• Bridging the Gap between 'War' and 'Peace': The Case of Belgian Refugees in Britain

      Ewence, Hannah; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-06-17)
      Britain’s ‘hospitality’ towards 250,000 Belgian refugees now warrants a mention in most histories of the First World War. Yet the refugees’ rapid repatriation by the British state continues to be treated as little more than a bookend to their story, whilst the trauma of return and the challenges of reintegration for those who fled has been all but ignored. This chapter seeks to correct these oversights by exposing the contradictions of a state-sponsored repatriation scheme; presented as the final act of a ‘generous’ and ‘liberal’ nation but, in reality, one which served the British government’s own interests. Such a mercenary approach to repatriation curtailed state concern for the conditions facing returning Belgians as their nation emerged from four years of war into a fragile ‘peace’.