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William Joyce is best known for his involvement in the British Fascist Party during World War II and immigrating to Nazi Germany.
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William Joyce was born April 24, 1906 in Brooklyn, New York. Joyce was the son of a Unionist Irish father and moved to England, where he joined the British Union of Fascists. He and his wife fled to Nazi Germany before the start of World War II. Joyce became a popular propaganda announcer in both Germany and England.
William Joyce was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 24, 1906, to Michael and Gertrude Emily Joyce—Irish citizens, who had become naturalized Americans eight years before his birth.
Three years after Joyce's birth, the family returned to Ireland, settling in Galway in County Mayo. Unusually for Irish Catholics, the Joyces were staunch loyalists, which caused them a certain amount of difficulty in the republican south, including attacks on their family business and their home by Sinn Fein nationalists.
Joyce attended a Catholic school, St. Ignatius College in Galway, and proved an intelligent but argumentative child, ready to back up his principles with his fists. During one of these fights his nose was broken, and his refusal to have it reset resulted in the nasal drawl that would become so familiar to the audiences of his Nazi propaganda broadcasts during World War II.
When the British Prime Minister Lloyd George, announced the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which resulted in the creation of the Irish State, the Joyce family left Ireland for England, fearing nationalist retribution. Joyce was 15 years old at the time and, following a short stint in the army—where he was discharged for being underage—and a short stint at Surrey Polytechnic, he applied to Birkbeck College, at the University of London.
During his studies he developed a passionate interest in fascism, joining the British Fascisti Ltd. in 1923, an offshoot of the Italian Fascist movement. He became infamous at the university for his anti-Semitic view, and was often heckled at political meetings at a time when interest in politics was high among university students.
Never shy to using his fists, Joyce became involved in a fracas with an opposing left-wing mob at a Conservative Party meeting in 1924, and received a deep razor slash that ran across his right cheek, leaving a permanent scar. Joyce was convinced that his assailant was a "Jewish Communist" and the injury made his anti-Semitic stance even more implacable.
Joyce left the British Fascisti in 1925, disillusioned with their lack of political conviction, and he joined the Conservative Party. He graduated from Birkbeck in 1927 and married Hazel Barr on April 30, 1927, who bore him two children. He decided on a full-time academic career, but was galvanized, in October 1932, by the arrival on the political scene of Oswald Mosley, who launched the British Union of Fascists, a party that Joyce quickly joined, dropping his academic career overnight to become an impassioned party speaker.
1934 was an important year for Joyce; thanks to his impassioned oratory, he progressed through the BUF party ranks until he was promoted to the position of Director of Propaganda.
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