Dennis Wheatley was born in Streatham on 8th January 1897. His father, Alfred Wheatley, ran a successful wine business in Mayfair with strong links to Germany. He attended Dulwich College but after he was expelled he became an officer cadet with the Merchant Navy.
In 1913 Wheatley was sent to Germany where he spent nine months studying the family wine business. He was back in London when the First World War was declared. Although only 17 years old he immediately tried to join the Westminster Dragoons. However, he was rejected on the grounds that he could not ride a horse.
A family friend arranged for Wheatley to join the Royal Field Artillery as a junior officer. Wheatley admitted that "they did not regard me as a fine soldier but more of a pleasant sort of mascot". This view did not stop Wheatley from being promoted to the rank of lieutenant. As the authors of Famous 1914-1918 (2008) pointed out: "This made his head even more swollen and he took to wearing a monocle. He was later to say that it helped him to look brave in action as it prevented ducking, which caused it to fall out."
Wheatley developed pneumonia and was in hospital when his battalion was sent to the Western Front in January 1917. He joined his men six months later. Serving with the Divisional Ammunition Column he was based behind the front-line but occasionally came under fire from German artillery. Wheatley later described an attack where 99 horses and mules were killed. Wheatley wrote: "There were dead ones lying all over the place and scores of others were floundering about screaming with broken legs, terrible neck wounds or their entrails hanging out."
Wheatley also saw action at Cambrai and Aisne. However, after being gassed in a chlorine attack at Passchendaele he was sent back to London. His parents were told he would not live but he eventually made a full recovery.
After the war Wheatley returned to the family business. On the death of his father in 1927 he inherited his substantial fortune. He was not a successful businessman and decided to become a writer. His first book sold badly but his second attempt, The Forbidden Territory (1933) did extremely well. This was followed by the bestseller The Devil Rides Out (1934).
During the Second World War Wheatley joined the Joint Planning Staff of the War Cabinet. His work involved writing a report about dealing with a German invasion and taking part in the advance planning of the Normandy landings.
With the election of Clement Atlee and the Labour government in 1945 Wheatley became involved in a plot to destabilise the administration. In one document, A Letter to Posterity (1947) he attacked "the false, pernicious doctrine that all men are equal" and urged the "ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials".
Dennis Wheatley died on 11th November 1977. During his life he wrote over 70 books and sold over 50 million copies. His autobiography, Officer and Temporary Gentleman, was published in 1978.
A Bosch dropped a bomb seventy yards from our mess (an erection of canvas and sticks) and when we ran out to see what had happened I was the first to discover a sentry not only dead but in bits, a most unpleasant sight.
When the bombs had ceased falling we went over to see what damage had been done. I saw my first dead man twisted up beneath a wagon where he had evidently tried to take shelter; but we had not sustained many human casualties. The horses were another matter. They were dead ones lying all over the place and score of others were floundering and screaming with broken legs, terrible neck wounds or their entrails hanging out. We went back for our pistols and spent the next hour putting the poor, seriously injured brutes out of their misery by shooting them through the head. To do this we had to wade ankle deep through blood and guts. That night we lost over 100 horses.
By the opening of the 20th century this new political consciousness in the multitude, coupled with the long disuse of the power of veto by the Monarch, had already reduced the Throne to a cipher; and in 1911 a liberal majority in the commons passed a bill that reduced the power of the Lords to a negligible quantity. It was not, however, until the elections of 1945, that the "all men are equal" propaganda resulted in the return of a Socialist majority to Westminster, where, the other two factors having been virtually eliminated, it has, in the past two years, given Britain her first taste of government by the representatives of the underdog, free from all unilateral or higher control.
Up to the end of the last century the difference in condition between the very rich and the very poor was obviously too great to justify on any count, but much had been done to bridge the gulf long before the socialists came to power. Successive governments had brought in ever-higher rates of income tax with a sharply rising scale according to income; so that by 1940 the great bulk of all taxation was borne by the moderately well off and richer classes. In fact, a married workman with 4 children could earn up to £400 a year without paying any tax at all, whereas a millionaire with an income of £50,000 had to surrender £44,000 in taxation. Again, under the old system there were many abuses of power, particularly through economic pressure, whereby workers were often compelled to labour overlong hours in unhealthy conditions; but here again, during the first 40 years of the present century an enormous amount had been done to redress these evils. Education and health services had been made free to all, hours of work restricted, minimum wages set for all types of labour, insurance of workers against accident made compulsory on employers, and both unemployment pay and old-age pensions assured to all below a certain income level.
It was far from being a perfect world, but the masses were no longer at the mercy of chance or the caprice of their masters, and were fully protected from either calamity or want. No one would seek to deny that the worker’s own representatives and the trade union movement played a great part in bringing about these reforms; yet the fact remains that the laws concerning them were mainly introduced and passed by just-minded and humane legislators drawn from the old ruling classes.
However, having agitated for such reforms for so long, the "all men are equal" advocates were far from content and are now in the process of lightening the natural burden of the workers to a point where the wealthy and even the stability of the nation is threatened. Employers are now no longer allowed to run their businesses as they think best but have become the bond slaves of socialist state planning. The school leaving age has been put up to 16, and a 5 day working week has been instituted in the mines, the railways and many other industries.
This means that while workers are being protected and provided for, whether employed or not, from the cradle to the grave, they are no longer putting in a sufficient number of working hours to pay for the benefits they receive. To continue on these lines can only end in national bankruptcy, or a reversal of policy by which, as in Soviet Russia, the vast majority of the theoretically classless society are compelled to work appallingly long hours to maintain the state bosses and a huge non-productive bureaucracy.
The doctrine of ensuring every child a good start in life and equal opportunities is fair and right, but the intelligent and the hardworking will always rise above the rest, and it is not a practical proposition that the few should be expected to devote their lives exclusively to making things easy for the majority. In time, such a system is bound to undermine the vigour of the race. If the rewards of ability and industry are to be taken from those who rise to the top, they will cease to strive, and if the masses are pampered too much they will regard protection from all the hazards of life as their right, and become lazy. There is only a limited amount of wealth in each nation’s resources. If it is not added to year by year by vigorous enterprise, made possible by the majority of the people doing an honest day’s work, but instead, gradually drained away in bettering the condition of the masses without their making an adequate return, the nation that follows such a policy is bound to go into a decline; then the general standard of living will fall, instead of becoming a Utopia, as the ‘all men are equal’ theorists fondly imagine.
And this is the slippery slope to which the new socialist government "of the people, by the people, for the people" has now brought a once rich and prosperous Britain.
Socialist controls now make it impossible for any ambitious young man to start his own business. Socialist taxation operates against any man of initiative immediately his efforts place him in a higher income-tax group. Socialist laws actually forbid workers in all the great national industries to work overtime or better themselves by changing their employment. Socialist ‘planning’ forbids any man to kill his own sheep or pig, cut down his own tree, put up a wooden shelf in his own house, build a shack in his garden, and either buy or sell the great majority of commodities – without a permit. In fact, it makes all individual effort an offence against the state. Therefore, this Dictatorship of the Proletariat, instead of gradually improving the conditions in which the lower classes live, as has been the aim of all past governments, must result in reducing everyone outside the party machine tothe level of the lowest, idlest and most incompetent worker.
Realising that, many thousands of our young people are planning to leave Britain for the dominions, colonies and other countries overseas, where unshackled by the bureaucratic socialist octopus, men are still free to carve out a fortune for themselves, and enjoy the rewards of hard work and enterprise.
Man began as a member of a herd. He became different from the animals only when the urge to become a real person – an individual – gave him the courage to back away from the herd. The desire to remain free and independent forced him to think and act for himself. In the process he developed his imagination, his ability to reason, his strength of purpose, his audacity, his powers of concentration, and his expectation towards a still greater freedom in some afterlife more perfect than the present. As an individual, often subject to the orders of others, but rarely reduced to a mere part in a soulless machine, men achieved a variety of great civilisations – a feat beyond the bounds of all probability had he always been regimented and had his thoughts moulded for him into a uniform pattern by state propaganda.
The triumph of communism means the reconverting of civilised men back to the herd. That has been proved in Russia where, since the revolution of 1917, in which the noble, moneyed and intellectual classes were almost entirely eliminated by organized massacres, the communist party has wielded absolute power. For the past 30 years, the truth about the past and about everything which goes on outside the borders of Russia, has been either deliberately falsified or withheld from the people. Even their party men have become only slightly larger cogs in the state machine. All but a very few are ignorant of the fact that the standard of living to which communism has reduced the Russian people is the lowest in the world; and they dare not express a doubt as to its rightness or efficiency, as to do so could cost them their lives. There is not a shadow of liberty left. Everyone is compelled to labour to the limit of their endurance in return for their bare subsistence. They can be arrested and imprisoned or shot without trial. There is no justice and no freedom of either thought or action. Few have any conception of the joys that go to make life worth living. The Russian people now know no other form of life than that of state slaves. Day after day they labour on like harnessed animals. From their dreary lot there is nothing to look forward to, no future and no escape.
And this is the ultimate outcome of the false, pernicious doctrine that ‘all men are equal’. Socialism is but a halfway house.
Therefore, if when this document is discovered, the people of Britain are bound to a state machine, my message to posterity is REBEL. All men are not equal. Some have imagination and abilities far above others. It is their province and their right to take upon themselves the responsibility of leading and protecting the less gifted.
We are sent into this world to develop our own personality – to use such gifts as we have been given and to set an example to others by our courage, fortitude, sympathy, generosity and self-reliance. Any state which controls the lives of the people and dictates where they shall live, what work they shall do, what they shall see, say, hear, read and think, thwarts the free development of personality, and is therefore EVIL.
It will be immensely difficult to break the stranglehold of the machine, but it can be done, little by little; the first step being the formation of secret groups of friends for free discussion. Then numbers of people can begin systematically to break small regulations, and so to larger ones with passive resistance by groups of people pledged to stand together – and eventually the boycotting, or ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials. Your life does not matter, but your freedom does. The age-old wisdom tells us that death is not to be feared, for it is but a release from life, leading to rebirth, and if one has lived and died courageously, as a finer, stronger personality. Therefore, if need be, fight for your RIGHT to live, work and love, how and where you will. If need be die for it. Your death will be an example to others that it is better to die fighting for your freedom and happiness than to live on as a slave. May the courage and wisdom of the Timeless Ones, who order all things, be your support and guide. They will never fail you if you have faith in yourself. Blessings be upon you; freedom and love be with you.