Oswald Mosley


The treatment of Mosley in the post-war world had consisted of an Establishment conspiracy aimed at silencing one of the greatest figures to emerge from the politics of the Twentieth Century. He was a man of rare ability who could not be easily dismissed as a lunatic and certainly not as a criminal. Even his enemies acknowledged his obvious gifts and talents.

British fascism is now consigned to the history of the 1920s and 1930s. When Mosley emerged in the post-war era he redefined his political position as a consequence of the “brothers’ war” of 1939-45. Fascism, he said, was a unique phenomenon of the inter-war years organised to meet the conditions of those two decades. After 1945, the world had changed to such a degree that the narrow nationalism of fascism had become obsolete.

The war had proved one thing. The nations of Europe should never go to war again but should unite in the brotherhood of one nation in order to avoid future conflicts. A consequence of that war was the loss of the British Empire and the rise of the two super-powers, America and Russia, then locked in the Cold War.

The British Empire had constituted a vast economic area on which British Union had based its ideas of an Insulated Empire Policy. The way out of international competition in which the financial power had exploited national divisions was the creation of an insulated economy and that could only be achieved within a vast geographical area.

The new “empire” was to be Europe, along with the White Dominions and parts of South America. The alternative was to be a satellite of America in constant fear of Soviet aggression. This new union was to be called Europe a Nation.

By 1948, Mosley had transcended both fascism and the old-style democracy in a new synthesis, which he called “European Socialism” … not to be confused with the “socialism” of Leftist internationalism.

He wrote then, “Let us turn from the old internationalism, which always failed and the old nationalism which is now obsolete, to the new idea of Europe a Nation”.

The fascism of the 1930s had two major weaknesses. Firstly, in the desire for dynamic state action it tended to “ride roughshod over civil liberties” and, secondly, its vigorous nationalistic nature could place it in a confrontational position with immediate neighbours.

Mosley recognised those defects in the fascist creed and, without rejecting the need for fascism before the war, went beyond those ideas in a synthesis of conflicting principles.

The need for the state to act in order to solve the problems of the day was reconciled with the need for civil liberties to be respected. This was the achievement of his new European idea.

It should also be borne in mind that Mosley’s fascism in the 1930s reflected a very British attitude, quite different to the fascism of Italy. National temperaments inevitably play a role in politics, along with traditions, cultures and social mores.

If anything, Oswald Mosley personified the quintessential Englishman.

Robert Edwards 

©2002  'Sir Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists by Robert Edwards'

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oswaldmosley.net - 2008