Debunking the Myth of Oswald Mosley: Why Britain was Never Close to Becoming a Fascist State

Did Oswald Mosley nearly turn Britain into a fascist state? Despite his efforts, Mosley's British Union of Fascists never gained significant political power. Learn why in this blog post

Debunking the Myth of Oswald Mosley: Why Britain was Never Close to Becoming a Fascist State

The British Union of Fascists (BUF), a far-right political organisation that first arose in the 1930s, was founded and led by Sir Oswald Mosley. The notion that Mosley was on the verge of transforming Britain into a fascist state is mainly untrue, despite the fact that he and his supporters did receive a substantial amount of support and attention at the time.

It's crucial to remember that Mosley's BUF was unsuccessful in winning any seats in the British Parliament. In truth, estimates for the party's membership range from 20,000 to 50,000, which is a comparatively small figure. Despite the fact that these numbers may seem impressive, they are dwarfed by the millions of individuals who cast ballots for the major political parties at the time.

Also, it is important to take into account the larger political environment in which Mosley was acting. Throughout Europe, the 1930s saw a great deal of political upheaval, with the rise of fascist and authoritarian administrations in nations like Germany, Italy, and Spain. But things were different in Britain. The nation had a long history of democratic rule, and its political institutions were set up to prevent any one party or leader from gaining an excessive amount of control.

Mosley actually faced fierce opposition from East End residents and anti-fascist campaigners when he attempted to host a rally there in 1936. Mosley and his allies were finally compelled to abandon their plans as a result of the ensuing bloodshed, which became known as the Battle of Cable Street. This incident shows that, even at the height of his popularity, Mosley encountered strong opposition to his fascist views.

Oswald Mosley in Peaky Blinders, serving as the antagonist for the final two seasons

It's also important to remember that Mosley encountered strong opposition from the British elite. He made a lot of enemies among the nation's political and cultural elites as a result of his support for fascist ideology and anti-Semitic viewpoints. For instance, when Mosley ran for office in the 1930s, he was up against not only the major parties but also a group of politicians from the Labour, Liberal, and Conservative parties who worked together to ensure that he lost.

The journalist and author George Orwell was another important player in the struggle against Mosley. Orwell writes in his book "The Road to Wigan Pier" about going to a fascist demonstration in the early 1930s and being shocked by how ignorant and prejudiced the attendees were. Later, he published a series of essays and articles criticising Mosley and his fascist viewpoints. He even offered to fight against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.

Finally, it's important to take into account Mosley's fascist movement's legacy. Mosley continued to hold far-right ideas for many years after the BUF itself disintegrated in the 1940s. His ideas and influence, meanwhile, were mostly restricted to the periphery of British politics, and he was never able to regain the popularity and support he had in the 1930s.

Although Sir Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists did garner some support in the 1930s, it is mainly untrue that Britain was ever in danger of becoming a fascist state. Mosley's party encountered tremendous opposition from both within and beyond the British establishment, and it failed to win a single seat in Parliament. Even while authoritarianism and fascism constitute a threat, it's critical to remember that these ideologies are not inevitable and can be effectively rejected when enough people band together to do so.