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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taxonomy of nihilism, March 31, 2007
William Joyce was Lord Haw-Haw. Everyone in London wanted to see him. He was brought to trial in September, 1945. His features were misshapen. People had heard the voice for six years. Like Roger Casement, William Joyce was Irish. Joyce had left Oswald Mosley's movement. He was charged under the Treason Act of 1351 with three offenses. He had lived in Ireland and, through his father, actually had American citizenship. When Ireland was granted home-rule, the Joyce family had to leave the country since family members had supported the English cause. Of course the English showed no gratitude and, not surprisingly, the family suffered heavy losses. The Joyces turned to fascism. William Joyce may have been an alien, but he had been treated as a British subject, and he owed the Crown allegiance. When he moved to Germany in 1939 he was the holder of a British passport.

The case moved from Old Bailey to the Victorian Gothic styled Law Courts to the House of Lords at the Parliament Houses, exquisite medieval architecture blended with mediocre Victorian Gothic. William Joyce had not seemed to fit in anywhere. He was educated but seemed not to be. He would never have held a conventional academic position. Joyce, moving to Germany, recruited speakers for radio broadcasts in the camps of British internees. Joyce's employer was the Concordia Bureau, part of Goebbels' Propaganda Office.

Most of the members of the British Free Corps, a unit organized to fight with the Germans, were men gathered from the POW camps. Thomas Haller Cooper, former member of the S.S., was tried for treason. The son of a German mother, he had recruited men for the British Free Corps. A British agent had observed his acts. All in all the civil authorities brought four major figures, William Joyce,the previously mentioned broadcaster, John Amery of the British Free Corps, Walter Purdy, an informer, and the Cooper, noted above, to trial for treason.

Prior to capure Mr. and Mrs. Joyce lived in the German forests. William Joyce had not bothered to learn identifying details pertaining to his forged passport. He had been wounded and was ill from malnutrition and exposure. In his statement he claimed his acts had been motivated by a desire to reconcile German and English interests. After his wartime experiences he came to feel that Brixton Prison was not such a bad place. William Joyce was only one growth from a fascist stem. Rebecca West contends he was a newer type of facist leader, someone drawn from an unremarkable home. He suffered from a failure to please. (Sir Oswald Mosley was an aristocrat with a flaw.)

Some months after Joyce was executed, Allan Nunn May was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for giving Atomic Energy Project research to a Russian agent. He received ten years at penal servitude. John Amery had lived abroad by necessity since he was a bankrupt. His family supported him. He had been an aide to Franco. In his trial for treason he pled guilty. It was a case of mandatory execution since no alternatives to death were present in the act.

The author also describes the military trials for treason she observed and the flawed characters of those defendants. Interestingly she portrays the post-war landscape of England and the damage to notable civilian structures caused by the night bombing campaigns of Germany. Her analysis of the issues relevant to the matter of treason is first rate.
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Location: Medina, Ohio, USA

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