The fascist who would be king: Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk
By Graham Macklin and Craig Fowlie
Macklin and Fowlie explore the political life of Count Potocki de Montalk, a poet, pagan and pretender to the Polish throne. Count Potocki is perhaps most famous as a minor cause célèbre among London’s literary intelligentsia after his imprisonment for obscene libel in 1932. Historians, when they consider him at all, often discount him, viewing him as little more than a colourful eccentric, a view reinforced by Stephanie de Montalk’s fascinating biography of the man, which appeared in 2001. Eccentric he most certainly was. However, as this article demonstrates, Potocki also played a key role as an enabler of fascist and extreme right-wing activism through the services he provided myriad groups as a printer of their literature, a career that spanned the interwar and post-war periods.
The article examines how his preposterous pursuit of the Polish Crown, coupled with the innate elitism this engendered, led him to reject egalitarianism and democracy and embrace fascism. While the Spanish Civil War saw an outpouring of literature from his literary contemporaries in support of the Spanish Republic, Potocki responded by establishing The Right Review as a mouthpiece for his own personal mélange of monarchism and fascism. Utilizing newly released security service files combined with archival research in the newly deposited Searchlight archive at Northampton University, this article pays closer attention to the political side of Potocki’s activities than has hitherto been the case, particularly his wartime publishing activities.
This includes his anti-Soviet pamphlet on the Katyn massacre, which caused great vexation in government circles for fear of the harm Potocki’s (correct) accusations might do to relations with Britain’s crucial wartime ally. The authors conclude with a detailed examination of the role Potocki played in post-war National Socialist networks, for both personal and political ends, not least of which was his continued efforts to further his claim to the Polish throne, which he never ceased to believe was his by divine right.
Macklin & Fowlie (2019), The fascist who would be king: Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk, Pattern of Prejudice, vol