Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Chris Bischof

Abstract

This honors thesis examines how and why Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF) tried to present itself as a viable political entity to mainstream British society in the years 1933- 1934. Though the BUF admired Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, this thesis argues that they sought to create their own distinctly British version of these Fascist movements. The BUF promised that Britain would again thrive, but only under strong fascist leadership which would provide an economic restructuring of government and a cohesive society, free from selfish individualism, decadence, and foreigners. The BUF promised to maintain control over the British Empire and to assert Britain’s authority in the world with a reinvigorated military. To convince the public of this British Fascist vision, the BUF used its newspapers, The Blackshirt and The Fascist Week, which incorporated the popular style of “New Journalism.” This article concludes that despite the growing momentum of the BUF, in the wake of the infamously violent Olympia Riot, on June 7 1934, all of the BUF’s future efforts to appeal to Britons proved futile, as the public at large branded them un-British.

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