Oswald MosleySir Oswald Ernald Mosley , November 16, 1896 - December 3, 1980) was a British politician, founder of the British Union of Fascists. He was also the 6th baronet of a title established in 1720.
He had a privileged upbringing, educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He fought on the Western Front during World War I. A transfer to the Royal Flying Corps ending his war career following a crash in 1916.
Mosley became an Conservative MP for Harrow in 1918, the youngest member of the British House of Commons. He soon distinguished himself as an orator and political player, albeit marked with extreme self-confidence. He resigned from the Conservatives in 1922 as a consequence of his disagreement with the government over the Irish policy and their use of the Black and Tans to suppress the Irish population.
He retained his seat as an Independent MP for Harrow (1922-24). He then switched to Labour (1924 and 1929-31), being rewarded with the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1929. He resigned in 1931 following the rejection of his radical economic policy ideas. He quickly founded the left-wing New Party but when that failed, following meetings with Mussolini and other Fascists, he created the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932.
The British Union of Fascists was a union of numerous smaller extreme nationalist parties, Mosley instituted a black uniform, gaining the party the nickname blackshirts. The BUF was anti-Communist and protectionist, claimed membership was as high as 50,000, and the Daily Mail was an early supporter. Among his followers was the novelist Henry Williamson. But the party became the victim of communist and jewish violence especially in London. The government was sufficiently concerned to pass the Public Order Act of 1936, which was intended to destroy the movement but failed. In the London County Coucil elections on 1937 the Movement score high votes in its east London strongholds.The BUF was completely banned in May 1940 and Mosley and 740 other senior Fascists were interned for much of WW II. Mosley was released in 1943.
After the war he made a number of attempts to return to politics (1947, 1959, 1966), but never successfully.
His first wife was Lady Cynthia Curzon, second daughter of George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, Viceroy of India. They had three children. He married his mistress Diana Guinness née Mitford in 1936, in the home of Nazi chief Joseph Goebbels; Adolf Hitler was one of the guests. He and the second Lady Mosley had two sons. A noted philanderer, Mosley had numerous affairs, during his first marriage to Lady Cynthia, with her sister Lady Alexandra Metcalfe as well as her stepmother, Lady Curzon.