Alien Diplomatist: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Germanism in the Career of Sir Francis Oppenhiemer, 1900-1921

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This article examines the interaction of antisemitic sentiments, bred by social exclusivity, and the conduct of diplomacy through the prism of the career of Sir Francis Oppenheimer, one of the few Jews in Britain's foreign service in the early part of the twentieth century. Oppenheimer filled consular and diplomatic posts between 1900 and 1920. Despite his distinguished services, his brilliant analyses of pre-1914 German economics and politics, and his key role in Britain's wartime blockade efforts against the Central Powers, Oppenheimer found himself hampered in the execution of his duties, and thwarted in his hopes for advancement, by latent antisemitism amongst the senior ranks of Britain's diplomatic establishment. During the war years, the combination of such sentiments, the xenophobia of the super-patriotic press, and Whitehall turf-wars proved irresistible, bringing Oppenheimer's career to an early end.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-255
Number of pages23
Issue number294
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

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