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Cause of the split

What becomes clear upon closer inspection of the two proposals for European unity emanating from Britain in the immediate postwar period - Yockey’s and Mosley’s - is just how different from each other they really are. At a glance it seems remarkable that two fascist ideologues operating in such a hostile anti-fascist climate and both calling for a shift towards European transnationalism were not cooperating but competing. It is true that Yockey made strident overtures to Mosley in the hope of fostering cooperation, but he was continually rebuffed. Supporters of Yockey, seeing the similarities between Mosley’s ‘Europe-a-Nation’ and Yockey’s Imperium, were furious at the former’s refusal to cooperate, with Chesham arguing it was because of Mosley’s ‘well-known inability to tolerate men of intellect and imagination’ and because Imperium was ‘a summons to action, because it demanded a shattering of illusion and a manly facing of political facts’.166 Meanwhile John Gannon believed it was because Mosley’s imprisonment during the war resulted in a loss of self-confidence and because ‘he was older, less decisive, more opportunistic’.167 By contrast, Mosley’s biographer Skidelsky argues that the split with the openly antisemitic Yockey happened because Mosley ‘deliberately renounced much of his old chauvinist, racialist following and tried to win new converts. . . . His cold shouldering of the American Francis Parker Yockey ... is a case in point’.168

While there may be a modicum of truth in all these explanations, the purely personal ones offered by Yockey’s supporters seem unlikely and, as has been shown earlier, Skidelsky’s argument that Mosley’s rebuff of Yockey was due to the latter’s extremist views is overly kind and part of a wider attempt to rehabilitate Mosley’s postwar image. Rather, the in-depth exploration of the postwar ideology of Mosley and Yockey offered earlier points to Mosley’s rebuff being most likely the result of important ideological differences. As has been shown, while both admired Spengler, Mosley rejected the pessimistic orthodox Spenglerian notion of inevitable and irreversible decline while Yockey did not. It is therefore no surprise that Mosley scribbled, ‘A very dull re-hash of Spengler’ in the margins of Chesham’s memorandum of dissociation.169 In addition they differed somewhat on the cause of European decline with Yockey placing far more emphasis on the role of internal subversion resulting from a supposed Jewish conspiracy.

Most important was the major divergence over the direction which a united Europe should face, with Mosley favouring the US as an ally against communism and Yockey favouring the Soviet Union as an ally against America. A letter exists in which Raven Thomson, a close aide of Mosley, stated that he refused to publish Imperium as ‘it was full of Spenglerian pessimism and was quite unnecessarily offensive to America’.171’ Meanwhile another key Mosley supporter, Jeffrey Hamm, later explained the cause of disunity being that ‘we were rather suspicious of Yockey . . . we are suspicious of suggestions that communism is not the menace we regard it to be, and advocate some sort of co-operation with it, as I understand Yockey did’.171

It is not just Mosley and his supporters that pointed to ideological differences as the cause of the split. Writing a few years later Yockey himself said of Mosley that:

I was interested in his possibilities because of his prewar orientation as Hitlers voice on the Island. When I discovered he was pro-Churchill and pro-American, and anti-Kussian a outrance, [sic] even to the extent of mobilizing Europe to fight for America-Jewish victory over Russia, I left him. Mosley is an effective American agent.172

As such, it is fair to argue that the key dividing line that scuppered all hope of cooperation was their differing views on which direction a united Europe should face.

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