Antisemitism in the British upper classes after World War One

How antisemitism became acceptable

On Friday night, we were treated to KLS member Dr Howard Webber’s interesting and well-researched talk on antisemitism in the British upper classes after World War I. Howard showed a selection of quotations from 1917 to 1921 which displayed three types of antisemitism coming together in Britain: of Jews in the government, Jews as Bolsheviks, and Jews as children of the ghetto.

His conclusion had contemporary resonance: “It became acceptable to express publicly your private prejudices. Some commentators have taken comfort from the fact that the outbreak was fairly brief and seems to have had few long term effects. But you can also see it as a warning. Yes, this period of public antisemitism receded quite quickly. But it had arisen just as quickly, and had become respectable just as quickly.”

You can watch the talk here: