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Control of enemy alien civilians in Great Britain 1914-1918.

Bird, John Clement (1981) Control of enemy alien civilians in Great Britain 1914-1918. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Few domestic issues in Great Britain during the First World War proved more politically sensitive or more difficult to resolve than the question of how to deal with the generally perceived threat posed by enemy alien residents. At the beginning of the war they numbered more than 70,000, excluding British-born women who had acquired enemy nationality through marriage, and children under the age of 14. Ultimately over 32,000 enemy alien men, mostly of military age, were interned, more than 20,000 men, women and children repatriated, and the remainder allowed to remain at liberty but subject to numerous restrictions. The latter group consisted mainly of women, children, elderly men or men who, although technically enemy aliens, were members of races, such as the Poles, Czechs and Alsatians, deemed friendly to the allied cause. This thesis is concerned with the origins, development and implementation of the policies of wartime governments in relation to enemy aliens, taking account of the aims of the decision makers, the factors which influenced them, and the principle results of their actions. The historic precedents and pre-war contingency planning of aliens controls to be introduced in the event of war are briefly considered and an assessment is made of the emergency legislation, most notably the Aliens Restriction Act, introduced in the early days of the war and subsequently extended and strengthened. The study traces the fluctuations of internment and repatriation policy and the operation of the internment camp system. Also examined are the key measures affecting those enemy subjects who retained their freedom; the way in which the property and business interests of enemy aliens were dealt with; the attempts by the authorities to find work of 'national importance' for enemy subjects or, in some cases, to place them in military service, usually with a non-combatant labour unit; wartime naturalisation policy; the operation of port controls and the work of the Aliens Branch of the Home Office.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, European
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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