Searching for Lord Haw-Haw
The Political Lives of William Joyce
New Books in BiographyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in Genocide StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network November 18, 2016 Mark Klobas
During the Second World War millions of Britons tuned in nightly to hear the broadcasts of Lord Haw-Haw coming from Nazi Germany. Though the label was broadly applied to a number of English-speaking broadcasters, it was most famously associated with William Joyce. In Searching for Lord Haw-Haw: The Political Lives of William Joyce (Routledge, 2016), Colin Holmes provides a study of Joyce’s life that unravels many of the mysteries and misconceptions surrounding it. He chronicles Joyce’s early years in Ireland, where his work as an informer and his family’s association with the British during the War of Independence led to his relocation to London after the Irish won their independence. There he quickly found a home in the embryonic Fascist movement, in which became a leading figure. His clashes with Oswald Mosley in the mid-1930s brought about Joyce’s purge from the British Union of Fascists in 1937 and the formation of his own National Socialist League. Yet it was Joyce’s relocation to Germany on the eve of war in 1939 that won him the attention he long craved, as he quickly established himself as the Nazi’s leading English-language propagandist. As Holmes shows, however, this fame came at a price, as Joyce’s efforts on behalf of Germany led after the end of the war to his arrest and execution for treason the last person in British history to face such an ignominious end.