The Enemy

Catriona Pennell

in A Kingdom United

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199590582
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738777 | DOI:
The Enemy

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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When societies go to war, their world‐view quickly becomes polarized into ‘us’ versus ‘them’. The positive collective self—the nation and its allies—is directly juxtaposed with the enemy. At the outbreak of war, the majority of British people believed that Germany was their enemy and this feeling, in turn, compounded a sense of righteousness about Britain and its cause. This chapter explores how the perception of Germany as the enemy was constructed. It also examines the relationship between the actions of the external enemy—Germany and its enemy allies—and the internal enemy—enemy aliens and spies, illustrating the depth of anxiety felt in Britain at the outbreak of war.

Keywords: enemy; alien; spy; espionage; riot; violence; hatred; Germans; Germany

Chapter.  13048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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