The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth

William Joyce

William Joyce was an American born political agitator who had moved to England with his family in 1921. He quickly became heavily involved in extreme right-wing politics. After serving in a variety of Fascist organisations he met and joined Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1933, and became area administrator for the home counties, director of propaganda and even rose to become Mosley's deputy leader, with a reputation as a ferocious orator. He came to Plymouth in 1935 to try and revive the flagging fortunes of the BUF in the city. He spoke at the Assembly Rooms in Devonport and stayed in the city for a 5 further weeks after the engagement. He later split from Mosley as he believed that the BUF were not pushing anti-semitism enough and set up his own party, the National Socialist League (NSL), which called for Britain to unite with Hitler's Germany against the 'twin Jewish manifestations' of Bolshevism and international finance.

As war seemed more imminent, Joyce travelled to Germany to broadcast on the Nazi English-language service, initially as a newsreader. Within a few years he had become Germany's principal English-language broadcaster. He became known as Lord Haw Haw. He was executed after the war for Treason. He had been awarded British Citizenship in 1934 but only after lying about his place of birth as being in Ireland rather than New York.

Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article | Significant Individuals

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by Stephen Luscombe