digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















See National Socialist Party (UK), for the left-wing organisation and National Socialist League (United States) for the Nazi-gay organization.

The National Socialist League was a short-lived Nazi political movement in the United Kingdom immediately before the Second World War.


A flowchart showing the history of the early British fascist movement

The NSL was formed in 1937 by William Joyce, John Beckett and John Angus MacNab as a splinter group from the British Union of Fascists. The leaders claimed that the League had been formed because BUF leader Oswald Mosley was too in thrall to continental fascism, although Mosley contended that the three had simply been sacked from their paid posts in the BUF as part of a cost-cutting exercise.[1] Beckett and Joyce attacked Mosley as being more interested in personal glory than fascism with Beckett claiming he and Joyce wanted no cult of personality but rather were there only as "instruments of a great policy".[2] The formation of the group was announced at 109 Vauxhall Bridge Road in south-west London.[3]

Whatever the truth the NSL began fairly healthily as Joyce secured the financial backing of Alex Scrimgeour, a stockbroker, and soon the NSL was able to publish its own newspaper, The Helmsman, adopting 'Steer Straight' as the party motto.[3] The party's ideology was based on a document published by Joyce entitled National Socialism Now in which he declared his strong admiration for Adolf Hitler but added that what was needed was a specifically British Nazism.[4] The Carlyle Club, a political and social discussion club modelled after the January Club and named for one of Joyce's favourite philosophers Thomas Carlyle, was also established as an arm of the NSL.[5]


Connections were quickly established with the Nordic League, an influential secret society chaired by Archibald Maule Ramsay.[6] Rising far right figure A. K. Chesterton would go on to speak at a number of NSL functions and write for their publications, after leaving the BUF in 1938.[7] Anglo-German Fellowship member and Conservative MP Jocelyn Lucas also developed clandestine links with the NSL.[8] However the NSL also attracted Vincent Collier as a founder member, a propaganda officer in the BUF who also functioned as an agent for the Board of Deputies of British Jews.[9]

In 1938 the NSL became associated with the British Council Against European Commitments, a coalition group chaired by Lord Lymington. Although Joyce quickly tired of this unusual mixture of high society fascists and pacifists Beckett was closer to their ideals and before long he left the NSL to join the British People's Party.[10] Beckett had also become less convinced of following the lead of Nazi Germany in the aftermath of the Munich crisis.[11] Meanwhile Scrimgeour died in 1938 and surprisingly left nothing to the NSL in his will resulting in the main source of funding being cut off.[12] Alongside this, as was the case for most rival groups on the far-right, the BUF Blackshirts saw the NSL as enemies and were known to attack their rallies and meetings.[13]


Joyce became embittered and increasingly turned to alcoholism whilst politically his vision of a British National Socialism gave way to a more direct copy of German Nazism, with Chesterton stating that he started ending NSL meetings by shouting "Sieg Heil".[14] By 1939 the NSL had been re-registered as a drinking club rather than a political party and one of the group's final meetings in May 1939 ended in chaos as Joyce punched a heckler after the crowd had turned on him for his overtly pro-German speech.[15] On 25 August he handed control of the NSL over to MacNab instructing him that it was his duty to dissolve the movement, which by that time had only 40 registered members.[16] Apart from an index of members that MacNab secreted for possible later use, the League's documents were all destroyed at this meeting.[17]Joyce would depart for Germany just after this meeting and the NSL was wound up.

Towards the end of the Second World War some NSL members regrouped in the Constitution Research Association under Major Harry Edmonds although this initiative had no impact and quickly disappeared.[18]

See also[edit]


  • Francis Beckett, Fascist in the Family: The Tragedy of John Beckett, MP, Routledge, 2016
  • Robert Benewick, Political Violence and Public Order, London: Allan Lane, 1969
  • J.A. Cole, Lord Haw-Haw: The Full Story of William Joyce, London: Faber & Faber, 1987,
  • Stephen Dorril, Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley & British Fascism, London: Penguin Books, 2007
  • Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983
  • Colin Holmes,Searching for Lord Haw-Haw: The Political Lives of William Joyce, Routledge, 2016
  • Mary Kenny, Germany Calling - a personal biography of William Joyce, Dublin: New Island Books, 2003
  • Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain: A History, 1918-1985, London: Basil Blackwell, 1987


  1. ^ Benewick, p. 272
  2. ^ Griffiths, p. 279
  3. ^ a b Kenny, p. 146
  4. ^ Thurlow, p. 171
  5. ^ Cole, p. 80
  6. ^ Thurlow, p. 80
  7. ^ Dorril, p. 433
  8. ^ Dorril, p. 460
  9. ^ Dorril, pp. 413-414
  10. ^ Thurlow, p. 172
  11. ^ Kenny, p. 149
  12. ^ Kenny, p. 147
  13. ^ Thurlow, pp. 97-98
  14. ^ Kenny, pp. 147-148
  15. ^ Kenny, pp. 149-150
  16. ^ Kenny, pp. 155-156
  17. ^ Cole, p. 88
  18. ^ Dorril, p. 525

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_League — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

13 news items

Mother Jones
Sun, 15 Nov 2015 14:16:14 -0800

French warplanes struck Islamic State militants in Syria on Sunday, a French government official said, two days after attackers linked to the terrorist group carried out a coordinated assault on Paris that killed 129 people. Prior to the attack on ...

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Las Vegas Review-Journal
Sat, 12 Dec 2015 12:21:09 -0800

National Socialist League (United States) National Socialist Movement (United States) National Socialist Party of America National States' Rights Party National Vanguard (American organization) National Youth Alliance Nationalist Movement Nazi Lowriders


Tue, 08 Sep 2015 04:06:30 -0700

Son_of_Casandra. He was born in the US but as he was born before Irish independence his nationality couldn't ave been Irish. It was British and he was rightly executed as a traitor. Interesting little titbit, he was founder of the British National ...


Mon, 22 Jun 2015 08:41:48 -0700

significant were the National Socialist University Lecturers Association…and the National Socialist League for Protection of the Law… [membership of] such organizations were not like being a mere member of the Nazi Party. They were central cadres of ...
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 13:27:46 -0700

not-jascha. Not a lot of votes from his group. Unless you have some 'inside' dirt you want to share. The National Socialist League, was a neo-Nazi political party in the United States that existed from 1974 until the mid-1980s.

The Guardian

The Guardian
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:00:25 -0700

The National Socialist League, a pro-Nazi breakaway from the BUF, formed in 1937 by William Joyce and John Beckett. It was wound up in 1939 when Joyce emigrated to Nazi Germany. Post war. The Union Movement, a re-founded version of the BUF that ...

Telegraph.co.uk (blog)

Telegraph.co.uk (blog)
Fri, 01 Feb 2013 05:14:53 -0800

He was also a member of the National Socialist League for. Protection of the Law…a role given only to the most trusted in the inner circle of the Nazi party. The French president General De Gaulle summed up. Hallstein in the following way; Hallstein ...
Thu, 27 May 2010 00:00:00 -0700

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight