The War at Home: Internment and Persecution of Enemy Aliens in Australia during WWI

UTS Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre
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During WWI, the Australian Government conducted a vigorous campaign against so-called enemy aliens, mainly members of the German Australian community. Since it was impractical to intern all of the estimated 100,000 residents of German descent, a number of restrictions were placed on all Australian residents of enemy origin, and a policy of selective internment was adopted aimed at detaining prominent leaders and businessmen with the aim of destroying the cultural infrastructure of the community and the commercial interests of German Australian residents. After the war, the prisoners still held in internment camps (some 6,000) were deported to Germany. While the WWI story of the Anzacs has been elevated to the status of a national foundation myth, the concurrent story of a war waged at home against a section of the Australian population has received very little attention.
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