Concept

John Amery

Summary
John Amery (14 March 1912 – 19 December 1945) was a British fascist and Nazi collaborator during World War II. He was the originator of the British Free Corps, a volunteer Waffen-SS unit composed of former British and Dominion prisoners-of-war. Amery conducted recruitment efforts, and made propaganda broadcasts for Germany. He later gave direct support to Benito Mussolini. He was prosecuted by the British authorities and pleaded guilty to eight counts of high treason, for which he was sentenced to death, seven months after the war in Europe ended. Born in Chelsea, London, John Amery (known as "Jack") was the elder of two children of British statesman Leo Amery (1873–1955), a member of parliament and later Conservative government minister, whose mother was a Hungarian Jew who had converted to Protestantism. His younger brother, Julian (1919–1996), also became an MP and served in a Conservative government. Amery was a difficult child who ran through a succession of private tutors. Like his father, he was sent to Harrow, but left after only a year, being described by his housemaster as "without doubt, the most difficult boy I have ever tried to manage." Living in his father's shadow, he strove to make his own way by embarking on a career in film production. Over a period, he set up a number of independent companies, all of which failed; these endeavours rapidly led to bankruptcy. At the age of 21, Amery married Una Wing, a former prostitute, but was never able to earn enough to keep her for himself. He was constantly appealing to his father for money. A staunch anti-Communist, he came to embrace the National Socialist doctrines of Germany on the grounds that they were the only alternative to Bolshevism. He left Britain permanently to live in France after being declared bankrupt in 1936. In Paris, he met the French fascist leader Jacques Doriot, with whom he travelled to Austria, Italy, and Germany to witness the effects of fascism in those countries.
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