Jewish Identity and Attitudes toward Militarism in Scotland c.1898 to the 1920s

  • Kirk Hansen

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis concerns Scottish Jewish participation and non-participation with the military, primarily during the Great War, and the connection to Jewish integration and interaction with Scottish society.

    Within British Jewish historiography, Scottish Jews receive little attention in relation to military activity, and what has been written about Scottish Jewry predominantly focuses on participation and patriotism. This thesis re-examines Scottish Jewish participation in the military, and it explores both legal and illegal non-participation in order to provide a balanced evaluation of Scottish Jewry. This investigation of both participation and non-participation furthermore reveals a divide within Scottish Jewry between the establishment and immigrant sectors that presented a challenge for Jewish integration. Through examining attitudes toward militarism during the Great War, this thesis uncovers persistent anti-Jewish sentiment heightened by a tense wartime atmosphere to levels previously unknown in Scotland. Evidence of this tension between Scots and Jews, previously overlooked, is found primarily in the Scottish press which provided frustrated Scots with a place to complain, but also offered the Jewish community an opportunity to respond to criticism and declare their loyalties. The press is therefore valuable to this thesis in observing wartime interactions and relations between Scots and Jews. Additionally, the press along with various military records are used in this thesis as outside-in sources in order to gain a broader understanding of the Jewish position within Scottish society where previous historiography has relied heavily upon specifically Jewish sources. With a deeper understanding of attitudes toward militarism before, during, and after the Great War, this thesis will be able to place the wartime experiences of Scottish Jews and their efforts toward integration in a broader context of British Jewish history.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBilly Kenefick (Supervisor) & Graeme Morton (Supervisor)

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