Imperial Fascist League

Imperial Fascist League

The Imperial Fascist League (IFL) was a British fascist political movement founded by Arnold Leese in 1929.

The IFL was a small group with never more than a few hundred members, including its "Fascist Legions" who wore black shirts (modelled on the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale in Benito Mussolini's Italy) and were organised for street battles. Initially using the fasces as its symbol, the movement became more admiring of Nazism and Adolf Hitler and, after he came to power in Germany, adopted the swastika superimposed on the Union Flag as its new emblem.

Like their contemporaries in the British Fascists the IFL sought a version of Fascism that would be tailored to British peculiarities. Amongst their ideas was an adaptation of Corporatism, as the call for Parliament to be converted into a lower house drawn from the occupations and an upper chamber to consist of the great and the good on an appointed basis. Anti-Semitism was the central theme of the IFL and the party had contacts with the notorious Nazi Julius Streicher before the War. The extremism of the League was legendary. Leese accused Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists (BUF) of being under the control of the Jews ("the British Jewnion of Fascists" was a favourite retort).

The arrival of the BUF saw a significant slump in IFL membership, as Mosley was much more highly regarded than the relatively unknown Leese. The two groups were in harsh competition, and more than once there were battles between their supporters. Eventually, the BUF proved too strong a check to IFL ambitions and by the time war broke out they had largely disappeared. After 1940 Leese was interned under Defence Regulation 18b and although he continued to be politically active after the war the IFL was not reformed.

ee also

*List of British fascist parties

External links

* ["The Fascist"] contains excerpts from a 1934 issue of "The Fascist", published by the Imperial Fascist League

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