and once on such a course it is hard to stop. He charged head on into his own destruction and was little more than a sad circus relic by the time he passed away.


There were many good and learned people who admired the young Oswald Mosley when he began in politics in the early 1920s, but one by one he lost the good opinion of good friends as he went on his diverse political journey.
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