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Oswald Mosley

Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley (sometimes spelt Moseley, November 16, 1896 - December 3, 1980) was a British politician, founder of the British Union of Fascists.

He had a privileged upbringing, educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military College[?] at Sandhurst. He fought on the Western Front during World War I. A transfer to the Royal Flying Corps ending his war career following a crash in 1916.

Mosley became an Conservative MP for Harrow in 1918, the youngest member of the British House of Commons. He soon distinguished himself as an orator and political player, albeit marked with extreme self-confidence. He resigned from the Conservatives in 1922 as a consequence of his disagreement with the government over the Irish policy and their use of the Black and Tans to suppress the Irish population.

He retained his seat as an Independent MP for Harrow (1922-24). He then switched to Labour (1924 and 1929-31), being rewarded with the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1929. He resigned in 1931 following the rejection of his radical economic policy ideas. He quickly founded the left-wing New Party but when that failed, following meetings with Mussolini and other Fascists, he created the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932.

The British Union of Fascists was a union of numerous smaller extreme nationalist parties, and in a clear pastiche of Adolf Hitler, Mosley instituted a black uniform, gaining the party the nickname blackshirts. The BUF was initially anti-Communist and protectionist, claimed membership was as high as 50,000, and the Daily Mail was an early supporter. Among his followers was the novelist Henry Williamson. But the party became more violent and strongly anti-Semitic in 1934-35, devolving into little more than a bunch of thugs, their main activitiy was instigating anti-Semitic violence and riots in London (such as the so-called Battle of Cable Street in October, 1936). Membership was below 8,000 by the end of 1935. The government was sufficiently concerned to pass the Public Order Act of 1936[?], which effectively destroyed the movement. The BUF was completely banned in May 1940 and Mosley and 740 other senior Fascists were interned for much of WW II. Mosley was released in 1943.

After the war he made a number of attempts to return to politics (1947, 1959, 1966), but never successfully.

His first wife was Lady Cynthia Curzon. He married Diana Guinness née Mitford in 1936.

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