Panikos Panayi
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Arrest, transportation and capture
in Prisoners of Britain
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This chapter aims to outline the development of internment policy and its immediate impact for individuals. Internment and the capture of prisoners of war needs contextualization in the brutal and murderous consequences of the First World War, which, unlike many nineteenth-century conflicts, moved away from battles between armies to incorporate all civilians. Civilians faced arrest, or simply gave themselves up, while those conveyed to Britain upon ships essentially experienced transportation. Personal narratives, consisting of letters and subsequently published memoirs, provide an insight into the way in which German soldiers fell into British hands, which involved a combination of capture and surrender. The figures for those held in Britain remained fairly constant until about 1917, when increasing numbers of German soldiers became prisoners in France. The vast majority of military internees who found themselves in Britain originated in the deciding battles of the First World War, those from 1917 onwards.

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Prisoners of Britain

German civilian and combatant internees during the First World War


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