Mosley, Oswald (1896–1980)

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Mosley, Oswald (1896–1980)

Mosley, Oswald (1896–1980), British politician and author. Oswald Mosley was a member of Parliament from 1918 to 1931, during which time he served alternately as a Conservative, Independent, and Labour representative. In the mid-1930s, though, Mosley became a follower of Hitler, Mussolini, and the fascists, and organized the British Union of Fascists. He lead his fellow fascist "blackshirts," armed with rubber hoses, pipes, and brass knuckles, on raids of London's Jewish areas. Hitler himself attended Mosley's wedding in 1936. When war with Germany erupted, Mosley was imprisoned by the British as a security risk. After the Allied victory, Mosley went into voluntary exile in France.

Lord Boothby wrote of Mosley: "I discerned in him . . . this kind of quality of leadership that I discerned in only two other men during all my period of political life. One is Lloyd George and the other is Churchill." Michael Foot equally admired Mosley: "[My Life] could cast a dazzling gleam across the whole century. . . . Within a few years of joining the Labour Party, he came near to diverting the whole course of British history. More surely than any other comparable figure of the time, Mosley had grasped the reality of Britain's economic plight. Vigour, intelligence, dramatic gesture and coruscating wit combined to give to this would-be Caesar a touch of Cicero as well. . . . What Mosley so valiantly stood for could have saved his country from the Hungry Thirties and the Second World War . . . the deep-laid middle-class love of mediocrity and safety-first which consigned political genius to the wilderness and the nation to the valley of the shadow of death."

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Mosley, Oswald (1896–1980)

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