Europe / Jewish World

Has the Daily Mail & friends really changed much since the 1930’s?

Last week, the Daily Mail ran a story celebrating Jewish Life in the East End of London, highlighting a new picture exhibition that is now on display at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford. With credit to the Daily Mail, the pictures they have shown are great and have real character.

In the article the Daily Mail wrote in this regarding the caption below:

“A young Jewish girl stands in a rainy street in Whitechapel in April 1954. Too young to understand the full horrors of the Holocaust, which may have brought her family to Britain a few years earlier, she goes about her daily life.”

After reading this, it reminded me of the irony within this story. If the Daily Mail had gotten their way in the 1930’s and 1940’s, this young girl would probably not have had this photograph taken and may well have perished along with many other European Jews.

Yes, just a reminder for anyone reading. In the 1930’s and 1940’s the Daily Mail took an editorial line that was outright hostile to Jewish immigration to the UK, the Mail also supported Mosley’s blackshirts.

The Owner of the Daily Mail then was Lord Rothermere.

Lord Rothermere was openly friendly with Adolf Hitler, and regularly exchanged correspondence. From correspondence seen, he held sympathies with the policies of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

In December 1933, Adolf Hitler wrote to Lord Rothermere thanking him for the positive press coverage that he had received from the Daily Mail. Adolf Hitler wrote:

“I should like to express the appreciation of countless Germans, who regard me as their spokesman, for the wise and beneficial public support which you have given to a policy that we all hope will contribute to the enduring pacification of Europe.

Just as we are fanatically determined to defend ourselves against attack, so do we reject the idea of taking the initiative in bringing about a war.

I am convinced that no one who fought in the front trenches during the world war, no matter in what European country, desires another conflict.” Adolf Hitler, 3 December 1933

As we all now know, Hitler’s idea of pacification was somewhat skewed – as was his idea of provocation.

In May 1938, Lord Rothermere even travelled to Berlin to meet with Hitler.

Another letter, this time from Lord Rothermere to Hitler in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War highlights this relationship further. Lord Rothermere even addresses his telegram to the Fuhrer.

“My dear Fuhrer, everyone in England is profoundly moved by the bloodless solution to the Czechoslovakian problem. People not so much concerned with territorial readjustment as with dread of another war with its accompanying bloodbath. Frederick the Great was a great popular figure. I salute your Excellency’s star, which rises higher and higher.” Lord Rothermere, 1 October 1938

Now yes, during the War itself, the Daily Mail suddenly became very patriotic and joined the war effort in denouncing Hitler and Nazi Germany. But I think it is clear from the above correspondence where the Daily Mail’s owners sympathies laid.

British Historian Richard Griffiths wrote:

“Through the 30s, the Mail was ‘the only major British daily to take a consistently pro-Nazi line’: it ‘stuck out like a sore thumb’”

Yes – in 1938, when reports of the founding Concentration Camps were being sent to British Newspapers, the Daily Mail claimed that they doubted the accuracy of these reports, and if they were correct then they were only full of ‘dirty reds’.

They then ran a piece regarding Jewish Asylum seekers, claiming:

“The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage. The number of aliens entering the country through the back door is a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed.”

In 1937, the Mail’s chief war correspondent, George Ward Price, to whom Mussolini once personally wrote in support of him and the newspaper, published a book, I Know These Dictators, in defence of Hitler and Mussolini.

The Daily Mail’s views of Nazism and Jews were not only confined to foreign policy and foreign Jewry. The Daily Mail wholeheartedly supported Oswald Mosley and his British ‘Blackshirt’ Fascist party.

In January 1934, Lord Rothermere wrote an op-ed titled: “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” where he praised Nazi Mosley for his “sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine”.

The short story is that throughout the 1930’s and 40’s the Daily Mail ran a scare campaign. This campaign targeted the alien Jews seeking a new home free from persecution. Many stories were fabricated, such as Jews bringing in diseases, stealing British Wealth, working for the Nazi Enemy. As a result of this campaign, some of the Jews who finally made it to these shores, and finally felt safe were actually subjected to some of the most awful vigilante attacks by the masses.

Has the Daily Mail  and British Press really changed? Yes – today the Daily Mail like Jews, and they seem to like some other minorities. But along with the Daily Express, they seem to have launched a witch hunt against a new ‘enemy within’. I will leave you to ponder this whilst reading some of the headlines below, whilst remembering that ‘Jews’ are no more of a singular group than ‘Muslims’ – and that these headlines below are a gross distortion of truth. Maybe Leveson may talk about this a little.


























































One thought on “Has the Daily Mail & friends really changed much since the 1930’s?

  1. Yes, it’s very interesting to go to the library and look through the papers in the 30s – lots of people who became very anti-Nazi and anti-Hitler with hindsight were great supporters in the 30s. And the same goes for Mussolini and Fascist Italy.

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