Historical Background

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


The Dogger Bank Incident, 1904

In October 1904 the Russian Navy attacked a fleet of British trawlers. The Dogger Bank incident (also known as the North Sea Incident, the Russian Outrage or the Incident of Hull) occurred on the night of 21/22 October 1904, when ...
Read More

Coverage in Current Media

Apart from occasional references to The Riddle of the Sands there is generally very little written today about the Invasion Literature of the late 19C / Early 20C. One exception was an article in the Sunday Express on 18th May ...
Read More

Blyth, J. (1909) The Swoop of the Vulture – Contemporary Review

James Blyth (1909) The Swoop of the Vulture,  London: Digby, Long, and Company. Review from New ZealandEvening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 150, 26 June 1909, Page 19 A DREAM OF INVASION. "The Swoop of the Vulture." By James Blyth. London: ...
Read More

Blyth, J. (1912) The Peril of Pine’s Place – Contemporary Review

'The Peril of Pine's Place'.The Academy and literature, 1910-1914; Jan 27, 1912; p.112 The Peril of Pine's Place. By JAMES BLYTH. (F. V. White and Co. 6s.) THERE are two young men just down from college, two girls with whom ...
Read More

Shiel, M.P. (1898) The Yellow Danger – Contemporary Review

Shiel, M.P. (1898) The Yellow Danger - Contemporary Review, The Academy Supplement, July 30, 1898 The taste for prophetic fiction is acquired. Those who follow the advice of Sidney Smith and “take short views" will have none of it, and ...
Read More

Graves, A.K. (1914) The Secrets of the German War Office – Contemporary Review

GERMAN "SPY"; Are Dr. A.K. Graves's Revelations Genuine? - New York Times, December 13, 1914, Review of Books Are "The Secrets of the German War Office," by Dr. Armgaard Karl Graves, genuine revelations, or are they dangerous fiction and a ...
Read More

Jane, F.T. (1913) Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1913

Fred T. Jane (1913) Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1913 Preface: As conjectured last year, considerable further changes have been produced in this edition. When, some five years ago, work on this annual was first commenced, the military aviator was ...
Read More

Brassey, T.A. (192) The Naval Annual 1912

Brassey, T.A. (192) The Naval Annual 1912 Provides a good description of the state of the world's navies a couple of years before WW1 and also a review of expenditure, capabilities and background. Preface: With the growth of naval preparations ...
Read More

Sleeman, C.W. (1880) Torpedoes and Torpedo Warfare

C. W. Sleeman (1880) Torpedoes and Torpedo Warfare: Containing a complete and concise account of the rise and progress of submarine warfare Preface In the following pages the Author has endeavoured to supply a want, viz. a comprehensive work on ...
Read More

Bloch, I.S. (1900) Modern weapons and modern war

Jan Bloch (1900) Modern weapons and modern war, being an abridgment of "The war of the future in its technical, economic and political relations" translated from the Russian. Jan Bloch's Modern Weapons and Modern Warfare (1900) [is] the first systematic ...
Read More

Repington, A. (1910) New Wars for Old

Colonel A Court Repington (1910) New Wars for Old - The submarine menace - Blackwood's Magazine CLXXXVII Jan-June 1910 In a 1910 article for Blackwood's Magazine, Colonel Repington declared that 'It is also certain that it must be a perfectly ...
Read More

Samuel Hynes, (1969) Edwardian Turn of Mind: First World War and English Culture (1969)

The Edwardian Turn of Mind brilliantly evokes the cultural temper of an age. The years between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the First World War witnessed a turbulent and dramatic struggle between the old and the ...
Read More

Hearne, R.P. (1908) Aerial Warfare & (1910) Airships in peace and war

R.P. Hearne (1908) Aerial Warfare & (1910) Airships in Peace and War (2nd Edn. of Aerial Warfare)  In 1908, the motoring journalist R. P. Hearne published Aerial Warfare, the first book on the subject to reach an audience beyond military ...
Read More

Sidney Theodore Felstead (1920) in German Spies at Bay – Being an Actual Record of the German Espionage in Great Britain during the years 1914-1918

Sidney Theodore Felstead (1920) German Spies at Bay - Being an Actual Record of the German Espionage in Great Britain during the years 1914-1918, compiled from official sources PREFACE The late war has been unprecedented for many reasons, one of ...
Read More

Wade, S. (2007) Spies in the Empire: Victorian Military Intelligence

Stephen Wade (2007) Spies in the Empire: Victorian Military Intelligence, Anthem Press There have been a great many books written on military intelligence and the secret services rooted in the twentieth century; however there is very little covering the activities ...
Read More

Stafford, D. (2013), The Silent Game: The Real World of Imaginary Spies

Stafford, D. (2013) The Silent Game: The Real World of Imaginary Spies, Thistle Publishing The Silent Game traces the history of spy writers and their fiction from creator William Le Queux, of the Edwardian age, to John le Carré, of ...
Read More

Morton, J. (2010) Spies of the First World War – Under Cover for King and Kaiser

James Morton (2010) Spies of the First World War - Under Cover for King and Kaiser, Kew, The National Archives When Colonel James Edmonds argued for a British secret service in 1907, officials mocked that he had ̀espionage on the ...
Read More

Knightley, P. (2003) The Second Oldest Profession – Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century

The Second Oldest Profession – Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century by Phillip Knightley (2003) The first chapter of The Second Oldest Profession – Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century by Phillip Knightley (2003, 2nd Edition, London, Vintage) ...
Read More

Andrew, C. (2009) The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5

Christopher Andrew, (2009) The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5. Allen Lane Contains an extensive background to the founding of MI5 / SIS and the role of spy and invasion literature. To mark the centenary of its ...
Read More

Ramsden, John, Don’t Mention the War

John Ramsden (2006), Don't Mention the War - The British and the Germans since 1890, London, Little, Brown While this book covers attitudes towards Germany and the Germans from 1890 through the 20C it has a chapter that focuses on ...
Read More

Life imitating Art: ‘Spies’ arrested by the Germans

A series of arrests of yachtsmen occurred during the period 1910-1912: ...
Read More

Channel Tunnel Plans and Fears

Channel tunnel: centuries of planning These plans are for a channel tunnel railway link between Calais and Dover. They were created more than 100 years before the channel tunnel was actually built. [Source: The National Archive - Treasures from The ...
Read More

The Historical Background

This genre of literature rose to prominence at a time when attitudes regarding Britain's friends and potential enemies were changing. While France had traditionally been seen as Britain's enemy there was a new potential threat from the newly formed German ...
Read More