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Oswald Mosley The Godfather Of British Fascism

3032 words - 12 pages

In the late 1930's, German novelist Thomas Mann described fascism as'a disease of the times, which is at home everywhere and from which no country is free,'Fascism was spreading through Europe, Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany, was it inevitable that it would soon spread and become popular in Britain of the 1930's? Historian A.J.P Taylor described Oswald Mosley as,"The greatest comet of British politics in the twentieth century… a superb political thinker, the best of our age".How then did such a charismatic and popular aristocrat and politician, fall under the influence of the fascist movement that was sweeping European nations at that time? Why was fascism so appealing to Mosley? Firstly we need to understand what is meant by the word fascism. Fascism is,'a highly nationalistic political ideology, aiming to overthrow democracy and set up a dictatorship. Central to fascism is the heroic leader. Also vital is the use of propaganda, which aims to ensure the conformity of citizens.'Could Oswald Mosley really expect to achieve this ideology? This essay will look at Mosley as a man and his career as a politician and why it took such a dramatic turn to the far right, was he just a puppet for the ideals of Mussolini?Oswald Ernald Mosley was born on the 16th November 1896; into a very wealthy family he was the eldest son of a Staffordshire baronet. Mosley saw little of his father and was mainly brought up by his mother, who adored and spoiled him. People who knew him as described him as" a solitary, imaginative boy prone to day dreaming and introspection"Perhaps this was a sign of the man Mosley was to become in the future. He attended school at Winchester, which he amusingly summarised as:"Apart from games, the dreary waste of public school existence was only relieved by learning and homosexuality; at that time I had no capacity for the former and I never had any taste for the latter ".Later Mosley went to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was commissioned in 1914, just in time for the First World War - which he was keen to get involved in. He volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps and was initially used as an observer where he would monitor troop movements behind enemy lines. He soon gained his flying certificate but, whilst demonstrating his skills to friends and family, he crashed and injured his ankle. After he recovered, he went to fight in the trenches but, due to his injuries becoming infected in the appalling conditions, he was sent home and spent the rest of the war in the Ministry of Munitions and Foreign Office - a time which he considered as part of his 'gaining of experience' .Like many First World War Veterans, he came home disillusioned and believed that there should be no more war. He also believed that the mass slaughter, which took place in the trenches, was the responsibility of the establishment.Oswald became interested in history and politics whilst he was recovering from his ankle injury and, spurred on by...

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