These Historical Figures Toed the Line of Leadership
These Historical Figures Toed the Line of Leadership

These Historical Figures Toed the Line of Leadership

D.G. Hewitt - January 24, 2019

These Historical Figures Toed the Line of Leadership
Some English aristocrats feared Communism, and saw Nazism as a safeguard against it YouTube.

2. The 5th Duke of Wellington was just one of many English aristocrats who felt the Nazis could save Europe – and their family fortunes – from the Communist threat.

The 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, was a true British hero, defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and then serving as Prime Minister. His descendant, the 5th Duke of Wellington, was less distinguished. Born into immense wealth and privilege in 1876, he served in the military and then fought in the First World War. By the time he inherited the Dukedom in 1934, however, he was proudly pro-German and had aligned himself to a number of far-right causes. Above all, the 5th Duke of Wellington was one of Britain’s most-outspoken anti-Semites. Unsurprisingly, he did more than merely flirt with Nazism.

Wellington took over as Chair of the elitist Right Club in 1939. He stated openly that the aim of the association was “to oppose and expose the activities of organized Jewry”. He believed Britain should align itself with Germany and against the Soviet Union and was aghast when the two countries went to war in 1939 – a war he would blame on “anti-appeasers and the f***ing Jews”. The disgraced 5th Duke of Wellington died in 1941. Notably, his son and successor was to die just two years later, killed in action while taking part in a daring commando raid during the Allied invasion of Italy.

These Historical Figures Toed the Line of Leadership
The renowned philosopher joined the Nazi Party but claimed he never went to any meetings. Wikipedia.

1. Martin Heidegger might have stopped going to Nazi Party meetings in 1934, but was the philosopher’s flirtation with Nazism really so fleeting?

German thinker is widely-regarded as one of the most important Western philosophers of the 20th century. Above all, his debut book, 1927’s Being and Time continues to influence scholars to this day. Notably, several Jewish thinkers and academics have spoken out in favor of Heidegger, including Hannah Arendt. However, for some critics, Heidegger’s reputation will always be tainted due to his association with the Nazis. Moreover, the discovery of his private notebooks – ‘the Black Notebooks’ – in 2014 have called some scholars to question just how antisemitic Heidegger was – and the extent to which his thinking was shaped by his personal bigotry.

Heidegger joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and stayed a member right through the worst of its excesses. On the one hand, he resigned from his post as Rector of the University of Freiburg in 1934. Furthermore, he stopped attending Party meetings soon that. Such a lack of overt support for the regime have led some supporters to argue that his flirtation with Nazism was merely an “error” he regretted. On the other hand, even after the war, Heidegger never condemned the Nazis. He never even mentioned the Holocaust, lending weight to the argument that he was profoundly antisemitic and merely concerned with his own career and reputation.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Charles Lindbergh: Hitler’s all-American hero.” Daily Express, September 2010.

“SAS founder was a Nazi sympathiser.” The Guardian, July 2000.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. Ford. Love, Adolf.” The Chronicle, July 2008.

“Heidigger’s ‘black notebooks’ reveal antisemitism at core of his philosophy.” The Guardian, March 2014.

“Philosophy and a little passion: Roy Foster on WB Years and politics.” The Irish Times, June 2015.

“The Great Duke and others.” The Spectator, November 2008.

“Coming to Terms With Ezra Pound’s Politics.” The Nation, March 2018.

Literary Fascists of the 1930s, Great and Small.” Literary Hub, August 2018.

“New book reveals Wallis Simpson flirted with Hitler and Duke of Windsor called him ‘not a bad chap’.”, February 2018.

“Edward VIII: Nazi sympathiser, playboy prince or peace-loving reformer?” History Extra.

“Historian reveals Chaplin’s praise for Mussolini.” Angela Ruskin University, April 2017.

“Williamson and Hitler.” The New York Times, March 1984.

“The screenwriting mystic who wanted to be the American Fuhrer.” Smithsonian Magazine, October 2018.

“How British High Society Fell in Love With the Nazis.” The Daily Beast, July 2015.

“The prime minister with a man crush for Hitler: The day Mackenzie King met the Fuhrer.” National Post, May 2017.