Feedback

Advanced Search Filters

In addition to or instead of a keyword search, use one or more of the following filters when you search.

Bookmark this Item

"Farmers Helpless by Tithe Blows"

Tithes
Daily Mail

Even as it opposed Nazism in Europe, Great Britain was home to a number of fascist movements during the 1930s. The largest and most significant among these groups was the British Union of Fascists (BUF). Inspired by Italian fascism, the BUF rooted itself within British traditions, focused on the history and culture of medieval England.1 

The BUF was formed in 1932 by a former member of British parliament, Oswald Mosley. In his autobiography, Mosley explained that his party sought to "regenerate" British society and save it from economic and political crisis.2 The BUF's opposition to a supposedly oppressive ruling class reflected a common feature of European fascist movements in the 1930s.

This Daily Mail news article from August 7, 1933 highlights the party's attempts to appeal to British voters. Hit by the economic depression of the 1920s, British farmers faced further hardship due to a mandatory tithe—a tax of 10 percent of their earnings collected by the Church of England. Attempts to collect tithe debts were often met with aggressive resistance by farmers, aided by members of their communities. 

In its coverage of opposition to the tithe, the Daily Mail article notes the BUF’s activism in support of the farmers and the cruelty of the "Tithe Blows": 

Yesterday a large party of the British Union of Fascists arrived at the farm. “We have come here entirely on our own
initiative [...] for we feel that the tithe burden is crushing British agriculture out of existence and we want to prevent that..."

The Daily Mail had often offered sympathetic views of fascist movements in the 1930s. Its owner, Lord Harold Rothermere—a friend of Mussolini and Hitler—promoted headlines that celebrated the achievements of Nazi Germany and praised the BUF and its leader, Mosley. This article points to the tithe as a cause of growing unemployment and popular discontent. The BUF's promise to combat such exploitation helped win the party a large following by 1934. Due to an emphasis on violence and the perception that it was associated with Nazi Germany, however, the party's support soon declined. In 1940, after the start of the World War II, the British government banned the BUF.

Thomas P. Linehan, British Fascism, 1918–39: Parties, Ideology, and Culture (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), 14.

Oswald Mosley, My Life (London: Thomas Nelson, 1968). 

Close Window Expand Source Viewer

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it: .

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Daily Mail
Date Created
August 7, 1933
Page(s) 5
Author / Creator
Unknown
Language(s)
English
Document Type Newspaper Article
How to Cite Museum Materials