No.born in 1896 and passed away in 1980 at the venerable age of 84, Oswald Mosley he was a real person as well as making it on screen the most arrogant of Tommy Shelby’s opponents – and among many of humanity, we dare to say – in the epic story of the Peaky Blinders, whose sixth and final season leads Netflix’s Top 10 today. On the Stephen Knight show, Sir Oswald Mosley he is a young MP committed to creating a fascist movement in England in the early 1930s.
Admirer from Mussolini And friend of Hitlerwho in the series will be his best man, Mosley is a cold, cruel manipulatora speaker from charisma spectacular that enchants the crowds with vague but thrilling promises of a new worldsupported by justice, freedom, hard work and hatred for Jews, Communists, Gypsies and whoever has more, the more he puts.
Oswald Mosley: an outsider in Westminster
In historical reality Sir Oswald Mosley he was a debated figure, an authentic one outsider in the English political landscape. Baronet of Ancoats, born in an environment rich and privileged, soon joins the Conservative party. In his autobiography, “My Life“ (1968) writes that he entered politics «as a representative of the generation of war»: a shared experience with Tommy.
Mosley had fought on the Western Front serving in the 16th Lancers Regiment and later as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. Experiences that will shape his political motivations: «About the WWIthe idea for me was only one: to always do everything and for everything prevent it from happening again. “
Conservative MP in 1918, it subsequently became an independent. From 1931, when his career overlapped with Tommy’s in fiction, Mosley moved to center left entering the ranks of the Labor Party: lo same party from Tommy Shelby. However, his career stands out for the contempt declared against the “Reds”, That is, the Communists, and a certain propensity for changes in the field.
Political activity between the people and populism
For a long time Mosley faced the problem of unemployment that had hit England in the 1920s. Following the stock market crash in 1929 start a campaign to create a anti-crisis plan, considered “heretic” by the parliamentary majority. Instead of the classic, free market Mosley is in favor of a ‘self-sufficient economy And protectionist for revive the British industry. The attempt is canceled and Mosley, speaker bright and caustic appreciated by the press, leaves the Labor Party.
He was already a much admired character – today it would have millions of followers on Instagram or YouTube – but although he enjoyed the esteem of politicians such as David Lloyd George and of the same William Churchill, the best alliances had yet to be built: this too clearly emerges in Peaky Blinders.
A new party
In the 1931 Mosley founds the New Party, the New Party to “save and rebuild the nation”. The team will be short-lived e it will not succeed in imposing itselfbut will have time to found a own newspaper“Action“, Where he wrote:” Better the defeat, the disaster, better the last offshoot of that trivial thing called a political career, than suffocating in a blue and gold uniform, stalking, posing on the stage of a little England among scenarios of forfeiture. [..]. We will winor, as a minimum, we will return above our shields. “
Don’t seem to hear an echo? The rhetoric ofÜbermenschof the limitless superman?
Two marriages and a myriad of lovers
Married in prime wedding with the charming Cynthia CurzonMosley was friends with Harold Nicolsonhusband of the writer Vita Sackville-West and active as a journalist at the Daily Express and the BBC, to which Mosley entrusted the direction of the party newspaper. According to Nicolson, regardless of health, Mosley had inexhaustible energy. During a trip to Paris saw him hired in board games until eight in the morning after spending the evening for clubs. A hedonistic reputation which convinced many not to take him seriously.
There first wife by Mosley, Cynthia Blanche Curzon, daughter of a lordit was a socialist of communist sympathies that ended, predictably, by disagreeing with her husband. Mosley remarried to Diana Mitfordknown beauty of the London jet-set and tireless Hitler’s admirer than in the TV series, played by Amber Anderson, does not hesitate to demand payments in kind from Tommy for his social housing donations. Despite two marriages, the historical Mosley was also known, as well as for the crazy nightsfor numerous lovers.
Dangerous relationships and black shirts
In the 1932 Mosley is in Italy at the invitation of Benito Mussolini: it is love at first sight. Not so much for the Ducewhich he judged, with characteristic arrogancecompletely “affable but insignificant“, But with the fascist ideology. Me too’enthusiasm by Mosley for military grandeur, discipline and martial efficiency contributed to his fascination with the regime. The friend Harold Nicolsonwho had accompanied him to Italy, horrified.
Once back home, Mosley founds the British Union of Fascists (BUF), the English Union of Fascists. BUF supporters, modeled on the Italian fascists, were known as Blackshirts, Black Shirts. Detail that also emerges in Peaky Blinders when Tommy, to the sound of slaps, forces his brother Arthur to change shirt in speed (borrowing the white Jonny Dogs) just before a Mosley lecture. Self Arthurstoned and manipulated by Mosley to undermine Tommy, appeared on the front pages of Daily Mail in a black shirt in the middle of an opium trip, it would be a disaster for his strategy.
The crowds against Oswald Mosley
Like many similar movements founded in the same period, the British Union of Fascists met with a good reception. Over time, however, Mosley’s positions did radicalized: Nazi stylebombastic speeches and open anti-Semitism led to numerous street demonstrations. Mosley met growing resistors by the Jewish community, Labor, the British Communist Party and the press, also following theextreme violence demonstrated by Blackshirts during counter-demonstrations. Their slogan? “We never start fights. We finish them.”
Famous the rally of 1934 at the conference center Olympia in London, reprized in the second episode of Peaky Blinders 6: for stifle protests anti-fascist infiltrators were hired two thousand black shirts who undertook to silence the jammers with actions of savage violence.
In the same year, the day after the “Night of the long knives”, Oswald Mosley he declared himself publicly on Hitler’s side. Two years later, to make his intentions even clearer, he changed the name of the party in British Union of Fascists and National Socialists. The organization was banned by the British government in 1939 at the outbreak of hostilities with Germany.
Much Ado About Nothing?
After failure of fascism in England Mosley will continue to write. Of politics and of himself. But history has already turned the page.
Because Mosley does really fear? Not just for hers fanaticismits psychotic arrogance or its fifty thousand shades of cruelty. In the series it is scary because Oswald Mosley is Tommy Shelby’s reverse mirror, the man Tommy can’t defeat. Tommy is aware of this while Mosley sees only himself, and therein lies part of the difference between the two. Tommy is haunted by the crimes he has committed. Mosley, like all psychopaths, he does not feel empathy. He’s a dangerous narcissist.
For this, sometimes, he wins. Only sometimes, though.
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