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Imperialism

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The Duchess Of Atholl: Nobility For Stalin

In the film version of George Orwell’s book Keep The Aspidistra Flying, the main character, a struggling writer, assumes correctly that because a benefactor of writers is wealthy, said benefactor is therefore a communist. This assumption was very much a reality in the upper class intellectual world of 1930s Britain. For it was not only the expensively educated like Stephen Spender and W.H. Auden–and on a more sinister level, Kim Philby–who were pro-Stalin, but also Nancy Cunard, the daughter of a shipping magnate. This zeitgeist was so pervasive, that this pampered faction had a titled conservative in their ranks; who, ironically, defended Stalinism out of British imperialist motives. This figure was the Duchess of Atholl aka Katherine Marjory Stewart-Murray, who despite representing the Conservative Party member in Parliament clashed with her fellow conservatives because of their support for appeasing Hitler. Very much a “premature anti-fascist,” she expressed her disgust at the government’s deal-cutting with and outright support of fascist dictators by frequently resigning; first as Conservative Whip in 1937… Keep Reading

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