The Enemy in Our Midst: Germans in Britain during the First World War

By Panikos Panayi | Go to book overview

7
Anti-German Manifestations:
Witch-Hunts, Boycotts and Movements

Although anti-German sentiment had begun to develop during the Victorian and Edwardian period it hardly manifested itself to any great extent. With the outbreak of the Great War this situation changed as all sections of British society became gripped by a passionate hatred of all things German. On a minor level this resulted in a boycott of German music and culture. More seriously, children endured beatings at school while their parents and grandparents faced vilification in both national and local newspapers as well as discrimination on a scale which few other immigrant minorities have experienced in British history. Trading organisations, political parties, local councils, and trade unions are some of the bodies which boycotted Germans. In addition, many shopkeepers refused to serve enemy aliens while employers would not hire them. Furthermore, a large number of pressure groups grew out of the jingoistic and xenophobic soil of the Great War with the specific aim of expelling Germans and their influence. Worst of all, enemy aliens and their property came under physical attack, as we will see in the next chapter. This section will concentrate upon milder manifestations of hostility towards German immigrants: witch-hunts of public figures and officials who had any connection with Germany; boycotts of enemy aliens; and a discussion of the activities of anti-German organisations.

In the last chapter attention focused upon the ideas of Maxse, White and others who feared that Germans and German Jews in high positions formed part of an organised network striving for a German victory. The same writers also played a major part in attacking named individuals who had any connection with Germany. These consisted mainly of people who had become naturalised since their migration from Germany, as well as others such as Lord Haldane, the Lord Chancellor, who had once described Germany as his 'spiritual home' and had worked for an AngloGerman rapprochement before the War. The overwhelming majority of attacks had no basis and simply reflect the hysteria Britain

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The Enemy in Our Midst: Germans in Britain during the First World War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations Used in References x
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Victorian and Edwardian Background 9
  • 1 - The Victorian and Edwardian Background 9
  • Part I - The Official Reaction 43
  • 2 - Measures Against Enemy Aliens 45
  • 3 - Internment and Repatriation 70
  • 4 - The Experience of Internment 99
  • 5 - Measures Against German Business Interests 132
  • Part II - The Popular Reaction 151
  • 6 - Anti-German Sentiment: Spy-Fever, Anti-Alienism and the Hidden Hand 153
  • 7 - Anti-German Manifestations: Witch-Hunts, Boycotts and Movements 184
  • 8 - Anti-German Riots 223
  • 9 - Support for Enemy Aliens 259
  • Part III - Conclusion 281
  • Conclusion 283
  • Bibliography 292
  • Index 303
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