Great War, London, anti-German violence, press propaganda, food shortage


During the First World War, anti-German sentiments manifested itself as riots in several occasions in London. Several explanations and interpretations were put forward by contemporary observers and later historians. This essay intends to provide a more balanced discourse on the causes of the anti-German riots. I will demonstrate that the popular anti-German violence was a mixed product of press propaganda and local grievance caused by food shortage and economic inflation. Moreover, while this essay does not aim to fully exonerate the British government, I will explain that in some instances, the role of authority was quite limited in terms of promoting anti-German hatred.

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The author would like to thank Professor Daniel Ussishkin for his helpful recommendations and generous support.

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