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British Union of Fascists

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The BUF was founded in 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley's New Party and various small British fascist groups. The Blackshirts, a paramilitary organization, were formed in self‐defence against attacks from militant Jewish youths and communists. However, the crisis in British society which Mosley expected did not materialize. The BUF failed to create a nation‐wide, mass movement. It suffered a set‐back after the Olympia meeting in June 1934 when unnecessarily strong action was taken by the Blackshirts to silence hecklers. When on 4 October 1936 1,900 fascist marchers were turned back by 100,000 opponents at the ‘Battle of Cable Street’ in the East End of London, the government decided to take action. The Public Order Act (1936) prohibited political uniforms and gave the police powers to ban marches. Many BUF members were interned in 1940 but the movement was never a threat to the stability of government.

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