30 Facts About Arnold Leese


Arnold Spencer Leese was a British fascist politician.


Arnold Leese was born on 16 November 1878 in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England, the son of Spencer Arnold Leese, a manufacturer and artist.


Arnold Leese was a nephew of Sir Joseph Francis Leese, 1st Baronet, and a second cousin of Sir Oliver Leese, 3rd Baronet.


The death of his father in 1894 left the family in financial difficulties, forcing Arnold Leese to leave boarding school.


Arnold Leese nonetheless attended the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons thanks to the financial help of his grandfather.


Arnold Leese worked in India for six years, largely along the North-West Frontier, then was transferred to Italian Somaliland to work for the East Africa Government's veterinary department, where he was posted at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.


Arnold Leese was recognised as a leading authority on the camel and published several articles on this animal and its maladies, the first appearing in The Journal of Tropical Veterinary Science in 1909.

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Arnold Leese returned to England and settled in Stamford, Lincolnshire, practising as a vet until retirement in June 1928.


Arnold Leese joined the British Fascists soon after its creation in May 1923, establishing his own branch in Stamford in March 1924, which soon gained 80 members.


Arnold Leese despised however the BF policy of allowing former socialists and Jews in the party, contending that it was "honeycombed" with communist infiltrators.


Arnold Leese further wrote that the BF "did not understand Fascism at all", the true nature of which was to Leese a "revolt against democracy and a return to statesmanship".


Arnold Leese joined the Centre International d'Etudes sur le Fascisme, an international 'think tank' based in Switzerland whose aim was the promotion of fascism, and served as its British correspondent.


Arnold Leese became close to one of his neighbours, the economist Arthur Kitson, a member of The Britons.


Arnold Leese wrote, "Many people I knew voted for me because I had cured their pigs or pets and without the slightest idea what I stood for".


Arnold Leese was generally unsatisfied with the policies of the British Fascists, dismissing them as "conservatism with knobs on".


Arnold Leese took the Stamford BF branch over to the BNF and, following the collapse of the BNF in May 1927, founded the 'Fascist League' from the remnants of the Stamford BNF.


In 1929, Arnold Leese established his own organization, the Imperial Fascist League.


Arnold Leese's anti-semitism had become his defining political characteristic by that point and it came to take on an increasingly conspiratorial and hysterical tone.


Arnold Leese's anti-semitism took on the theme of the Aryan race as the creator of civilisation and culture and he claimed that the Aryan was in a permanent struggle with the Jew, the outcome of which would determine the future completely.


Arnold Leese was convicted and jailed for six months in lieu of a fine for causing a public mischief.


Arnold Leese used materials distributed by the Welt-Dienst news service headed by Ulrich Fleischhauer and wrote for it.


Arnold Leese was one of the last leaders of the fascist movement to be interned in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the Second World War under the Defence Regulation 18B.


Arnold Leese, who claimed that his primary loyalty was to Britain, had been somewhat critical of Adolf Hitler since the start of the war and he reacted with bitter anger when an internment order was issued for him in June 1940.


Still enraged by what he saw as a slur on his patriotism, Arnold Leese violently resisted arrest and smashed up his holding cell.


Arnold Leese saw the war as a "Jew's War" but he strongly repudiated the Hitler-Stalin Pact and castigated the Nazis for their invasion of Norway.

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Arnold Leese was released from detention in 1944 on health grounds following a major operation.


Arnold Leese believed that there were 2.5m Jews in Britain at the time, seven times the actual number.


Arnold Leese returned to prison in 1947 when, along with seven other former members of the IFL, he was given a one-year sentence for helping escaped German prisoners of war, who had been members of the Waffen SS.


In 1948, Arnold Leese formed the National Workers Movement in London.


Arnold Leese acted as mentor to Colin Jordan and John Tyndall, the "most significant figures on the extreme right since the 1960s".