The nature and development of the concept of national synthesis in British fascist ideology 1920-1940

Woodbridge, Steven (1998) The nature and development of the concept of national synthesis in British fascist ideology 1920-1940. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis investigates the nature of fascist ideology in Britain during the period 1920-1940. It was undertaken in response to the lack of sufficient secondary literature on the ideas of the inter-war fascist movements in this country. It provides a comprehensive discussion of the historiography, constructs a conceptual ideal-type model of the fascist idea of “National Synthesis”, and presents detailed textual analysis of British fascist speeches, books and articles. The argument made in the thesis is that fascist ideology in both its British and wider European contexts was an anti-declinist and synthesizing creed, concerned above all with the integration, harmonisation and invigoration of the nation and race. Fascist ideology sought to synthesize the best elements of older or other ideologies and to create a new creed within a national context. British fascist ideologues, despite differences over the means to reach it, held the belief that the nation and society required complete unity, and that fascism was the only philosophy that could realise this vision. Their view of the world saw history as the story of the struggle for national unity and survival in the face of the rise and fall of nations. While illustrating this, the thesis moves away from the usual historiographical concentration on fascism during the 1930's and gives greater consideration to the 1920's, enabling continuities in fascist ideas to be pointed to. This gives a more “rounded” analysis of inter-war fascist ideas. In sum, it is believed that the thesis identifies the “core” of fascist ideology.

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