The Glamour Boys
We like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one part of the story that has never been told. It features a group of MPs who repeatedly spoke out against their party and their government’s policy of appeasing Hitler and Mussolini. Remarkably, nearly all of them were gay or bisexual. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain hated them. He had them followed, harassed, spied upon and derided in the press, and called them ‘the glamour boys’ in reference to their sexuality. They suffered abuse, innuendo and threats of de-selection, yet they spoke out repeatedly against Hitler’s territorial ambitions and his treatment of political prisoners and the Jews. In doing so they risked everything, swimming against the overwhelming tide of public opinion at a time when even the suggestion of homosexuality could land you in prison.
A STORY OF UNSUNG BRAVERY AT A DEFINING MOMENT IN BRITAIN’S HISTORY‘Superb’ Stephen Fry‘Thrillingly told’ Dan Jones‘Fascinating’ Neil MacGregor‘Astonishing’ Peter FrankopanWe like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one chapter that has never been told. In the early 1930s, a group of young, queer British MPs visited Berlin on a series of trips that would change the course of the Second World War. Having witnessed the Nazis’ brutality first-hand, these men were some of the first to warn Britain about Hitler, repeatedly speaking out against their government’s policy of appeasing him. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain hated them. Branding them ‘the glamour boys’ to insinuate something untoward about them, he had their phones tapped and threatened them with deselection and exposure. At a time when even the suggestion of homosexuality could land you in prison, the bravery these men were forced to show in their personal lives gave them extraordinary courage in public. Undaunted, they refused to be silenced and when war came, they enlisted. Four of them died in action. And without them, Britain would never have faced down the Nazis.A Guardian Book of Autumn 2020