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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


Acknowledgements There are numerous people I have to thank who contributed to the produc- tion of this book. I apologize in advance if I have overlooked any of them. I would like to acknowledge the librarians and archivists at the National Archives in Kew; Archives New Zealand, Wellington; and both the Alexander Turnbull Library and National Library of New Zealand in Wellington. In particular, I would like to thank Natalie Marshall, curator, Photographs, and Jenni Chrisstof fels at the Alexander Turnbull Library, for their assistance with the book’s images. Thanks, too, go to Professor James Bade for allowing me to adapt from one of his books the map show- ing early German settlement in New Zealand. I am particularly grateful to Professor Don MacRaild and Professor Melanie Nolan for their long-term interest in this project. I would also like to thank friends who very kindly indulged me when I was no doubt boring them rigid with my stories of the New Zealand home front during the Great War. These include Giacomo Lichtner, Andrew Gregg, Clark Stiles, Paul Hamer, Kim Glazebrook, Elizabeth Vincent and Jef f Abbott. My gratitude also goes to participants at the ‘Germans as Minorities during the First World War’ conference held at De Montfort University in Leicester in June 2011. The conference, organized by Professor Panikos Panayi, involved numerous discussions which helped contextualize many of my thoughts and findings contained in this book. I would like to thank Professor Richard Finlay and Professor Paul Ward, editors of...

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