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Written by a founding member, the remarkable history of an incredibly effective anti-fascist action group that shut down thousands of fascist meetings and rallies
Oswald Mosley decided he could carry on where Hitler and Mussolini had left off, and on street corners his fascist speakers would proclaim “not enough Jews were burned at Belsen.” Enter the 43 Group. In a ferocious, bloody, and brilliantly covert five-year campaign, they destroyed the Mosleyites. The membership of the Group was almost entirely made up of British servicemen, the original 43 members quickly swelling to more than 300 and including a Battle of Britain ace, a VC winner—and Vidal Sassoon. The Group’s philosophy of the “3 D’s”—Discuss, Decide and Do it—was quickly manifested on the streets of London, with literally thousands of fascist meetings and rallies sent packing. Quickly gaining a reputation, the 43 Group was organized in “wedges” of a dozen or so. These wedges would attend a British Union of Fascists rally and at a given signal would storm the speaker’s platform, attacking BUF stewards and speaker. The Group’s military background ensured tight discipline and brutally effective actions. This, combined with a number of spies within the fascist ranks, ensured the 43 Group almost always came out on top, closing down two-thirds of all fascist activity in the UK until its simultaneous demise with organized fascism in Britain in 1950.