Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Quote from Franco on Fascism as an Urge to Live

"Fascism, since that is the word that is used, fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life." 
- Francisco Franco, 1938 interview with Henri Massis

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The 1936 Meeting of Ribbentrop and Vansittart

Joachim von Ribbentrop was appointed Ambassador to Britain from 1936 to 1938. From the outset, he was charged with forging a German-English pact. One of his first meetings was with Robert Vansittart, who was Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs from 1930 until 1938. Ribbentrop, as he remarks in the excerpt below, would speak with numerous British figures during his tenure, but it was his separate meetings with Vansittart and Churchill that would leave such an impression on him that he would remark on each in due course.

His aim in meeting with Vansittart was to convey Hitler's desire for an agreement with the British government. Ribbentrop was given hope by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in June 1935 which, along with the Italian invasion of Abyssinia starting in October of that year, ended the Stresa Front by creating a rift between Britain and France and Italy and the West, respectively. Hitler's vision of an alliance between Britain and Germany faltered on the balance of power politics of Britain and various missteps of Ribbentrop's.


The following is from 'The Ribbentrop Memoirs' [1]:
It was unfortunate that I had to do most of the talking; I felt from the start as if I were addressing a wall. Vansittart listened quietly, but was not forthcoming and evaded all my openings for a frank exchange of views. I have spoken to hundreds of Englishmen on this subject, but never was a conversation so barren, never did I find so little response, never did my partner say so little about the points which really mattered. When I asked Sir Robert to express an opinion on certain points and to criticize frankly what I had said, or to explain where exactly we differed in matters of principle or of detail, there was absolutely no reply except generalities. In the following years I often looked back on this conversation.
One thing was clear, an Anglo-German understanding with Vansittart in office was out of the question. Only once again did I have a similar feeling after a conversation. That was in 1937, after a talk with Mr. Churchill, when I was Ambassador in London, except that while Vansittart had expressed no opinion whatever, Mr. Churchill was considerably more frank. 
Vansittart, I felt, had completely made up his mind. This Foreign Office man not only advocated the balance of power theory, but was also the incarnation of Sir Eyre Crowe’s principle: 'No pact with Germany come what may.' I gained a firm impression that this man would never even attempt a rapprochement, and any discussion with him would be in vain. The Fuhrer said later that Vansittart must also have been influenced by other reasons, by questions of ideology. I do not know; I do not think so; but this will never be explained. Whatever influences he may have been subjected to, the main thing was his basic attitude: 'Never with Germany.'
Hitler had correctly suspected that Vansittart's misgivings were ideologically rooted. In his The Impact of Hitler, Cowling remarks on Vansittart's views [2]:
Vansittart treated the Franco-Soviet alliance as non-negotiable. But he assumed that a settlement would have to provide for German expansion. This he was willing to contemplate. What he rejected was the 'immoral' desire to 'satisfy Hitler's 'land hunger at Russia's expense'. It was because many had equality in Europe already that he wanted Britain to facilitate expansion in Africa.
Vansittart had deliberately obfuscated his views in his meeting with Ribbentrop. Later, in 1937, Ribbentrop met with Churchill, where he would again be disappointed.

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[1] Available on The Internet Archive: See this HTML version, for example.
[2] Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler, Cambridge University Press, 1975, p. 157.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Hurrah for the Blackshirts," by Harold Harmsworth, or Lord Rothermere, in the January 1934 'Daily Mail'

Harold Harmsworth (1868-1940), together with his brother, developed the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. In 1934, he contributed the article below to the Daily Mail. It provoked Jews affiliated with Lyons & Co. and Salmon & Gluckstein. In response to a threat to withdraw their advertising, Harmsworth retracted his brief support for the Blackshirts.

In his autobiography, 'My Life,' Sir Oswald Mosley remarks:
Lord Rothermere [Harmsworth] explained that he was in trouble with certain advertisers, who had not liked his support of the blackshirts, and in company with many other people had now heard of the tobacco business and liked it still less. This was war, and I reacted strongly. The card to play with Rothermere was always his brother Northcliffe, whom I had never met but who was a legend for his audacity and dynamism. I said: 'Do you know what Northcliffe would have done? He would have said, "One more word from you, and the Daily Mail placards tomorrow will carry the words: 'Jews threaten British press' "; you will have no further trouble'. 
The long struggle fluctuated, but I lost. He felt that I was asking him to risk too much, not only for himself, but for others who depended on him. He was a patriot and an outstanding personality, but without the exceptional character necessary to take a strong line towards the end of a successful life, which might have led to a political dog-fight. In my view, the matter could have been quite reasonably settled if he had stood firm. 
These Jewish interests took this action in the mistaken belief that their life and interest were threatened. Any group of men who feel this will naturally do their utmost to resist. This is no evidence of occult Jewish power, simply the determination to fight by men who in this case had the means to do it, which I had not. The whole affair was as simple as that, there was nothing obscure or mysterious about it.
Despite his public withdrawal of support for the British Union of Fascists in relation to the Daily Mail, Harmsworth continued expressing support fascist interests, including Hitler's own actions and policies in Europe, through the 1930s. When Hitler annexed the Sudetenland, for example, Harmsworth sent a telegram of support to Hitler. He also praised the creation of Protectorates in Bohemia and Moravia. Despite his advocacy of a strong British military and autonomy, he was vilified and even today the Daily Mail is ridiculed.


Hurrah for the Blackshirts
Harold Harmsworth
1st Viscount Rothermere
From the Daily Mail of January 1934 


Because fascism comes from Italy, short-sighted people in this country think they show a sturdy national spirit by deriding it.

If their ancestors had been equally stupid, Britain would have had no banking system, no Roman law, nor even any football, since all of these are of Italian invention.

The socialists especially, who jeer at the principles and uniform of the Blackshirts as being of foreign origin, forget that the founder and High Priest of their own creed was the German Jew Karl Marx.

Though the name and form of Fascism originated in Italy, that movement is not now peculiar to any nation. It stands in every country for the Party of Youth. It represents the effort of the younger generation to put new life into out-of-date political systems.

That alone is enough to make it a factor of immense value in our national affairs.

Youth is a force that for generations has been allowed to run to waste in Britain. This country has been governed since far back in Victorian times by men in the middle sixties. When prosperity was general and the international horizon calm, that mattered little, but to cope with the grim problems of the present day the energy and vigour of younger men are needed. Being myself in the middle sixties, I know how stealthily and steadily that seventh decade saps one's powers and stiffens one's prejudices.

Under the inert and irresolute control of these elderly statesmen, the British Government is equally without real popularity at home and prestige abroad. In the vital matter of air-defence this country has been allowed to sink from the foremost to the lowest position among the Great Powers. While the leaders of other States are reorganising their national resources to break the crushing grip of the world-crisis our own are content to drift and dawdle. They are persistent only in preparing British abdication in India and Ceylon by the same methods as lost Southern Ireland to the Empire.

The Blackshirt movement is the organised effort of the younger generation to break this stranglehold which senile politicians have so long maintained on our public affairs. In its organisation, aims and methods it is purely British, and has no more to do with Italian Fascism than the Italian Navy has to do with the British Navy.

Such an effort was long overdue. The nation's realisation of the need for it is shown by the astonishing progress the Blackshirts are making, especially in the big industrial areas. Reports that reach me from the provinces go far to substantiate their claim to have the largest active membership in the country. A crusading spirit has come back to British politics. Yet many people who would be vastly impressed by a similar movement in France or the United States have so far failed to realise the profound importance of the new national activity which is stirring all around them.

What are these Blackshirts who hold 500 meetings a week throughout the country and whose uniform has become so familiar a feature of our political life?

They fall mainly into two distinct age-groups. One consists of those who were just old enough to take part in the war, and who have been discouraged and disgusted by the incompetence of their elders in dealing with the depression that has followed on it. The other is made up of men too young to remember the war but ready to put all their ardour and energy at the service of a cause which offers them a vigorous constructive policy in place of the drift and indecision of the old political parties.

Blackshirts proclaim a fact which politicians dating from pre-war days will never face - that the new age requires new methods and new men.

They base their contention on the simple truth that parliamentary government is conducted on the same lines as it was in the eighteenth century, though the conditions with which it deals have altered beyond recognition. They want to bring our national administration up to date.

This purpose does not rest on theory alone. It can be justified by the gigantic revival of national strength and spirit which a similar process of modernisation has brought about in Italy and Germany.

These are beyond all doubt the best governed nations in Europe to-day. From repeated visits to both under their present regime, I can vouch for it that in no other land does the overwhelming majority of the people feel such confidence and pride in its rulers.

If our own system of government were reorganised in the same way, and full scope accorded to the energy and enterprise of British youth, this country would soon regain its old position of world pre-eminence. With our present out-worn machinery of State and feeble personnel of Government the continuance of its decline is certain.

We must keep up with the spirit of the age. That spirit is one of national discipline and organisation.

The Blackshirts are the only political force in Britain that is working for these ends. Even if they were on the wrong lines, it would be to the benefit of the country that its younger citizens should be taking an active interest in national affairs. But which of our older politicians, looking back on his own record, dare assert that they are on the wrong lines?

Government by one or other of the long-established political parties had proved such a failure that over two years ago it was abandoned.

To it there succeeded an artificial alliance of the leaders of all parties. The record of this merger of political talent consists almost solely of a series of abortive international conferences in this country and abroad.

If discussion and exchange of views were an effective substitute in human affairs for action, the National Government would be the best that Britain has ever had. But the experience of the past two years has proven that these futile and time-wasting devices are no more than a screen for inertia and indecision.

The huge majority obtained by the present Government at the general election of 1931 was the last vote of confidence that the nation will ever give to Old Gang politicians. Two years from now another general election will be almost due. The whole future of Britain will depend upon its issue.

A prolongation of the present regime may be regarded in the country's present mood as out of the question. There will be a pronounced swing either to Right or Left.

If the inflated, impulsive, and largely ignorant electorate which Old Gang statesmen have brought into existence were to return the Rump of extreme Socialism to power, all hope of this country's recovery would collapse amid the confusion of Communist experiments.

At this next vital election Britain's survival as a Great Power will depend on the existence of a well-organised Party of the Right, ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Mussolini and Hitler have displayed.

Such a movement, making "Action" its motto instead of "Drift", will draw a surprising measure of support from former Socialists, who have discovered that the leaders of that party also value words above deeds.

That is why I say, Hurrah for the Blackshirts! They are a sign that something is stirring among the youth of Britain. They are the symbol of that new realism in public life which alone can rouse it from its torpor.

Hundreds of thousands of young British men and women would like to see their own country develop that spirit of patriotic pride and service which has transformed Germany and Italy. They cannot do better than seek out the nearest branch of the Blackshirts and make themselves acquainted with their aims and plans.

They will soon lose any lingering idea that this campaign is trying to introduce foreign methods and principles into our country.

They will find the loyalties and aims of the Blackshirts as British as their membership, and as a striking contrast with the hesitations and compromises of all other parties, they will discover that Blackshirts do not cover faint hearts!

Young men and women may join the British Union of Fascists by writing to - 

The Headquarters, Kings Road, Chelsea, London S.W.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ribbentrop on Hitler's Proposal for Anglo-German Alliance and Mutual Support in His Nuremberg Testimony

Below is an extract from the testimony of Joachim von Ribbentrop at Nuremberg that was entered on 29 March 1946. This extract is intended to support a prior article published on this site regarding Hitler's aim of alliance with the British Empire and his willingness to countenance German military support to preserve it as part of an alliance. This testimony also shows that it was Ribbentrop, not Churchill, that first discussed the event.

Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 10 

NINETY-FOURTH DAY

Friday, 29 March 1946

DR. HORN: Then you were appointed Ambassador to London. What led to this appointment?

VON RIBBENTROP: That came about as follows: In the time following the naval agreement, which was hailed with joy by the widest circles in England, I made great efforts to bring Lord Baldwin and the Fuehrer together, and I should like to mention here that the preliminary arrangements for this meeting had already been made by a friend of Lord Baldwin, a Mr. Jones. The Fuehrer had agreed to fly to Chequers to meet Lord Baldwin, but unfortunately Lord Baldwin declined at the last minute. What led to his declining, I do not know, but there is no doubt that certain forces in England at the time did not wish this German-British understanding.

Then in 1936, when the German Ambassador Von Hoesch died, I said to myself, that on behalf of Germany one should make one last supreme effort to come to a good understanding with England. I might mention in this connection, that at that time I had already been appointed State Secretary of the Foreign Office by Hitler and had asked him personally that that appointment be cancelled and that I be sent to London as Ambassador.

The following may have led to this decision of Hitler's. Hitler had a very definite conception of England's balance of power theory, but my view perhaps deviated somewhat from his. My conviction was that England would always continue to support her old balance of power theory, whereas Hitler was of the opinion that this theory of balance of power was obsolete, and that from now on, England should tolerate, that is, should welcome a much stronger Germany in view of the changed situation in Europe, and in view of Russia's development of strength. In order to give the Fuehrer a definite and clear picture of how matters actually stood in England-that was at any rate one of the reasons why the Fuehrer sent me to England. Another reason was that at that time we hoped, through relations with the still very extensive circles in England which were friendly to Germany and supported a German-English friendship, to make the relations between the two countries friendly and perhaps even to reach a permanent agreement.

Hitler's goal was finally and always the German-English pact.

DR. HORN: In what way was your ambassadorial activity hampered in England?

VON RIBBENTROP: I should like to say first that I was repeatedly in England in the 1930's, mainly from 1935 to 1936, and, acting on instructions from the Fuehrer, I sounded out the opinions there on the subject of a German-British pact. The basis of this pact is known. [Here follows the points from his meeting with Churchill, which I enumerate.] It was to
[1] make the naval ratio of 100 to 35 permanent. 
[2] the integrity of the so-called Low Countries, Belgium and Holland, and also France was to be guaranteed by the two countries forever and 
[3] -- this was the Fuehrer's idea -- Germany should recognize the British Empire and should be ready to stand up, if necessary even with the help of her own power, for the preservation and maintenance of the British Empire 
[4] England, in return, should recognize Germany as a strong power in Europe [that Germany would have a free hand in Eastern Europe and that Britain would remain neutral in the event of a conflict with Poland or the USSR]
It has already been said, and I should like to repeat, that these efforts in the 1930's unfortunately did not lead to any results. It was one of the Fuehrer's deepest disappointments -- and I must mention that here, for it is very important for the further course of events -- that this pact upon which he had placed such very great hopes and which he had regarded as the cornerstone of his foreign policy did not materialize in these years. What the forces were which prevented its materializing I cannot say, because I do not know. In any case we got no further.

I came back to this question several times while I was Ambassador in London and discussed it with circles friendly to Germany. And I must say that there also were many Englishmen who had a very positive attitude towards this idea.

DR. HORN: Did you also meet with any attitude that was negative?

VON RIBBENTROP: There was naturally a strong element in England which did not look favorably upon this pact or this idea of close relations with Germany, because of considerations of principle and perhaps because of traditional considerations of British policy against definite obligations of this kind. I should like to mention here briefly, even though this goes back to the year 1936, that during the Olympic Games in the year 1936 I tried to win the very influential British politician, the present Lord Vansittart, to this idea. I had at that time a very long discussion of several hours' duration with him in Berlin. Adolf Hitler also received him and likewise spoke with him about the same subject. Lord Vansittart, even though our personal relations were good, showed a certain reserve.

In the year 1937, when I was in London, I saw that two clearly different trends were gradually forming in England; the one trend was very much in favor of promoting good relations with Germany; the second trend did not wish such close relations.

There were -- I believe that I do not need to mention names, for they are well known -- those gentlemen who did not wish such close relations with Germany, Mr. Winston Churchill, who was later Prime Minister, and others.

I then made strenuous efforts in London in order to promote this idea but other events occurred which made my activity there most difficult. There was first of all, the Spanish policy. It is wellknown that civil war raged in Spain at that time and that in London the so-called Nonintervention Commission was meeting.

I therefore, as Ambassador to the Court of St. James, had a difficult task. On the one hand, with all means at my disposal, I wished to further German-English friendship and to bring about the, German-Enghsh pact, but on the other hand, I had to carry out the instructions of my government in regard to the Nonintervention, Commission and Spain. These instructions, however, were often in direct opposition to certain aims of British policy. Therefore it came about that this sort of League of Nations which the Nonintervention Commission represented at that time, and of which I was the authorized German member, prejudiced the chief aim with which Adolf Hitler had sent me to London.

But I have to say here -- if I may and am supposed to explain that period openly in the interest of the case -- that it was not only the policy regarding Spain, but that in these years, 1937 until the beginning of 1938, that section which did not want a pact with Germany, doubtless made itself constantly more evident in England; and that, today, is a historical fact. Why? The answer is very simple, very clear. These circles regarded a Germany strengthened by National Socialism as a factor which might disturb the traditional British balance of power theory and policy on the Continent.

I am convinced that Adolf Hitler at that time had no intention at all of undertaking on his part anything against England, but that he had sent me to London with the most ardent wish for really reaching an understanding with England. From London I reported to the Fuehrer about the situation. And before this Tribunal now I wish to clarify one point, a point which has been brought up very frequently and which is relevant to my own defense. It has often been asserted that I reported to the Fuehrer from England that England was degenerate and would perhaps not fight. I may and must establish the fact here, that from the beginning I reported exactly the opposite to the Fuehrer. I informed the Fuehrer that in my opinion the English ruling class and the English people had a definitely heroic attitude and that this nation was ready at any time to fight to the utmost for the existence of its empire. Later, in the course of the war and after a conference with the Fuehrer, I once discussed this subject in public, in a speech made in 1941.

Summarizing the situation in London in the years 1937 and 1938, while I was ambassador, I can at least say that I was fully cognizant of the fact that it would be very difficult to conclude a pact with England. But even so, and this I always reported, all efforts would have to be made to come by means of a peaceful settlement to an understanding with England as a decisive factor in German policy, that is, to create such a relation between the development of German power and the British basic tendencies and views on foreign policy that these two factors would not conflict.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Quote from Codreanu on the Framework of Service

"I started with an impulse of my heart, with that instinct of defense which even the least of the worms has, not with the instinct of personal self-preservation, but of defense of the race to which I belong. This is why I have always had the feeling that the whole race rests on our shoulders, the living, and those who died for the Fatherland, and our entire future, and that the race struggles and speaks through us, that the hostile flock, however huge, in relation to this historical entity, is only a handful of human detritus which we will disperse and defeat... The individual in the framework and in the service of his race, the race in the framework and in the service of God and of the laws of the divinity: those who will understand these things will win even though they are alone. Those who will not understand will be defeated."
- Corneliu Codreanu

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Myth of the Battle of Cable Street

On 4 October 1936, Marxists and Jews organized a protest to Sir Mosley's British Union's planned march through East London. The disruption of the planned march after violence was transformed into a myth of working class and minority resistance to fascism.

On 13 October 2016, an article by Suyin Haynes was published with the title, "The Enduring Lessons of the Battle of Cable Street, 80 Years On." In it, she reminds the British people of their capitol's rich history of relinquishing living space to racial aliens by opening up projects for realizing racial diversity. East London, she boasts, was once the home of a sizable number of Jews and is now the proud host of a panoply of other racial aliens. The British Union of Fascists, she argues, fought against this effort to realize racial diversity and one of its corollaries was its failure to cow Jews and workers in East London.

Haynes quotes the anti-British Jewish socialist David Rosenberg:
Among the impoverished workers of the East End, the British Union of Fascists (BUF) built their movement in a horseshoe shape around the Jewish community...
This is the core of the myth of Cable Street: That the British Union of Fascists targeted East London because it was a nest of Jews and a place where it had little support.



In the article below, Beckwell responds to several of the claims that have been advanced as part of this myth. He points out that Sir Mosley's fascist movement owned a significant and established base of support in East London. Myths have great staying power, especially once entrenched. [1] 

Charlottesville has been compared to Cable Street in this regard, for example.

The Myth of Cable Street
Gordon Beckwell [1]

For more than 70 years, Mosley’s enemies have maintained the myth that the East End of London rose up against the Blackshirts at the Battle of Cable Street and British Union went into decline. Nothing could be further from the truth. Arthur Mason, later British Union District Leader for Limehouse, recalled that in the two days after the banned March, 600 new members joined the East London Limehouse branch alone.

Five months later came the local elections which in those days only the heads of households could vote in. This effectively prevented Mosley’s young East End supporters from voting in what was called a ‘Dad’s and granddad’s election’. Despite this handicap, in March 1937 British Union won over 23% of the vote in Limehouse. Without that handicap it could have been over 50%. This proved conclusively that East London was a stronghold of British Union and Mosley’s Blackshirts had not been put to flight by Communists and their left-wing allies.

The ‘Observer’ newspaper commented (7/3/1937): ‘the size of their vote was a surprise even to those in touch with the East end’. The ‘Guardian’ (5/3/1937) called it ‘a surprising indication of strength’. Even the communist ‘Daily Worker’ (5/3/1937) admitted: ‘a disturbing feature is the large number of votes they recorded’. In the November 1937 Borough Elections British Union candidates moved up into second place in Limehouse putting a Tory/Liberal coalition bottom of the poll. The ‘Daily Worker’ noted (3/11/1937) : ‘For the whole of Stepney the fascist vote was 19%, an overall increase’.

In the remaining years of peace, East London remained the Blackshirt heartland. At his very last appearance in the district on May Day 1940 Mosley addressed a friendly crowd well in excess of 100,000 at Victoria Park Square.

Almost total censorship of Mosley and British Union activity in East London by the press and the BBC left the rest of Britain generally unaware of the growing strength of Mosley’s Balckshirts in this important working class area of Britain’s capital city. This assisted the left-wing created myth that East Enders stopped Mosley once and for all at the Battle of Cable Street and his support thereafter declined. This fraudulent historical view has continued to appear in history books and autobiographies for over 75 years. Only recently is the truth beginning to emerge thanks to a new generation of enquiring academics and historians unwilling to accept political myths for which there is no substantiation.


Extracts from Special Branch Police documents held at the National Archives report the following :

“The general cry is that the entire population of East London had risen against Mosley and had declared that he and his followers ‘should not pass’, and that they did not pass ‘owing to the solid front presented by the workers of East London’. This statement is, however, far from reflecting accurately the state of affairs.” – Special Branch Police Report, November 1936, The National Archives ref: MEPOL2/3043 

After the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Philip Game, banned Mosley’s East London march on Sunday 4th October 1936, the main body of Blackshirts marched west to their National Head Quarters in Westminster. But back in East London at the four places where Mosley was going to speak Blackshirt meetings DID go ahead and Blackshirts DID march through East London late in the afternoon of the ‘Battle of Cable Street’.

This fact was ‘overlooked’ in the leftist myth that East London workers rose up and drove Mosley’s Blackshirts out of the area. But the march and meetings that did take place were clearly recorded at the time in Special Branch Police reports now released at the National Archives, Kew.

Special Branch report HO144/21061 records:

‘Aske Street, Shoreditch: The platform was set up at 10am and Lionel Duncan held the pitch for British Union. At 5.30pm 1000 people were still waiting to hear Mosley. Bailey, Nagels and Bill Hunt spoke. All the Blackshirt speakers were enthusiastically received by the audience and there were many cries of ‘Shame!’ when it was learned that the march had been banned. Meeting ended at 7.35pm. No disorder.

Chester Street, Bethnal Green: Police moved the British Union meeting to this site from its proposed location at Victoria Park Square. Alf Cooper held the platform from from 12.15pm. At 5.15pm there were 400 people present and 6 in Blackshirt uniform. This increased to 1500 with 26 in Blackshirt uniform. Mick Clarke, British Union District Inspector of the 8th London Area, spoke for 30 minutes denouncing the Government ban. At 6.05pm he closed the meeting and led a march of Blackshirts and supporters for one mile through Bethnal Green back to their District Headquarters at 222 Green Street. No disorder.

Stafford Road, Bow: Alex Brandon and Eddie Turner held the platform for British Union. 300 people were still present when Turner closed the meeting at 5.50pm. No disorder.

Salmon Lane, Limehouse: Platforms in position at midnight. By 11a.m. there were 300 people waiting to hear Mosley speak. Charlie Lewis and Dave Robinson addressed the crowd which by 3.45pm had increased to 5000. At 5p.m. 200 Reds attacked the speaker and the police closed the meeting.

After Cable Street the Reds organised a ‘Victory’ meeting in Hoxton Square. Afterwards, several hundred Communist supporters tried to hold a ‘Victory’ march through East London but it stopped and dispersed in nearby Hoxton Street after a slight affray occurred involving hostile East Londoners.’

The Red ‘Victory’ March.

The Sunday after Cable Street the Communist Party tried to hold another ‘Victory’ march in East London. The Morning Post reported (13/10/1936): ‘The Victory March organised by the Socialists and Communists had a stormy progress through the East End’.

This was confirmed by Joe Jacobs, Secretary of Stepney Communist Party, in his memoirs ‘Out of the Ghetto’: ‘As we marched along Whitechapel Road the shouting grew louder. We got to Green Street, everyone braced themselves because we were about to enter the enemy’s strong-hold…the pavements were lined with Blackshirts and their supporters. They pelted us with rotten fruit and flour.’

The Blackshirt March across East London.

The Wednesday after the failure of the Red ‘Victory’ March was a day of mounting excitement in East London as rumours grew that Mosley was coming. Sure enough, the Leader of British Union appeared at an unadvertised meeting and spoke to several thousand cheering people in Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green. He then headed a march to Salmon Lane, Limehouse, which grew in numbers with every street it passed.

Special Branch report HO144/21061 records:

‘Mosley spoke at Victoria Park Square where the crowd had grown to 7,000 by 8pm. It was noticeable by the salute that 80% were his supporters. They marched to Salmon Lane, Limehouse, where the crowd swelled to 12,000…500 in British Union uniform. It was remarkable, in view of the attitude adopted by the anti-fascists towards the previous fascist march, that this procession should pass unmolested and practically unopposed…at intervals the fascist salute was given by people in doorways or on the pavements.’.

Phil Piratin, Communist Organiser, wrote of the meeting in “Our Flag Stays Red”: ‘I went along to this meeting and watched to see the support which Mosley had…what kind of people would march. The fascist band moved off and behind about 50 thugs in Blackshirt uniform. Then came the people…men, women (some with babies in arms) and youngsters marched behind Mosley’s banner. I knew some of these people, some of them wore trade union badges…Why are these ordinary working class folk supporting Mosley? Obviously because Mosley’s appeal struck a chord…above all these people were living miserable squalid lives’.

Joe Jacobs wrote in his memoirs: ‘The fascists did rally in Victoria Park Square…and did march through Mile End to Limehouse right across Stepney.’ Jacobs claimed that Stepney Communist Party had a membership of around 300 at the time. However, Special Branch report HO144/21064 states that the Blackshirt membership for Limehouse, which was just one part of Stepney, stood at 1,700. (One of their agents had broken into the British Union Limehouse District Headquarters in Essian Street at night and read the membership ledger).

Mosley speaks to 12,000 people: Salmon Lane, Limehouse, October 14 1936:

‘The people of East London have created this Movement of ours in your midst. It is to the People we come and from the People we derive our strength…It is because they are so afraid of the appeal we have made to the People that they are anxious to prevent the People hearing that case…It is because the Blackshirt cause has gone straight to your hearts…They cannot meet our arguments or our case and they are terrified of my speaking…the only argument they have to the Blackshirt case is the brick and the razor…This I claim from History: whether you are for us or against us, love us or hate us, you will find in this Movement men who have stood fast against corruption and not let down the Working Class. Tonight you have given to me that kindness and comradeship that I have come to know in East London.’

After this speech Special Branch reported in MEPOL/3043: ‘There is abundant evidence that the Fascist movement has been steadily gaining in many parts of East London and has strong support in Stepney, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Hackney and Bow…the British Union conducted the most successful series of meetings since the beginning of the Movement…crowds estimated at several thousands of people assembled and accorded the speakers an enthusiastic reception…In contrast much opposition has been displayed at meetings held by the Communists…Briefly, a definite pro-fascist feeling has manifested itself throughout the districts mentioned since 4th October…it is reliably reported that the London membership has been increased by 2,000.’

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[1] See also Anshel Pfeffer's "The Battle of Cable Street and Other British Jewish Myths" and Daniel Tilles's "Why Victory at Cable Street Really Belonged to Mosley's Fascists."