Henry Williamson

AZL flag holder TransparentHenry William Williamson (1 December 1895 – 13 August 1977) was an English naturalist, farmer and prolific ruralist author known for his natural history and social history novels. He won the Hawthornden Prize for literature in 1928 with his book Tarka the Otter. Williamson enlisted in the London Rifle Brigade, the 5th battalion of the London Regiment, part of the Territorial Henry Williamson (Christmas Truce)Army in January 1914 and, after WWI was declared, he was mobilised on 5 August. The Christmas truce of 1914 affected him greatly. He was disgusted and was angry at the greed and manipulation that caused the war. He became determined that Germany and Britain should never go to war again. Williamson was also strongly influenced by the camaraderie of the trenches and in particular what he saw as the bonds of kinship that existed between the ordinary British and German soldiers, despite their being at war with one another. In 1935, Henry Williamson visited the National Socialist German Workers Party Congress at Nuremberg and was greatly impressed, particularly with the Hitler Youth movement, whose healthy outlook on life he compared with the sickly youth of the London slums. He had a “well-known belief that Hitler was a good man who wanted only to build a new and better Germany.” Opposed to the war and believing that it was caused by Jewish “usurial moneyed interests”, he was attracted to Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists and joined it in 1937. On the day the British and French declared war on Germany Williamson suggested to friends that he might fly to Germany to speak with Hitler however he was dissuaded from his plan by Mosley. At the start of World War II Williamson was briefly held under Defence Regulation 18B for his political views. Williamson continued to express admiration for aspects of National Socialist Germany after the war and in the last book of his Chronicle, published in 1969, The Gale of the World, has his main character Phillip Maddison question the moral and legal validity of the Nuremberg Trials.
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