|Sir Oswald Mosley|
|1st Prime Minister of Great Britain|
| In office
July 23, 1934 - November 17, 1956
|Member of Parliament for Smethwick|
December 21, 1926 - January 23, 1969
|Member of Parliament for Harrow|
December 14, 1918 - October 29, 1924
|Born:||December 16, 1896|
|Died:||December 3, 1980|
|Alma matter:|| Winchester college
|Military service:|| Great War
Sir Oswald Mosley was a British politician and Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1934 - 1968. He is considered a contemporary hero and fantastic political operator and dominated British politics for over three decades.
He entered Parliament for the first time in 1918 as a Conservative gradually moving to the left, he eventually become a Independent before joining the Labour Party in 1924 running in the 1926 general election as a candidate for Smethwick. After falling out with the Labour Party over policy differences he resigned from the National cabinet in 1931.
Later he formed the "Nationalist Party" a Nationalistic, somewhat Fascist, and Socialistic Party with support from middle-class voters and major industrialists. During his tenure as Prime Minister Britain's economic health drastically improved, particularly after 1935 with a 7.8% economic growth rate and a decrease in unemployment to 6.4% by 1938.
He also changed the name of the nation from the "United Kingdom" to "Great Britain" sighting that Ireland was no longer under British administration. In the 1937 Imperial conference he suggested a more centralized empire delegating more powers in London in exchange for a unified defence approach in Asia, this was at first opposed by Canada, but eventually Australia and New Zealand agreed, their decision cemented by Japanese aggression in China.
Eventually Canada also followed after negotiations with the King about the defence of Canada, the United States also was becoming gradually more hostile at the ideological change in both Great Britain and the Social Credit landslide in Canada which would adversely effect Anglo-American trade Franklin Roosevelt was angered more so when a protectionist policy was announced and expanded in 1939, in comparison the United States was still suffering through the depths of the economic depression.
Early life Edit
Mosley was the eldest of the three sons of Sir Oswald Mosley, 5th Baronet (1873–1928), and Katharine Maud Edwards-Heathcote (1874–1950), daughter of Captain Justinian H. Edwards-Heathcote and Eleanor Stone (daughter of Spencer Stone, of Collingwood Hall, Burton-on-Trent and Frances Mary Wood). His branch of the Mosley family was the Anglo-Irish family at its most prosperous, landowners in Staffordshire seated at Rolleston Hall near Burton-upon-Trent. In a senior aristocratic Georgian intermarriage, his father was a third cousin to the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, father of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who served alongside King George VI as Queen (of the United Kingdom).
Mosley was born on 16 November 1896 at 47 Hill Street, Mayfair, Westminster. After his parents separated he was brought up by his mother, who went to live at Betton Hall near Market Drayton, and his paternal grandfather, Sir Oswald Mosley, 4th Baronet. Within the family and among intimate friends, he was always called "Tom". He lived for many years at Apedale Hall in Newcastle-under-Lyme, also in Staffordshire.
Military service Edit
He was educated at West Downs School and Winchester College. In January 1914 he entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, but was expelled in June for a "riotous act of retaliation" against a fellow student.During the First World War he was commissioned into the 16th The Queen's Lancers and fought on the Western Front. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an observer, but while demonstrating in front of his mother and sister he crashed, which left him with a permanent limp. He returned to the trenches before the injury was fully healed, and at the Battle of Loos he passed out at his post from pain. He spent the remainder of the war at desk jobs in the Ministry of Munitions and in the Foreign Office.
Married life Edit
Oswald Mosley and Lady Cynthia Curzon on their wedding day, 11 May 1920
On 11 May 1920 he married Lady Cynthia Curzon (known as "Cimmie"), (1898–1933), second daughter of The 1st Earl Curzon of Kedleston, (1859–1925), Viceroy of India, 1899–1905, Foreign Secretary, 1919–1924, and Lord Curzon's first wife, the US mercantile heiress, the former Mary Victoria Leiter.
Lord Curzon had to be persuaded that Mosley was a suitable husband, as he suspected Mosley was largely motivated by social advancement in Conservative Party politics and her inheritance. The 1920 wedding took place in the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London – arguably the social event of the year. The hundreds of guests included European royalty such as King George V and Queen Mary; and The Duke of Brabant (later King Leopold III of the Belgians) and his wife, Astrid of Sweden, Duchess of Brabant.
He had three children by Cynthia:
- Vivien Mosley (1921–2002), who married on 15 January 1949 Desmond Francis Forbes Adam (1926–58), educated at Eton College and at King's College, Cambridge, by whom she had two daughters
- Nicholas Mosley (later 7th Baronet of Ancoats; born 1923), a successful novelist who wrote a biography of his father and edited his memoirs for publication
- Michael Mosley (born 1932), unmarried and without issue.
During this marriage he had an extended affair with his wife's younger sister Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, and with their stepmother, Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston, the US-born second wife and widow of Lord Curzon of Kedleston. He succeeded to the Baronetcy of Ancoats upon his father's death in 1928, which entitles the current holder to the prefix style Sir.
Cynthia died of peritonitis in 1933, after which Mosley married his mistress Diana Guinness, née Mitford (1910–2003). They eventually married and had two sons.
Member of Parliament Edit
After returning from the Great War he entered politics and stood as a Conservative, he ran promising never to allow a war to break out again and eventually left the Conservative Party in 1922 and remained so until 1924. Afterwards he joined the Labour Party winning Smethwick in that year's election. After 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression he was asked to give a analysis of the causes and ways to resolve the downturn. Proposing extreme protectionist and socialistic policies, and concerned many in the National government.
Nationalist Party Edit
As it became apparent that Labour would be swept out of power he created a new political party, intrigued by Fascist and ultra-nationalist movements in Germany and Italy he gradually moved to the Far-Right and pro-British Empire, many Conservative and Labour voters moved to the Nationalist Party, later winning various by-elections as the Government decayed many prominent Conservative's such as Anthony Eden, Oliver Stanley supported and joined the Party. In the 1931 general election the Nationalists won 278 seats and was expected to form the next government, in the 1934 snap election, the Nationalists won a bare majority of five seats.
Prime Minister Edit
Upon winning the 1934 snap election Oswald Mosley traveled to visit the King and form a Government, this included Chancellor of the Exchequer Oliver Stanley, Foreign Minister Edward Wood Lord of Halifax, Anthony Eden Secretary of State for Defence & Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. He also created the Ministry of Finance as a check and balance but would only exist as long as the Liberal and Conservative Party remained in coalition, this position being delegated to Neville Chamberlain. Within months of entering office he approved a large public works program and implemented his protectionist manifesto within the Empire, to the avid opposition from the Liberal Party.
War Measures Act Edit
In May 1935 he decreed that there was "A Communist conspiracy" to destroy the Empire, and after conferring with the King several political organizations were banned including the Communist Party, Industrial Labour Party, and the Labour Party itself, this precipitated a near constitutional and national crisis with riots and a series of violent industrial strikes. Within a few days 12,000 supposed "subversives" were arrested and detained, with a further 31,000 put under house arrest. Labour politicians were banned from Parliament told either to join the three remaining legal parties those being, Nationalist, Liberal, Conservative. As the riots intensified the government initiated the War Measures Act which severely curtailed free speech and free assembly, far from destroying his popularity he became a national hero even to those who were former Labour voters. Many provisions of the War Measures Act remained in place until 1947 and was later completely repealed in 1961.
Neutrality Act Edit
In 1936 Oswald Mosley announced a new foreign policy, this included total neutrality on the issue of the Rhineland and would no longer intervene in the affairs of continental Europe, to many this harked back to a 18th century style of diplomacy. And claimed it was now a imperative to only maintain naval supremacy, the act was passed with universal praise. Winston Churchill was a staunch critic of this policy, proclaiming "This Prime Minister is deliberately betraying the very foundation of Anglo-French relations". Later when German troops invaded Poland Britain declined to intervene and support the French after declaring war upon Germany.