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Title: Organised responses to British Union of Fascist Mobilisation in South Lancashire, 1932-40
Author: Barrett, Neil John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 5858
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis is divided into three parts. Part One introduces the context of the debate. Chapter One looks at relevant secondary literature relating to inter war Lancashire and four main themes are discussed, Mosley and his road to the BUF, the cotton industry in the inter war years, politics in Lancashire and finally anti Semitism and the development of the Jewish communities of Manchester and Liverpool. The second chapter presents themes linking the BUF and Lancashire, most notably cotton and Fascist plans to reinvigorate that industry. Linked to this is the BUF accusation that Jewish controlled international finance was largely responsible for the travails of the cotton industry - the question of Jewish control of international finance and the consequences of this being a constant one throughout the first two parts of the thesis. The changing attitude of the BUF to parliamentarism is also examined. Part Two begins with a case study of Manchester which notes the inclusive and diverse nature of anti BUF activism in the city and the nature of Jewish opposition to the Movement. Left characterisation of the National Government, another recurrent theme is highlighted, as are the unproductive electoral forays late in the period under review. Chapter Four examines the nature of responses to the BUF in Liverpool and the impact of a highly sectarian local politics on available political space is examined. This theme of electoral space is another constant throughout the thesis. The last local case study, of the cotton towns and in particular Nelson, notes a diversity of response to the BUF. Nelson is seen as having a radical civic culture and political allegiances characterised by youthful optimism, these factors combining to produce a confident response to the BUF. The following chapter examines the response of the Anglo Jewish elite to the threat of the BUF. Jewish opposition to the BUF was highly diverse. The response of the elite was couched in modest and traditional terms, being less concerned with Fascism or anti Semitism than with the often violent confrontational activism of parts of the Jewish community. The question as to whether elite responses meant a tacit acceptance ofBUF slanders is also discussed. The role of Neville Laski as an important conduit between Manchester Jewry, Anglo Jewry at the national level and the state is considered as is the wide intelligence gathering capacity of the Anglo Jewish elite, to the benefit of both themselves and the state. The following chapter considers the role of the state in monitoring BUF/anti Fascist activism. The links between the state at the local and national level are highlighted as is the question of the circumscription of civil liberties, notably in Manchester. The response to Cable Street in terms of the Public Order Act of 1937 is questioned as is the alleged development of a conservative authoritarian state. Chapters eight and nine offer explanations for the political stability of Britain in the inter war years, this being contrasted with regime failure in Germany and Italy. Reasons for the success of the Nazis in Germany and PNF in Italy are contrasted with the failure of the BUF in Britain, the question of political space being seen to have important explanatory relevance. The final chapter focusses on Britain and the importance of the maintenance of two party competition. The role of the Conservative Party is examined as is the National Government and the enduring strength of the political settlement post 1931. The moderation of the Labour Party and its relative weakness post 1931 is considered as is the weakness of the CPGB in comparison with its German counterpart. Factors linked to political development are highlighted as having useful explanatory worth, these themes include the contrasting abilities of the ruling elites in Germany and Britain and the legitimacy of the moderate British left.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available