'Totally un-English'?

Britain’s Internment of ‘Enemy Aliens’ in Two World Wars


Volume Editor:
The internment of ‘enemy aliens’ by the British government in two world wars remains largely hidden from history. British historians have treated the subject – if at all – as a mere footnote to the main narrative of Britain at war. In the ‘Great War’, Britain interned some 30,000 German nationals, most of whom had been long-term residents. In fact, internment brought little discernible benefit, but cruelly damaged lives and livelihoods, breaking up families and disrupting social networks. In May 1940, under the threat of imminent invasion, the British government interned some 28,000 Germans and Austrians, mainly Jewish refugees from the Third Reich. It was a measure which provoked lively criticism, not least in Parliament, where one MP called the internment of refugees ‘totally un-English’. The present volume seeks to shed more light on this still submerged historical episode, adopting an inter-disciplinary approach to explore hitherto under-researched aspects, including the historiography of internment, the internment of women, deportation to Canada, and culture in internment camps, including such notable events as the internment revue What is Life!

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"Insgesamt wird hier ein dunkles Kapitel englischer Geschichte lebendig wie selten zuvor." - in: Germanistik, Band 47, Heft 1-2 (2006)
Richard DOVE: ‘A matter which touches the good name of this country’
Panikos PANAYI: A Marginalized Subject? The Historiography of Enemy Alien Internment in Britain
Internment in the First World War
Panikos PANAYI: Prisoners of Britain: German Civilian, Military and Naval Internees during the First World War
Yvonne CRESSWELL: Behind the Wire: the material culture of civilian internment on the Isle of Man in the First World War
Jutta Raab HANSEN: Die Bedeutung der Musik für 26.000 internierte Zivilisten während des Ersten Weltkriegs auf der Isle of Man
Stefan MANZ: Civilian Internment in Scotland during the First World War
Internment in the Second World War
Charmian BRINSON: ‘Loyal to the Reich’: National Socialists and Others in the Rushen Women’s Internment Camp
Richard DOVE: ‘Wer sie nicht erlebt hat, der begreift sie nie.’ The Internment Camp Revue
What is life!
Jennifer TAYLOR: ‘Something to make people laugh’? Political content in Isle of Man Internment Camp Journals July-October 1940
Lucio SPONZA: The Internment of Italians 1940-1945
Nicole M. T. BRUNNHUBER : After the Prison Ships: Internment Narratives in Canada
Birgit LANG: The Dunera Boys: Dramatizing History from a Jewish Perspective
J. M. RITCHIE: Exile, Internment and Deportation in Norbert Gstrein’s Die englische Jahre
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