Along with his later Twilight over England, these two writings by Irish American William Joyce (“Lord Haw-Haw”), first published during his years of activism in Britain prior to the Second World War, sum up in many respects the worldview of this most famous radio propaganda broadcaster in history.
Joyce was from its earliest inception an active member of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF), and easily its best public speaker. After 1937, when he left the BUF, he formed his own organisation, the British National Socialist League (BNSL).
It was for the latter organisation that Joyce penned National Socialism Now—his manifesto to the British people on how a National Socialist Britain would be structured. It includes sections on the “meaning of National Socialism,” “The menace of Class War and Snobbery,” “The National Socialist structure of government,” the “Need of economic revolution,” “Finance and the people,” “Machinery and shorter hours,” “Scientific regulation as opposed to Laissez Faire,” a detailed discussion on the future of the Empire and foreign policy, the need to use “legal and constitutional methods,” religious freedom, and the Jewish Question.
Although the BNSL was highly active, it was never allowed the chance to test itself electorally, as the advent of the war—against which Joyce warned in his manifesto—saw the mass arrest of dissidents in Britain and Joyce’s exile in Germany.
The second essay, Fascism and Jewry, was written as a BUF leaflet in 1935, which describes the attacks on the BUF by Jews and the organisation’s official response.
Excerpts from National Socialism Now:
“If, on some barbaric isle, the money is based on a shell standard, and some poor fool, perhaps a demented banker, goes and drops half the shells irrecoverably into the water, do the chiefs and witch-doctors hold a conclave and decide that everybody must live on half of what he previously consumed, though fishing, hunting and tilling be as productive as ever? The pundits who made such a suggestion would, as like as not, follow the shells into the water . . .
“The wealth of a nation consists in goods, services, and the spirit of her people. The moment that money regarded as wealth, true perspective is lost and the experience of centuries destroyed. If people only realised that wealth lay in the soil and in their own efforts, the reign of Shylock would be over.”
This new edition has been completely reset with a new biography of the author, and has 54 supplementary footnotes to allow the modern reader to understand all the references in the text to events and personalities of the time.
About the author: William Joyce (1906–1946) was an American-born Irish national who, after a career in the British Union of Fascists and in the British National Socialist League, moved to Germany before the outbreak of the Second World War and was employed as a radio propaganda broadcaster for the duration of that conflict. He achieved fame under the nickname “Lord Haw-Haw” even though that phrase was initially given to one of his colleagues, and by the end of the war, had as many listeners in Britain as did the BBC. Arrested after the war, he was tried in Britain for treason—although he had never legally been a British national—and executed.