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Rules of the Game/Beyond the Pale: Memoirs of Sir Oswald Mosley and Family/2 Volumes in 1 Hardcover – 1 Jul 1991
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The author, Nicholas Mosley, is Oswald Mosley’s son, and no apologist for his father. However, in this biography he tells the facts as he knows them and makes sense of the developments in his father’s life which we find so unpleasant today. In doing so, Nicholas Mosley helps us to understand how Oswald (or ‘Tom’ to his friends) Mosley turned to fascism, which in the 1920s was not a shocking aspiration. There are few if any parallels between Tom Mosley and Adolf Hitler: the only two that I can see are their charisma and powers of oratory. But where Adolf seems to have been a deeply flawed and unpleasant person, Tom was charm itself (despite being a rotter to his wife Cimmie), a decorated soldier from the Great War who wanted only the best for the working man (ie employment and a decent economy), and was disgusted by the Government’s lack of determination to make England ‘a land fit for heroes to live in’, as per Lloyd George.
In this 2-volume biography we gain some understanding of where Tom Mosley went off the rails between his fine aspirations after the war, and the thuggish Blackshirt movement.
Thoroughly recommended. Although 5 stars is supposed to mean 'I love it', one cannot say that about this; but it is a fine historical record and analysis, and fascinating with it.
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While skating over some of the odious aspects of his father's history, he nevertheless succeeded in displeasing his father's widow, Diana Mitford Mosley who would settle for nothing less than a completely laudatory biography. It's ironic.
It's true Mosley made some correct predictions about the world and what would happen to the British empire in a postwar world. Basically his position was that England should make common cause with the Fascists because their innate superiority gave them the right to maintain their empire, even if other people didn't want to be subjected to English (or German) rule.
Upper class British anti-semitism, which was no secret, was also shared by Mosley and those in his circle. To this day, many of them remain Holocaust-deniers. As Nancy Mitford pointed out, the Jews feared the Nazis so many made common cause with the communists and the British upper classes feared the communists, who might strip them of all their wealth and prerogatives, so many made common cause with Fascists. If anyone felt entitled to wealth and privilege, it was the British titled classes.
As a human being, Mosley was also notorious as a womanizer, and his treatment of women and his own children totally reflected his own narcissism. One interesting aspect of the Mosley biography by his son was the love and admiration he felt for his mother, who he felt had not been treated right by historical accounts and by her own husband.
Read other books by and about the Mitfords and the Mosleys. Should Diana and Oswald Mosley have been imprisoned as potential collaborators? That's another question. In the event of a German defeat of England, would Mosley have become another Petain? Probably, but who knows?
Meanwhile, these books are worth reading as both history and cautionary tales. Every country has its demagogues. Demagogues are often very attractive and Mosley certainly was.
Many Americans know that Mosley was the most prominent British fascist leader prior to the Second World War, but few know that prior to that he was the member of parliament who was given the task of constructing an economic plan capable of getting Britain out of the Great Depression.
Although many leading socialists of the day supported his ideas, including his personal friend in America, Franklin Roosevelt, the British government was not bold enough to act, adopting the attitude of just muddling through.
That's why Mosley started up his fascist movement. The death of Mosley's first wife contributed to his determination to implement his ideas, and the private correspondence published in this book explains why for the first time.
After World War 2, Mosley's view was that the nationalisms of Europe were obsolete, and that the European economic cooperation of the EEC was the first wave of a better future. He also forecasted that within the United States the European population would find a similar reorganizing just as necessary.