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British Union of Fascists : newspapers and secret files

British Union of Fascists : newspapers and secret files

British Union of Fascists : newspapers and secret files

On Thursday the 23rd of May 1940, after a lengthy period of surveillance by the security services, Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) which he had founded in 1932, was arrested by police under Defence Regulation 18B of the Emergency Powers Act (1939). He was interned, initially in Brixton Prison and then in Holloway. Two weeks after his arrest, under the heading 'Treason in politics', the last ever issue of Action (No. 222, June 6, 1940) proclaimed: "There is nothing in the policy of British Union, that lends the slightest excuse for such treasonable practices. It has been laid down again and again that members must obey the law, must do nothing to impede the nation's war effort, and in case of invasion, must rally to Ihe defence of the British Empire. Where members have been found guilty of disloyal or unpatriotic behaviour, their expulsion from the Movement follows as a matter of course."

Increasingly, during the course of the 1930s, the authorities had come to view the BUF as pro-Nazi. Although the BUF continued to function throughout the "phoney war", the invasion of France in May 1940 and the fear of an imminent invasion of Britain led the authorities to act against the British Union. Mosley's repeated calls "For Britain, peace and people", for example on the front page of issue no. 184 (September 2, 1939) of Action, the day after the Third Reich invaded Poland, were cited as evidence of support for appeasing Hitler. Indeed, among the reasons given in Home Office files (HO 283/12) for the internment of Mosley, together with over a thousand other leading BUF officials, was the charge that "the persons in control of the organization have or have had associations with persons concerned in the Government of Germany, a power with which His Majesty is at war," in other words the authorities thought they were Nazi collaborators. Yet for all this, the accusations made against Mosley were never tried in court, though there were a number of hearings at which he attempted to overturn the order of arrest and internment.

The issue became a cause célébre, with Mosley even enjoying support from such unlikely quarters as Britain's anarchists. In December 1943, introducing 'It might have happened to you!' (The Word : special investigation report on 18B), Guy A. Aldred, a prominent member of the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation, "dare[d] to come forward, not as an apologist of their opinions, but as the defender of their civil rights. If they are traitors, indict them. If they are not traitors, release them. If they cannot be indicted, they ought to be restored to human liberty."

In addition to the three principal organs of BUF, Action (1936-1940), Blackshirt (1933-1939) and Fascist week (1933-1934), the present collection reproduces, from the National Archives at Kew, a wealth of information gathered by the Home Office, the Police, MI5 and the Cabinet Office on Mosley and also his second wife, Lady Diana Mosley, who was arrested and interned just over a month later, on the 29th of June 1940. Read together, these newspapers and previously classified documents permit researchers to evaluate the true extent not only of any threat home-grown fascism posed to Britain during the early stages of the Second World War, but also of the political and financial relationships between British fascists, the Nazis in Germany, and Mussolini's fascist party in Italy, as well as elsewhere in Europe during this period of political history.

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Browsing 1-10 of 10 result(s) in British Union of Fascists : newspapers and secret files

Action

Action

Nos. 1-222 (1936-1940). First published on February 21 1936, this fascist weekly newspaper became the official organ of the British Union, adopting a popular style of journalism, with film and...

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The Blackshirt

The Blackshirt

Initially a weekly, then a monthly, newspaper covering the period: February 1933-May 1939. From 1 June 1934, it incorporated the short-lived periodical, The Fascist week, and became styled under the title:...

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The East London pioneer

The East London pioneer

This short-lived BUF newspaper was launched in October 1936, "Circulating in the Boroughs of Bethnal Green, Bow, Hackney, Shoreditch and Stepney". Apparently intended to be a monthly, it is referred to...

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Fascist week

Fascist week

Covers Nov. 1933-May 1934. Published by the British Union of Fascists, this newpaper was later incorporated in Blackshirt in 1934.

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Miscellaneous papers of BUF members

Miscellaneous papers of BUF members

These miscellaneous papers deposited in the Imperial War Museum relate to members of the British Union of Fascists during the period between 1933 and the end of the Second World War,...

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Defense Regulation 18B, Advisory Committee papers: Sir Oswald Mosley

Defense Regulation 18B, Advisory Committee papers: Sir Oswald Mosley

HO 283 Home Office files, comprising: HO283/6: Details of British Union of Fascists Companies, 1940-1941. - HO283/7: Financial accounts of the British Union of Fascists, 1935-1940. - HO283/8: Letter to Mr....

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WAR: Defence Regulation 18B detainee: MOSLEY, Sir Oswald

WAR: Defence Regulation 18B detainee: MOSLEY, Sir Oswald

HO 45 Home Office : registered papers, comprising: HO 45/24891: Action leading up to Detention Order no. 824,545/103. - HO 45/24892: Defense Regulation 18B review. - HO 45/24893: Police report of...

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Right-wing extremists: Sir Oswald Mosley/Lady Mosley

Right-wing extremists: Sir Oswald Mosley/Lady Mosley

KV2: Security Service : personal files (PF series). Arranged in date order, the documents in files KV2/884-KV2/897 relate to Sir Oswald Mosley's activities between March 1933 and February 1951, while those...

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Miscellaneous papers on Mosley

Miscellaneous papers on Mosley's release

Contains files selected from the following series:

CAB 127: Cabinet Office: Private Collections of Ministers' and Officials' Papers: Sir Edward Bridges;

HO 262: Ministry of Information: Home Intelligence Division (HI) files; and,

PREM 4:...

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