Chapter

The Defeat of Liberalism

A. W. Brian Simpson

in In the Highest Degree Odious

Published in print November 1994 | ISBN: 9780198259497
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198259497.003.0006
The Defeat of Liberalism

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Support for a negotiated peace with Germany was widespread in late 1939 and early 1940; the most vocal groups campaigning for peace were the fascists, the communists, and the Peace Pledge Union (PPU). The Communist Party of Great Britain was considerably larger than Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union (BU); in 1940 it had roughly 20,000 members. In wartime, propaganda for peace can easily be interpreted as treachery, and the PPU, like the BU, feared government action, and took steps to protect itself by going ‘underground’. In September, action against Mosley in particular was considered in the Home Office. Realistically, worries about fringe political peace groups deflected attention from many in mainstream public life who also favoured a settlement, no doubt on condition that the terms furthered their view of British interests. Sir John Anderson's views on peace negotiations are unknown, but under him the Home Office resisted pressure for more repressive action against peace propagandists and aliens. During this period, the government introduced a new Treachery Bill.

Keywords: Britain; Germany; propagandists; fascists; communists; Peace Pledge Union; Oswald Mosley; Home Office; Treachery Bill; British Union

Chapter.  10357 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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