This book provides a clear and accessible guide to the essential features of interwar British fascism. It focuses on the various fascist parties, fascist personalities and fascist ideologies. The book also looks at British culture and develops the knowledge of undergraduate students by providing a solid source of background material on this important area of interwar British history. The focus on fascist culture throws new light on the character of native fascism and suggests a potentially rich vein of new enquiry for scholars of British fascism. The book considers the membership strength of Britain's interwar fascist parties. The ideas of racial Social-Darwinism influenced British fascism in a number of ways. To begin with, hereditarian ideas and biological determinist models contributed to the emergence of racial theories of anti-semitism. The anti-semitism of the Imperial Fascist League was of a very different order from that of the British fascism. Moreover, to Britain's fascists, artistic modernism, with its creative use of distortion, disintegrative images and general disdain for the traditional discipline of the art form, made a virtue of deformity. The search to uncover the anti-liberal and anti-capitalist pre-fascist lineage would become a highly subjective exercise in invention and take the fascists on an imaginative journey deep into the British past.
The usual caveats need to be dispensed before we consider the membership strength of Britain’s interwarfascistparties, and other areas of related interest such as the social-class and occupational profiles of fascist ‘joiners’. The main problem concerns the paucity of documentary evidence and other forms of contemporary written material relating to these matters. To compound the issue of scarcity, there are often marked variations in the quality of the information emanating from the sources that do exist. Reliable material on the membership in the official
Like the majority of the interwarfascistparties, both in Britain and on the continent, the British Union of Fascists came to prominence on the back of a domestic internal crisis. The BUF was very much the child of the 1929–31 economic crisis, while its subsequent political life unfolded against the backdrop of the trade depression that came after it. Most of the BUF’s principal economic and political ideas were framed in response to the 1929–31 crisis and its after-math. What is more, these ideas, particularly in the economic arena, translated into detailed