Enemies in the Empire: Civilian Internment in the British Empire during the First World War

ISBN : 9780198850151

Stefan Manz; Panikos Panayi
384 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
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During the First World War, Britain was the epicentre of global mass internment and deportation operations. Germans, Austro-Hungarians, Turks, and Bulgarians who had settled in Britain and its overseas territories were deemed to be a potential danger to the realm through their ties with the Central Powers and were classified as 'enemy aliens'. A complex set of wartime legislation imposed limitations on their freedom of movement, expression, and property possession. Approximately 50,000 men and some women experienced the most drastic step of enemy alien control, namely internment behind barbed wire, in many cases for the whole duration of the war and thousands of miles away from the place of arrest.

Enemies in the Empire is the first study to analyse British internment operations against civilian 'enemies' during the First World War from an imperial perspective. The narrative takes a three-pronged approach. In addition to a global examination, the volume demonstrates how internment operated on a (proto-) national scale within the three selected case studies of the metropole (Britain), a white dominion (South Africa), and a colony under direct rule (India). Stefan Manz and Panikos Panayi then bring their study to the local level by concentrating on the three camps Knockaloe (Britain), Fort Napier (South Africa), and Ahmednagar (India), allowing for detailed analyses of personal experiences. Although conditions were generally humane, in some cases, suffering occurred. The study argues that the British Empire played a key role in developing civilian internment as a central element of warfare and national security on a global scale.


PART I: Internment in Historical and Global Perspective

1 Introduction

2 Internment in Historical and Global Perspective

3 The German Diaspora in the Empire

4 Global Germanophobia during Wartime: Public and State Responses

5 British Imperial Internment

6 The Extent and Nature of the Camp System

PART II: Metropole and Territories

7 Great Britain

8 South Africa

9 India

PART III: Life in the Camps

10 Knockaloe

11 Fort Napier

12 Ahmednagar

PART IV: Conclusion

13 The Nature and Legacy of British Imperial Internment

Appendix: Main Civilian Internment Camps in the British Empire

About the author: 

Stefan Manz is Professor of German and Global History at Aston University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His last monograph on the German diaspora before 1914 was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. Manz has received funding from a number of international bodies and serves on the AHRC Peer Review College. He is a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.; Panikos Panayi is Professor of European History at De Montfort University and a leading authority on the position of ethnic minorities in the modern world, a field in which he has published widely. His research has received funding from a wide variety of bodies including the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

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