“A question which affects our prestige as a nation”: the history of British civilian internment, 1899-1945

Denness, Zoë Andrea (2013). “A question which affects our prestige as a nation”: the history of British civilian internment, 1899-1945. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis offers a comparative analysis of British wartime civilian internment policies, focusing on three key case studies: the South African War (1899-1902), the First World War and the Second World War. It seeks to determine the place of the ‗concentration camps‘ of the South African War within the history of internment and the extent to which world war internment episodes were shaped by both historical and contemporary experiences. It suggests that reactions to internment, at both state and popular levels, are revealing about Britain‘s self-image in relation to civil rights, justice and the treatment of minorities.

In particular, the thesis argues that gender ideologies were highly significant in determining the development of internment policies, playing a central role in shaping popular images of the enemy and underpinning official assumptions about the treatment of women by the state. The debates and discussions which emerged around internment policy also provide insight into the ways in which the experience of war can accentuate the exclusion of minorities and the reinforcement of racial stereotypes. The thesis examines the ways in which racialized and gendered discourses converged during each conflict to create particular understandings of the enemy, which in turn had a discernible impact on the development of internment policies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3991


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