Spartacus Blog

A historical account of the Daily Mail, the Conservative Party and Migration

The journalist Roy Greenslade once commented that "the daily newspaper diet of large anti-migrant headlines, accompanied by xenophobic columnists retailing thinly veiled racist rhetoric, was so common it became a cliché for us critics to complain about it. Yet as much as we railed against it, editors redoubled their efforts, ignoring rational arguments that exposed their distorted agenda." (1)

It has been argued that The Daily Mail is one of the worst offenders for encouraging hostility towards migrants. It has a long history of this kind of behaviour. (2) Alfred Harmsworth and his younger brother, Harold Harmsworth, established the newspaper in May, 1896. When published for the first time, the eight page newspaper that cost only halfpenny. Slogans used to sell the newspaper included "A Penny Newspaper for One Halfpenny", "The Busy Man's Daily Newspaper" and "All the News in the Smallest Space". (3) The first day it sold 397,215 copies, more than had ever been sold by any newspaper in one day before. (4)

One of Harmsworth's journalists, Tom Clarke, claimed that his newspaper was for people who were not as intelligent as they thought they were: "Was one of the secrets of the Daily Mail success its play on the snobbishness of all of us? - all of us except the very rich and the very poor, to whom snobbishness is not important; for the rich have nothing to gain by it, and the poor have nothing to lose." (5)

Alfred Harmsworth made it clear to the leaders of the Conservative Party that the newspaper would provide loyal support against the movement for social change. Arthur Balfour, the leader of the party in the House of Commons, sent a private letter to Harmsworth. "Though it is impossible for me, for obvious reasons, to appear among the list of those who publish congratulatory comments in the columns of the Daily Mail perhaps you will allow me privately to express my appreciation of your new undertaking. That, if it succeeds, it will greatly conduce to the wide dissemination of sound political principles, I feel assured; and I cannot doubt, that it will succeed, knowing the skill, the energy, the resource, with which it is conducted. You have taken the lead in the newspaper enterprise, and both you and the Party are to be heartily congratulated." (6)

In July 1896, Harmsworth asked a friend, Lady Bulkley, to write to Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, the new prime minister, suggesting that in return for supporting the Conservative Party, he should be rewarded with a baronetcy. The letter pointed out that as well as owning several pro-conservative newspapers he had recently established "the Daily Mail... at a cost of near £100,000". Salisbury refused but was willing to offer a knighthood instead. Harmsworth rejected the offer and commented that he was willing to wait for a baronetcy. (7)

Alfred Harmsworth was a passionate supporter of the British Empire and he is said to have idolised two men, Joseph Camberlain and Cecil Rhodes. He intended to use his newspaper and the rest of his publications to "strum the Imperial harp". According to Harry J. Greenwall, the author of Northcliffe: Napoleon of Fleet Street (1957) Harmsworth "with the Daily Mail unleashed a tremendous force of potential mass thought-control" as it became the "trumpet... of British Imperialism." (8)

1905 Aliens Act

The unpopularity of the Jewish community in the 19th century can be traced back to an event that took place in Russia. On 13th March, 1881, Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by the People's Will group. One of those convicted of the attack was a young Jewish woman, Gesia Gelfman. Along with Sophia Perovskaya, Andrei Zhelyabov, Nikolai Kibalchich, Nikolai Rysakov, and Timofei Mikhailov, Gelfman was sentenced to death. (9)

The People's Will contacted the Russian government and claimed they would call off the terror campaign if the Russian people were granted a constitution that provided free elections and an end to censorship. Tsar Alexander III rejected this proposal and instead decided to blame the Jews for his father's death. The government claimed that 30% of those arrested for political crimes were Jewish, as were 50% of those involved in revolutionary organisations, even though Jews were a mere 5% of the overall population. (10)

As one Jewish historian, David Rosenberg, has pointed out, the assassination of Alexander II heralded an outbreak of Anti-Semitism: "Within a few weeks, impoverished and vulnerable Jewish communities suffered a wave of pogroms - random mob attacks on their villages and towns, which the authorities were unwilling to prevent and were accused of unofficially instigating. In 1881, pogroms were recorded in 166 Russian towns." (11)

Russian Jews arriving in Britain
Russian Jews arriving in Britain

Over the next 25 years, more than a third of Russia's Jews left the country and large numbers settled in Britain. These people received a hostile reception from the right-wing press. (12) This included The Daily Mail: "On 2nd February, 1900, a British liner called the Cheshire moored at Southampton, carrying refugees from anti-semitic pogroms in Russia... There were all kinds of Jews, all manner of Jews. They had breakfasted on board, but they rushed as though starving at the food. They helped themselves at will, they spilled coffee on the ground in wanton waste.... These were the penniless refugees and when the relief committee passed by they hid their gold, and fawned and whined, and in broken English asked for money for their train fare." (13)

Several Conservative Party members of the House of Commons from East London, including Major William Evans-Gordon (Stepney), Samuel Forde Ridley (Bethnal Green South West), Claude Hay (Hoxton), Walter Guthrie (Bow and Bromley), Spencer Charrington (Mile End) and Thomas Dewar (Tower Hamlets, St George) launched an anti-immigrant campaign in 1901. Two Jewish MPs, Harry Samuel (Limehouse) and Benjamin Cohen (Islington East) also called for restrictions on immigration. Evans-Gordon argued against "the settlement of large aggregations of Hebrews in a Christian land". In another article he argued that "east of Aldgate one walks into a foreign town" and the development of a separate community, "a solid and permanently distinct block - a race apart, as it were, in an enduring island of extraneous thought and custom". (14)

According to his biographer, Marc Brodie, Evans-Gordon "was instrumental in the establishment of" the British Brothers' League (BBL), "a purportedly working-class anti-immigration body". (15) Evans-Gordon and other Tory MPs in the area galvanised the poorer local populace into angry street marches calling for an end to Jewish immigration. It was stated that the government "would not have this country made the dumping ground for the scum of Europe" and complained that England should be "the heart of the Empire not the dustbin of Austria and Russia". (16)

Mancherjee Bhownagree, the Tory MP for Bethnal Green North-East, who had been born in India but had moved to London in 1882, also gave his support to the anti-immigrant campaign and endorsed "any action which might stop this undesirable addition to our population". Most members were "mostly local factory workers and unemployed, convinced by BBL propaganda that their precarious work situation, low pay, overcrowded housing and poor sanitation was caused by immigration. The BBL marched through impoverished East End districts, voicing working class concerns, but wealthier elements ran the organisation from its Gracechurch Street offices nestled comfortably within the City." (17)

Church leaders also joined the campaign against Jews (also referred to as Aliens). In 1902, the Bishop of Stepney, Cosmo Gordon Lang (later the Archbishop of Canterbury) had accused Jewish immigrants of only speaking three English words - "Board of Guardians". Lang went on to say: "I recognize the vigour and intelligence among the aliens but the fact remains that they are swamping whole areas once populated by English people and our churches are continually being left like islands in a sea of aliens." (18)

Members of the recently formed Labour Party and Jewish trade unionists formed the Aliens Defence League to counteract the British Brothers' League. Evans-Gordon responded by forming a committee of MPs pledged to vote for restriction (the parliamentary pauper immigration committee) and this played an important part in forcing the government to establish a royal commission on alien immigration in 1902. As a member of the commission, Evans-Gordon was "the individual who dominated the whole investigation". Many of the witnesses called by the commission were organized by the BBL. (19)

The commission's report was presented in August 1903 and recommended a range of measures to restrict immigration. It argued that: "Immigrants arrived impoverished, destitute and dirty; practised insanitary habits; spread infectious diseases; were a burden on the rates; dispossessed native dwellers; caused native tradesmen to suffer a loss of trade; worked for rates below the 'native workman'; included criminals, prostitutes and anarchists; formed a compact non-assimilating community, that didn't intermarry; and interfered with the observance of Christian Sunday." (20)

After the publication of this report the government, under pressure from right-wing elements in the Conservative Party, and reactionary newspapers such as the Daily Mail, to do something about immigration controls. Eventually, Arthur Balfour, the prime minister, agreed to introduce an Aliens Act. Aside from anti-semitic sentiments, the act was also driven by the economic and social unrest in the East End of London where most immigrants settled. According to the government, the undercutting of British labour was therefore a central driving force to the passing of the legislation. (21)

The Aliens Act was given royal assent in August 1905. It was the first time the government introduced immigration controls and registration, and gave the Home Secretary overall responsibility for immigration and nationality matters. The government argued that the act was designed to prevent paupers or criminals from entering the country and set up a mechanism to deport those who slipped through. Alfred Eckhard Zimmern, was one of many who opposed the legislation because he saw it as anti-Semitic, commented: "It is true that it does not specify Jews by name and that it is claimed that others besides Jews will be affected by the Act, but that is only a pretence." (22)

Britannia: "I can no longer offer shelter to fugitives. England is no longer a free country (1906)
Britannia: "I can no longer offer shelter to fugitives. England is no longer a free country (1906)

David Rosenberg argues: "The Alien's Act drastically reduced the numbers of Jews seeking economic betterment in Britain who were permitted to enter; it also prevented greater numbers of asylum-seekers, escaping harrowing persecution, from finding refuge. In 1906, more than 500 Jewish refugees were granted political asylum. In 1908 the figure had fallen to twenty and by 1910, just five. During the same period, 1,378 Jews, who had been permitted to enter as immigrants but were found to be living on the streets without any visible means of support, had been rounded up and deported back to their country of origin." (23)

Lord Northcliffe

In April 1905, Alfred Harmsworth, established Associated Newspapers Limited with a capital of £1,600,000, the shares of which swiftly sold out. His income for the year was £115,000. Apart from his newspaper business he had other stock worth £300,000. Despite his growing wealth he was still dissatisfied and craved titles and acceptance from the ruling class. (24)

On 23rd June, it was announced that Harmsworth had received a baronetcy. The Daily Telegraph reported that it was unusual for a man "to win so much success in so limited a time". (25) Those newspapers that supported the Liberal Party were less complimentary. The Daily Chronicle stated that "Mr. Harmsworth's is the name of the most general interest in a list that is more remarkable for quantity than quality". (26) Some thought he was being rewarded for his support for the Aliens Act. The most bitter comment came from The Daily News, that suggested it was because of the role he played in starting the Boer War: "having been conspicuously passed over for several years, Sir Alfred Harmsworth has arrived at his baronetcy... for all he did during the Boer War." (27)

Arthur Balfour resigned as prime minister on 4th December 1905 and was replaced by Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the leader of the Liberal Party. Before he went he asked Edward VII if he would give Alfred Harmsworth a peerage. The Chief Whip, Alexander Acland-Hood, believed that if this did not happen, Harmsworth would change his support to the Liberals: "If he doesn't get it now he will get it when Cambell-Bannerman makes his Peers on taking office - we should then lose all his money and influence - I very much dislike the business, but as we can't stop it in the future why make so handsome a present to the other side!" (28)

Alfred Harmsworth took the title, Lord Northcliffe. Balfour correctly told him that he was "the youngest peer" in British history. It was a very controversial decision and many considered it an act of corruption. A few years earlier Harmsworth had commented that "when I want a peerage I will pay for it" and that is what a lot of people thought had happened. Herbert Stern, a banker, was also accused of buying the title, Lord Michelham. (29)

The Saturday Review published a long article on Balfour's resignation list. "Is it true or false that the peerages of Michelham and Northcliffe were sold for so much cash down? And did the cash go into the war-chest of the Conservative party? That these peerages were conferred for a sincere belief in the public merits of the recipients or from any other mercenary considerations is plainly incredible... Beginning the world with nothing he (Northcliffe) has made a very large fortune by the production of certain newspapers. No man makes a pile without the possession of certain qualities, which are obviously rare, but which do not in our opinion necessarily entitle their possessors to a seat in the House of Lords... We say advisedly that he has done more than any man of his generation to pervert and enfeeble the mind of the multitude." (30)

Opposition to Reform

In the 1906 General Election the Liberal Party won 397 seats (48.9%) compared to the Conservative Party's 156 seats (43.4%). The Labour Party, led by Keir Hardie did well, increasing their seats from 2 to 29. In the landslide victory Arthur Balfour lost his seat as did most of his cabinet ministers. Margot Asquith wrote: "When the final figures of the Elections were published everyone was stunned, and it certainly looks as if it were the end of the great Tory Party as we have known it." (31)

Lord Northcliffe used the Daily Mail to oppose all attempts to introduce progressive reforms. He campaigned against working-class men having the vote and was appalled by the idea of women's suffrage and accused the Women Social & Political Union (WSPU) of being a terrorist organisation. On 10th January, 1906, the newspaper described members of the WSPU as "suffragettes". It was meant as an insult but Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the organisation, liked the term and defiantly accepted the label. Lord Northcliffe, was totally opposed to women having the vote and ordered his editors to ignore their activities. (32)

David Lloyd George was the leading radical in the Liberal government. In one speech had warned that if the government did not pass progressive measures, at the next election, the working-class would vote for the Labour Party: "If at the end of our term of office it were found that the present Parliament had done nothing to cope seriously with the social condition of the people, to remove the national degradation of slums and widespread poverty and destitution in a land glittering with wealth, if they do not provide an honourable sustenance for deserving old age, if they tamely allow the House of Lords to extract all virtue out of their bills, so that when the Liberal statute book is produced it is simply a bundle of sapless legislative faggots fit only for the fire - then a new cry will arise for a land with a new party, and many of us will join in that cry." (33)

Lloyd George was determined to take action that in his words would "lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor". He believed the best way of doing this was to guarantee an income to people who were to old to work. Based on the ideas of Tom Paine that first appeared in his book Rights of Man, Lloyd George's proposed the introduction of old age pensions. In a speech on 15th June 1908, he pointed out: "You have never had a scheme of this kind tried in a great country like ours, with its thronging millions, with its rooted complexities... This is, therefore, a great experiment... We do not say that it deals with all the problem of unmerited destitution in this country. We do not even contend that it deals with the worst part of that problem. It might be held that many an old man dependent on the charity of the parish was better off than many a young man, broken down in health, or who cannot find a market for his labour." (34)

To pay for these pensions Lloyd George had to raise government revenues by an additional £16 million a year. In 1909 Lloyd George announced what became known as the People's Budget. This included increases in taxation. Whereas people on lower incomes were to pay 9d. in the pound, those on annual incomes of over £3,000 had to pay 1s. 2d. in the pound. Lloyd George also introduced a new super-tax of 6d. in the pound for those earning £5,000 a year. Other measures included an increase in death duties on the estates of the rich and heavy taxes on profits gained from the ownership and sale of property. Other innovations in Lloyd George's budget included labour exchanges and a children's allowance on income tax. (35)

Lord Northcliffe disliked the idea of paying higher taxes in order to help provide old age pensions and used all of his newspapers to criticize the measures in the budget. The Daily News launched an attack on the wealthy men opposed to the budget: "It is they who own the newspapers, and when we remember that The Times, The Daily Mail, and The Observer, not to mention a host of minor organs in London and the provinces, are all controlled by one man (Lord Northcliffe), it is easy to realise how vast a political power capital exerts by this means alone." (36)

On 30th November, 1909, the House of Lords rejected the Finance Bill by 350 votes to 75. H. H. Asquith had no option but to call a general election. In January 1910, the Liberals lost votes and was forced to rely on the support of the 42 Labour Party MPs to govern. John Grigg, the author of The People's Champion (1978) argues that the reason why the "people failed to give a sweeping, massive endorsement to the People's Budget" was that the electorate in 1910 was "by no means representative of the whole British nation". He points out that "only 58 per cent of adult males had the vote, and it is a fair assumption that the remaining 42 per cent would, if enfranchised, have voted in very large numbers for Liberal or Labour candidates. In what was still a disproportionately middle-class electorate the fear of Socialism was strong, and many voters were susceptible to the argument that the Budget was a first installment of Socialism." (37)

The historian, Duncan Tanner, believes that Lord Northcliffe played an important role in the election. Although the the Liberal Party had the support of two popular national newspapers, the Daily News and the Daily Chronicle, they found it difficult to compete with the influence of Northcliffe's Daily Mail and The Times. Tanner has pointed out: "They (Liberal newspapers) were enthusiastically progressive. They sensationally exposed poverty, making 'political' comparisons between the 'immoral' and 'extreme' wealth of Tory plutocrats and the landlords on the one hand, and the acute and total distress of the poor on the other. Yet between them they had less than three-quarters of a million readers in 1910 (less than the Tory Daily Mail alone)." (38)

Lord Northcliffe and Geoffrey Dawson
Lord Northcliffe (c.1910)

The circulation of the Daily Mail in 1910 was 900,000. This gave them the advantage over The Daily Chronicle (800,000), The Daily Sketch (750,000), The Daily Mirror (630,000), The Daily Express (400,000), The Daily Telegraph (230,000), The Morning Post (50,000), The Times (45,000) and The Manchester Guardian (40,000). (39)

David Lloyd George became convinced that Britain needed a health insurance scheme similar to one introduced in Germany in the 1880s. Lloyd George presented his national insurance proposal to the Cabinet at the beginning of April, 1911. "Insurance was to be made compulsory for all regularly employed workers over the age of sixteen and with incomes below the level - £160 a year - of liability for income tax; also for all manual labourers, whatever their income. The rates of contribution would be 4d. a week from a man, and 3d. a week from a woman; 3d. a week from his or her employer; and 2d. a week from the State." (40)

The National Insurance Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 4th May, 1911. Lloyd George stated this measure was just the start to government involvement in protecting people from social evils: "I do not pretend that this is a complete remedy. Before you get a complete remedy for these social evils you will have to cut in deeper. But I think it is partly a remedy. I think it does more. It lays bare a good many of those social evils, and forces the State, as a State, to pay attention to them. It does more than that... till the advent of a complete remedy, this scheme does alleviate an immense mass of human suffering, and I am going to appeal, not merely to those who support the Government in this House, but to the House as a whole, to the men of all parties, to assist us." (41)

Lord Northcliffe, launched a propaganda campaign against the bill on the grounds that the scheme would be too expensive for small employers. The climax of the campaign was a rally in the Albert Hall on 29th November, 1911. As Lord Northcliffe, controlled 40 per cent of the morning newspaper circulation in Britain, 45 per cent of the evening and 15 per cent of the Sunday circulation, his views on the subject was very important. H. H. Asquith was very concerned about the impact of The Daily Mail involvement in this issue: "The Daily Mail has been engineering a particularly unscrupulous campaign on behalf of mistresses and maids and one hears from all constituencies of defections from our party of the small class of employers. There can be no doubt that the Insurance Bill is (to say the least) not an electioneering asset." (42)

The National Insurance Bill spent 29 days in committee and grew in length and complexity from 87 to 115 clauses. These amendments were the result of pressure from insurance companies, Friendly Societies, the medical profession and the trade unions, which insisted on becoming "approved" administers of the scheme. Despite the efforts of Lord Northcliffe and the Conservative Party, the bill was passed by the House of Commons on 6th December and received royal assent on 16th December 1911. (43)

The Daily Mail and The Times, were both owned by Lord Northcliffe, continued its campaign against the National Insurance Act and urged its readers who were employers not to pay their national health contributions. David Lloyd George asked: "Were there now to be two classes of citizens in the land - one class which could obey the laws if they liked; the other, which must obey whether they liked it or not? Some people seemed to think that the Law was an institution devised for the protection of their property, their lives, their privileges and their sport it was purely a weapon to keep the working classes in order. This Law was to be enforced. But a Law to ensure people against poverty and misery and the breaking-up of home through sickness or unemployment was to be optional." (44)

Lloyd George attacked the newspaper baron for encouraging people to break the law and compared the issue to the foot-and-mouth plague rampant in the countryside at the time: "Defiance of the law is like the cattle plague. It is very difficult to isolate it and confine it to the farm where it has broken out. Although this defiance of the Insurance Act has broken out first among the Harmsworth herd, it has travelled to the office of The Times. Why? Because they belong to the same cattle farm. The Times, I want you to remember, is just a twopenny-halfpenny edition of The Daily Mail." (45)

One of his journalists, Tom Clarke, pointed out that Lord Northcliffe dictated the political stance of his newspaper: "He (Northcliffe) was sometimes violent in both speech and action (once in his office he took a flying kick at the seat of the pants of a man who had annoyed him; and on another occasion put his foot through a man's hat in his temper). He seldom sought advice, and treated it so roughly if he did not like it, that people hesitated to give it him. When he spoke, everybody else listened, usually without challenge. He suffered from little opposition." (46)

Lord Northcliffe used his newspapers to oppose women having the vote. He ordered his newspapers to ignore the subject as he believed any publicity only helped their cause. On a visit to Canada and the United States he proudly pointed out that newspapers in those countries provided more information on the activities of the National Union of Suffrage Societies and the Women Social & Political Union than the ones controlled by him. (47)

However, he thought it wise not to give his opinions in public as he feared it would lose him readers: "My view of the position of newspaper owners is that they should be read and not seen. The less they appear in person the better for the influence of their newspapers. That is why I never appear on public platforms. As to the woman's suffrage business, I am one of those people who believe the whole thing to be a bubble, blown by a few wealthy women who employ their less prosperous sisters to do the work. I judge public interest in the matter by the correspondence received. We never get any letters apart from those from the stage army of suffragettes." (48)

Lord Northcliffe was also extremely hostile to trade unions. One of his journalists remembered how he behaved during a strike organised by the National Union of Mineworkers: "During this coal strike the orders came thick and fast. Whatever he might do through The Times in the way of influencing public opinion, he could do far more through the Daily Mail, with its millions... He thought mob rule might be coming, so the mob must be divided; the public must be shown how the miners were enjoying themselves at the seaside or dog races while helpless workers in other industries suffered from the creeping paralysis." (49)

On the outbreak of the First World War the editor of The Star newspaper claimed that: "Next to the Kaiser, Lord Northcliffe has done more than any living man to bring about the war." Once the war had started Northcliffe used his newspaper empire to promote anti-German hysteria. It was The Daily Mail that first used the term "Huns" to describe the Germans and "thus at a stroke was created the image of a terrifying, ape-like savage that threatened to rape and plunder all of Europe, and beyond." (50)

In March, 1918, Northcliffe was approached by Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Daily Express and the government's new Minister of Information. Northcliffe now agreed to join the cabinet and take charge of all propaganda directed at enemy countries. Over the next few months Northcliffe organised the dropping of four million leaflets behind enemy lines. Northcliffe insisted that his choice of the term director rather than minister reflected his freedom from David Lloyd George, who was now prime minister. (51) One of his main critics pointed out: "The democracy, whose bulwark is Parliament, has been unseated, and mobocracy, whose dictator is Lord Northcliffe, is in power." (52)

The Daily Mail and Fascism

Lord Northcliffe's health deteriorated rapidly in 1921. Hannen Swaffer reported that: "His vitality had gone, his face was puffy. His chin was sunk, and his mouth had lost its firmness. He lost his temper during a speech, because someone dropped a plate or something. He was a different man. The fires that burned within him had burned too fiercely all those years. People who heard him knew it was the end." George Riddell, speculated that Northcliffe was "seriously ill". (53)

Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, was suffering from streptococcus, an infection of the bloodstream, that damages the valves of the heart and causes kidney malfunction. Lord Northcliffe, died in August, 1922. Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere, now took over full control over the Daily Mail as well as the Daily Mirror. He also ran the Evening News, the Sunday Pictorial and the Sunday Dispatch. (54)

Lord Rothermere shared his brother's extreme right-wing opinions. The Daily Mail spoke in glowing terms of Benito Mussolini throughout the 1920s and celebrated ten years of his dictatorship as "the greatest evolution of the last decade of world history... that regeneration of the national genius of Italy". (55) Lord Rothermere believed that "Fascism, in Italy as elsewhere, was portrayed as the bastion of hope against the Bolshevik menace." (56)

Lord Rothermere wrote that Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution was a criminal who "took hold of a backward country and smashed it to pieces" whereas he argued that Mussolini's Fascists were "manifestly inspired by more exalted motives... This young, vigorous, ardent Italian did more than save Italy. In my judgment he saved the entire Western world." (57)

Later he commented on his campaign in favour of fascism: "I am proud of the fact that The Daily Mail was the first newspaper in England, and the first in the world outside Italy, to give the public a right estimate of the soundness and durability of his work. In articles published at various times I have expressed my own profound admiration for what Mussolini had accomplished... There can be no doubt as to the verdict of future generations on his achievement. He is the greatest figure of our age. Mussolini will probably dominate the history of the twentieth century as Napoleon dominated that of the early nineteenth." (58)

Lord Rothermere was an early supporter of Adolf Hitler. The newspaper publisher told Winston Churchill: "He (Hitler) has a strange sentimental regard for me, because of the year 1930 I wrote an article in the Daily Mail, proclaiming that Hitler would be the eventual ruler of Germany. Hitler read extracts of this article in German papers. At the moment he was feeling rather down on his luck, but (he says) this article had an immense invigorating influence on him. He really believes that in consequence he is under some debt of gratitude to me." (59)

In the General Election that took place in September 1930, the Nazi Party increased its number of representatives in parliament from 14 to 107. Adolf Hitler was now the leader of the second largest party in Germany. James Pool, the author of Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power (1979) points out: "Shortly after the Nazis' sweeping victory in the election of September 14, 1930, Rothermere went to Munich to have a long talk with Hitler, and ten days after the election wrote an article discussing the significance of the National Socialists' triumph. The article drew attention throughout England and the Continent because it urged acceptance of the Nazis as a bulwark against Communism... Rothermere continued to say that if it were not for the Nazis, the Communists might have gained the majority in the Reichstag." (60)

According to Louis P. Lochner, Tycoons and Tyrant: German Industry from Hitler to Adenauer (1954) Lord Rothermere provided funds to Hitler via Ernst Hanfstaengel. When Hitler became Chancellor on 30th January 1933, Rothermere produced a series of articles acclaiming the new regime. The most famous of these was on the 10th July when he told readers that he "confidently expected" great things of the Nazi regime. He also criticised other newspapers for "its obsession with Nazi violence and racialism", and assured his readers that any such deeds would be "submerged by the immense benefits that the new regime is already bestowing on Germany." He pointed out that those criticising Hitler were on the left of the political spectrum: "I urge all British young men and women to study closely the progress of the Nazi regime in Germany. They must not be misled by the misrepresentations of its opponents. The most spiteful distracters of the Nazis are to be found in precisely the same sections of the British public and press as are most vehement in their praises of the Soviet regime in Russia." (61)

George Ward Price, the Daily Mail's foreign correspondent developed a very close relationship with Adolf Hitler. According to the German historian, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen: "The famous special correspondent of the London Daily Mail, Ward Price, was welcomed to interviews in the Reich Chancellery in a more privileged way than all other foreign journalists, particularly when foreign countries had once more been brusqued by a decision of German foreign policy. His paper supported Hitler more strongly and more constantly than any other newspaper outside Germany." (62)

Franklin Reid Gannon, the author of The British Press and Germany (1971), has claimed that Hitler regarded him as "the only foreign journalist who reported him without prejudice". (63) In his autobiography, Extra-Special Correspondent (1957), Ward Price defended himself against the charge he was a fascist by claiming: "I reported Hitler's statements accurately, leaving British newspaper readers to form their own opinions of their worth." (64) Whereas the Daily Herald described Hitler's Germany as "the most powerful and most brutal machinery of oppression which has ever been created", the Daily Mail claimed that Germany was "in the forefront of nations." (65)

Lord Rothermere also had several meetings with Adolf Hitler and argued that the Nazi leader desired peace. In one article written in March, 1934 he called for Hitler to be given back land in Africa that had been taken as a result of the Versailles Treaty. (66) Hitler acknowledged this help by writing to Rothermere: "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." (67)

Lord Rothermere with Adolf Hitler
Lord Rothermere with Adolf Hitler

As Richard Griffiths, the author of Fellow Travellers of the Right (1979) has pointed out: "Rothermere visited Hitler on a number of occasions, and corresponded with him. As we have seen, Hitler's first major dinner party for foreigners, on 19th December 1934, had as its guests of honour Rothermere, his son Esmond Harmsworth, and Ward Price, together with Ernest Tennant. Rothermere's subsequent article in the Daily Mail was violently enthusiastic about what Hitler had done for Germany. Hitler wrote a number of important letters to Rothermere in 1933 and 1934, but the most interesting of them, because of its subsequent fate, was the one written on 3 May 1935 in which he advocated Anglo-German understanding as a firm combination for peace. Rothermere circulated this to many politicians, convinced that his personal contact with Hitler had produced a real breakthrough." (68)

The Daily Mail and Oswald Mosley

Lord Rothermere also gave full support to Oswald Mosley and the National Union of Fascists. On 15th January, 1934, he wrote: "At this next vital election Britain's survival as a Great Power will depend on the existence of a well-organised Party of the Right, ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Mussolini and Hitler have displayed.... That is why I say Hurrah for the Blackshirts! ... Hundreds of thousands of young British men and women would like to see their own country develop that spirit of patriotic pride and service which has transformed Germany and Italy. They cannot do better than seek out the nearest branch of the Blackshirts and make themselves acquainted with their aims and plans." (69)

This was followed a few days later in which he praised Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine". Rothermere added: "Timid alarmists all this week have been whimpering that the rapid growth in numbers of the British Blackshirts is preparing the way for a system of rulership by means of steel whips and concentration camps. Very few of these panic-mongers have any personal knowledge of the countries that are already under Blackshirt government. The notion that a permanent reign of terror exists there has been evolved entirely from their own morbid imaginations, fed by sensational propaganda from opponents of the party now in power. As a purely British organization, the Blackshirts will respect those principles of tolerance which are traditional in British politics. They have no prejudice either of class or race. Their recruits are drawn from all social grades and every political party. Young men may join the British Union of Fascists by writing to the Headquarters, King's Road, Chelsea, London, S.W." (70)

Lord Rothermere with Adolf Hitler
The Daily Mail (22nd January 1934)

The Daily Mail continued to give its support to the fascists. George Ward Price wrote about anti-fascist demonstrators at a meeting of the National Union of Fascists on 8th June, 1934: "If the Blackshirts movement had any need of justification, the Red Hooligans who savagely and systematically tried to wreck Sir Oswald Mosley's huge and magnificently successful meeting at Olympia last night would have supplied it. They got what they deserved. Olympia has been the scene of many assemblies and many great fights, but never had it offered the spectacle of so many fights mixed up with a meeting." (71)

David Low, a cartoonist employed by the Evening Standard, made several attacks on Rothermere's links to the fascist movement. In January 1934, he drew a cartoon showing Rothermere as a nanny giving a Nazi salute and saying "we need men of action such as they have in Italy and Germany who are leading their countries triumphantly out of the slump... blah... blah... blah... blah." The child in the pram is saying "But what have they got in their other hands, nanny?" Hitler and Mussolini are hiding the true records of their periods in government. Hitler's card includes, "Hitler's Germany: Estimated Unemployed: 6,000,000. Fall in trade under Hitler (9 months) £35,000,000. Burden of taxes up several times over. Wages down 20%." (72)

Lord Rothermere with Adolf Hitler
David Low, But what have they got in their other hands, nanny? (26th January 1934)

Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Evening Standard, was a close friend and business partner of Lord Rothermere, and refused to allow the original cartoon to be published. At the time, Rothermere controlled forty-nine per cent of the shares. Low was told by one of Beaverbrook's men: "Dog doesn't eat dog. It isn't done." Low commented that it was said as "though he were giving me a moral adage instead of a thieves' wisecrack." He was forced to make the nanny unrecgnisable as Rothermere and had to change the name on her dress from the Daily Mail to the Daily Shirt. (73)

In July, 1934 Lord Rothermere suddenly withdrew his support for Oswald Mosley. The historian, James Pool, argues: "The rumor on Fleet Street was that the Daily Mail's Jewish advertisers had threatened to place their adds in a different paper if Rothermere continued the pro-fascist campaign." Pool points out that sometime after this, Rothermere met with Hitler at the Berghof and told how the "Jews cut off his complete revenue from advertising" and compelled him to "toe the line." Hitler later recalled Rothermere telling him that it was "quite impossible at short notice to take any effective countermeasures." (74)

The Daily Mail and German Jews

In 1937 George Ward Price, the foreign correspondent of The Daily Mail published his book, I Know These Dictators. It was full of praise of Hitler: "Behind the forceful character which he displays in public he had a human, pleasant personality... He had the artistic, visionary tendencies of the South German type... and there was a strong strain of sadness and tenderness in his disposition... Hitler had... a fondness for children and dogs... His personality and prestige were so strong that without any effort on his part, he is surrounded by much awe on the part of his entourage... Hitler is a widely read man... familiar with the works of the leading German philosophers who had mastered the history, geography and social and economic conditions of the chief European countries."

Ward Price defended Hitler's treatment of Jews, trade unionists and socialists in Nazi Germany: "To law-abiding citizens the Nazi Government brought public order, political peace, better living-conditions, and the promise, some fulfilled, to make Germany once more a great nation... Upon the people who opposed, or looked like opposing, its plans, it laid a heavy hand... The jockey who pats his horse in the paddock may lash him in a hard finish. The rulers of Germany were stern because they believed the fate of their country was at stake. If they failed, the gates would be open wide to Bolshevism - the same bloodthirsty Bolshevism which had ravaged and liquidated in Russia, tortured and massacred in Hungary.... The tolerant attitude of the average Anglo-Saxon... toward Jews, Communists, and those deluded intellectuals indulgently termed 'parlour-Bolshevists' appears in Nazi eyes as stupid apathy in the presence of real danger." (75)

Jewish Emigration from Germany
Two Germans accused of having violated the law against sexual relations between
Jews and Gentiles in Hamburg. The woman's sign says: "At this place I am the greatest
swine for I laid with a Jew" The man's sign says: As a Jewish youth I always take
only German girls to my room"

The support for far-right had an impact on the circulation of the Daily Mail. The journalist, Collin Brooks, wrote that the consequence of Rothermere's attempts to use the newspaper as an instrument of his pro-fascist meddling was not only to lose readers but to render the paper increasingly boring. (76) A study carried out in the 1930s found that Mail's readers were "the least politically interested of all the Conservative readership. (77)

David George Boyce has argued that Lord Rothermere, like Lord Northcliffe before him, failed in their supreme ambition, because their "unchloroformed readers were not (as he liked to think)" political followers. "They did not constitute a faithful party following, a set of disciplined voters, a well-organized pressure group. They were, quite simply, newspaper readers, as likely to prove 'grasshoppers' with no direct, constant means of exerting power upon government." (78)

By 1937 sales of the Daily Mail had fallen to 1,580,000. It was The Daily Express that had the largest circulation (2,239,000) and even the left-wing The Daily Herald (2,000,000) had overtaken The Daily Mail. Whereas other newspapers such as The Daily Mirror (1,367,000), The Daily Chronicle (1,324,000), The Daily Sketch (850,000), The Daily Telegraph (637,000) and The Times (192,000). (79)

According to Richard T. Griffiths, the author of Fellow Travellers of the Right (1979): "Rothermere and Ward Price, then, used the Daily Mail, up to 1938, as an instrument of Nazi propaganda. As Franklin Gannon points out, there was little news coverage of Germany in that paper (compared with the extensive coverage in other papers), and opinions on Germany were expressed mainly through editorials and reports of Ward Price's interviews. As the thirties wore on, the paper's main concern turned gradually from positive praise of Nazism to a concern to avoid Continental obligations." (80)

The Conservative Party, the Daily Mail and Immigration

Unemployment figures remained low in the years following the Second World War. In 1974 unemployment was only 2.6%. In a television interview in January, 1978, Margaret Thatcher, the leader of the opposition, played the race-card when she claimed "Some people have felt swamped by immigrants. They've seen the whole character of their neighbourhoods change." (81) Bernard Levin, who was a supporter of Thatcher, warned that, "If you talk and behave as though black men were some kind of virus that must be kept out of the body politic then it is the shabbiest hypocrisy to preach racial harmony at the same time." (82)

David Olusoga, points out in Black and British: A Forgotten History (2016): "Immigrants accounted for a mere 4 per cent of the British population in 1979. Yet, the word 'swamped' struck home with voters and shocked some commentators. Intentionally or not it was an echo of Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech... Thatcher's words were denounced by black British groups and by her political opponents, and criticised by some of her own party." (83)

Thatcher's comments increased her popularity with the British public and it is believed it was a factor in her victory in the 1979 General Election: "Before her remarks, only 9 per cent of British citizens felt that there were too many immigrants; afterwards 21 per cent admitted they were worried. Thatcher's supporters argued that it was a politician's job to draw the public's attention to uncomfortable truths. Opponents suggested that such rhetoric was self-fulfilling. It was easy to forget that at this time immigrants amounted to 4 per cent of the population. Was it possible for so small a minority to 'swamp' a mighty imperial nation?" (84)

Net Migration: 1964 to 2015
Net Migration: 1964 to 2015

This prepared the way for Thatcher's economic policies neo-liberal economic policies in order to control the power of trade union movement. Unemployment figures rose substantially over the next few years: 1980 (7.4%), 1981 (11.4%) and 1982 (13.0%). With high unemployment and with the encouragement of the politicians who have created the unemployment, people turn their hostility towards the people who are immigrants or who look like immigrants, who believe they have taken their jobs. (85)

In recent years the Conservative Party politicians and the right-wing press have continued to argue that Britain has too many migrants entering the country. This was often related to the shortage of houses. However, it has been pointed out that this problem is made worse by the large number of people who own more than one house. When the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, was asked in 2009 how many houses he and his wife owned he said it was probably four but pleaded with the journalist not to "make me sound like a prat for not knowing how many houses I've got." (86)

The Daily Mail played an important role in trying to persuade Cameron to bring an end to immigration. It reported that 70 million is "the number of people who our national statisticians expect will populate the UK by mid-2029". (87) The BBC joined in with these scare stories: "A new survey predicts the UK population will reach 78m by 2051... By 2051 a growing birth rate, coupled with high levels of immigration from Europe, Australasia and the US, as well as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will take the UK population to 78m... The report predicts ethnic minorities will make up 20% of a 78m population." (88)

These scare stories worried David Cameron and during the 2010 General Election he promised to bring net migration below 100,000 a year. Of the three main political parties the one that had most strongly opposed immigration, the Conservatives, gained the most seats and formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Just two weeks into power the new government published an official document committing to the introduction of an actual limit on the number of non-EU migrants to be admitted into the UK to live and work. (89)

David Cameron went into the 2015 General Election with net migration to the UK three times as high as he promised at the 2010 election. In February, 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) "announced a net flow of 298,000 migrants to the UK in the 12 months to last September – up from 210,000 in the previous year, and equal to the population of a city like Nottingham. The sharp increase was driven by a 'statistically significant' rise in immigrants arriving in the country – up to 624,000 in the year to September from 530,000 in the previous 12 months. Around 327,000 people emigrated in the same period. The final set of such statistics before the May election showed significant increases in migration among both non-EU citizens – up 49,000 to 292,000 – and EU citizens, which rose by 43,000 to 251,000." (90)

During the 2016 EU referendum debate immigration became one of the most important issues. The Centre for the Study of Media Communication and Power at King’s College, carried out research into the way the media dealt with this subject. It analysed almost 15,000 articles published online during this period by 20 news outlets, including the BBC and all the national papers. Researchers found immigration to be the most prominent issue in the 10 weeks running up to the vote, leading 99 front pages. Of those, more than three-quarters were from the four most virulently leave newspapers: The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun.

"Coverage of immigration more than tripled over the course of the campaign, rising faster than any other political issue. Immigration was the most prominent referendum issue, based on the number of times it led newspaper print front pages (there were 99 front pages about immigration, 82 about the economy). Coverage of the effects of immigration was overwhelmingly negative. Migrants were blamed for many of Britain’s economic and social problems - most notably for putting unsustainable pressure on public services. Specific nationalities were singled out for particularly negative coverage – especially Turks and Albanians, but also Romanians and Poles. The majority of negative coverage of specific foreign nationals was published by three news sites: the Express, the Daily Mail, and the Sun." (91)

The Daily Mail has continually condemned the Labour Party for being soft on illegal immigration. In one article it accused the "Labour Party of running up the white flag on immigration". This is because "Diane Abbott said she would close two main detention centres, axe migration targets and force officials to prove suspects were in Britain without permission. The shadow home secretary also vowed to scrap the requirement for bosses and landlords to carry out checks on a worker or tenant’s right to be in the country." The newspaper then attempted to persuade its readers that illegal immigration and immigration are the same thing by quoting the Conservative Party MP, Andrew Bridgen as saying: "Diane Abbott has confirmed what we already know – that Labour will have an open-door policy where anybody who wishes to come to our country can do so." It is going to be very difficult to have a rational immigration policy when you have this kind of reporting on the debate we need to have on this subject. (92)

Language and Immigration

On 31st October 2022, Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, caused great controversy when she said in the House of Commons: "Let's be clear about what is really going on here: the British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast and which party is not. Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone. Many of them facilitated by criminal gangs, some of them actual members of criminal gangs. So let's stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows that is not true. It's only the honourable members opposite who pretend otherwise. We need to be straight with the public. The system is broken. Illegal migration is out of control and too many people are interested in playing political parlour games, covering up the truth than solving the problem." (93)

Labour MP Zarah Sultana commented : "Disgusted to hear Suella Braverman say there's an 'invasion on our southern coast', just a day after a migrant detention centre was fire-bombed.... Language like this - portraying migrants as 'invaders' - whips-up hate & spreads division. She's totally unfit to be Home Secretary." Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon was also upset by Braverman's statement: "This kind of dreadful rhetoric is not only fundamentally wrong, it is incredibly dangerous. Men, women and children coming to the UK on small boats are fleeing war, conflict and persecution. This is underlined by the vast majority of asylum claims being granted. To demonise people who have fled their homes to escape some of the most dangerous regimes in the world is simply appalling." (94)

Probably the most important criticism of Braverman came from 83 year-old Holocaust survivor, Joan Salter, who had received a MBE for her work for the Holocaust Education Trust. She told Braverman at a meeting on January 2023, that the language used by her to describe immigrants as being "very, very similar" to that used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people and was used to justify murdering her family under the Third Reich. She later told Sky News: "I feel very strongly that the Holocaust ended in the death camps but it started with words, with othering the Jewish people, blaming them for all the problems in Germany, and I am afraid that the actions and words of our home secretary is very, very similar." (95)

Salter's words were ignored by the right-wing press. It was only when Gary Lineker, commenting on a video message by Braverman about stopping migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats, he said the message was "beyond awful" and called the government's policy "an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s" that the subject made the headlines. (96)

Lord Alfred Dubs, one of 669 Czech-resident, mainly Jewish, children saved by British stockbroker Nicholas Winton, and others, from the Nazi government was quick to give his support to Lineker. Dubbs, a former Labour Party MP and director of the Refugee Council (1988-1995) thanked Lineker for his tweet and praised him for his "compassion and support for vulnerable people". (97)

Obviously, it was easier for the right-wing press to attack Gary Lineker than Holocaust survivors such as Joan Salter and Alfred Dubbs. The Daily Mail, in an editorial on 9th March stated: "The question of who calls the shots when it comes to the state broadcaster’s impartiality rules is today under the sharpest scrutiny. Is it the corporation’s bosses – or the highly paid and self-regarding celebrities they employ? The issue has been thrust into the spotlight by football pundit Gary Lineker’s grotesque intervention in the small-boats debate. In a tweet, the Match of the Day host turned tedious virtue-signaller drew a parallel between Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s crackdown on illegal immigration and Nazi Germany. It’s difficult to think of a more ignorant, preposterous and offensive comparison. Hitler’s evil regime exterminated six million Jews." (98)

Of course Lineker did not refer to the extermination of "six million Jews". Instead he talked about the government's "cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s". When comparing the two situations you need to be aware that Nazi Germany was a refugee-producing state, not a host or destination state, though its borders remained open until 1939.  "What singles out the UK now is that we have a Government saying it will still welcome refugees, alluding to a tradition of hospitality, and yet is loudly shutting the doors to some of the world's most vulnerable people. As the UNHCR notes, there are currently no safe and legal routes to reach Britain, and no resettlement schemes operating, an as a result the Government's plans amount to a ban on asylum.  The upsurge in the arrival of small boats packed with refugees is evidence that the UK does not currently offer a viable alternative." (99)

Lineker comment was about the language used by the government of Nazi Germany about the Jews not about the extermination camps. As the Holocaust Memorial Museum has pointed out: "In order to make Jewish persecution publicly palatable, Nazi propagandists branded Jews as a biological threat to Germany. Government-sponsored racist propaganda was widely distributed denouncing Jews as 'alien,' and 'parasitic,' and responsible for Germany's cultural, political, and economic 'degeneration.' These words had an enormous effect, creating an environment in which persecution and violence were acceptable. Students burned books by Jewish authors on pyres and purged works of art and music by Jews and others considered 'un-German.' Much worse, Jews became less human in German eyes, and less worthy of society's protection." (100)

This view is supported by academic research into the language of Nazi Germany. "Researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California and Tel Aviv University collected 140 pieces of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda, including posters, pamphlets, newspapers, and political speech transcripts. These spanned from November 1927 to April 1945, totaling over 57,000 words. They then used a cutting-edge psycholinguistic tool that can dig deeper into the intentions behind the words. Their findings suggest that Nazi propaganda leading up to the Holocaust implied that Jewish people lacked the capacity for experiencing human emotions and sensations, which is a clear indication of dehumanization." (101)

It should be remembered that in 1934 Adolf Hitler sent communists, socialists and trade unionists to concentration camps whereas he wanted the Jews to leave the country. Hitler openly expressed anti-Semitic ideas. Based on his readings of how blacks were denied civil rights in the southern states in America, Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate. The day after the March, 1933, election, stormtroopers hunted down Jews in Berlin and gave them savage beatings. Synagogues were trashed and all over Germany gangs of brownshirts attacked Jews. In the first three months of Hitler rule, over forty Jews were murdered. (102)

On 1st April, 1933, when a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned shops took place. Otto Dibelius, the Bishop of Kurmark stated that he had always been "an anti-semite" and that "one cannot fail to appreciate that in all of the corrosive manifestations of modern civilization Jewry plays a leading role". (103) Members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) picketed the shops to ensure the boycott was successful. As a child Christa Wolf watched the SA organize the boycott of Jewish businesses. "A pair of SA men stood outside the door of the Jewish shops, next to the white enamel plate, and prevented anyone who could not prove that he lived in the building from entering and baring his Aryan body before non-Aryan eyes." (104)

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
The sign reads: “Germans, Attention! This shop is owned by Jews. Jews damage
the German economy and pay their German employees starvation wages.
The main owner is the Jew Nathan Schmidt.” (1st April, 1933)

The hostility towards Jews increased in Nazi Germany. This was reflected in the decision by many shops and restaurants not to serve the Jewish population. Placards saying "Jews not admitted" and "Jews enter this place at their own risk" began to appear all over Germany. In some parts of the country Jews were banned from public parks, swimming-pools and public transport. (105)

Adolf Hitler urged Jews to leave Germany. One of the major reasons why so many refused was that they were unable to take their money with them. Hitler arranged for 52,000 to emigrate to Palestine. To encourage them to go the German government allowed "Jews who left for Palestine to transfer a significant portion of their assets there... while those who left for other countries had to leave much of what they owned behind". Richard Evans has argued: "The reasons for the Nazis' favoured treatment of emigrants to Palestine were complex. On the one hand, they regarded the Zionist movement as a significant part of the world Jewish conspiracy they had dedicated their lives to destroying. On the other, helping Jewish emigration to Palestine might mitigate international criticism of anti-semitic measures at home. Moreover, and crucially, the principal aim of the Nazis in these years was to drive the Jews out of Germany and preferably out of Europe too; for all the murderous violence they meted out to them, they did not at this stage intend, still less plan, to exterminate all Germany's Jews. " (106)

The Daily Mail approved of the way Hitler treated the Jews in Nazi Germany. It's owner, Lord Rothermere, commented in July 1933: "The German nation was rapidly falling under the control of its alien elements. In the last days of the pre-Hitler regime there were twenty times as many Jewish government officials in Germany as had existed before the war. Israelites of international attachments were insinuating themselves into key positions in the German administrative machine. Three German Ministers only had direct relations with the Press, but in each case the official responsible for conveying news and interpreting policy to the public was a Jew." (107) Hitler wrote to Rothermere praising an editorial from the newspaper that dealt with Germany's foreign policy: "Your leading article published last week, which I have read with great interest, contains everything which coincides with my own ideas." (108)

The Daily Mail also led the campaign against allowing German Jews to enter the country. It warned those who tried to enter the country without permission would be caught and dealt with. On 2nd August 1938 it reported: "Never before has it been more difficult for an alien to land unlawfully and remain out of police hands for more than a few hours. The favourite method is to come ashore in a rowing boat with the appearance of having been out for a short sea-trip. Despite coastal watch it is possible for an alien to escape notice in this way, but his inevitable struggle for existence is almost certain to lead him before long into police hands... Immigration authorities now have a secret and scientific method' for detecting the ploys of illegal aliens, so that ‘the offender soon finds himself trapped." (109)

Later that month it quoted Herbert Metcalde, a London magistrate as saying: "The way stateless Jews and Germans are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage. I intend to enforce the law to the fullest." The newspaper praised Metcalde for his comments. "The number of aliens entering this country can be seen by the number of prosecutions in recent months. It is very difficult for the alien to escape the increasing vigilance of the police and port authorities. Even if aliens manage to break through the defences, it is not long before they are caught and deported." (110)

James Curran, the author of Power Without Responsibility (2003) has argued that the government responded to the pressure applied by the right-wing press meant that many Jews denied entry were "later slaughtered in the death camps." As many as ten times the number of European Jews were blocked as were granted asylum in Britain during the later 1930s." (111) According to Louise London's definitive account of British Immigration Policy, Jewish Refugees and the Holocaust (2000): "Around 70,000 had been admitted by the outbreak of the war, but British Jewish associations had some half a million more case files of those who had not." (112)

It could be argued because of the anti-immigration rhetoric of the Daily Mail resulted in the deaths of up to 500,000 Jews. Anne Karpf has pointed out: "The myth was born that Britain did all it could for the Jews between 1933 and 1945. This comfortable view has proved remarkably durable, and is still adduced to support claims that Britain has always admitted genuine refugees, and that the latest harsh measures against asylum seekers are merely designed to exclude bogus applicants... We remember the touching photographs and newsreel footage of unaccompanied Jewish children arriving on the Kindertransports... There are no such photographs of the Jewish parents left behind in Nazi Europe... The Jews excluded from entry to the United Kingdom are not part of the British experience, because Britain never saw them... Memories of the unsuccessful public campaign to persuade the government to rescue Jews from mass murder faded quickly. What's more, those that were granted entry were admitted only because the Jewish community guaranteed that it would bear all the expenses of accommodation and maintenance, with no burden placed on the public purse." (113)


(1) Roy Greenslade, The Guardian (26th January, 2020)

(2) Subscribe (3rd September, 2016)

(3) S. J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (1996) page 32

(4) Francis Williams, Dangerous Estate: The Anatomy of Newspapers (1957) page 140

(5) Tom Clarke, diary entry (1st January, 1912)

(6) Arthur Balfour, letter to Alfred Harmsworth (7th May, 1896)

(7) J. Lee Thompson, Northcliffe: Press Baron in Politics 1865-1922 (2000) page 337

(8) Harry J. Greenwall, Northcliffe: Napoleon of Fleet Street (1957) pages 56-57

(9) Cathy Porter, Fathers and Daughters: Russian Women in Revolution (1976) page 276

(10) Michael Burleigh, Blood & Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism (2008) page 58

(11) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 20

(12) Lionel Morrison, A Century of Black Journalism in Britain (2007) page 170

(13) The Daily Mail (3rd February, 1900)

(14) Colin Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society, 1876-1939 (1979) page 27

(15) Marc Brodie, William Evans-Gordon: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

(16) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 23

(17) David Rosenberg, The Guardian (4th March, 2015)

(18) Stephen Aris, But there are no Jews in England (1970) page 32

(19) Marc Brodie, William Evans-Gordon: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

(20) David Rosenberg, Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History (2015) pages 94-95

(21) Bernard Gainer, The Alien Invasion: The Origins of the Aliens Act of 1905 (1972) pages 19-20

(22) Alfred Eckhard Zimmern, The Economic Journal (April, 1911)

(23) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 114

(24) J. Lee Thompson, Northcliffe: Press Baron in Politics 1865-1922 (2000) page 120

(25) The Daily Telegraph (23rd June, 1905)

(26) The Daily Chronicle (23rd June, 1905)

(27) The Daily News (23rd June, 1905)

(28) Alexander Acland-Hood, letter to Arthur Balfour (5th December, 1905)

(29) Reginald Pound and Geoffrey Harmsworth, Northcliffe (1953) page 295

(30) The Saturday Review (16th December, 1905)

(31) J. Lee Thompson, Northcliffe: Press Baron in Politics 1865-1922 (2000) page 131

(32) Margot Asquith, The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (1962) page 245

(33) David Lloyd George, speech at Penrhyndeudraeth (25th September, 1906)

(34) David Lloyd George, speech in the House of Commons (15th June 1908)

(35) Hugh Purcell, Lloyd George (2006) page 28

(36) The Daily News (3rd May, 1909)

(37) John Grigg, The People's Champion (1978) pages 240-241

(38) Duncan Tanner, Political Change and the Labour Party: 1900-1918 (1990) page 65

(39) David Butler, British Political Facts 1900-1968 (1969) page 284

(40) John Grigg, The People's Champion (1978) page 325

(41) David Lloyd George, speech in the House of Commons (4th May, 1911)

(42) Bentley B. Gilbert, David Lloyd George: Architect of Change (1987) page 445

(43) Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) page 299

(44) Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George and his Life and Times (1954) page 209

(45) David Lloyd George, speech at Kennington (13th July, 1912)

(46) Tom Clarke, My Northcliffe Diary (1931) pages 18 and 19

(47) Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, letter to Kennedy Jones (27th September, 1909)

(48) Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, letter to Lord George Curzon (February, 1912)

(49) Tom Clarke, My Northcliffe Diary (1931) page 51

(50) S. J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (1996) page 143

(51) David George Boyce, Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(52) Irene Cooper Willis, England's Holy War: A Study of English Liberal Idealism During the Great War (1928) page 245

(53) George Riddell, diary entry (28th May, 1920)

(54) S. J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (1996) page 221

(55) George Ward Price, The Daily Mail (28th October, 1932)

(56) Tom Jeffery and Keith McClelland, A World Fit to Live in: the Daily Mail and the Middle-Classes, included in Impacts & Influence: Essays on Media Power in the Twentieth Century (1987) page 48

(57) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (17th September, 1923)

(58) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (28th March, 1928)

(59) S. J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (1996) page 299

(60) James Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power (1979) page 314

(61) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (10th July, 1933)

(62) Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Nationalsozialistische Aussenpolitik (1968) page 334

(63) Franklin Reid Gannon, The British Press and Germany (1971) page 34

(64) George Ward Price, Extra-Special Correspondent (1957) page 34

(65) S. J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (1996) page 294

(66) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (21st March, 1934)

(67) Adolf Hitler, letter to Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere (December, 1933)

(68) Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers of the Right (1979) page 164

(69) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (15th January, 1934)

(70) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (22nd January, 1934)

(71) George Ward Price, The Daily Mail (8th June, 1934)

(72) David Low, Evening Standard (26th January 1934)

(73) David Low, Autobiography (1956) page 150

(74) James Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power (1979) page 315

(75) George Ward Price, I Know These Dictators (1937) pages 16-23

(76) Collin Brooks, The Devil's Decade (1948) pages 147-148

(77) Mass-Observation, The Press and Its Readers (1949) page 80

(78) David George Boyce, Crusaders without Chains: Power and Press Barons, included in Impacts & Influence: Essays on Media Power in the Twentieth Century (1987) page 105

(79) Tom Jeffery and Keith McClelland, A World Fit to Live in: the Daily Mail and the Middle-Classes, included in Impacts & Influence: Essays on Media Power in the Twentieth Century (1987) page 29

(80) Richard T. Griffiths, Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany 1933-39 (1980) page 168

(81) Margaret Thatcher, television interview (27th January, 1978)

(82) Bernard Levin, The Times (14th February, 1978)

(83) David Olusoga, Black and British: A Forgotten History (2016) page 515

(84) Robert Winder, Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain (2013) page 307

(85) James Denman and Paul MacDonald, Unemployment Statistics from 1881 to the Present Day, Labour Market Trends (January 1996)

(86) The Times (24th May, 2009)

(87) The Daily Mail (21st April 2010)

(88) BBC News Report (13th July 2010)

(89) David Cameron, Programme of Government (20th May, 2010)

(90) Andrew Grice, The Independent (26th February 2015)

(91) Martin Moore and Gordon Ramsay, UK media coverage of the 2016 EU Referendum campaign (May 2017) pages 8-9

(92) The Daily Mail (17th May, 2018)

(93) Suella Braverman, speech in the House of Commons (31st October 2022)

(94) The Daily Mirror (31st October, 2022)

(95) Sky News (15th January 2023)

(96) The Guardian (8th March, 2023)

(97) The Big Issue (12th March, 2023)

(98) The Daily Mail ( 9th March, 2023)

(99) Brad Blitz, Is There Any Comparison Between Braverman's Migration Bill & Nazi Germany? (9 March 2023)

(100) Holocaust Memorial Museum, Origins of Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist Terms and Symbols (2023)

(101) Tom Hale, How The Nazis Used Language To Pave The Way For The Holocaust (November 9, 2022)

(102) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 15

(103) Wolfgang Gerlach, The Witnesses Were Silent (2000) page 42

(104) Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (1976) page 79

(105) Richard Grunberger, A Social History of the Third Reich (1971) page 575

(106) Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005) page 557

(107) The Daily Mail (10th July, 1933)

(108) Adolf Hitler, letter to Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere (20th May 1937)

(109) The Daily Mail (2nd August, 1938)

(110) The Daily Mail (20th August, 1938)

(111) James Curran, Power Without Responsibility (2003) page 48

(112) Louise London, British Immigration Policy, Jewish Refugees and the Holocaust (2000) page 12

(113) Anne Karpf, The Guardian (8th June 2002)


Previous Posts

A historical account of the Daily Mail, the Conservative Party and Migration (18th March, 2023)

Art and the Women's Suffrage Movement (20th January, 2023)

Emancipation of Women: 1870-1928 (15th November, 2022)

The Struggle for Women's Rights: 1500-1870 (21st September, 2022)

The real reason why the FA banned women from playing on their grounds (1st August, 2022)

The WSPU Young Hot Bloods and the Arson Campaign (26th May, 2022)

Interpretations in History (18th April, 2022)

The Student as Teacher (31st December, 2021)

History Simulations in the Classroom (30th November, 2021)

Walter Tull: Football and War Hero (20th October, 2021)

Child Labour and Freedom of the Individual (26th July, 2021)

Don Reynolds and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (15th June, 2021)

Richard Nixon and the Conspiracy to kill George Wallace in 1972 (5th May, 2021)

The Connections between Watergate and the JFK Assassination (2nd April, 2021)

The Covid-19 Pandemic: An Outline for a Public Inquiry (4th February, 2021)

Why West Ham did not become the best team in England in the 1960s (24th December, 2000)

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Tapes and the John F. Kennedy Assassination (9th November, 2020)

It is Important we Remember the Freedom Riders (11th August, 2020)

Dominic Cummings, Niccolò Machiavelli and Joseph Goebbels (12th July, 2020)

Why so many people in the UK have died of Covid-19 (14th May, 2020)

Why the coronavirus (Covid-19) will probably kill a higher percentage of people in the UK than any other country in Europe.. (12th March, 2020 updated 17th March)

Mandy Rice Davies and Christine Keeler and the MI5 Honey-Trap (29th January, 2020)

Robert F. Kennedy was America's first assassination Conspiracy Theorist (29th November, 2019)

The Zinoviev Letter and the Russian Report: A Story of Two General Elections (24th November, 2019)

The Language of Right-wing Populism: Adolf Hitler to Boris Johnson (11th October, 2019)

The Political Philosophy of Dominic Cummings and the Funding of the Brexit Project (15th September, 2019)

What are the political lessons to learn from the Peterloo Massacre? (19th August, 2019)

Crisis in British Capitalism: Part 1: 1770-1945 (9th August, 2019)

Richard Sorge: The Greatest Spy of the 20th Century? (29th July, 2020)

The Death of Bernardo De Torres (26th May, 2019)

Gas Masks in the Second World War killed more people than they saved (9th May, 2019)

Did St Paul and St Augustine betray the teachings of Jesus? (20th April, 2019)

Stanley Baldwin and his failed attempt to modernise the Conservative Party (15th April, 2019)

The Delusions of Neville Chamberlain and Theresa May (26th February, 2019)

The statement signed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (20th January, 2019)

Was Winston Churchill a supporter or an opponent of Fascism? (16th December, 2018)

Why Winston Churchill suffered a landslide defeat in 1945? (10th December, 2018)

The History of Freedom Speech in the UK (25th November, 2018)

Are we heading for a National government and a re-run of 1931? (19th November, 2018)

George Orwell in Spain (15th October, 2018)

Anti-Semitism in Britain today. Jeremy Corbyn and the Jewish Chronicle (23rd August, 2018)

Why was the anti-Nazi German, Gottfried von Cramm, banned from taking part at Wimbledon in 1939? (7th July, 2018)

What kind of society would we have if Evan Durbin had not died in 1948? (28th June, 2018)

The Politics of Immigration: 1945-2018 (21st May, 2018)

State Education in Crisis (27th May, 2018)

Why the decline in newspaper readership is good for democracy (18th April, 2018)

Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (12th April, 2018)

George Osborne and the British Passport (24th March, 2018)

Boris Johnson and the 1936 Berlin Olympics (22nd March, 2018)

Donald Trump and the History of Tariffs in the United States (12th March, 2018)

Karen Horney: The Founder of Modern Feminism? (1st March, 2018)

The long record of The Daily Mail printing hate stories (19th February, 2018)

John Maynard Keynes, the Daily Mail and the Treaty of Versailles (25th January, 2018)

20 year anniversary of the Spartacus Educational website (2nd September, 2017)

The Hidden History of Ruskin College (17th August, 2017)

Underground child labour in the coal mining industry did not come to an end in 1842 (2nd August, 2017)

Raymond Asquith, killed in a war declared by his father (28th June, 2017)

History shows since it was established in 1896 the Daily Mail has been wrong about virtually every political issue. (4th June, 2017)

The House of Lords needs to be replaced with a House of the People (7th May, 2017)

100 Greatest Britons Candidate: Caroline Norton (28th March, 2017)

100 Greatest Britons Candidate: Mary Wollstonecraft (20th March, 2017)

100 Greatest Britons Candidate: Anne Knight (23rd February, 2017)

100 Greatest Britons Candidate: Elizabeth Heyrick (12th January, 2017)

100 Greatest Britons: Where are the Women? (28th December, 2016)

The Death of Liberalism: Charles and George Trevelyan (19th December, 2016)

Donald Trump and the Crisis in Capitalism (18th November, 2016)

Victor Grayson and the most surprising by-election result in British history (8th October, 2016)

Left-wing pressure groups in the Labour Party (25th September, 2016)

The Peasant's Revolt and the end of Feudalism (3rd September, 2016)

Leon Trotsky and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party (15th August, 2016)

Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England (7th August, 2016)

The Media and Jeremy Corbyn (25th July, 2016)

Rupert Murdoch appoints a new prime minister (12th July, 2016)

George Orwell would have voted to leave the European Union (22nd June, 2016)

Is the European Union like the Roman Empire? (11th June, 2016)

Is it possible to be an objective history teacher? (18th May, 2016)

Women Levellers: The Campaign for Equality in the 1640s (12th May, 2016)

The Reichstag Fire was not a Nazi Conspiracy: Historians Interpreting the Past (12th April, 2016)

Why did Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst join the Conservative Party? (23rd March, 2016)

Mikhail Koltsov and Boris Efimov - Political Idealism and Survival (3rd March, 2016)

Why the name Spartacus Educational? (23rd February, 2016)

Right-wing infiltration of the BBC (1st February, 2016)

Bert Trautmann, a committed Nazi who became a British hero (13th January, 2016)

Frank Foley, a Christian worth remembering at Christmas (24th December, 2015)

How did governments react to the Jewish Migration Crisis in December, 1938? (17th December, 2015)

Does going to war help the careers of politicians? (2nd December, 2015)

Art and Politics: The Work of John Heartfield (18th November, 2015)

The People we should be remembering on Remembrance Sunday (7th November, 2015)

Why Suffragette is a reactionary movie (21st October, 2015)

Volkswagen and Nazi Germany (1st October, 2015)

David Cameron's Trade Union Act and fascism in Europe (23rd September, 2015)

The problems of appearing in a BBC documentary (17th September, 2015)

Mary Tudor, the first Queen of England (12th September, 2015)

Jeremy Corbyn, the new Harold Wilson? (5th September, 2015)

Anne Boleyn in the history classroom (29th August, 2015)

Why the BBC and the Daily Mail ran a false story on anti-fascist campaigner, Cedric Belfrage (22nd August, 2015)

Women and Politics during the Reign of Henry VIII (14th July, 2015)

The Politics of Austerity (16th June, 2015)

Was Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, murdered? (31st May, 2015)

The long history of the Daily Mail campaigning against the interests of working people (7th May, 2015)

Nigel Farage would have been hung, drawn and quartered if he lived during the reign of Henry VIII (5th May, 2015)

Was social mobility greater under Henry VIII than it is under David Cameron? (29th April, 2015)

Why it is important to study the life and death of Margaret Cheyney in the history classroom (15th April, 2015)

Is Sir Thomas More one of the 10 worst Britons in History? (6th March, 2015)

Was Henry VIII as bad as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin? (12th February, 2015)

The History of Freedom of Speech (13th January, 2015)

The Christmas Truce Football Game in 1914 (24th December, 2014)

The Anglocentric and Sexist misrepresentation of historical facts in The Imitation Game (2nd December, 2014)

The Secret Files of James Jesus Angleton (12th November, 2014)

Ben Bradlee and the Death of Mary Pinchot Meyer (29th October, 2014)

Yuri Nosenko and the Warren Report (15th October, 2014)

The KGB and Martin Luther King (2nd October, 2014)

The Death of Tomás Harris (24th September, 2014)

Simulations in the Classroom (1st September, 2014)

The KGB and the JFK Assassination (21st August, 2014)

West Ham United and the First World War (4th August, 2014)

The First World War and the War Propaganda Bureau (28th July, 2014)

Interpretations in History (8th July, 2014)

Alger Hiss was not framed by the FBI (17th June, 2014)

Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: Part 2 (14th June, 2014)

Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and Search-Engine Results (10th June, 2014)

The Student as Teacher (7th June, 2014)

Is Wikipedia under the control of political extremists? (23rd May, 2014)

Why MI5 did not want you to know about Ernest Holloway Oldham (6th May, 2014)

The Strange Death of Lev Sedov (16th April, 2014)

Why we will never discover who killed John F. Kennedy (27th March, 2014)

The KGB planned to groom Michael Straight to become President of the United States (20th March, 2014)

The Allied Plot to Kill Lenin (7th March, 2014)

Was Rasputin murdered by MI6? (24th February 2014)

Winston Churchill and Chemical Weapons (11th February, 2014)

Pete Seeger and the Media (1st February 2014)

Should history teachers use Blackadder in the classroom? (15th January 2014)

Why did the intelligence services murder Dr. Stephen Ward? (8th January 2014)

Solomon Northup and 12 Years a Slave (4th January 2014)

The Angel of Auschwitz (6th December 2013)

The Death of John F. Kennedy (23rd November 2013)

Adolf Hitler and Women (22nd November 2013)

New Evidence in the Geli Raubal Case (10th November 2013)

Murder Cases in the Classroom (6th November 2013)

Major Truman Smith and the Funding of Adolf Hitler (4th November 2013)

Unity Mitford and Adolf Hitler (30th October 2013)

Claud Cockburn and his fight against Appeasement (26th October 2013)

The Strange Case of William Wiseman (21st October 2013)

Robert Vansittart's Spy Network (17th October 2013)

British Newspaper Reporting of Appeasement and Nazi Germany (14th October 2013)

Paul Dacre, The Daily Mail and Fascism (12th October 2013)

Wallis Simpson and Nazi Germany (11th October 2013)

The Activities of MI5 (9th October 2013)

The Right Club and the Second World War (6th October 2013)

What did Paul Dacre's father do in the war? (4th October 2013)

Ralph Miliband and Lord Rothermere (2nd October 2013)