Profile: Lord Haw-Haw

By | November 2, 2019

[November 2, 2019]  Any movie about fighting the Imperial Japanese Army will also include a piece on Tokyo Rose, the infamous propaganda radio program aimed at U.S. troops during World War II.  The British citizenry listened to a Nazi radio program run by William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw.

Joyce was a notorious broadcaster of Nazi propaganda to the UK during the war.  His announcement ‘Germany calling, Germany calling’ was a familiar sound across the airwaves, introducing threats and misinformation.1  Initially popular and welcomed as a hilarious alternative to the BBC’s more sedate offerings, Joyce’s speeches were considered premium entertainment.

Oddly enough, Lord Haw-Haw (Joyce) was a patriot of Britain and an extreme anti-communist.  He believed passionately that only an alliance between Britain and Germany would protect them against the Red Menace.

According to Nigel Farndale,2 Joyce is an extraordinarily complex man.  Here are a few of Joyce’s leadership traits:

  • Passionate linguist and scholar
  • Amiable and Amusing
  • Highly Intelligent
  • Immense Courage and Conviction
  • Political extremist
  • Demagogue

Joyce was swept up by Sir Oswald Mosley into the British Fascist movement.  Friends of Joyce warned him about possible internment due to his beliefs.  With his wife Margaret, he left London for Germany in 1939.    Arrested in 1945 for his role in the Nazi propaganda effort, he was incarcerated in Wandsworth Prison.

In the face of death by hanging for being a traitor, William Joyce never flinched, never showed fear, even at the arrival of the hangman.  Joyce told the man who escorted him to the noose, “Follow me, sir, it’ll be all right.”


  2. Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce, May 2005, by Nigel Farndale;
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “Profile: Lord Haw-Haw

  1. Willie Shrumburger

    Hey thanks, Gen. Satterfield. I liked this one and went back to do a little research on Lord Haw Haw. Very interesting. I recommend everyone read a little more on this man. I was extraordinary in many ways. His downfall was getting pulled into the Nazi circle.

  2. Dennis Mathes

    Interesting article and informative. Thanks for another article worthy of me coming to this site.

  3. Len Jakosky

    At first I didn’t get the name “Haw Haw”. Now I think it is rather obvious. When the “government” puts on a show, it’s dull and uninspiring but when a passionate person does it, things lighten up a bit. That’s is part of the reason Lord Haw-Haw was able to enthrall so many for so long. I recognize that the people of England got mad at him barbecue he was out for their destruction.

    1. Danny Burkholder

      Same here, Len. I think that there was a serious reason for the execution of Lord Haw Haw although, as I understand it, he was not a UK citizen (officially). I recommend reading his bio. We can learn a lot from it.

  4. José Luis Rodriguez

    Another on-target article by Gen. Satterfield. I like these short profiles. Many of them, of course, I know of already because they are famous. What I specially like are the quality traits you spell out so clearly. This adds fast info to my bucket of leader stats. Thanks!!!! ?

    1. Albert Ayer

      Buenos días! Wishing you the best. I too like these short profiles. I printed most of them off on my printer and have them in a binder where I can go back to see the commonalities among them. I would recommend Gen Satterfield do some sort of analysis of the common traits of these leaders.

  5. Karl J.

    The list of character traits almost seem contradictory. I went on-line to read a few things about Lord Haw Haw and, yes, you are right about these traits. Interesting how very intelligent people can be sucked into an extreme position and then never realize it.

    1. Joe the Aussie

      Kind of reminds you of the nuts in the Democrat Party of the USA. Even my friends here in Australia know that are beaners. Cheers!

      1. Kenny Foster

        I’m glad this sort of social experimentation is going on where we ignore the long-held beliefs in certain types of behavior being good (for us all) and other types not being acceptable. California leaders “know” they are smarter and more moral than the rest of us so they pass laws to that effect. Well, let’s see how that works out.

    2. JT Patterson

      Good comment, Karl. Glad to see you back on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog.

  6. Georgie B.

    Apparently, Lord Haw Haw was renowned around the world at the time but he has faded into oblivion since that time. Maybe that is a good thing that his memory has faded. But perhaps not. For his legacy to fade means that we cannot hold him up as a paragon of extreme ideology and what happens when you are “all in” on the ideology. Kind of like Communism.

    1. Jerome Smith

      Yes, these modern ideologies make us no longer see reality but see the world through distorted frameworks that motivate us to do things we would not ordinarily do. Thus, the reason we see so many who believe communism is the end all way for the human condition to survive. Good point, Georgie. Thanks.

  7. Doug Smith

    Amazing profile. We normally think of people like this as pure ideologues. You have brought out his positive (as well as his negative) qualities. Much more realistic.

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