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Title: London Jewry and the First World War : patriotisms, identity and the politics of integration
Author: Smith, Christopher William
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis re-examines London Jewry’s experience of The First World War and demonstrates the unprecedented impact of the conflict on the development of the community. The thesis examines the impact of the war on Jewish nationalism in the British context. It demonstrates how active service during the war instilled a Jewish patriotism, fed by the experiences of antisemitism in the British Army, the Balfour Declaration and service in Palestine. The reality and rhetoric of British antisemitism are examined in the context of highly visible events such as the Bethnal Green disturbances of September 1917 and the minutiae of Jew and Gentile relations in the trenches and on the Home Front. This involves a wider discussion on how British society interacted with its minority groups in the conditions of total war, with the London Jewish community the primary case study for this discussion. The war provided a business boom for Jewish tailors, relaxation of naturalisation laws and for many established Jews a vindication of their status as Britons through service and sacrifice on the front line. Conversely it saw a sharp increase in antagonism towards Jews on the Home Front and a crisis over Russian Jewish conscription that threatened to permanently undermine the position of the community in British society. The war deepened divisions between the established and immigrant halves of London’s Jewish community and accelerated the latter’s integration into British society. This thesis re-examines the First World War as an important event in the historiography of British Jewry in its own right rather than as a dramatic interruption in its progress.
Supervisor: Sutcliffe, Adam David ; Readman, Paul Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available