The Fledgling Führers : A Comparative Study of Interwar Fascist Movements in Britain and the U.S.
Turner, Patricia R.
Sanislo, Teresa M.
Mann, John W. W.
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During the interwar period (1918-1939), Italy and Germany were not alone in their experimentation with fascism. In Britain and the United States, two lesser-known groups, the British Union of Fascists and the German American Bund, amassed tens of thousands of supporters. They funded rallies, managed publishing companies, and organized chapters nationwide. Until both were banned in, respectively, 1940 and 1941, the BUF and the Bund were viewed by their respective governments as real threats to democracy. This begs the question: why were they not more successful? This thesis addresses this question by comparing successes and failures of the BUF and the Bund to their “successful” models (the Italian Fascists and German Nazis), whose ideologies and practices they emulated. Doing so reveals four metrics of fascist success: leadership in the form of a strong authority figure, centralized organization, populist appeals, and use of political violence. These metrics, evidenced by speeches, government reports, propaganda, and other print media, are used to identify the limits of the BUF’s and the Bund’s success. Through this comparative analysis, it is concluded that both groups, despite their shortcomings, were not failures. The significance of this study is twofold: first, it provides insights into the vulnerabilities within democratic politics that can be exploited by fascist movements; and second, it documents the strengths of democratic practices, institutions, and polices that can limit the impact of fascist appeals and parties.
Fascism -- History -- 20th century.
British Union of Fascists -- History.
German American Bund -- History.
Master's thesis with text, photographs, and illustrations.