Voices of Europe; Oswald Mosley
Voices of Europe produced and recorded by Milton Mayer in cooperation with the University of Chicago under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. And now Milton Mayer stars Walter Mosley the sixth the baronet as a line was born in 1896 educated at Winchester the Royal Military College in Sandhurst served in France in the First World War in the infantry and of the Royal Flying Corps. And was it like dad a conservative member of parliament in 19 18 he served in the House of Commons as a conservative then as an independent and then as a Labor member until 1931. It was during the Depression years that Sarah's walde organized the movement which became known
subsequently and adopted the formal name of the union of British fascists during the Second World War. Is organization was prohibit. That answer Oswald was sent to prison by his own government. After the war he was released and the movement the union of British fascists became the union movement which he still directs is home is in County Cork in Ireland where he says he feels a little bit freer than he does on his native English soil. All Oh he still holds English citizenship and he is as often as not to be found when he is at home at all. In his second home near Paris with considerable difficulty I was able to make an appointment with him in the city of Bruges in
Belgium where I am interviewing him today during the course of his travels around the continent and here I speak with one of the most controversial figures of English life SORAS world. I'd like to know the person on history of your thinking. In a word how you got that way. Whether the origin of my thinking is really the conviction that it is necessary to do something in England or by that I mean that rule changes in our economic system and in the whole structure of our society are necessary. Naturally that has developed over the years. It began rather incoherently in the incorrect forms of use and of the other to gradually and slowly over the years in the clear cut
as I hope the systematic thinking of today. Let's go back to your youth and mine and give me some idea of me departure point. Will the real the departure point for me was returning from the First World War and entering the House of Commons as the youngest MP. I was at that time extremely orthodox a Conservative MP. Coming from an older conservative family I was just back from the war where I had four as an airman and also in the trenches and I had just the average viewpoint of a young soldier of that period. What was your educational back again. All together Orthodox I've been to a public school were interested. I was then educated at Sandhurst as a professional surgeon and my early life was that of a professional officer.
I later became an airman at my interests then were largely in my profession in sport and my serious reading and serious thinking was of Arthur. Villa tend your character rather home university type. I was always interested in serious thinking but it was that turning point of the war and my return from the war. Which really was the origin of my intellectual activity centricity. Well then after the First World War you found yourself a very young and very respectable member of parliament. Yes I think that's a fair description. With as I say the average viewpoint of those who fought in that war and I think that their viewpoint was that we would tend to do something. To construct an English worthy of the sacrifice of our generation of men. After
all a relatively few of us return. We left all our comrades and friends in Flanders and we have been promised by the politicians by the end of generation in the most specific terms that up to that war a greeter for put building to address the abuses which then prevailed in England and to construct a loom worthy of the great dreams of their people. What was the situation and character thing one at that. Well there were certain obvious things. There was the disgraceful housing conditions. Many of which still prevail. The fact that men would serve had to go back to vinyl slums. We have the specific promises of Mr. Lloyd George the wartime prime minister and the whole government. And these things would once be remedied. There was the periodic unemployment which really directly of the post-war boom was over. There were the extremes of poverty in the world
where science was rapidly making poverty altogether unnecessary in the shot it seemed to us that the evils of England which were great could be remedied by a real action on the part of government. But you entered Parliament as a conservative. Yes that is sometimes a paradox but it is not altogether. There goes the Conservative Party. Equally it was the liberal almost the Liberal Party and some of the Labor Party. Were pledged underly Georgian the victory was Kurdish and government to carry it through a great programme of social reform and making like George's rather flamboyant words and land fit for heroes to live in. And we came back the term in to do these things and the first great effect upon my mental and my nicest ritual of the Wasn't it was shock. That no serious attempt as it seemed to me was made
to carry out the pledges or to make an ing look in any way different to the England which prevailed before the war. Also thanks to the advance and productive power of the ever increasing development of science it seemed to me a relatively simple task to do and some came a rapid discontent with my party and with the existing social order. Which seemed to me to a betrayed the war generation and to have neglected not even to get tempted to carry out the pledges which it had given to the people. To that of course will very soon end in a specific points of disagreement. For instance that the treatment of the Irish people for whom I had a considerable attachment the introduction of the blackened hands to suppress it. And as it seemed to me was what historical knowledge I had. The colossal blunder of their side treaty. And those were the two
specific points on which I quoted my body. The behavior of the Black and Tans and the support of the coalition government for those methods of repression in Iran and the putting through of the Versailles Treaty which seem to me to do for the European future a backgrounder immutably was a general disillusionment with the failure of government and the parliament of the old parties to implement the pledges they have given to rebuild England in a final image. And so I take it you found yourself in pretty short order. No longer a conservative. Well directly you begin to make speeches of that kind from the Conservative benches you naturally run into a storm and I was very quickly involved in the every parliamentary fighting that the killer over the Irish question will know your own party. I reacted strongly and therefore back. And the collision occurred between
me and the Conservative Party and many of my old friends and of the world in which I'd been born and in which I was brought up. Eventually decision a was to stand as an independent a very conservative division of Harrow and of the nine hundred twenty two elections still I think the youngest MP. I stood as an independent against the official candidate and had the whole force of the conservative machines running against me. The result was that I defeated it by two by a vote of two to one 15000 to about 7000 and was returned as an independent held that seat again at the following election. And from the back benches of the House of Commons advocated an independent policy on the lines which I just described that it really was necessary to do something fundamental in England. The result of that inevitably was to any realist to feel that
acting in isolation as an independent was rather futile. On the phone and I looked around as I think most people who were. Thought allies and friends who wanted the same kind of thing. And at that time the Labor Party with what they called a socialist program was coming up rapidly and certainly in matters that I felt strongly about like the real housing of the people. These men who were sincere the rank and file of the Party passionately determined to bring big changes in the lot of the general people. And I found in them the natural allies and before long decided the only practical thing to do was to join the party. I then went to him. The challenge was to Chamberlain Mr. Neville Chamberlain who was afterwards prime minister in his traditional Chamberlain conservative stronghold of Birmingham and in the electoral battle which excited much interest at the time in
1994. We have 70 votes between us on a poll of 30000. And after three recounts he was elected and I was out of a parking. Lot or soon returned at a nearby election in a neighboring seat of smiting. And the following general election in that area. We smashed the conservative machine captured the center of the money and from that party and I think Labor Party in more or less has held it ever since. Did you think of yourself at that time sir as well as a socialist. I thought of myself at that time. Yes as a socialist in the broad definition of the term. That or human resources should be consciously employed for human needs and above all the haps as a socialist in that I felt it was necessary for some great action to occur in England that the system could not last and we must replace it with
something new. But I admitted that done my thinking was still in its early stages and was in fact almost as elementary as that of the Socialist Party in Great Britain today. But nothing crystallized in that fashion until I was a minister in the government in 1929. I was then given the task with several other ministers dealing with unemployment and that really was the point of my break with the L word if I may so. I believe I was the youngest minister who for many generations had had such a post in Great Britain. I feel very much the responsibility and I was charged with dealing with the problem which seemed to me relatively easy to solve. And I mean employment of about a million and a half people in a society which was then very wealthy and which could
easily have found work for them in them displaced. Anyhow to cut a long story short I presented a memorandum to the government which was much discussed at the time which in my view would to solve that problem. After much debate and a concession to the double division in the government it was rejected. I then had either to accept after 11 years in Parliament actual parliamentary life the final negation of everything I've ever tried to do for the people living everything that I'd ever promised to. Or resign from the government in the consciousness that it would lead me to forming some kind of new movement in Great Britain. And that was really the turning point of my life. Starting with 1980 with the result of our generation to
do something great as we hoped and believe for the people of England. Through all those years a parliamentary battle within the Conservative Party within the Labor party and then at last intrusted with the task of doing something definite hard and practical and then finding incomes in the Labor Party the same rigid conservatism the same brand of negation that I found in the Conservative Party. So I had the choice either of breaking with the parties or simply becoming one of the innumerable placement who pursued his own career and his own advantage. And that was the final and decisive point in my life when I resigned from that government made my speech of resignation which Adam rated my future course of action. Which then took what direction. Well the position that was this I had by then come to the conclusion then that it definitely and it was stated in my resignation speech that a
complete reconstruction of the economic system of Great Britain was necessary and that to lead in SON The change was necessary in the structure of the state to enable that action to take place. It therefore seemed to me in the long run impossible to maintain an island population of some 50 million people which had to sell on world markets in open competition. Anything between a quarter of its total production in the competition with a giant industrial powers like America. Which were for the war at any rate had a very small proportion of its total production going export games to all the newly industrialized systems of the East which had been supplied by Western finance with modern machinery to produce goods at costs we simply couldn't touch. Not to mention million APM competitors like Germany and the others. It seemed to me in the long run impossible to maintain a system which was based
on a set of facts which had long ago passed away that England could not maintain their populations in open competition on the world markets. As if it had maintained throughout its original monopoly position. I warned the country of this in my resignation speech of 1930 and persisted in that warning in that view ever since and have continuously developed in ways I can describe a system of the thinking as I hold and believe to meet the situation. My original proposal was to withdraw from the competition for world markets into our low and persistent. After all we then possessed a very large part of the surface of the world. We had enormous resources in foreign exchange and foreign investment which we could have mobilized to construct a new system. We had immense reserves Earthmen we had within the embargo every raw
material every food stuff that mankind could possibly desire. And we have the means granted a system of action to construct and self-contained economic systems in abundance a world of chaos within our own boundaries. And there was the economic system I suggested before the war. Well perhaps I went to some extent wrong and certainly I was much criticised was him being too eager to secure the action I believed to be necessary in the economic sphere and being perhaps too ready to sacrifice ordinary procedure the niceties of human liberty and the rest of it in order to set through the great reforms which I believe to be vital to the very life of the nation. I would I was attacked and criticized was not so much in my new economic proposals as in the structure of the state which I thought was necessary to symptoms through in the limited time which was left before the crisis as I
believe would occur and what Sir Oswald what form did your activity take organizationally First of all and secondly what form did your proposals as regards both the economy and the social order take at that time. We're speaking now I think of the period just before the Second World War. Yes the probity of economy meant of withdrawal into the Empire. And a solution of our economic problem by finding our own market within the empire are our own sources of food stuffs and raw material. Any quitting production and consumption through a system which was not socialistic in the sense that the state controlled all of life but in which the state consciously limited in equating consumption and production through a progressive raising of the standard of life. As
science increased the power to produce a system the state leadership rather than of state control. And I believe something of the current. We shall be led by the chronic tendency of the present world system to overproduce in relation to given the mark. But will we really ran into the storm. Was it my belief that the government must be directly responsible to the people which must express its will at regular intervals. The people have the right naturally under our system to dismiss the government when they wish it was not a dictatorship. It was not even totalitarian. But we held the view that is strongly that while a government wasn't trusted with the people by the people with a job to do it should have the power to do it. And perhaps we did give too much power in our idea and concept to the government. And as in other countries at that time or
sell them to a far greater degree the park concept was overstressed. We ran into a storm after that period which frustrated much of our economic thinking and many of our constructive ideas. Could any of the storm of our residence or ours was a consequence of misfortune in nomenclature. Yes we did have of course the charts at a very early stage whether to accept the word fascist or not. My position there was perfectly clear. We policy differ fundamentally in many respects from the movements in Germany and in Italy. We for instance had a great empire many diverse racist views on racial problems must be different to live you. We had also our different traditions and different backgrounds our policy in essential. Conditions was very different. But at the same time there was in
all these great movements which was thrown up by the collapse of existing society. And by the passion of the will of the mass of the people to get done what they wanted. Does this factor in common. We stood for great changes and we stood for implementing the will of the people in a system of action. It therefore seemed to me dishonest to refuse the word fascist. And I accepted the word fascist. Now there are there are of course fundamental changes in our present position. Certain things that have to be recognised we passed beyond fascism. We passed beyond even the pre-war obsolete conceptions of democracy because few would believe that the status quo can be maintained today without a change of any kind. We passed beyond our pre-war conception for one thing that an earthquake has occurred and the landscape is different. And secondly are we learn from experience we learn from
our own forms. A man who lives a life time in the world without learning anything is simply a fool. I gladly admit that I learn from my own state mistakes as well as from my experience of other people's mistakes. Now first of all the first lesson is that even the action can be too dearly bought. Action was never so necessary as it is not. But we must not purchase action at the expense of liberty. You cannot ride roughshod over the liberty of the individual over the decencies of life human feelings and the human way of doing things must be recognized and respected and you must have less necessary evil knows time. Time being the most valuable thing on earth in order to persuade people carry them with zeal. It must always be persuasion or was leadership never an element of compulsion or of stress. That means you will lose time. That means you have disasters because people will wake
up or something hits them and they are. But it's worthwhile it in the end to have consent and you build a system which lasts rather than a system which the only and uses are long as people have to accept it. Therefore our first object since the war our first raid aim has been to reconcile action with liberty and in our post war proposals we go far beyond in fact we change fundamentally in this respect our pre-war proposal because there can be no suggestion of totalitarian method dictatorship in the rest of it. Under our system all parties are free to enter elections. What we preserve of our pre-war thinking is the simple conditional. Surely it is necessary that if a government is given a task to do it should be able to do after all within his defined spheres even the president of the United States which is a very democratic system has definite powers to act.
In our system we divide more sharply. But when the powers of the executive the government of the legislative chamber and of the judiciary then perhaps you do in America. We seek a very clear cut definition. The government has things which it can definitely do without let or hindrance subject to the will of the people every three years when they can dismiss the government and choose another government if they wish. The legislative assembly also has a clearly defined functions different to those of the government. The judiciary also has far greater powers even than in America. Even then in any democratic country hitherto in order to stop corruption in order to check abuse but particularly the abuse of liberty and also perhaps a new concept of the judiciary we give it a certain dynamic here comes in that we believe that new
ideas can be furthered by the judiciary even when they're recalcitrant or conservative the executive is rejecting a new idea. I haven't time to go into such a concept which to some may seem not fantastic in the short interview but I believe it is necessary. Above all in this world of change of dynamic. Circumstance it is necessary that new ideas should not be suppressed and that we must find means by which new meant new thoughts particularly in the realm of science. Can you break through not only the public consciousness but to an itchy In fact even one of the old men in government whose minds are rather buried in the past which are turned back rejecting the new ideas a new man and I believe the set new ideas out of the judiciary as a branch of the judiciary can function can be
enormously valuable. Anyhow Is that enough to show that you know the idea of the state. We do not in our post work reception of labor under any possible charge of dictatorship to tell it where it is in the rest of it but we do create a system which we hope and believe can reconcile the action which is necessary with with liberty Saraswat. I'd like to know in a what fundamental respects your program would alter the present social as well as economic order. Well the greatest departure is this I believe. Intensely that the union of Europe is the great necessity of today. That was before the war. I stood for withdrawal in the provision that is completely outmoded. We must have the union of Europe as an intent group nation Europe a nation or United States of
unity making is as much a nation as you in the United States of America. That is the only hope of Europe films of vital the 300 million Europeans shall come together as the greatest market and the greatest source of supply in the world. The work in friendship and understanding with America particularly in resistance to communism but other power on earth which can survive with its own life and its only culture and above all or not above all that with its own economic system which renders it independent of all outside a new life and you economic system and a great culture without and without boundaries or limited in its future the thank yous there are voices of Europe was produced and recorded in Europe by no mayor in cooperation with the University of Chicago under a grant from the educational television and radio center.
This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This program has been introduced by Marvin. This is the end of the Radio Network.
- Voices of Europe
- Oswald Mosley
- Producing Organization
- University of Chicago
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program features an interview with British fascist leader, Oswald Mosley.
- Series Description
- Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
- Broadcast Date
- Global Affairs
- Fascism--Great Britain--History--20th century.
- Media type
Interviewee: Mosley, Oswald, 1896-1980
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-7-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Oswald Mosley,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-gx44vt22.
- MLA: “Voices of Europe; Oswald Mosley.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-gx44vt22>.
- APA: Voices of Europe; Oswald Mosley. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-gx44vt22