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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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Enemies and Neutrals

Enemies and Neutrals

(p.67) 2 Enemies and Neutrals
Mixing It

Wendy Webster

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on people of enemy and neutral nationality in Britain—chiefly Germans, Italians, and Irish who served in the British armed forces and as war-workers and propagandists. Through these activities, many Germans and Italians who were in Britain at the outset of the war moved closer to the allied end of a spectrum running from enemy to ally. In the later stages of the war, their place at the enemy end of this spectrum was taken by Germans and Italians who arrived as prisoners of war. Nationality played a significant role in shaping the fate of Italians and Germans and their descendants—those who were British-born or naturalized Britons were treated differently. The chapter considers the complex questions of identity involved when people of enemy and neutral nationality contributed to the British war effort and their complex national and family allegiances.

Keywords:   Kindertransport, Southern Ireland, prisoners of war, Pioneer Corps, Irish volunteers, Brendan Finucane, Irish identity, Jewish refugee, family loyalty, naturalization

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