Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

Joanne Klein, Ph.D.


Lynn Lubamersky, Ph.D.


Nicholas Miller, Ph.D.


This thesis examines why members of the British aristocracy and upper class supported communism and fascism during the interwar period. The pre-1900 generation attempted to hold onto their pre-war status and power by supporting fascism and its tenets of authoritarian rule, strict class division, and social regeneration through uber-nationalism. Meanwhile, the post-1900 generation rebelled against their elders and used communist ideology centered on an equal utopia to create a new political, economic, and social balance in the post-war era. Although the two generations aligned themselves with vastly different radical politics, their reasons for the change in support were similar. Both generations abandoned traditional politics because of disillusionment with the political and economic situation after the First World War and used these new political ideologies to attempt to either restore or reject the past. Upper class individuals from across society responded to the pressures of ancestry, upper class dictated traditions, poor familial relationships and personal egotism by supporting of radical politics, at least temporarily. Using memoirs, biographies, letters, their own writings, and official government and newspaper documents, this thesis is a case study of why sons and daughters of baronets, lords, and landowners supported radical politics during the interwar period but also why they returned to the traditions of patriotism and Conservatism with the onset of the Second World War.