On Wednesday 4th December 1935, the visiting German national football team had been invited to an after the match dinner reception at the Hotel Victoria in London. William Pickford, the vice president of the Football Association and the man who first introduced markings on football pitches in 1902, rapped his table and everyone fell silent. “It is“, he declared, “a privilege and honour to be able to propose a toast to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.”[1]

The assembled guests immediately responded with a Nazi salute and, maintaining their arms in an extended position, they sang the ‘Horst Wessel’ song,” an infamous anthem to a young nazi thug who’s death in 1930 was mythologized as martyrdom.[2]  At the conclusion of the singing,  Sir Charles Clegg, the Chairman of the FA,  stood up and apologised for the earlier presence of anti-Nazi protesters outside the Tottenham football ground where the teams had played.

It had been an unwelcome “annoyance to which our visitors have been subjected” and, according to a report published in several newspapers, “amid thunderous applause Sir Charles proceeded to say ‘This is the first time the TUC ( Trade Union Congress ) has interfered in football. I hope it will be the last.’”[3] The TUC had earlier called on the government to suspend the match, which it feared would be a propaganda coup for the Nazis, with the swastika flag flying high over the Tottenham stadium.


Lord Milner had been charged with sorting out the British concentration camps for civilian detainees during the Second South African Boer War, after the scandal of their inhumane conditions had been exposed. In a letter, written on 4 December 1901, Milner admitted that the hope that the death rate would sort itself out, once the weakest children had died, was a mistake.

“The theory that, all the weakly children being dead, the rate would fall off, it is not so far borne out by the facts. I take it the strong ones must be dying now and that they will all be dead by the spring of 1903.”(4)

Approximately 28,000 Boer civilians and 20,000 Blacks, mostly workers detained on Boer farms, died in the camps between June 1901 and May 1902. Among the Boer population who perished in the camps, approximately 22,000 were children. (5)


4 December 1995 – Foreign Officer Minister James Hanley, replying to a parliamentary question, explained that “Her Majesty’s Government have no plans to link the UK’s trade and defence policies with Saudi Arabia’s performance in the area of respect for religious liberty,” although he added that “the Saudi Government are well aware of our views on freedom of thought, conscience and religion and on the importance of inter-faith dialogue.”


4 December 1967 –  Commonwealth Minister George Thomas urged Denis Healey, the Defence Secretary, to step up Britain’s military aid to the murderous Nigerian junta, which five months earlier had launched a military assault against Biafra struggling to assert its right of self-determination. Over the next two years the Federal Military Government’s campaign and its vicious blockade on imports was to cause the death of over two million from famine.

Thomas explained his deep concerns – not for millions of starving Biafrans – but for British oil companies.

“Anything that we now do to assist the FMG should help our oil companies to re-establish and expand their activities in Nigeria after the war, and, more generally should help our commercial and political relationship with post-war Nigeria. ”

Healey agreed, adding in a response that increased military aid would hopefully encourage the generals “to look to the United Kingdom for their future purchases of defence equipment.”  Accordingly, the government duly dispatched thirty Saracen armoured personnel carriers (APCs), six Saladin APCs, about 2000 machine guns, anti-tank guns and nine million rounds of ammunition.  By the end of the month, this generous supply was topped by the promise of two helicopters, 1950 rifles with grenade launchers, 700 grenades and 15,000 pounds of explosives. (6)


  1. “Toast Drunk to Hitler,” the Aberdeen Press and Journal, 5 December 1935 p4
  2. “Hitler Toast Follows National”, the Dundee Courier, 5 Decembter 1935 p6, “Footballers at Dinner,” the Leeds Mercury, 5 December 1935 p1, “Toast Drunk to Hitler,” the Aberdeen Press and Journal, 5 December 1935 p4 and http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1050381/philip-barker-the-most-controversial-match-at-white-hart-lane.  See also Daniel Siemens (2013) “The Making of a Nazi Hero: The Murder and Myth of Horst Wessel,” I.B. Tauris, London.
  3.  “Hitler Toasted in London”, the Nottingham Evening Post, 5 December 1935, p15 and “Hitler’s Health Drunk in London,” the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, 5 December 1935 p9.
  4. Lord Milner quoted in Paul Harris, “‘Spin’ on Boer Atrocities,” The Guardian, 9 December 2001, accessed online at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/dec/09/paulharris.theobserver and also article at https://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/women-children-white-concentration-camps-during-anglo-boer-war-1900-1902
  5. Lord Milner quoted in Paul Harris, “‘Spin’ on Boer Atrocities,” The Guardian, 9 December 2001, accessed online at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/dec/09/paulharris.theobserver
  6. Correspondence and statistics quoted in Mark Curtis (2004) “Unpeople,” Vintage, London p174.






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