As we are thinking about the threat of Fascism, it’s worth thinking about its fellow travellers. That was, perhaps fascism’s real threat.
This is emphatically not an attempt to call Lloyd George a Nazi sympathiser. However, his admiration for the Hitler of 1936 was real, and the film is pretty strong evidence of that. In 1927, Churchill famously said ‘if I were Italian, I would don a Blackshirt’. Mussolini was fashionable: even poets lionised him. Lloyd George believed Hitler and restored Germany’s honour. Others were less circumspect.
Here, the recently abdicated Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson visit, against government advice. Edward VIII Was pro-German, but he was not a Nazi.
Worse than all of them were the Nazi fellow travellers. The most famous was Unity Mitford.
Her sister, Diana, married Sir Oswald Mosley. One of Mosley’s early supporters was Harold Harmsworth, the 1st Viscount Rothermere, proprietor of the Daily Mail. Rothermere was an implacable enemy of Baldwin; in 1934, the Daily Mail backed Mosley’s British Union of Fascists: the Blackshirts.
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