Right modern: technology, nation, and Britian's extreme right in the interwar period (1919-1940)
Zander, Patrick Glenn
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This study examines the extreme right wing political tendency in Great Britain during the interwar years and particularly its relationship to technological modernity. The far right has been much misunderstood and under-researched, often seen as part of "Appeasement Conservatism" and as a group of out-dated elites inhibiting Britain's modernization. In fact, this study suggests, the extreme right was distinct from Tory Conservatism and promoted its own (exclusionary and objectionable) paradigm of modernism. In its policies, rhetoric, and practices, the far right, above all, advocated a technically modernized Britain. Only such a modernized state, they believed, (in terms of industrial and military strength), could take its place in the new generation of Great Powers in a predatory and chaotic world. Extreme right leaders were convinced that Britain must insulate itself from such economic and political chaos by preserving its Empire, creating an autarkic economy, eliminating "foreign elements" at home, and by creating a lethal modern defense. For Britain to accomplish these objectives, it would have to master and apply modern science and technology on a national scale. For Britain to maintain (or re-assert) its former world leadership, said the far right, it had to become a "Great Technological Nation." Members of Britain's extreme right were especially influenced by the fascist dictatorships - their crushing of Marxism, their supposed elimination of class war, and especially their apparent accomplishments of modernization. A disproportionate number of British fascists and fascist supporters were key members of Britain's industrial and high-tech. elite. As they praised the dictatorships and attacked Britain's liberal-democratic system, they used issues of national modernization (aviation, modern highways, radio communications, military mechanization) as a key battlefield for political debate. In such debates they routinely positioned their own tendency as the best hope for progress against the supposed irrationality of the left and the alleged ineptitude of professional politicians created by democracy.