Hurrah for the Blackshirts! by Martin Pugh - review by David Pryce-Jones

David Pryce-Jones

Kooks & Conservatives

Hurrah for the Blackshirts!


Jonathan Cape 387pp £20

In the Thirties, fascism and Communism fought a battle of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Common to both ideologies are contempt for liberal democracy, belief in the primacy of the state over the individual, the necessity of a supreme leader, and a party to ensure that his outlook becomes law by whatever violent means might be required. Anti-Semitism is a tried and tested extra.

Neither fascism nor Communism took hold in Britain. Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was the only movement of its kind with potential popular appeal. Membership was constantly fluctuating, but the total number of those on the rolls between 1933 and 1940 was in the order of 250,000. The Communist

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