Bright Young Things discussion

Winston S. Churchill
This topic is about Winston S. Churchill
Historical Context > Churchill and the Fascist Plot

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb This might be of interest to UK based members of BYT...

Channel 4 has a documentary looking at how the wartime PM used MI5 to hunt down the fascist sympathisers of the Right Club, a murky organisation of British aristocrats and disaffected foreign nationals.

It's showing on Saturday 16 March 2013 at 7 pm. It will be on 4OD afterwards.

Here's some more info:

In May 1940, Britain was at a moment of great peril. Winston Churchill had just become Prime Minister and was facing the prospect of a Nazi invasion. But it wasn't just Hitler that concerned him.

There was also the threat from Britain's own fascist sympathisers: the so-called 'fifth column' that could undermine Britain's war effort from within.

Within a few days of Churchill becoming Prime Minister, MI5 swooped on addresses in central London. The targets were members of a secretive organisation called The Right Club, an extreme pro-Nazi society led by an aristocrat and MP in Churchill's own party, Archibald Ramsay.

Ramsay's Right Club wanted to bring down the government and forge an alliance with Hitler. When they stumbled across stolen secret documents that could discredit Churchill and prevent America from entering the war, they knew they'd hit the jackpot.

What they didn't know was that one of Britain's most brilliant spy-masters, Maxwell Knight, was setting a trap for them. If he was successful his move against Ramsay's Right Club would enable him to round up over 1000 of Britain's Nazi sympathisers and eliminate the enemy within.

The compelling cloak-and-dagger story of how Churchill and MI5 hunted down The Right Club reveals a little-known aspect of war-time Britain: a murky world of fascist aristocrats, disaffected foreign nationals and spies.

Click here for a link to the Channel 4 page

I will be watching and am looking forward to it.

message 2: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb The Time Out review states:

If your club has ‘Don’t shop at Marks & Spencer’ as one of its rules, it’s probably a very silly club. And so it was with MP Archibald Ramsay’s The Right Club, a club formed in 1939 which consisted of powerful, aristocratic and influential people united by their extreme right-wing views and anti-semitism. But as well as possessing a ridiculous, disorganised quality, The Right Club was also a potentially massive threat to national security, not least because of its access to secret exchanges between Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt.

Charting the group’s activities and its subsequent discovery and dissolution at the hands of spymaster Maxwell Knight (reputedly the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s ‘M’), this is an informative account of a relatively little-known domestic threat faced by Britain in the early months of the war. The footage and silent background re-enactments don’t offer much, but the narration and snippets from noted historians make this a worthwhile watch.

message 3: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (seagreenreader) This sounds like it would be a good companion to Remains of the Day, which is part of the British Empire Challenge. Thanks for letting us know about it.

message 4: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Thanks Nigeyb, that sounds like it'll be interesting. I'll try to remember to set the record!

message 5: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb My hard disc recorder is ready to go. I'll report back.

message 6: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb An interesting documentary I thought. interesting to note - given our discussions about Adrian Fort's Nancy Astor biography - how rife anti-semitism was in Britain during the 1930s and the relatively high numbers of the great and the good (240) who initially joined The Right Club.

Members of the Right Club included William Joyce, Anna Wolkoff, Norah Dacre Fox, Joan Miller, A. K. Chesterton, Francis Yeats-Brown, E. H. Cole, Lord Redesdale, 5th Duke of Wellington, Duke of Westminster, Aubrey Lees, John Stourton, Thomas Hunter, Samuel Chapman, Ernest Bennett, Charles Kerr, John MacKie, James Edmondson, Mavis Tate, Marquess of Graham, Margaret Bothamley, Lord Sempill, Earl of Galloway, H. T. Mills, Richard Findlay and Serrocold Skeels.

I found this on the Archibald Maule Ramsay wikipedia page which probably sums up his views most succinctly.

On the second day of World War II (4 September 1939), Ramsay sat in the library of the House of Commons writing a poem, a paraphrase of "Land of Hope and Glory", which was later to be printed and distributed by the Right Club. It ran:

Land of dope and Jewry
Land that once was free
All the Jew boys praise thee
Whilst they plunder thee
Poorer still and poorer
Grow thy true-born sons
Faster still and faster
They're sent to feed the guns.
Land of Jewish finance
Fooled by Jewish lies
In press and books and movies
While our birthright dies
Longer still and longer
Is the rope they get
But—by the God of battles
'Twill serve to hang them yet.

Bonkers -but dangerously so.

This book covers some similar ground: Patriotism perverted

back to top