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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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List of Illustrations ix


List of Illustrations 1 Settlement Areas of Immigrants from German-Speaking Europe up to 1914. 2 Fiftieth wedding anniversary of the Reverend and Mrs J. W. C. Heine, probably at Upper Moutere, 5 September 1899. 3 Croatian gumdiggers at Orewa, North Island, New Zealand, 1899. 4 Governor of New Zealand, Lord Liverpool (holding paper), reads the King’s declaration of war to politicians and assembled crowd outside Parliament Buildings, Wellington, 5 August 1914. 5 ‘How the Row in Europe Started’, New Zealand Free Lance, 8 August 1914. 6 Members of the National Ministry of New Zealand, 1916. 7 Friedrich Wohnsiedler’s store after Gisborne rioting, Auckland Weekly News, 7 January 1915. 8 Conrad Heinold’s store after Wanganui rioting, Auckland Weekly News, 27 May 1915. 9 Members of the New Zealand Guard on Somes Island between 1914 and 1918. 10 German Prisoners of War on Somes Island celebrating Kaiser Wilhelm’s birthday. 11 Portrait of Count Felix von Luckner, ca 1938. 12 ‘Getting too Hot: Will He Quit?’, New Zealand Truth, 28 August 1915. 13 Bristol Piano Company, New Zealand Free Lance, 9 January 1915. 14 Levin Armistice Day celebrations, 13 November 1918. 15 ‘Good bye-e and good riddance’, New Zealand Free Lance, 28 May 1919.

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