Oswald Mosley

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Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley.png
Born 16 November 1896
London, England, United Kingdom
Died 3 December 1980 (aged 84)
Orsay, France
Nationality British
Occupation politician, soldier, writer
Party Conservative (1918–1922)
Independent (1922-1924)
Labour (1924-1931)
New Party (1931-1932)
British Union of Fascists (1932-1940)
Union Movement (1948-1962)
National Party of Europe (1962-1980)
Spouse Lady Cynthia Curzon (1920-1933)
Diana Mitford (1936-1980)

Term 1918 – 1924
Predecessor Harry Mallaby-Deeley
Successor Isidore Salmon

Member of Parliament for Smethwick
Term 1926 – 1931
Predecessor John Davison
Successor Roy Wise

Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet (November 16, 1896December 3, 1980) was a British politician and founder of several nationalist organizations, the most notable being British Union of Fascists and Union Movement. Educated at Winchester and Sandhurst he fought with the 16th Lancers on the Western Front during the First World War. He later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps but was invalided out of the war after a plane crash in 1916.


Mosley became the youngest MP in the House of Commons after winning Harrow for the Conservative Party in the 1918 General Election. Disillusioned with the Conservatives he won Harrow as an Independent in the 1922 General Election. Two years later Mosley joined the Labour Party. In October 1927 Mosley was elected to the party's National Executive Committee.

Mosley and BUF Members

When Ramsay MacDonald formed his Labour Government after the 1929 General Election, he appointed Mosley as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In 1930 Mosley proposed a programme that he believed would help deal with the growing unemployment in Britain. Based on the ideas of Maynard Keynes stimulating foreign trade, directing industrial policy, and using public funds to promote industrial expansion. When MacDonald and his cabinet rejected these proposals, Mosley resigned from office.

Mosley in Rome with Mussolini.

The following year Mosley founded the New Party. Supporters included John Strachey, William Joyce, John Becket and Harold Nicholson, but in the 1931 General Election none of the New Party's candidates were elected. In January 1932 Mosley met Benito Mussolini in Italy. Mosley was impressed by Mussolini's achievements and when he returned to England he disbanded the New Party and replaced it with the British Union of Fascists.

Mosley was married to Cynthia Curzon, the daughter of the former Viceroy of India. However, he began an affair with Diana Mitford, the daughter of the 2nd Baron Redesdale, one of Mosley's wealthy supporters. Diana left her husband but Mosley refused to desert his wife. It was not until Cynthia died of peritonitis, that Mosley agreed to marry Diana.

In October 1936, Diana and Oswald Mosley were secretly married in NSDAP propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels's drawing room in Berlin. Adolf Hitler was one of only six guests at the ceremony. While in Germany Diana talked to Hitler about the possibility of establishing an anti-war radio station in Britain.

After World War II

Mosley in his later years

The outbreak of the Second World War pro-war propaganda reduced support for the British Union of Fascists. On 22nd May 1940 the British government announced the imposition of Defence Regulation 18B. This legislation gave the Home Secretary the right to imprison without trial anybody he believed likely to "endanger the safety of the realm". The following day, Mosley was arrested. Over the next few days other prominent figures in the BUF were imprisoned. On the 30th May the BUF was dissolved and its publications were banned. On April 14 1940, Oswald and his wife Diana had a child, Formula One president Max Mosley.

Mosley and his wife received privileged treatment while in prison. Winston Churchill granted permission for the couple to live in a small house inside Holloway Prison. They were given a small garden where they could sunbathe and grow their own vegetables. They were even allowed to employ fellow prisoners as servants.

On November 20, 1943, Herbert Morrison ordered the Mosleys be released from prison. After the war Mosley and Diana Mosley established Euphorion Books in an attempt to publish the work of patriotic authors. Diana also edited the magazine, The European. In 1947 Mosley formed the Union Movement which advocated British integration in Europe and an end to commonwealth immigration.

The couple left England in 1949 and, after a period in Ireland, settled in France where they lived close to their friends, the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson.

Mosley was unsuccessful in his two attempts to enter the House of Commons for Kensington North (1959) and Shoreditch & Finsbury (1966). Oswald Mosley died in 1980.



In 1934, the 23 year journalist and son of Winston Churchill, Randolph Churchill wrote of Mosley speaking abilities which he'd witnessed in Leeds:

"Sir Oswald's peroration was one of the most magnificent feats of oratory I have ever heard. The audience which had listened with close attention to his reasoned arguments were swept away in spontaneous reiterated bursts of applause."[1]


  • Revolution by Reason (1925)
  • Greater Britain (1932)
  • Fascism Explained: 10 Points of Fascist Policy (1933)
  • Tomorrow We Live (1938)
  • My Answer (1946)
  • The Alternative (1947)
  • European Socialism (1951)
  • My Life (1968, autobiography)


See also

External links