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Suez

For postwar antisemites, the Suez Crisis had all the circumstantial evidence necessary to be deemed as proof of their conspiracy theory. Early in 1956, British troops had been withdrawn from Egypt, and the Sudan had been granted independence. For those alleging a Jewish world conspiracy, the multilateral condemnation of Britain’s imperialist actions coming from the ‘supposed’ Cold War enemies of the US and Russia, coupled with open Jewish involvement via Israel, was nothing short of definitive. It soon became clear that President Eisenhower’s outspoken disapproval, along with the United States’ financial and oil sanctions, had forced a ceasefire before Britain had completed any of its political or military objectives.4’ An embarrassment on this scale sent conspiratorial minds on the extreme and ultra-conservative right into overdrive.

The conspiracy theory advanced by Chesterton on the topic of the Suez Crisis is as follows: Britain had been used as a tool by an international Jewish conspiracy to achieve several major steps forward on the road to world domination. First, ‘The Israelis.. . calmly annexed the whole of the Sinai Peninsula’. Second, the ‘pullers of strings’ wanted to ‘let Britain and France go in and do the job and in the process vastly increase the hatred in which they have come to be held by almost the entire Islamic world!’46 Third, the conspirators desired ‘an international police force to be sent into the Middle East to “take care” of the situation’ and hand power to a ‘ruthless politico-financial cabal which for years has systematically engaged in dispossessing us of our overseas Empire and spheres ofinfluence’. Finally, Jewish ‘usurers’were to then ‘deliver the coup de grace in the form of further loans and “aid”’.47 The embarrassment that surrounded the Suez Crisis was felt acutely by many, which makes the growth in both activity and size of the League of Empire Loyalists no coincidence. This was especially the case in the wake of the worldwide coverage received for a protest against the ‘scuttle’ from Suez held at the Conservative Party Conference in October 1956.48 For Chesterton, the unilateral condemnation from the twin manifestations of the Money Power, New York and Moscow, coupled with Israeli involvement, cemented the Suez Crisis as an archetypal example of the subversive power of Jewish conspiracies and their designs on the Empire. As LeCras has shown, the events of Suez did result in a small bump in supporters who viewed the events as proof‘of an anti-Empire conspiracy’.49

Rhodesia and the unilateral declaration of independence

Along with the reaction to the Suez Crisis it was the events in Rhodesia that took centre stage in the mind of Chesterton in the 1950s. Following a protracted dispute between the British and Rhodesian governments regarding the terms of possible independence, the Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith declared unilateral independence with a view to maintaining white rule. Throughout the dispute Smith had received support from Chesterton, who dismissed ideas of self-government and independence for the black population, believing that it meant ‘as little to their minds as does Quantum Theory to the minds of monkeys’.50 Chesterton greeted the Unilateral Declaration of Independence with glee stating:

For the first time since the helter-skelter retreat of Europeans before the onrush of barbarism, backed by alien finance, began, a British community has dared to stand fast, declare unswerving allegiance to the Crown and defy, not only a British Government but the entire finance-regimented world, determined to prize it out of the land which it tamed, civilized and made prosperous.51

However, what is most interesting is the clear conspiratorial edge to this statement. Even here, when commenting on a part of the world with almost no Jews, Chesterton sees the hidden hand of‘alien finance’ at work. In a later article Chesterton articulated this further:

The Devil - for sure no less a potentate must be the Supreme Commander of this global operation - has been busy alerting his political, financial, diplomatic and propaganda forces in every part of the world to coerce the White population of Rhodesia into the acceptance of a policy which would soon replace civilized rule by a regime of barbaric obscenity and terror.52

Chesterton felt that imperial decline all over the world was the result of a conspiracy and as such all events were interlinked. He even felt the decline of Portuguese rule in East Africa was merely a stepping stone designed to isolate and then destroy Rhodesia.’3 This obsession with imperial decline and its conspiratorial driver, especially in Rhodesia, which Chesterton felt was a ‘battle destined to change history’, motivated him and the LEL to take action.54 Throughout the 1950s and 1960s they were heavily involved in organising sanction-breaking trips to Rhodesia.55 In November 1965 they stormed the ‘Yankee-style - not to say Nuremberg-style -orgy of self-love and mutual adoration known as the Liberal Party Annual Rally’ to shout down the speaker and condemn the party’s ‘shameful betrayal of White civilisation’,’6 and they also stormed Harold Wilsons platform at a Labour Party Rally.57 Their campaigning was not confined to British shores as they embarked on tours of the colonies, including Rhodesia, in an attempt to whip up support.58

 
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