Baden-Powell and Basil Fawlty

I have been watching with a mixture of disgust and anger as mobs of anarchist scum rampage through Britain’s cities, indulging in a looting and rioting binge ostensibly to ‘protest’ against the death of someone thousands of miles away (and who’s alleged killer is being prosecuted).

In between random pillaging, these rioters have been targeting various statues and, though the British Police seem to have no interest in maintaining law-and-order in these enlightened times, at last, the decent, silent majority in Great Britain are starting to stand up to this filth. I read with relief that various Scouts and former-Scouts have had enough, and are prepared to defend Lord Baden-Powell’s statue in Poole Harbour. These included a 79-year old ex-Scout who, lifting his walking stick, shouted: “If they want to knock it down they will have to knock me down first.”
Top man.

In any case, what could the unwashed, woke, social justice warriors possibly have against Baden-Powell? Here was a man who defied Kruger’s attempt to annex southern Africa, and thus to impose a form of government even worse than the later Apartheid system. He then famously established a youth organisation which now operates in pretty much every country on the planet. Surely he should be a hero to decent people everywhere?

Given all that, it might surprise you to learn that, according to a group called the ‘Stop Trump Coalition’, apparently Baden-Powell “committed atrocities against the Zulus, Man!”. Leaving aside the fact that smashing up a statue of the man who founded the Boy Scouts has precisely nothing to do with ‘stopping Trump’, this is the usual complete tripe which the self-righteous extreme-Left like to squeal.

The reality is, of course, rather different. Baden-Powell did indeed serve in Zululand, though not until long after the Zulu War of 1879. In 1888, Captain (as he was then) Baden-Powell was commanding a column of loyal Zulus against insurgents led by Dinuzulu, a son of the former King, Cetewayo. On 10 August, Baden-Powell’s men came across a looted trading store, and the dead bodies of the European trader and his son. Baden-Powell’s (loyal Zulu) scouts then tracked their murderers, and the following day, his (loyal Zulu) men stormed the caves they were hiding in, killing three of the rebels and capturing another 26, together with 110 head of cattle.[i] The only slight controversy about the action was that, after murdering the trader and his son, the rebels had fled across the hazily-defined border into the Boer-run ‘New Republic’, so the fighting took place just outside Zululand.

Really? That’s the best they have for wanting this Great Man airbrushed from history, Stalin-style?

Oh no – wait, there’s more: “but he supported Hitler, Man!”. Or so these social justice warriors scream, conveniently forgetting that, just like them, Hitler also ignored democracy, believed in using mob violence to achieve his aims, and, also like them, liked to re-write history, burn books and ban things.

Sounds pretty damning, and while Baden-Powell – like many others in the late 1930’s – initially thought the regimes of Mussolini and Hitler might form a welcome buttress against Communism, there is no evidence that he supported the horrors inflicted by the Nazis in any way, shape or form. I quote at length from a report into the supposed links between the Scouting Movement and the Hitler Youth:

On the 8th of March [2010], the security service of the United Kingdom submitted to the National Archives three bundles of declassified documents covering a period extending from 1937 to 1944. The World Scout Bureau acquired these documents for examination. These were essentially notes from the police declaring the coming and going of members of the Hitler Youth in the UK. Other parts are under the heading of the Nazi youth movement.

Amongst all of these document pieces is a copy of a letter sent on November 20, 1937 by Baden-Powell to Joachim von Ribbentrop, German ambassador to London, thanking him for having received him on November 19, to meet Jochen Benemann and Hartmann Lauterbach, officials of the Hitler Youth. The tone of this letter is polite and diplomatic. It refers to the mutual feelings that the British and the Germans can exchange, Baden-Powell writes “I sincerely hope that we shall be able in the near future to give expression to it through the youth on both sides, and I will at once consult my headquarters and see what suggestions they can put forward”.

In one of these bundles of documents is a two-page report that Baden-Powell (hereafter BP) transmitted to the International Commissioner, where he states that “both [Lauterbacher] and Benemann are eager to see the Scouts get into closer touch with the German youth movement. He continued his report stating that Ribbentrop “sees in the Scout Movement a very powerful agency” to help bring together the two youths. To Ribbentrop, and as per the report by BP, “that the true peace between the two nations will depend on the youth being brought up on friendly terms together in forgetfulness of past differences”. This report carries no instructions from Baden-Powell to go along the suggestions proposed by Ribbentrop.

In his report, Baden-Powell said that Ribbentrop would like him to go to Germany to meet Hitler. It is obvious that this meeting never took place. A week after his meeting with the ambassador, BP left for Africa. He returned to the UK for a short period in 1938 before returning permanently to Kenya October 27, 1938, where he died three years later.

In January 1933, before the takeover by the Nazi Party, the Hitler Youth had expressed its hostility to Scouting, claiming that it alone could represent the youth of Germany. On the 17th of June, 1933, the Großdeutche Bund, a federation of many youth movements including a dozen Scout Movements was prohibited. On the 26th of May, 1934, a decree forbade the Reichschaft deutscher Pfadfinder, another federation of Scout Movements. The decree stated that the federation “had become a place of refuge for the young enemies of the new state.”

This solution marked the end of the Hitler Youth’s will to be recognized by the International Boy Scouts Bureau. Contacts were made during the jamboree in Hungary (August 1933) between them and the International Bureau, Hitler’s Youth sent its Chief of Staff Karl Nabersberg. He also went to the International Bureau in London in 1934, dressed in a Scout Uniform to negotiate contacts. He also sought to meet with the Scouts of France. But none of these contacts fell through and the dissolution of the Reichschaft deutscher Pfadfinder was one of the consequences.

In August, 1933, The World Scout Conference, held in Godöllo (Hungary), voted the following resolution (15/33), entitled “Political Propaganda”: “The Congress once again invites attention to the fact that any political propaganda of any character, direct or indirect, national or international, must not be permitted in any camp or scout gathering in which representatives of other nations are invited to participate.”

In 1937, the same World Conference was even more precise when it voted resolution 15/37 entitled “Patriotism”: “The Conference resolves that the International Committee be requested to do all that it can to ensure that Scouting and Rovering in all countries, while fostering true patriotism, are genuinely kept within the limits of international cooperation and friendship, irrespective of creed and race, as has always been outlined by the Chief Scout (Baden-Powell). Thus, any steps to the militarization of Scouting or the introduction of political aims, which might cause misunderstanding and thus handicap our work for peace and good will among nations and individuals should be entirely avoided in our programmes.”

It is interesting to note that the Nazis’ invasion plan for the United-Kingdom, prepared in 1940 by the SS General Walter Schellenberg, foresaw the apprehension of about 2800 prominent British citizens, amongst whom was Lord Baden-Powell and the main leaders of the International Boy Scouts Bureau.

The invasion plan was accompanied by the document, “Informationsheft Groß Britannien” a book with information on British society: the administration, the education system, media, religious groups, political parties, unions, organizations of migrants , Freemasonry, Jewish organizations, police, secret services, described under the Nazi perspective.

Part of this Nazi book entitled “The education system” includes two sub-sections: “public schools” and “The International Scout Movement”. Reading this text, a mixture of nonsense and very accurate information, makes us wonder. The Nazis believed that since Baden-Powell had been an intelligence officer in the British army, the Scouts he had created in 1907 had only been for the purpose of espionage for the benefit of England and commissioners of various international organizations had as their sole mission to prepare monthly and quarterly reports on the political economic and social life of their country for the International Scout Bureau. The portion devoted to Scouting is also an illustration of Nazi racism: Hubert Martin, Director of the International Bureau is described as “half Jewish”.

All these elements proves the lack of mutual sympathy that was between the Nazi regime Baden Powell and the Scout Movement. They should encourage todays Scouts to reflect on their history to better understand the reality of their mission of peace, and to guard themselves against totalitarian regimes that have always tried to prohibit or restrict the Movement.

Men like Baden-Powell, Gladstone, Gordon, Churchill and Rhodes are giants of British history, and deserve to be commemorated and respected, not viewed through the latest trendy / woke lens – a lens which, would you believe, has even seen the painfully right-on BBC remove an episode of probably the most highly-rated comedy series in history, ‘Fawlty Towers’, from their iPlayer. Though it has been loved by millions for decades, a few days of lawlessness and rioting is enough for the hand-wringing luvvies at the BBC to suddenly decide it is ‘racist’. What’s next, one wonders – will ‘Terry and June’, ‘Are You Being Served?’ and ‘Dad’s Army’ soon be declared verboten?

And it is not as though the BBC Thought Police are only targeting comedy greats from years ago – they have even removed ‘Little Britain’ – a show which ran from 2003-2007, with specials coming out all the way up to this year, for heaven’s sake. If not even this hugely popular, modern comedy show is safe from this politically correct insanity and mob rule, what chance do the heroes of our glorious history have, unless the silent majority stand up to this ghastly, self-loathing social engineering project?


[i] Jeal, p.136


  • Chris Posted June 12, 2020 11:40 am

    Yes he even armed the natives

    Perhaps you could cover the story of the wonderful heroic Smuts and the incident at Modderfontein — and what he did to the natives there !

    Strange that this incident is not mentioned much ?

    • Bulldog Posted June 12, 2020 12:14 pm

      Rest assured that the mass-murder at Modderfontein warrants a mention in ‘Kruger’s War’ and my forthcoming ‘The Atlas of the Boer War’.

  • Chris Posted June 12, 2020 12:06 pm

    You will have a field day with this one
    Although it does mention Smuts and Modderfontein

    “Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900–1948”

    Unaffordable in this “civilised” country

  • Colin WALKER Posted June 12, 2020 5:59 pm

    I am UK Scout Historian with a keen interest in the Siege of Mafeking having written three books on the subject. I am regular member of the Scout Association but also a member of totally independent Rover Crew the Scout Association having disbanded Rovering in 1967. The Thane Rover have been at the centre of what has been going our, the Rover Scouts at the Statue were ours. Out mission not only to protect the statue (now boarded up) but also to protect B-P as stands we are in the UK the only people so to do- so congratulations on your reasoned defence of B-P you may be interested in having a look a video podcast which I made yesterday that has now had 5000 hit. Here is the web page URL when the page opens school to you see the head and shoulders of man in Scout Uniform, The first few minutes show some of yesterdays news-clips see

    • Bulldog Posted June 16, 2020 6:00 pm

      I take my hat off to you, Mr Walker – great work.

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