Britain First: The British Union of Fascists’ Peace Campaign, 1932-1940

Student: Cormac Kelly
Major: History
Minor: Political Science
Advisors: Greg Shaya
Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was Britain’s largest fascist party. A wide body of scholarship has thoroughly examined their economic vision, anti-Semitism, and political violence. However, throughout their existence from 1932 to 1940, the British Union of Fascists campaigned against their country’s involvement in European conflicts. Existing scholarship has ignored or minimized the importance of the BUF’s peace campaign. This thesis will draw upon existing literature on British fascism and the interwar peace movement as well as original analysis of primary sources from the British Union of Fascists and Britain’s leading peace organization, the League of Nations Union, to argue the centrality of the BUF’s peace campaign and place it within the interwar peace movement. The BUF peace campaign was an unchanging core component of BUF doctrine. Their rise, fall, resurgence, and demise can be understood by examining the popularity of their peace platform. Believing fascist regimes were the guarantors of world peace, the BUF evangelized imperial isolationism. This proved to be a fatal miscalculation which impelled the government to intern and ban the BUF. Examining the BUF’s peace campaign challenges the existing consensus about what drove the BUF and reinterprets the history of the party.
*This presentation is only available to College of Wooster students, faculty, and staff.

View Cormac’s PowerPoint presentation.
Cormac will be online to field comments on May 8:
2-4pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium, Independent Study.