Historical Background

These posts reflect some of the aspects of the historical background to the fears expressed in invasion literature.


Sir F.B. Head (1850) The defenceless state of Great Britain

Sir Francis B Head (1793-1875) The defenceless state of Great Britain, 1850, Sir Francis Bond Head, John Murray, London A long, early book reviewing Britain's readiness for war and its capabilities to resist invasion. I.f. Clarke comments: The nearest any ...
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Morgan-Owen, D. (2017) The Fear of Invasion

David Morgan-Owen , The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914, OUP 2017 The Fear of Invasion presents a new interpretation of British preparation for War before 1914. It argues that protecting the British Isles from invasion ...
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Bishop, F., 1916, The Story of the Submarine

Farnham Bishop, 1916, The Story of the Submarine, The Century Co., New York PREFACE This book has been written for the nontechnical reader—for the man or boy who is interested in submarines and torpedoes, and would like to know something ...
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Trotter, D. (1993) The English Novel in History 1895 – 1920

David Trotter (1993) The English Novel in History 1895 - 1920, London, Routledge While covering a much wider spectrum than just invasion-scare fiction Trotter's book provides an interesting context of literature and society within which the invasion-scare/future war genre sits ...
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The First Battle of Ironclads – 1862

A portent of future naval warfare: The first battle between ironclads: CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimac) (left) vs. USS Monitor, in 1862 at the Battle of Hampton Roads: First Battle of Iron Ships of War by Henry Bill. Shown are the ...
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The Fenian Ram

The Fenian Ram was an early submarine developed by John Holland in the United States for the Fenian Brotherhood foe use by the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Description from Wikipedia: Fenian Ram is a submarine designed by John Philip Holland for ...
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Parliamentary Debates & Reports (1871-1914)

The following extracts of parliamentary business are taken from Hansard and other public records. [Extracts contain Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0.] House Commons Debate, 14th May 1901. ARMY ORGANISATION Sir John Colomb: I hope the House ...
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Marvin, C. (1886) Russia’s Power of Attacking India

Charles Marvin (1886) Russia's Power of Attacking India, W.H. Allen & Co., London A very succesfull analysis of the threat to India from Russia in the late nineteenth century. PREFACE. In the spring of this year I wrote these words ...
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MacKenzie, J. (ed) (1986) Imperialism and Popular Culture

John MacKenzie (ed) (1986) Imperialism and Popular Culture, Manchester University Press Whilst not specific to invasion literature this book contains a series of papers related to the portrayal of empire in popular culture includeing art and music-hall. In particular, it ...
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MacKenzie, J. (1984) Propaganda and Empire

John MacKenzie (1984) Propaganda and Empire - The Manipulation of British Public Opinion, 1880-1960, Manchester University Press Like Imperialism and Popular Culture, this work by MacKenzie covers a wider gamut of public opinion than just invasion literature but it does ...
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Lowe, C. (1910) About German Spies

Charles Lowe (1910) About German Spies - Contemporary Review, January 1910, pp.46-47 Journalist Charles Lowe wrote in 1910: "Among all the causes contributing to the continuance of a state of bad blood between England and Germany perhaps the most potent ...
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Libya 1911 – The first air raid?

The first use of aeroplanes for reconnaissance and bombing occurred in the Italian-Turkish war in 1911. On October 23, 1911, an Italian pilot, Captain Carlo Piazza, flew over Turkish lines on the world's first aerial reconnaissance mission, and on November ...
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Kennedy, P. (1980) The Rise of Anglo-German Antagonism

Paul Kennedy (1980) The Rise of Anglo-German Antagonism, London, George Allen & Unwin (publishers) Ltd. The growing rivalry between Great Britain and Germany before the First World War has long been regarded by historians as one of the major events ...
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Smith, M. (2003) The Spying Game

Smith, M. (2003) The Spying Game - The History of the Secret Intelligence Service This book, together with Jeffery's MI6, describe the historical background to Britain's secret intelligence services and briefly describe the influence of the novels of William Le ...
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Jeffery, K. (2010) MI6

Jeffery, K. (2010) MI6: The history of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909 -1949 This book, together with Smith's The Spying Game, describe the historical background to Britain's secret intelligence services and briefly describe the influence of the novels of William ...
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Freeman, R. (2009) The Great Edwardian Naval Feud

ichard Freeman (2009) The Great Edwardian Naval Feud: Beresford's Vendetta Against 'Jackie' Fisher Interesting background to the period when Britain was building up its naval capabilities. This is the story of the clash between two gigantic personalities in the early ...
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Dienstbach, C. and MacMechen, T.R. (1909) The Aerial Battleship

Dienstbach, C. and MacMechen, T.R. (1909) The Aerial Battleship. McLure's Magazine, August, 1909 An article discussing the role of airships in war. In the fall of 1908 the third airship built by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was bought by the ...
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Conan Doyle, A. (1913) Great Britain and the Next War

Arthur Conan Doyle (1913) Great Britain and the Next War - published in Fortnightly Review, February 1913. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the few major authors of the time who clearly foresaw the impending dangers. Now known mainly ...
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Burnaby, F. (1876) A Ride to Khiva

Fred Burnaby (1876) A Ride to Khiva It is 1875, the time of the 'Great Game', when the British and Russian Empires are vying for power in central Asia. A British officer rides for Khiva, a Russian city closed to ...
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Burnaby, F. (1877) On Horseback through Asia Minor

Frederick Burnaby (1877) On Horseback through Asia Minor, London; Sampson Low and Co A follow-up to A Ride to Khiva. “On Horseback Through Asia Minor” details how the brave Burnaby set off in the winter of 1876, convinced he could ...
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Bernhardi, F. von (1911) Germany and the Next War

General Friedrich von Bernhardi (1911) Deutschland und der Nächste Krieg. [Germany and the Next War, translated by Allen H. Powless - 1912] Friedrich Adolf Julius von Bernhardi (November 22, 1849 – December 11, 1930) was a Prussian general and military ...
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Baden-Powell, R. (1915) My Adventures as a Spy

Sir Robert Baden-Powell (1915) My Adventures as a Spy, London, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd In this entertaining little volume of reminiscences Sir Robert Baden-Powell joyfully accepts the title of spy, and he thus does something to remove the absurd discredit ...
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The Airship Scare of 1909

There was a rash of scares reported in the press during 1909. This has been documented by: Alfred M. Gollin, 'England Is No Longer an Island: The Phantom Airship Scare of 1909', Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, ...
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Spy Fever: The Post Office Affair

Margaret Tait Flaws, Spy Fever: The Post Office Affair, Shetland Times Ltd (14 Mar. 2009) At the beginning of the First World War, stories of spies abounded throughout the British Isles. It was in this atmosphere that the entire staff ...
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