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British Fascism: A Regional Perspective

Radley, Christian (2018) British Fascism: A Regional Perspective. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

The early 1930s saw a wave of Fascism sweep across Europe. It had a varied impact across many European countries; Germany, Italy and eventually Spain; were engulfed into the movement whilst Britain managed to resist. In Britain, the Fascist movement is considered to have been a minor threat to British politics but became a significant focus of conflict in a climate of fear about the rise of European Fascism. Though always a minority movement British fascism did gain support in three main areas - in parts of Yorkshire, south Lancashire and in London – where it posed major concerns for the British government. This raises the question of who supported fascism in these districts and why? This dissertation aims to understand the appeal that resonated with some of the inhabitants of Britain’s key fascist regions of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and East London. Each region was an area of local strength for the British Union of Fascists, at a time where European Fascism was an increasing concern to national security. This work aims to understand the extent to what some constituents of these key regions supported Mosley’s economic recommendations to address the unemployment crisis. Also, to what degree did Mosley’s recruitment strategies succeed in gathering local support and which local policies assisted with the party’s popularity? This study explores the local motivations and the nature of local recruitment, evaluating the events that shaped the success of the British Union of Fascists. Mosley’s militant approach often led to abrupt decisions, directional party changes and internal disruption, this study reveals the effects of such leadership at a local level. A variety of primary sources have been used to draw these conclusions, they include the extensive number of speeches delivered by BUF executives, party materials and pamphlets, 6 autobiographies of party members, public labour surveys as well as readings from speeches delivered at the House of Commons. Part of the appeal lies in the way Mosley adjusted his speech to correlate with local interests. Its decline may be due to how he later lost sight of his original political and economic visions, becoming too entwined in notions of anti-Semitism, which ultimately resulted in a less engaged dwindling membership.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Depositing User: Harriet Notman
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2018 14:00
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2018 08:30
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34653

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