Fascism and the Fears of 1940

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:
Fascism and the Fears of 1940

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Why did the British Union (BU) seem so threatening that it was singled out for suppression in May 1940? Any answer requires some explanation of the history of fascism in Britain, more particularly because the terms ‘fascist’ and ‘fascism’ are so commonly used today as mere terms of abuse. If we identify fascists as people committed to certain political programmes, one such programme was the creation of a corporate state. This was central to Italian fascism; in Britain a principal exponent was Alexander Raven-Thomson. Sir Oswald Mosley adopted the idea, though he later partly repudiated it. Corporatism appeared in the party constitution of 1938: ‘The name of the Movement is the British Union and the faith of the Movement is the National Socialist and Fascist creed. The object of the British Union is to win power by votes and thereby to establish in Great Britain the Corporate State’. But John Keegan argues that Adolf Hitler, to many a paradigm case of a fascist, had little interest in the matter.

Keywords: British Union; Britain; fascism; Adolf Hitler; Oswald Mosley; corporatism; fascists

Chapter.  15986 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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