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The World Wars:

Firepower & fascism at home & abroad

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This series reveals a unique range of perspectives which challenge what we 'know' about the wars. Events that may seem familiar become far less familiar when viewed through the eyes of intelligence officers, diplomats and conscientious objectors. See what the intelligence services knew about foreign firepower and learn about the rise of fascism in Britain during the 1930s.


British and American joint intelligence operations during World War 2

Military Intelligence Files: Land, Sea & Air, 1938-1974


What's Inside

9 Collections:

The British Union of Fascists : newspapers and secret files, 1933-1951

  •   10 volumes
  •   78 documents
  •   13,847 pages
Fascism in Britain 1933-1951

These papers cover the growth of the British Union of Fascists and the impact of World War 2 upon them. The documents include both their official publications and the imprisonment of their leader Oswald Mosley. The pre-war fascist newspapers include Fascist week, The Blackshirt and The East London Pioneer. Action was published from February 1936 until June 1940, by which point a growing number of the BUF were interned. Sir Oswald and Lady Diane Mosley’s imprisonment caused much debate. These papers include government records of why they were arrested and Oswald Mosley’s time in prison. Other items include official intelligence reports upon both Mosleys. Read less

Life under Nazi rule, reports by anti-fascists in occupied Europe, 1933-1945

  •   2 volumes
  •   14 documents
  •   1,925 pages
Anti-fascist publications of the International Transport Workers' Federation, 1933-1945

These two newsletters published fortnightly by the ITF (i.e. Internationale Transportarbeiter Foederation) between 1933 and 1945. Based on analyses of other newspapers of the day, the editorial policy was to give information about social policy as well as reports from cadres working under cover. In this way it provides a unique insight into life under fascist regimes, focusing in particular on the working-class movement, organised labour and the growth of trade unions. In fact, it seems from the volume numeration introduced in 1936, that the editors came to view the two newsletters as as one, but with a title change, as hinted at on p.1 of the first issue of Fascism: It is more than a year ago since the first number of 'Germany under the Swastika' appeared, a publication in which we tried to show in a matter-of-fact manner the great contrasts between the promises and the deeds of the Hitler regime in Germany. There has been ample evidence that this publication was keenly appreciated both by the unions affiliated to the I.T.F. and far beyond on account of its contents, tendency and reliability. "That 'Germany under the Swastika' is to appear no more is not because there was no need for it. The opposite is the case unfortunately. Since its first appearance the number of countries where Fascism has risen to power, and then robbed the working classes of their rights and liberties, has increased by three, while in other countries Fascist influence has grown considerably. Read less

Bolton's mills, how the spinning mule changed the textile industry, 1672-1929

  •   2 volumes
  •   108 documents
  •   7,006 pages
Bolton's textile industry, 18th-19th century : manufacture, trade and politics

This resource combines papers relating of two families prominent in the history of Bolton. Both families, the Cromptons and the Heywoods, were involved in Lancashire?s rapidly expanding textile industry. Samuel Crompton's 'Mule', invented near the turn of the nineteenth century, was instrumental in the revolutionising the manufacture of textiles, leading in turn to the subsequent prosperity of Bolton. Documents contained in the Crompton Archive, are highly instructive on the rise to prominence of the mule and on the efforts of its inventor, who did not patent his machine, to secure financial recompense for the economic benefits that it brought. They also facilitate research into contemporary business practices, as well as into more domestic concerns, including the nature of family relationships and their household expenditure. The papers also show some of the varied ways in which provincial Victorians sought to commemorate pillars of the community, in addition to providing insights into the religious life of members of the non-conformist New Jerusalem Church, or Swedenborgians. The Heywoods were successful textile manufacturers. The business correspondence drawn from in this archive offers insights into the nature of trade within England and abroad. Robert Heywood became influential in local politics and public affairs, becoming the second Mayor of the Borough of Bolton in 1839-1840. Thus these Heywood papers also provide insight into contemporary political issues in Bolton, in particular the Chartist movement and riot of 1838, while his journals and letters relating to expeditions to America, Europe and the Levant shed light on nineteenth-century travel, in which business opportunities were never entirely forgotten during the sightseeing. The Heywood papers also contain personal correspondence between family members and friends, which complements items in the Crompton archive regarding the nature of kinship at that time. Of related interest for studying the social and commercial history of Lancashire during the Industrial Revolution are the Liverpool directories and the Ecclesiastical, court and land records in the Manchester Cathedral archives. Read less

Hitler's Army, Nazi Germany at war and the Nuremburg trials, 1925-1956

  •   18 volumes
  •   203 documents
  •   87,948 pages
David Irving's private research collection

David Irving is a British historian of World War II. He achieved notoriety when he was accused of Holocaust denial, particularly after 1996, following the unsuccessful attempt to clear his name of the charge. The documents in this collection comprise both Irving's personal notes and a significant proportion of the copies of original documents that he used, enabling researchers to draw their own conclusions on two levels: historical and historiographic. First, what does the material tell us about the conduct of the War? Second, to what extent do these documents, combined with other archives known to be accessible at the time Irving wrote Hitler's war, Gšring and other works, betray a manipulation of the available evidence in order to achieve the objective of which this historian stood accused. Read less

Military tactics discussed in letters to and from military leaders, 1881-1935

  •   9 volumes
  •   68 documents
  •   6,190 pages
Spenser Wilkinson papers, 1881-1935

The collected papers and correspondence of the military historian and correspondent, Professor Henry Spenser Wilkinson (1853-1937). They include correspondence with Lord Roberts, General Sir lan Hamilton, Prime Minister Asquith, Lord Kitchener and Field Marshal Sir William Robertson on the course of the First World War; articles and lectures on defence problems and the South African, Balkan wars as well as the Great War; discussion and comment on reorganisation of the Board of Admiralty and on the campaigns and theories of Marlborough, Napoleon, Moltke and Bismarck. The material is prefaced by a detailed contents list, in which correspondent and nature of correspondence are indicated. The papers are now held at the National Army Museum, London. Read less

World War 1 and the Spanish Civil War: as reported by an Ambassador, 1863-1939

  •   8 volumes
  •   103 documents
  •   37,288 pages
Papers of Sir Esme Howard, 1863-1939

Esme Howard was one of the greatest British diplomatists in the first half of the twentieth century. A member of the famous Howard family that had played a notable role in British history, Howard's career is significant for its breadth and impact. A colourful figure, he was an adventurous traveler, an overseas entrepreneur, a war hero, in addition to his diplomatic achievements. An intimate of major political figures and members of various royal families, with a wide network of diplomatic friends, he conducted an active correspondence. His papers provide a vivid picture of life in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain, as well as providing a rich source of material on the shaping and conduct of British foreign and imperial policy. Howard served in a series of posts of ever increasing significance. In the first part of the century he was the British Consul General on Crete, when the Great Powers placed that troubled island under a form on international guardianship, that would be the forerunner of numerous subsequent similar efforts. As such Howard was at the vortex of what was then one of the major crises in international relations. Howard served in Budapest during the 1908 Bosnian Annexation Crisis, and then in neutral Switzerland as minister in the lead up to the First World War. He spent the war years in neutral Sweden, attempting to preempt supplies from reaching Germany while ensuring that shipping lines to Allied Russia remained open. Immediately after the war he was at the Paris Peace Conference, and participated in a notable mission to a war ravaged Poland. After this he was given his first embassy, to Spain, and was there when the 1923 coup occurred that began the downward spiral in Spanish politics that would ultimately result in civil war. The capstone of his career was as Ambassador to the United States, 1924-30. On his retirement he was rewarded with a seat in the House of Lords, and continued an active correspondence until his death in 1939. Accompanied by a guide to the online version by Erik Goldstein, Professor of International Relations and History, Boston University. Read less

Conscientious Objection during the World War 1

  •   2 volumes
  •   13 documents
  •   6,888 pages
War resisters in Britain, 1914-1918

During World War One, Conscientious Objectors united to oppose the war despite the criticism they faced. Three of these anti-war protest groups included the Conscientious Objector Information Bureau, the Union of Democratic Control, and the No-Conscription Fellowship. The collection includes complete files of key anti-war publications. It also contains rare reports from the Conscientious Objector Information Bureau. The internal papers include minutes from the Union of Democratic Control and letters from the No-Conscription Fellowship. The Fellowship’s most prominent figure, Clifford Allen, wrote a number of these items. Local Fellowship branches in Willesden, Middlesex and in Hyde, Greater Manchester are also covered. The Conscientious Objector, Thomas Henry Ellison, spent much of his time between 1916 and April 1919 in prison. His scrapbook covers both his own experiences and of the experience of the anti-war movement as a whole. Read less

Asia at war, World War 2 as described by USPG missionaries, 1914-1946

  •   7 volumes
  •   13 documents
  •   823 pages
War Material in the USPG Archives, 1914-1946

The outbreak of war between the Allies and Japan came at a time when the Society for The Propagation of The Gospel was very active in South East Asia. Missionaries in Japan were the first to be affected as the police came in the morning after war was declared and took most of them away to internment camps. Missionaries in Japan did report having realised that this might happen once the announcement was imminent. Missionaries in other countries had less warning of what would happen as Japan's empire spread. Some missionaries were able to flee once they heard Japan had invaded their country of residence, though their stories of escape are far from straightforward. Many missionaries did not manage tro escape and were interned in a variety of ways. These accounts cover house arrest, being held in a cell at a police station, finding a refuge of sorts in a school for the blind, and missionaries being sent to work camps. The narratives from work camps are the least detailed as writing records whilst in them appears to have been near impossible. The SPG at home faced their own challenges during this period, from the drop in donations to the loss of most of their investment when foreign buildings were either taken by the Japanese army or raised to the ground. Missionaries' locations needed to be traced as they were interned and the desire to return home after their release meant that a significant number of missionaries sought passage at the same time. The SPG Headquarters first saw many of their staff leave for the war, then had to reduce their numbers yet further, as missionary activity in South East Asia ground to a relative halt. The records from the First World War are significantly less numerous, but provide some detail not found elsewhere. Their focus is on the effect of the First World War upon the Society, with records of SPG staff fighting in the war and notes upon how the SPG's duties were continued in their absence. This collection is derived from the 'X Series' records of the USPG which are held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Read less

Military Intelligence Files: Land, Sea & Air, 1938-1974

  •   12 volumes
  •   106 documents
  •   73,344 pages
Cold War and World War Two intelligence from the British Army, Navy and RAF

World War Two and the Cold War feature heavily in these files. The reports relating to World War Two cover different subjects and countries, depending on which service they came from. Army reports cover Italy, as well as the second Sino-Japanese War. The Navy would focus more on Russia, as well as merchant shipping. The Air Force covered Japan, morale in Germany and Japan, and dropping propaganda on the enemy. All of the armed forces monitored Germany. During the Cold War, spying on Russian weapons and diplomacy with the enemy became more common. Britain's colonies would feature in more reports before the Cold War than during it, unless they displayed signs of Communist activity. In association with... Read less

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