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1931 - 1940
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1931-1933
In the early 30's a central personality was emerging from British Fascism, Sir Oswald Mosley.

Mosley left the Labour Party and in 1931 formed the 'New Party.' The party supported a gang of thugs, "Mosley's Biff Boys".

The New Party's successor, the British Union of Fascists (BUF) was an attempt to unify all British fascist groups. The previous decades military style had been inherited and included a 'Blackshirt' uniform.

1934-1935
Hitler's rise to power created an anti-fascist movement in Britain. This was despite some advantageous publicity from Lord Rothermere, who's Daily Mail headline proclaimed "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" in January 1934.

British Fascism became unpopular and membership numbers fell. This was exacerbated by the withdrawal of financial backing from Mussolini, which had been received for the previous two years.

1936-1940
A greatly reduced BUF embarked on smaller localised campaigns concentrating on areas like Lancashire's textile towns and the East end of London.

The East end was the setting for The Battle of Cable Street on the 4th October 1936. Anti-fascist protestors numbering 250,000 faced 7000 BUF members in the streets of the biggest immigrant population in the country. The BUF were forced to call off the march.

Links between the Nazi Party and the anti-Semitic BUF were suspected. Hitler attended Mosley's second marriage. It seems likely that the BUF received German funding but even so the party closed down in 1940 following a number of arrests.


Cable Street on 4 October 1936
Police remove an overturned lorry used as a barricade during the riots in Cable Street


Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley on the march through the East End of London on 4 October 1936
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