British Fascisti

Miss Rotha Lintorn-Orman established the British Fascisti organization in 1923. She later said: "I saw the need for an organization of disinterested patriots, composed of all classes and all Christian creeds, who would be ready to serve their country in any emergency." Members of the British Fascists had been horrified by the Russian Revolution. However, they had gained inspiration from what Benito Mussolini had done it Italy.

Most members of the British Fascisti came from the right-wing of the Conservative Party. Early recruits included William Joyce and Maxwell Knight. Disturbed by the events in Russia members argued that the rise of trade unionism and socialism threatened the British way of life.

The most important figure in the movement was the historian Nesta Webster. In her books World Revolutions: The Plot Against Civilisation (1922), Secret Societies and Subversive Movements (1924), The Need for Fascism in Great Britain (1926) and The Origin and Progress of the World Revolution (1932) `she argued that Bolshevism was a Jewish plot to take over the world.

Rotha Linton-Orman was impressed by Maxwell Knight and soon after he joined the British Fascists he was appointed as the organization's Director of Intelligence. In this role he had responsibility for compiling intelligence dossiers on its enemies; for planning counter-espionage and for establishing and supervising fascist cells operating in the trade union movement.

Knight's work as Director of Intelligence for the British Fascists brought him to the attention of Vernon Kell, Director of the Home Section of the Secret Service Bureau. This government organization had responsibility of investigating espionage, sabotage and subversion in Britain and was also known as MI5. In 1925 Kell recruited Knight to work for the Secret Service Bureau and played a significant role in helping to defeat the General Strike in 1926.