Foreign Agents, Invaders, Empire, Government Responses, and Novels
This chapter looks at Germany as seen as Britain’s chief rival away from France and Russia. This was because Germany seemed to challenge the British Empire not only economically and militarily, but through words such as expressing pro-Boer sympathies during the Boer War with the encouragement by right-wing newspapers, notably The Daily Mail and its proprietor Lord Northcliffe helping to causing a spy scare. The scare focused on German immigrants as (or at least as potential) spies which in turn helped to provide the environment for the foundation of the intelligence services of MI5 and MI6. Le Queux’s stories with reports in newspapers of spies roaming the countryside were in part used as evidence to the sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence inquiries in 1908 and 1909. The chapter will point out the similarities between spy/invasion literature and the statements used in support of national service, the perceived spy threat, and the creation of organisations like the Boy Scouts and the Legion of Frontiersmen. There will also be a discussion of those who argued against the existence of any threat, or satirised scaremongers.