Mosley Oswald - Firing line

Authors : Mosley Oswald - Buckley William F.
Title : Firing line
Year : 1972

Link download :

Transcript of the Firing Line television program broadcast on 9th April 1972. Interviewer : William F Buckley Jr. Guest : Sir Oswald Mosley. Panelists : Helene Middleweek, Peter Riddell and Roger Evans. Subject : "Fascism - Past and Present" MR. BUCKLEY: Just after the First World War, a young British aristocrat, age 22, was elected to the House of Commons, and it has recently been remarked that Sir Oswald Mosley was the brightest man of his generation to enter politics, and that he alone might have become prime minister of England, whether as a Conservative or as a Labourite. Instead, he became the founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists in 1934. In 1941, he was scooped up by his old friend Churchill and stuck in jail without trial. After the war, he emerged into obloquy, for all intents and purposes disappearing from sight, when suddenly two years ago he published his autobiography, My Life, which has just been published in America. The book has been widely greeted as a work of great literary and historical merit. Because if I do not now mention it someone will say I was trying to conceal it, I herewith divulge that Sir Oswald's book has been brought out in America by a publishing company owned by a company which I serve as chairman of the board, (laughter) I had no hand in the transaction, and I saw the book for the first time yesterday. I was instantly struck by the especially laudatory notices given to it in England by members of the left; for instance, Mr. Michael Foot, who called the book, "a dazzling gleam across the whole century. What Mosley so valiantly stood for could have saved this country from the hungry Thirties and from the Second World War"; and from R. H. Crossman, intellectual leader of the Socialist party (laughter), or so he is regarded, "Mosley was spurned simply and solely because he was right." I think it would be instructive to explore the current and historical meaning of fascism, something we have yet to do on this program, and I want to begin with the understanding that we shall not devote anything like the entire program to it. By touching on racism and fascism, specifically on anti-Semitism and British fascism, I'd like to ask Sir Oswald: do you believe there is a nexus between the two — anti-Semitism and fascism? SIR OSWALD: No, none whatever. That was a purely German phenomenon and that really made the whole complication. Germany, of course, under Hitler, was definitely anti-Semitic. There's no doubt about that whatever — none whatever. That's all – MR. BUCKLEY: You’re not going to dispute that? (laughter) SIR OSWALD: - too painfully clear. But in the other countries where fascism occurred, in very different national forms, there was no question of it in the origin of the movement. Fascism was, essentially, a national creed — both its strength and its weakness - and, therefore, it took, in every country, a completely different form. And if you are running, as we hope to run, a multi-racial empire, you obviously cannot have a racialist policy. And the quarrel with certain Jewish interests, not with all, by any means, arose on quite different and much later questions. MR. BUCKLEY: Well, you do acknowledge that political labels tend to acquire meaning insofar as they communicate certain things — SIR OSWALD: Oh, yes, indeed. ...

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