‘To Be Truly British We Must Be Anti-German’

New Zealand, Enemy Aliens and the Great War Experience, 1914-1919

by Andrew Francis (Author)
©2012 Monographs VIII, 299 Pages
Series: British Identities since 1707, Volume 4


This book is a study of the treatment of New Zealand’s German-speaking settlers during the course of the Great War. As with Britain’s other dominions, New Zealand’s German and Austro-Hungarian residents were subject to a raft of legislation which placed restrictions on their employment and activities, while those considered a danger to domestic security found themselves interned for the duration of the conflict. This book examines public, press and political responses to their presence, and describes how patriotic associations, trade organizations, xenophobic politicians and journalists undertook a vigorous anti-alien campaign resulting, in a number of instances, in anti-German riots.
Central to this book is an examination of the extent to which proimperial sentiment, concepts of citizenship and national identity, increasing European settlement and a progressively volatile European scene set the tone for the manner with which the dominion’s British settlers treated its enemy alien counterparts. Themes discussed include the public’s reaction to war; the government’s internment policy; the establishment of anti-German trade organizations; and the challenges facing Prime Minister William Massey, whose wish to remain fair and just towards enemy aliens often brought him into direct conflict with the more hostile anti-German elements within New Zealand society.


VIII, 299
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (March)
Great War patriotism Wartime loyalty and citizenship Public opinion during the Great War Xenophobia in the Victorian and Edwardian eras Ethnic relations in New Zealand Pro-imperialism in New Zealand
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. X, 299 pp., 15 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Andrew Francis (Author)

Andrew Francis is an independent historian living in Wellington, New Zealand. His research interests include the New Zealand home front during the First World War, the history of British imperial advertising and British film propaganda of the Second World War. This is his first book.


Title: ‘To Be Truly British We Must Be Anti-German’