About this Item
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Title: Fascists, Communists and the National ...
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Publication Date: 1983
Book Condition: Good
About this title
This book is a history of the struggle of the British National Government to retain traditional civil liberties at a time when public order was threatened by extremist forces developed during the depression years of the 1930s. On the left, the Communist Party of Great Britain, given new strength as a result of the Third International's emphasis on the Common Front strategy, grew rapidly during these years. Meanwhile, the international success of fascism in Italy and Germany had given rise to the British Union of Fascists. Under the dynamic leadership of Sir Oswald Mosley, this party grew rapidly after 1934. Disorder continued to erupt as the the two extremist forces clashed in the streets and in meeting halls. Caught in the middle was the National Government of Ramsay MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin, which faced the challenge of trying to maintain the freedom of speech and assembly. On October 4th, 1936, a massive fascist demonstration in the East End of London degenerated into violence in an event soon called "The Battle of Cable Street." In one sense, it was a one day civil war. As a result of this violent eruption, the Government passed the landmark Public Order Act, a rather nimble attempt to compromise civil liberties with the need for public order. Sources used in the preparation of this manuscript include government records, Parliament papers, private papers of leading individuals from the period, collections in the British Museum, the National Council for Civil Liberties, and the Trades Union Congress Library, The Times, The Guardian, The Herald, The Daily Worker and other materials from the C.P.G.B., The Blackshirt and other materials from the B.U.F., and memoirs of the various individuals involved in the politics of the 1930.
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