Internment during the First World War: A Mass Global Phenomenon

Stefan Manz, Panikos Panayi, Matthew Stibbe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The First World War led to a step change in the use of internment as a constituent element of twentieth-century warfare. The Red Cross International Prisoners of War Agency estimates that around eight million military prisoners of war (POWs) and two million civilians worldwide experienced some form of forced
detention during the course of the war. Other estimates arrive at a comparable
grand total but a different distribution with nine million POWs and close to one million civilians, highlighting the difficulties in clearly separating the two categories.1 For most of the twentieth century, these millions of men, women
and children did not experience the same degree of scholarly and public memorialisation as the combatants who fought or died on the battlefields. In her groundbreaking study of 1998, Annette Becker rightly called those who had found themselves behind barbed wire ‘the forgotten of the Great War’.2 A number of studies have since added to our understanding of captivity for military POWs.Comparatively fewer studies are concerned with the plight of civilians.4 The current volume aims to redress this imbalance by bringing together studies from a range of empires and countries to present a multifaceted and global picture of civilian internment during the First World War.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternment during the First World War
Subtitle of host publicationA Mass Global Phenomenon
EditorsStefan Manz , Panikos Panayi, Matthew Stibbe
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781315225913
ISBN (Print)9780415787444
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • civilian internment
  • World War 1
  • enemy aliens


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