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Oswald Mosley (1896-1980) was a British politician and fascist leader who rose to prominence in the 1930s. He was born into an aristocratic family and served in both World War I and World War II. Mosley was first elected to Parliament as a Conservative, but he later joined the Labour Party and was elected as a member of Parliament for Birmingham in 1926.

Mosley’s politics became increasingly radical in the 1930s, and he founded the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932. The BUF was a far-right, anti-Semitic, and authoritarian political movement that advocated for the creation of a single-party state in Britain. Mosley was known for his charismatic speaking style and his use of paramilitary tactics to intimidate opponents.

Mosley and the BUF faced opposition from anti-fascist groups, and their rallies and meetings often resulted in violent clashes with anti-fascist protesters. In 1936, a BUF rally in the East End of London was met with fierce resistance from local residents and anti-fascist activists in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

During World War II, Mosley was interned under the Defence Regulation 18B, which allowed the British government to detain individuals deemed to be a threat to national security. After the war, Mosley continued to advocate for far-right politics and founded the Union Movement, which failed to gain significant support. He remained a controversial figure until his death in 1980.

Document / archive

MI5 records on Sir Oswald Mosley and Lady Mosley, 1933-1951

The Security Service, commonly known as MI5, kept files on Sir Oswald Mosley and his wife, Lady Diana, from 1933 onwards, when the former founded the BUF. Given his high profile and continued involvement with far-right politics after the war, they maintained an interest in Sir Oswald until his death in 1980.


  • Populism
  • Blackshirts
  • BUF