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

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


Andrew Francis

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.


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Acknowledgements vii List of Illustrations ix Introduction 1 Chapter One ‘Proven Worthy Settlers’?: European Settlement and the Rise of Anti-Alienism 15 Chapter Two ‘The Red Strand of Kinship’: New Zealand’s Response to War 47 Chapter Three ‘Proof of Loyalty’: Naturalization, Enemy Aliens and the Public Response 69 Chapter Four ‘Out of Harm’s Way’: Internment and the Camp Experience 113 Chapter Five ‘The Red Hot Poker of Public Indignation’: Public Opinion and the von Zedlitz Af fair, 1915 153 Chapter Six ‘Practical Patriotism’: Wartime Economy and the German Trade Boycott 181 vi Chapter Seven ‘When the Empire is in Danger’: Enemy Aliens and the Great War in Canada and New Zealand 215 Chapter Eight The Aftermath of War 251 Conclusion 261 Bibliography 269 Index 293

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