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Mixing ItDiversity in World War Two Britain$
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Wendy Webster

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735762

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198735762.001.0001

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(p.27) 1 1940
Mixing It

Wendy Webster

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the different groups that arrived in Britain in 1940—mainly from the British Empire and the European continent. Journeys to Britain were often daring, improvised, and dangerous. In mid-1940, when an imminent invasion of Britain was widely expected, there was a climate of intense hostility to foreigners. The British government introduced a policy of mass internment of people of enemy nationality, but hostility was often directed at all foreigners in Britain, regardless of nationality, with suspicions that they were acting as spies and fifth columnists. In contrast, there was often a warm welcome for those arriving in military uniform and they featured prominently in British propaganda which emphasized a war fought by allies, not Britain standing alone. The chapter argues that by the end of 1940, the climate of intense hostility to foreigners had begun to change.

Keywords:   multinational, Dunkirk, Operation Aerial, Arandora Star, fifth columnist, mass internment, enemy aliens, refugee, military uniform, Britain stands alone

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