Radio: Haw-Haw on Haw-Haw

  • Share
  • Read Later

Before Nazi bombing began to interfere with England's weekends and England's sleep, the Nazi propagandist that London dubbed "Lord Haw-Haw" caught many a listening British ear. Nightly from Germany, in accents more Oxonian than the Isis, he sneered at Britain's martial aims, deplored the bucktoothed poverty of the British populace, condemned Britain's leaders as a bunch of pumpkin heads. His sneers hit close enough home to rate his being listed as Britain's most annoying invisible mosquito. Who was he? It was a problem that baffled the easily bored British. At last the infallible ear of a deserted wife in Sussex recognized Lord Haw-Haw's voice as her runaway husband's. His name: William Joyce, a onetime bully boy of Fascist Sir Oswald Mosley's (TIME. March 11).

Lord Haw-Haw himself—who never answered to that name—guarded his incognito. But last year, his effectiveness reduced as the war grew progressively less phony, he decided to tell all in a pseudo-philosophical autobiography. Haw-Haw's dubious masterwork has had small sale in Germany, none in Great Britain and the U. S. Last week, borne to the U. S. by ace Radio Correspondent William L. Shirer, top-flight newshawk for CBS, a copy of Haw-Haw's apologia turned up in CBS' Manhattan offices.

To anyone but the most ardent Jew-baiter, Lord Haw-Haw's Twilight Over England is interesting only for its preface. There William Joyce (whose name has been Germanized to Fröhlich) puts his imprimatur on the fact that his father was an Irishman, his mother a Briton, himself a New Yorker. Born in 1906, educated by Jesuits in Ireland, Joyce became a Fascist in 1923, joined up with comic-strip Dictator Mosley ten years later. Twice arrested for assaulting fellow citizens in political brawls, Joyce took it on the lam for Berlin just before war was declared in 1939.

Scarfaced from a street fight, Joyce voices ideas that are a mouthing of Goebbelsian night-thoughts. Typical is his announcement that a British victory "would put an end to all prospects forever of social justice and fundamental economic reform." Mostly devoted to developing the idea that Jews have done Imperial Britain in, his book winds up: "There are two guarantees, for me sufficient: the greatness of Adolf Hitler and the Greater Glory of Almighty God."