Nazis in Cornwall?

Posted: April 10, 2011 in anti-fascism, BBC
During the second world war a small number of Breton nationalists collaborated with the Nazis in the hope that the Third Reich would give them an autonomous Brittany within a Nazi Europe. 
A clear example of the stupidity in blindly following the tactic the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The collaboration of this small group has had ramifications for the Breton movement that can still be felt today. French state-nationalists from the left and right never fail to point this out today when attacking the modern self-determination movement in Breizh. Even if the resistance in Brittany to the Nazi occupation, which contained many from the Breton movement, was as strong as anywhere else in France, all that is remembered seems to be a handful of deluded desperate men. 
No surprises then that that very British nationalist, Graham Smith of the BBC, should jump at the chance to point out how one of the Breton nationalists claimed to allied security forces to have contacts among the nationalist communities in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall. A topic that has already been explored on the Cornwall 24 forum Nazi interest in Cornwall comes as no surprise. Equally, that a Breton nationalist, no doubt active in the Celtic cultural scene, may have had friends in Cornwall does not shock as being totally unexpected. Like most state-nationalists Mr Smith never seems to place the existence of the Breton collaborators and  friends in the context of their time.
There were Breton nationalist collaborators but it must be said that in Brittany, like the rest of France, there were far more collaborators who were simply French – not to mention the Vichy government and its willingness to deport Frances Jews. 
Then what of Nazi sympathisers in England? I have no idea of the level of activity of that Daily Mail darling – The British Union of Fascists – in the Celtic nations before and during the war but I am pretty sure it was a largely English affair, as is far-right nationalism today. One could also highlight the sympathy certain British royals had for European fascists or mention the Auschwitz bombing debate as indicators of the shaky nature of any moral high ground the Anglo-British establishment may like to try to occupy when dealing with Celtic nationalists. Then we have the often brushed over fact – blanked by left-wing British and French state-nationalists –  namely the pact signed between Nazi Germany and the USSR to carve up Poland. At the time communists in both countries officially toed the party line and defended the actions of their Russian comrades without question. But no, none of that is interesting or needs mentioning does it. What’s far more interesting for the likes of Graham Smith is the possibility that one Breton nationalist collaborator had a pal in Kernow.

I am pushed to pose the question again – what sort of person moves to a region like Cornwall with its own national minority identity and then sets about attacking that culture and its efforts for greater recognition and autonomy at every possible opportunity? 

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