Germany Calling: A Personal Biography of William Joyce – Lord Haw-Haw

By Mary Kenny

William Joyce – aka ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ – was the notorious propaganda voice for Adolf Hitler, and the last man to be hanged for treason by the British Crown. As a journalist and author, Rebecca West sat through Joyce’s trial for high treason in 1945 and wrote The New Meaning of Treason (1964): she came to a blunt and fact-oriented conclusion about the ‘’crazy mixed-up Irishman’. West dismissed him as a ‘queer little Irish peasant who had gone through some pains to make the worst of himself’. But in ‘Germany Calling’, Mary Kenny paints a much more rounded portrait of Lord Haw-Haw, whose propaganda broadcasts for the Third Reich took him to the scaffold at Wandsworth. This is an intimate biography, one that’s at times unsettling in its compassion for the protagonist. Where West looked at what Joyce did, Kenny looks at who he was – and what his motives were for knowingly becoming one of the Nazis’ principal propaganda ‘devices’ during the second world war. Very readable.

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