Anglo-German Fellowship

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The Anglo-German Fellowship was a group which existed from 1935 to 1939 and aimed to build up friendship between the United Kingdom and Germany; it was widely perceived as being allied to Nazism. Previous groups in Britain with the same aims had been wound up when Adolf Hitler came to power.

Development[edit]

In a 1935 speech the Prince of Wales had called for a closer understanding of Germany in order to safeguard peace in Europe and in response Conservative Party Member of Parliament Sir Thomas Moore, Bt suggested setting up a study group of pro-German MPs. From this idea the AGF was established in September 1935 with Lord Mount Temple as chairman and historian Philip Conwell-Evans and merchant banker Ernest Tennant as secretaries.[1] Tennant was a friend of Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Ambassador to Britain.[2] The group's stated aims were to foster political, professional, commercial and sporting links with Germany although Mount Temple stated publicly that membership of the society did not assume support for Nazism or anti-Semitism.[1]

Membership[edit]

The organisation was aimed at the influential in society, and the membership was dominated by businessmen keen to promote commercial links. Members included Bank of England director Frank Cyril Tiarks, Admiral Sir Barry Domvile, Prince von Bismarck, Governor of the Bank of England Montagu Norman, Geoffrey Dawson editor of The Times.[3] "Corporate membership" was also available for leading companies who wished to show their support for co-operation with Germany and this was taken out by such leading organisations as Price Waterhouse, Unilever, Dunlop Rubber, Thomas Cook & Son, the Midland Bank and Lazard Brothers amongst others.[4]

Several Members of Parliament, mostly from the Conservative Party joined the group including Sir Peter Agnew, 1st Baronet, Ernest Bennett, Sir Robert Bird, 2nd Baronet, Robert Tatton Bower, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, the Marquess of Clydesdale, Robert Vaughan Gower, Thomas "Loel" Guinness, Norman Hulbert, Archibald James, Alfred Knox, John Macnamara, Sir Thomas Moore, 1st Baronet, Assheton Pownall, Frank Sanderson, Duncan Sandys, Admiral Murray Sueter, Charles Taylor and Ronald Tree.[4] Members of the House of Lords to hold membership included Lord Brocket, Lord Galloway, the Earl of Glasgow, Lord Londonderry, Lord Nuffield, Lord Redesdale, Lord Rennell and the Duke of Wellington.[4]

Nazi links[edit]

Its sister organization in Berlin, Germany, was the Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft.[5] Neither group had an avowed mission to Nazify Britain and instead the two groups would unite to host grand dinners at which leading German figures noted for their Anglophilia or their familial links to the UK such as Rudolf Hess, von Ribbentrop, General Werner von Blomberg, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick and Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha would be guests of honour.[4]

However the organisation had a pro-Nazi leaning, as well as a number of fascist members. The spies Guy Burgess and Kim Philby, seeking to disguise their Communist affiliations, joined the AGF in the knowledge that it was widely perceived as allied to the far right. Lord Mount Temple resigned in November 1938 as chairman of the AGF because of the treatment of the German Jews by the National Socialists.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Martin Pugh, "Hurrah For the Blackshirts!" Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the War, Pimlico, 2006, p. 269
  2. ^ Douglas-Hamilton, James (1970). "Ribbentrop and War". Journal of Contemporary History 5 (4): 45–63. doi:10.1177/002200947000500403. 
  3. ^ Stevenson, William. A Man Called Intrepid . Globe Pequot, 2000. p. 232
  4. ^ a b c d Pugh, "Hurrah For the Blackshirts!", p. 270
  5. ^ Waddington, G. T. (1997). "'An idyllic and unruffled atmosphere of complete Anglo-German misunderstanding': Aspects of the Operations of the Dienststelle Ribbentrop in Great Britain, 1934-1938". History 82 (265): 44–72. doi:10.1111/1468-229X.00027. 
  6. ^ "German Treatment of Jews". The Times. 1938-11-19. p. 7. "I was resigning from the chairmanship because of the treatment of the Jews in Germany and the attitude of the Germans towards the Catholic and Lutheran communities."