British Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish Responses, 1932-40 (A Modern History of Politics and Violence)

British Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish Responses, 1932-40 (A Modern History of Politics and Violence)

Daniel Tilles

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1474286429

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book explores the use of antisemitism by Britain's interwar fascists and the ways in which the country's Jews reacted to this, examining the two alongside one another for the first time and locating both within the broader context of contemporary events in Europe.

Daniel Tilles challenges existing conceptions of the antisemitism of Britain's foremost fascist organisation, the British Union of Fascists. He demonstrates that it was a far more central aspect of the party's thought than has previously been assumed. This, in turn, will be shown to be characteristic of the wider relationship between interwar European fascism and antisemitism, a thus far relatively neglected issue in the burgeoning field of fascist studies. Tilles also argues that the Buf's leader, Sir Oswald Mosley, far from being a reluctant convert to the anti-Jewish cause, or simply a cynical exploiter of it, as much of the existing scholarship suggests, was aware of the role antisemitism would play in his fascist doctrine from the start and remained in control of its subsequent development. These findings are used to support the notion that, contrary to prevailing perceptions, Jewish opposition to the Buf played no part in provoking the fascists' adoption of antisemitism. Britain's Jews did, nevertheless, play a significant role in shaping British fascism's path of development, and the wide-ranging and effective anti-fascist activity they pursued represents an important alternative narrative to the dominant image of Jews as mere victims of fascism.

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Broadcast through speeches at thousands of public meetings, but these were often tailored to local concerns, occurred unevenly (both temporally and geographically), and were not always under the control of the central leadership. By contrast, the party’s newspapers, which were published weekly and hosted a variety of authors writing on all aspects of policy and activity, served as the BUF’s main forum for expounding its doctrine on a national scale to both members and non-members,6 and therefore.

Suffused fascist thought.74 The fascists, of course, took the case a step further, not only questioning the Jews’ loyalty and compatibility, but accusing them of deliberately pursing their interests to the detriment of the host society. Such claims were, again, already well established in British political discourse. It had long been felt in certain quarters that Jewish concerns conflicted with British ones; and it was often insinuated that Jews exploited the great power and wealth they.

Was in October 1934 that he had criticized Jews ‘for the first time’, having ‘rarely … even mentioned’ them previously.19 Few examples better attest to the dishonesty of his account. Chesterton, similarly, recalled how, so ‘puzzled’ had Mosley been by the outpouring of Jewish opposition in 1934, that he ‘ordered a thorough research’ into the matter. This was carried out by Chesterton himself, who ‘discovered’ that Jews held great sway over international finance, the retail trade, the cinema and.

In the East End. This did not make Mosley popular. In June, Fuller privately condemned his ‘absurd’ decision to refocus on national campaigning rather than concentrating on the ‘gutterelectorate’ of east London, where Fuller now believed the greatest opportunities lay. In November, claiming he had ‘lost faith with … Sir Oswald’, Bailey resigned from the party after being instructed by headquarters to ‘tone down the violent anti-Jewish tenor’ of his speeches. Charles Wegg-Prosser, who had also.

Afterwards, while written questions were being taken, protestors began to interrupt, demanding details of the party’s Jewish policy. In a pattern that would later become familiar, overzealous Blackshirt stewards attempted to silence the hecklers, leading to a violent brawl and police intervention.6 In contrast to events in the West End, here it was the fascists who appeared to be largely responsible for the clashes. As well as their aggressive stewarding, reports emerged of an attack on three.

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