Oswald Mosley and Charles Lindbergh in charge of a neutral UK and US during WWII

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Could Mosley as a Labour MP become leader of the party and then PM in ‘36? Possibly.

Could he turn the Labour Party fascist from within and completely change British foreign policy in less than 3 years? No.
 
"One would have had to look a long time to find a man more barren of ideas than Sir Oswald Mosley. He was as hollow as a jug. Even the elementary fact that Fascism must not offend national sentiment had escaped him. His entire movement was imitated slavishly from abroad, the uniform and the party programme from Italy and the salute from Germany, with the Jew-baiting tacked on as an afterthought, Mosley having actually started his movement with Jews among his most prominent followers. A man of the stamp of Bottomley or Lloyd George could perhaps have brought a real British Fascist movement into existence. But such leaders only appear when the psychological need for them exists." http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/lion/english/e_ter

(Whether Mosley could have become Prime Minister one day if he had stayed with Labour is a different question--unlikely IMO--but the British Union of Fascists is simply not going to come to power; they didn't even put up any candidates in the 1935 General Election.)
Two points, firstly you've cited David Orwell, a man went to fight fascism. He's hardly an objective observer. In fact, Mosley, for all his other faults, was far from 'devoid of ideas'. This is a man who produced an economic programme that he was nearly to force through the Labour Party conference singlehanded. He was many things, among them arrogant, womanising and a self-serving, but he was not 'barren of ideas'.

Second, you seem to miss the point about the 35 election. Yes, the BUF fielded no candidates but there were good reasons for that. The party was less than five years old at the time and the election was a snap election that was called at short notice and took everyone by surprise. They had no party infrastructure to effectively campaign and Mosley knew from first hand experience with the New Party that putting up candidates for appearances and then getting trounced would be far worse than not putting up any at all.

Now, I will say that I agree, the BUF was not likely to get elected anytime soon. But citing the lack of candidates at the 35 election as proof of that overlooks some key facts behind why.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Now, I will say that I agree, the BUF was not likely to get elected anytime soon. But citing the lack of candidates at the 35 election as proof of that overlooks some key facts behind why.
But if a PM Mosley is required by ‘39, having him run a party that had no infrastructure and couldn’t effectively campaign is an obstacle worth mentioning, no?
 
Two points, firstly you've cited David Orwell, a man went to fight fascism. He's hardly an objective observer. In fact, Mosley, for all his other faults, was far from 'devoid of ideas'. This is a man who produced an economic programme that he was nearly to force through the Labour Party conference singlehanded. He was many things, among them arrogant, womanising and a self-serving, but he was not 'barren of ideas'.

Second, you seem to miss the point about the 35 election. Yes, the BUF fielded no candidates but there were good reasons for that. The party was less than five years old at the time and the election was a snap election that was called at short notice and took everyone by surprise. They had no party infrastructure to effectively campaign and Mosley knew from first hand experience with the New Party that putting up candidates for appearances and then getting trounced would be far worse than not putting up any at all.

Now, I will say that I agree, the BUF was not likely to get elected anytime soon. But citing the lack of candidates at the 35 election as proof of that overlooks some key facts behind why.
Well, basically you're agreeing that Mosley would have been trounced if he did put up candidates in 1935, so I don't see how he could have become PM. He had had four years since the founding of the New Party to organize an electorally viable party and didn't do it.

IMO George (not "David") Orwell was right to say that Mosley as a Fascist was devoid of ideas, mindlessly borrowing from Hitler and Mussolini, ignoring that a successful fascism must rest on national sentiment.. This is a different question from whether Mosley was devoid of ideas back in his Labourite days, but even then his ideas seem to be to be borrowed (largely from Keynes). Orwell's anti-fascism did not prevent him from recognizing insight in Hitler and Mussolini ("One cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognizes the overwhelming strength of patriotism, national loyalty. In certain circumstances it can break down, at certain levels of civilization it does not exist, but as a positive force there is nothing to set beside it. Christianity and international Socialism are as weak as straw in comparison with it. Hitler and Mussolini rose to power in their own countries very largely because they could grasp this fact and their opponents could not.' https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/the-lion-and-the-unicorn-socialism-and-the-english-genius/) But he saw no such insight in Mosely and IMO he was right.
 
But if a PM Mosley is required by ‘39, having him run a party that had no infrastructure and couldn’t effectively campaign is an obstacle worth mentioning, no?
Well a) the user didn't mention it. They just said 'they put up no candidates' with no explanation, and b) yes, you're right, apart from the fact that they were planning for 36 election so it was hardly a surprise that they were caught without off guard.
Well, basically you're agreeing that Mosley would have been trounced if he did put up candidates in 1935, so I don't see how he could have become PM. He had had four years since the founding of the New Party to organize an electorally viable party and didn't do it.

IMO George (not "David") Orwell was right to say that Mosley as a Fascist was devoid of ideas, mindlessly borrowing from Hitler and Mussolini, ignoring that a successful fascism must rest on national sentiment.. This is a different question from whether Mosley was devoid of ideas back in his Labourite days, but even then his ideas seem to be to be borrowed (largely from Keynes). Orwell's anti-fascism did not prevent him from recognizing insight in Hitler and Mussolini ("One cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognizes the overwhelming strength of patriotism, national loyalty. In certain circumstances it can break down, at certain levels of civilization it does not exist, but as a positive force there is nothing to set beside it. Christianity and international Socialism are as weak as straw in comparison with it. Hitler and Mussolini rose to power in their own countries very largely because they could grasp this fact and their opponents could not.' https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/the-lion-and-the-unicorn-socialism-and-the-english-genius/) But he saw no such insight in Mosely and IMO he was right.
So you're ignoring the time spent getting thrashed as the New Party and having to completely restart with the BUF without many of his key advisors and allies? Seems that might be a big factor to me but OK.

That's my bad, I have no idea why I called him David Orwell. However, the rest I disagree with. Far from 'mindlessly borrowing' from Hitler and Mussolini, Mosley's policies as a fascist can be traced back through most, if not all, of his political career. His economic policy in particular was long standing and went through several iterations, including the programme put to the Labour Party conference and the revised version detailed in the Greater Britain. And yes, it was Keynesian in inspiration (though IMO somewhat removed from what Keynes himself actually proposed) but there is no crime in drawing on other's ideas. His foreign policy too was long standing, imperial preference being a long running thread in British politics. The only thing, apart from the aesthetic, that Mosley mindlessly borrowed was antisemitism and you can even make a case that this was not even his choice but rather driven by figures like William Joyce and AK Chesterton who were vehemently antisemitic themselves.

As for Mosley having 'no such insight', I fail to see what you mean. Mosley had astute insight into the grievances of the British public and was able, at various points, to gain support by appealling to those grievances. For instant, the grievance amongst men who had, like him, fought in WWI that they had not got what they deserved after the war. Or the grievance among farmers over their increasing marginalisation between chain stores and agricultural workers union. Or the grievance of the textile workers over the lack of protection from the government for their industry from Japanese (particularly) textile imports. I could go on.

His failing was not a lack of insight or ideas but rather an arrogance and an inability to get all these groups together to support him at one time (though of course he never actually contested an election with the BUF so we will never know for sure how they would have done at the ballot box).

If you want my opinion for his best chance at office, its in the Abdication Crisis. There was a rapidly growing 'King's Party' that wished to stand against Baldwin and effectively govern for the King. This collapsed because Edward lost (or had never had) the nerve to contest with Baldwin but it is not outside the realms of possibility that Mosley be able to achieve office as part of the King's Party (though ironically Churchill would likely have been PM in that event so something would have to give to achieve British neutrality.
 
How would things change if Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, became Prime Minister and what if well known isolationist and air hero and suspected Nazi sympathiser in Charles Lindbergh became President leading to both countries staying out of the conflict in Europe?
A proposal that requires a complete rewriting of the history of the 1930's if not earlier but somehow the situation on the European continent is completely unaffected? You can't just make such a radical change and like that and then assume everything else remains the same. Oh and saying support for Moseley/Lindbergh is greater than OTL is not a POD, its something that would be the outcome of a POD, or more likely multiple PODs.
Yeah, what we know of WWII today would instead be a bunch of separate wars. The Germans vs France and Europe, U.S. vs Japan, China vs Japan, Germans vs Soviets
Except you have provided no basis to support that statement, perhaps you could provide some details of your alt history rather than leaving it to others to try and fill in all the details?
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Well a) the user didn't mention it. They just said 'they put up no candidates' with no explanation, and b) yes, you're right, apart from the fact that they were planning for 36 election so it was hardly a surprise that they were caught without off guard.
The implication was fairly clear, at least it was to me.

Planning for a ‘36 election or not, the complete lack of a party apparatus in ‘35 is not a good sign for their OTL organisation. Again, I know that’s OTL, but it’s a whole bunch of changes required for the OP’s scenario to come about. It’s one thing saying Mosley becomes PM, it’s quite another for it to be OTL Mosley with his almost nonexistent support base and (as discussed) shambolic party organisation.
 
The BUF showed some strength in local elections in East London where Jewish-Gentile relations were often hostile. But that was the only place in the UK the BUF made a substantial showing (though even there they didn't actually win any London County Council seats, Labour comfortably retaining the seats in question.) "This proved to be the only area of the country where fascism acquired a significant mass base ."
https://books.google.com/books?id=7A7oAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA259 Sorry, you can't become Prime Minister on the votes of East London anti-Semites alone...
 
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Is there any evidence that Mosley was not patriotic? Yes, he became a Fascist, but was he anti British?
That is an excellent question. The OP seems to assume that the simply because Mosely is a fascist he will be sympathetic to Germany if he comes to power. Regardless of its political bent Britain's basic interest in Europe is to prevent it being dominated by a single nation and I can hardly see a fascist Britain simply continuing the policy of appeasement unchanged and responding to the remilitarization of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, and the Sudeten crisis in exactly the same way as OTL. Also I would imagine a fascist Britain is likely to start rearming sooner.
 
How would things change if Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, became Prime Minister and what if well known isolationist and air hero and suspected Nazi sympathiser in Charles Lindbergh became President leading to both countries staying out of the conflict in Europe?

France would still declare war on Germany after they invade Poland, but after Germany mops up Europe just like in OTL, except with no British help, the war in Europe is basically over and Germany turns it's focussed eyes to the Soviets for a 1 v 1 war.
There is almost no chance of EITHER happening, but if both did I view it as exceptionally unlikely France would stand up to Germany over Poland. They were lukewarm about the DOW at best (they DOWed at 5pm, some six hours after the UK in OTL). In this situation, they'll just let Germany defeat Poland.

Now, Hitler hated the French anyway, so a virtual OTL attack in the spring of 1940 would be almost certain. Given France wouldn't be at war, it'd be a sneak attack and catch them with their pants down even more than OTL. Even if its just the Schlieffen plan 2 (because of butterflies over the leaking of the plan) then I doubt France would last.

After that, its Germany v SU, and with no outside help at all, I suspect the SU will lose (though if they don't, it won't be much better).
Either way, the UK and USA face a Europe dominated by either Germany by 1942, or the Soviet Union by 1948. Not good.
 
Maybe the POD is early enough that the isolationists in the GOP are running things circa 1936?
Assuming Wikipedia is right, Lindbergh isn't old enough in 1936 to run. (Didn't turn 35 until February 1937, which is just slightly too late)

In fact, now I realise, the OP is (almost) impossible.
It is impossible to get the United States to have Lindbergh as President until February 1941.
Okay, okay, I realise you could do something really weird, like have the US change the rules about Presidential age; or you could have a bonkers 1936 win by a President and VP. VP then dies during term (but after 2nd February 1937) and is replaced (though no 25th Amendment then either, so you're going to have to create this somehow) by Lindbergh, who then ascends when the President dies..... but its all so unlikely.

You're going to need a POD well back in the 1930s to get all this done. Possibly even the late 1920s. And too many changes that far back and you could easily get rid of the Nazis anyway.
 
On the question of how Mosley and the BUF would have behaved in the event of a German invasion, see Illusions of Grandeur: Mosley, Fascism, and British Society, 1931-81 by David Stephen Lewis:

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Of course the assumption that Hitler would want Mosley to rule the UK in the event of a successful invasion is questionable. As John Lukacs notes in The Hitler of History:

"All over Europe (for example, in Holland, Denmark, France, Romania, and in a few remarkable instances even in Austria), local National Socialist leaders were abashed when they found that Hitler did not support them and paid them hardly any interest at all. He preferred to work with the established pro-German governments of such provinces and states. The most telling example of this occurred in Romania in January 1941. There the National Socialist and populist Iron Guard (whose anti-Semitic ideology and practices were perhaps the most fanatic and radical in all Europe) got into conflict with the nationalist and military government of General Antonescu, whom Hitler respected and liked. When in January 1941 fighting broke out between the Antonescu and Iron Guard forces, the Germans unequivocally supported the former at the expense of the latter, on occasion with German armor and tanks.

"Of course he had his reasons. While the war lasted, he needed order in the countries that were his allies or satellites--a kind of stability that must not be endangered by revolutionary experiments, and that assured undisrupted deliveries of necessary material supplies to the Reich. Thus he put up for a long time with allied chiefs of state—a Petain, an Antonescu, Regent Horthy of Hungary, King Boris of Bulgaria—some of whom he knew were not wholly loyal or unconditional adherents of a National Socialist Germany. Still, it is significant that he did not offer the slightest promise or give the slightest indication to the effect that sooner or later, perhaps after the war, his foreign National Socialist followers would get their rewards.* [FN] He would, of course, recognize and support some of them in 1944, when his former satellites or junior partners deserted him; but that was no longer important." https://books.google.com/books?id=oRwJs6qCMvIC&pg=PA162
 
There is almost no chance of EITHER happening, but if both did I view it as exceptionally unlikely France would stand up to Germany over Poland. They were lukewarm about the DOW at best (they DOWed at 5pm, some six hours after the UK in OTL). In this situation, they'll just let Germany defeat Poland.

Now, Hitler hated the French anyway, so a virtual OTL attack in the spring of 1940 would be almost certain. Given France wouldn't be at war, it'd be a sneak attack and catch them with their pants down even more than OTL. Even if its just the Schlieffen plan 2 (because of butterflies over the leaking of the plan) then I doubt France would last.

After that, its Germany v SU, and with no outside help at all, I suspect the SU will lose (though if they don't, it won't be much better).
Either way, the UK and USA face a Europe dominated by either Germany by 1942, or the Soviet Union by 1948. Not good.
Perhaps when Hitler launches Barbarossa, it becomes an even bigger anti-communist crusade?
 
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