William Joyce

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William Joyce
William Joyce.png
Born 24 April 1906
Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Died 3 January 1946 (aged 40)
Wandsworth Prison, London, England
Nationality British (and Irish)
Occupation politician, writer, radio personality
Party British Union of Fascists (1932-1937)
National Socialist League (1937-1939)

William Brooke Joyce (April 24, 1906January 3, 1946), sometimes known by the name Lord Haw-Haw, was a politician, author and radio broadcaster, who was involved with the British Union of Fascists and later the National Socialist League. He was executed for treason during the Second World War. Joyce stated that Winston Churchill was a servant "not of the British public, or of the British Empire, but of international Jewish finance. This charge must be preferred against a man who has so signally violated British tradition in the course of this war."[1]

Early life

Joyce was born at 1906 Herkimer Street in Brooklyn, New York City, to an English Protestant mother and an Irish Catholic father who had taken United States citizenship. A few years after his birth, the family returned to Galway, Ireland. He attended the Jesuit St Ignatius College (Galway) from 1915 to 1921. Unusually for Irish Roman Catholics, both William Joyce and his father were strongly Unionist. William Joyce later said that he aided the Black and Tans and became a target of the Irish Republican Army because of this.[2]

Following a failed assassination attempt in 1921 (which only failed due to the 16-year old Joyce taking a different route home from school) he left for England where he would briefly attend King's College School, Wimbledon for a foreign exchange, followed two years later by his family. William Joyce applied to Birkbeck College of the University of London and to enter the Officer Training Corps. At Birkbeck, Joyce developed an interest in fascism, and he joined the British Fascisti of Rotha Lintorn-Orman. In 1924, while stewarding a Conservative Party meeting, Joyce was attacked and received a deep razor slash that ran across his right cheek. It left a permanent scar which ran from the earlobe to the corner of the mouth. Joyce was convinced that his attackers were "Jewish communists". It was an incident that had a marked bearing on his outlook.

British Union of Fascists

In 1932, Joyce joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Sir Oswald Mosley, and swiftly became a leading speaker, praised for his power of oratory. The journalist and novelist Cecil Roberts described a speech given by Joyce:

"Thin, pale, intense, he had not been speaking many minutes before we were electrified by this man... so terrifying in its dynamic force, so vituperative, so vitriolic."

In 1934, Joyce was promoted to the BUF's director of propaganda and later appointed deputy leader. As well as being a gifted speaker, Joyce also gained the reputation of a savage brawler. Joyce's violent rhetoric and willingness to physically confront anti-fascist elements head-on played no small part in further marginalizing the BUF. After the bloody debacle of the June 1934 Olympia rally, Joyce spearheaded the BUF's policy shift from campaigning for economic revival through Corporatism to antisemitism. He was instrumental in changing the full name of the BUF to "British Union of Fascists and National Socialists" in 1936, and stood as a party candidate in the 1937 elections to London County Council. In 1936 Joyce lived for a year in Whitstable, where he owned a radio and electrical shop[3][4].

However, Joyce was sacked from his paid position when Mosley drastically reduced the BUF staff shortly after the elections, and Joyce went on to form a breakaway organisation, the National Socialist League. Unlike Joyce, Mosley was never a committed antisemite, preferring to exploit antisemitic sentiment only for political gain. After 1937, the party turned its focus away from antisemitism and towards activism opposing a war with National Socialist Germany. Although Joyce had been deputy leader of the BUF from 1933 and an effective fighter and orator, Mosley snubbed him in his autobiography and later denounced him as a traitor because of his wartime activities.

Lord Haw-Haw

Main article: Lord Haw-Haw
Wm. Joyce

In late August 1939, shortly before war was declared, Joyce and his wife Margaret fled to Germany. Joyce had been tipped off by an MI5 officer that the British authorities intended to detain him under Defence Regulation 18B.[5] Joyce became a naturalised German in 1940.

In Berlin, Joyce could not find employment until a chance meeting with fellow Mosleyite sympathiser Dorothy Eckersley got him an audition at the Rundfunkhaus (radio centre). Despite having a heavy cold and almost losing his voice, he was recruited immediately for radio announcements and script writing at German radio's English service.

The name "Lord Haw-Haw of Zeesen" was coined by the pseudonymous Daily Express radio critic Jonah Barrington in 1939, but this referred initially to Wolf Mitler, (or possibly Norman Baillie-Stewart). When Joyce became the best-known propaganda broadcaster, the nickname was transferred to him. Joyce's broadcasts initially came from studios in Berlin, later transferring (due to heavy Allied bombing) to Luxembourg and finally to Apen near Hamburg, and were relayed over a network of German controlled radio stations that included Hamburg, Bremen, Luxembourg, Hilversum, Calais, Oslo and Zeesen. Joyce also broadcast on and wrote scripts for the German Büro Concordia organisation which ran several black propaganda stations (many of which pretended to broadcast illegally from within Britain) [6]

Although listening to his broadcasts was officially discouraged (but not actually illegal), they became very popular with the British public. The German broadcasts always began with the announcer's words "Germany calling, Germany calling, Germany calling" (because of a nasal drawl this sounded like: Jairmany calling, Jairmany calling, Jairmany calling). These broadcasts urged the British people to surrender, and were well known for their jeering, sarcastic and menacing tone.

Joyce recorded his final broadcast on April 30, 1945, during the Battle of Berlin [7]. In an exhausted, possibly intoxicated voice, he chided Britain's role in Germany's imminent defeat and warned that the war would leave Britain poor and barren. (There are conflicting accounts as to whether this last programme was actually transmitted, even though a tape was found in the Radio Hamburg studios.) He signed off with a final defiant "Heil Hitler".

Besides broadcasting, Joyce's duties included distributing propaganda among British prisoners of war, whom he tried to recruit into the British Free Corps. He wrote a book, Twilight Over England, which was promoted by the German Ministry of Propaganda, a work that unfavourably compared argued Jewish-dominated capitalist Britain with National Socialist Germany. Adolf Hitler awarded Joyce the War Merit Cross (First and Second Class) for his broadcasts, although they never met in person.

Capture and trial

At the end of the war, Joyce was captured by British forces at Flensburg near the Germany-Denmark border. A Jewish soldier claimed to recognize his voice and during conversation with soldiers shot and wounded him. After which Joyce was arrested and taken back to Britain.

He was charged with high treason:

  • William Joyce, on the 18th of September, 1939, and on other days between that day and the 29th of May, 1945, being a person owing allegiance to our Lord the King, and while a war was being carried on by the German Realm against our King, did traitorously adhere to the King's enemies in Germany, by broadcasting propaganda.
  • William Joyce, on the 26th of September, 1940, being a person who owed allegiance as in the other count, adhered to the King's enemies by purporting to become naturalized as a subject of Germany.
  • William Joyce, on the 18th of September, 1939, and on other days between that day and the 2nd of July, 1940, being a person owing allegiance to our Lord the King, and while a war was being carried on by the German Realm against our King, did traitorously adhere to the King's enemies in Germany, by broadcasting propaganda. [8]


He went to his death unrepentant and defiant. “In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and the hour of the greatest danger in the West may the standard be raised from the dust, crowned with the words — you have conquered nevertheless. I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.”

Joyce was executed on January 3, 1946, at Wandsworth Prison, aged 39. He was the second-to-last person to be hanged for a crime other than murder in the United Kingdom. (The last was Theodore Schurch who was executed for treachery the following day at Pentonville. In both cases the hangman was Albert Pierrepoint.)

Joyce's family

The Crown considered trying his wife Margaret as well. It is not entirely clear why no trial took place. A straightforward explanation is that her nationality status was much more complex and a conviction thought unlikely. Some also consider a deal for clemency was made on her behalf, perhaps recorded in a secret memo. Margaret Joyce died in Soho in 1972.

William Joyce had two daughters by his first wife, Hazel, one of whom, Heather Iandolo, has spoken publicly of her father. [9] Joyce was reinterred in 1976 at the New Cemetery in Bohermore, County Galway, Ireland.



To conclude this personal note, I, William Joyce, will merely say that I left England because I would not fight for Jewry against the Führer and National Socialism, and because I believe most ardently, as I do today, that victory and a perpetuation of the old system would be an incomparably greater evil for England than defeat coupled with a possibility of building something new, something really national, something truly socialist.
It is well to realize that Jewish finance is as bent on the enslavement of the British people as of the German. The military power of England, the spurious jingoism engendered by the Jewish need for military defenders and the sacrifices of the British military forces all play their part today. But in the event of British victory all this synthesized nationalism will be destroyed in a few months. The supreme fact of world politics today is that the Jews want no nationalism but their very own.
I hope and believe that when the flames of war have been traversed, the ordinary people of England will know their soul again and will seek in National Socialism to advance along the way of human progress with their brothers of German blood. That this hope and this belief shall not prove vain there are two guarantees; the greatness of Adolf Hitler and the greater glory of Almighty God.


See also

External links

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