The Early War Spy Scare and ‘The Hidden Hand’
This chapter discusses two aspects of attitudes towards spies and Germans in Britain during World War I. Firstly the British spy scare with its new and recurring themes from the earlier Edwardian spy scare that was often repeated during the war, along with those critical of the war spy scare. Secondly and finally, a study of the ‘hidden hand’, which was a conspiracy theory held by many, especially amongst the radical right, who believed Britain was under the control or under the influence of wealthy German-British or German-Jewish plutocrats. This was one of the major recurring spy themes of the war. The ‘hidden hand’ was often a continuation of pre-war anti-Jewish sentiment in a different guise, which became more hostile because of an actual war.