Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Osborne Humphries

Advisor Role

Associate Professor, Department of History, Wilfrid Laurier University

Second Advisor

Dr. Roger Sarty

Advisor Role

Professor, Department of History, Wilfrid Laurier University

Third Advisor

Dr. Dan Gorman

Advisor Role

Professor, Department of History, University of Waterloo


Few issues have impacted the British people more than the historic fear or threat of invasion. From the Napoleonic Wars to the Second World War, the most “heroic” periods of British history have been those when the island faced possible invasion and destruction. This thesis seeks to address a gap in the history of Great Britain by examining the impact of Britons’ fear of invasion on British civil-military relations prior to and in the initial stages of the First World War. Following the 1911 Agadir Crisis, Britain’s defence establishment acknowledged the political and social influence that the fear of invasion wielded in British society, so much so that public opinion was expected to detrimentally influence strategic operations. These predictions proved correct once the First World War began as an outpouring of public anxiety sparked the Invasion Scare of 1914. With the British people forming paramilitary home defence groups and criticizing the war effort, the British Government established the country’s first modern civil defence organization. Designed to quell the fear of invasion, this civil defence organization indicates an acknowledgement of the growing importance of the homefront and public morale in modern warfare.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season