The Blackshirts support Germany

The short introduction that Ross added to an essay of the British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley demonstrates his efforts to mediate between foreign and domestic circles of nationalists and still stick to the idea of global, or at least European, peace.

Ross invited Mosley to write an essay for the Zeitschrift für Geopolitik in order to inform its readers about the ideological positions of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), which Mosley headed.1 Their acquaintance went back to the time when Ross visited the London-based Anglo-German Fellowship, in the spring of 1936, for which he prepared a lecture on the common European and global interests of Germany and Great Britain in the context  of the political consequences of the Great War (see The war for England). Despite its name, the BUF leaned towards Germany’s nationalist, and above all anti-Bolshevist, politics rather than to fascism à la Mussolini’s Italy. As Ross’s lecture stressed and Mosley’s essay explained, the irreconcilable, international conflicts created by the Great War, more particularly the Versailles Treaty, made the existence of the League of Nations obsolete. For both Ross and Mosley it was important to delegitimize the League of Nations’ efforts to establish a European peace program dominated by the interests of the war’s victors.

Nevertheless, for Mosley these interests, especially those of Great Britain, are too intimately linked with the Soviet Union’s politics in the Far East and with the struggle against National Socialism to be able to guarantee a uniform European policy. The Soviet Unon’s increasing influence in Asia forced the British colonial administration to at least pretend a cooperative attitude. Mosley regarded this strategy as harmful to a sustainable power structure in Europe; he proposed that only cooperation between the former enemies (Great Britain and Hitler Germany) would guarantee a peaceful European future. Mosley buttressed his argumentby pointing to the shared political and economic stakes, viz, the colonial claims as a function of both countries’ overpopulation. As Ross broadened the narrow German perspective in his interpretation of  the outcome of the First World War, he must have felt strengthened by Mosley’s arguments. Using the Great War as a justification of Nazi ideology created a common ground for both.

Katalin Teller

Colin Ross. Geleitwort zu den Ausführungen von Sir Oswald Mosley. Zeitschrift für Geopolitik: 1936 Sep; 13 (9); 565.

Topic: The Great War
Case: Speaking engagements


1 See Richard C. Thurlow. Fascism in Britain: from Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts to the National Front. 2nd edn. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2006 [1987]; 61-87. On Zeitschrift für Geopolitik see Dan Diner. Knowledge of expansion. On the geopolitics of Karl Haushofer. Geopolitics. 1999; 3 (4); 161-188.

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