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Lost Imperium: the English Liberation Front (1949-54)

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Abstract:

In 1947, just two years after the fall of Nazi Germany, an American expatriate living in Ireland named Francis Parker Yockey wrote Imperium, a massive tome that advanced a new strategy for post-war European fascism. Yockey insisted that fascists abandon their narrow nationalist viewpoint and, instead, fight for a new European-wide fascist empire, which he dubbed the 'Imperium'. In 1948 Yockey and his closest collaborators left Oswald Mosley's Union Movement and founded the European Liberation Front (ELF), a British-based groupuscule that lasted until 1954. Rejecting the possibility of building a mass fascist movement in post-war Europe, the ELF defined its primary task as ideological: namely, the advancement of the 'Imperium' idea inside the ranks of Europe's 'fascist elite'. The ELF soon ran into stiff opposition from Mosley over Yockey's controversial identification of the United States, and not the Soviet Union, as Europe's 'main enemy'. The ELF also met with fierce resistance from Hitler worshippers inside the British right like Arnold Leese, who rejected the ELF's emphasis on 'culture' over 'race'. Despite the ELF's relatively brief existence as a groupuscule, its introduction of a new kind of 'Eurofascist' thinking has recently led to its rediscovery by contemporary European New Rightists now searching for a new political strategy following both the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the United States as the world's sole 'superpower'.

Keywords: Alain de Benoist; Arnold Leese; European Liberation Front; Francis Parker Yockey; Imperium; Jean-François Thiriart; John Marston Gaster; Oswald Mosley; Union Movement; Willis Carto; far right; groupuscule

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/003132202128811466

Affiliations: Investigative journalist and author

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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