Anglo-German Fellowship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Anglo-German Fellowship was a membership organisation which existed from 1935 to 1939, and which 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 (later Edward VIII) had called for a closer understanding of Germany in order to safeguard peace in Europe, and in response Sir Thomas Moore, a Conservative Member of Parliament, suggested setting up a study group of pro-German MPs. From that idea emerged the AGF, 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, but 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: they included Sir Peter Agnew, Ernest Bennett, Sir Robert Bird, Robert Tatton Bower, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Marquess of Clydesdale, Robert Vaughan Gower, Thomas "Loel" Guinness, Norman Hulbert, Archibald James, Alfred Knox, John Macnamara, Sir Thomas Moore, 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 Mount Temple,[5] Lord Londonderry, Lord Nuffield, Lord Redesdale, Lord Rennell and the Duke of Wellington.[4]

By 1937, the group seems to have had 347 members.[6]

Nazi links[edit]

The AGF's sister organization in Berlin was the Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft.[7] Neither group had an avowed mission to Nazify Britain. 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 United Kingdom, such as Rudolf Hess, von Ribbentrop, General Werner von Blomberg, the Duke of Brunswick and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, would be guests of honour.[4]

However, the organisation did have 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 Nazis.[8]

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. ^ Lownie, Andren (October 4, 2016). Stalin's Englishman: Guy Burgess, the Cold War, and the Cambridge Spy Ring (First ed.). 1112: St. Martin's Press. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ Lownie, Andren (October 4, 2016). Stalin's Englishman: Guy Burgess, the Cold War, and the Cambridge Spy Ring (First ed.). 1112: St. Martin's Press. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "German Treatment of Jews". The Times. London. 19 November 1938. 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.