Heligoland: The True Story of German Bight and the Island that Britain Forgot

Heligoland: The True Story of German Bight and the Island that Britain Forgot

by George Drower


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In 1956, sea area Heligoland became German Bight. But why did the North Sea island, which for nearly a century had demonstrated its loyalty to Britain, lose its identity? How had this once peaceful haven become, as Admiral Jacky Fisher exclaimed "a dagger pointed at England’s heart"? Behind the renaming of Heligoland lies a catalogue of deceit, political amibition, blunder, and daring. Heligoland came under British rule in the nineteenth century, a "Gibraltar" of the North Sea. Then, in 1890, despite the islanders’ wishes, Lord Salisbury announced his intention to swap it for Germany’s presence in Zanzibar. The Prime Minister’s decision unleashed a storm of controversy. Queen Victoria telegrammed from Balmoral to register her fury. During both world wars, it was used by Germany to control the North Sea, and RAF planes bombed the once-British territory. The story of Heligoland is more than an obscure footnote to the British Empire—it shows the significance of territory throughout history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780752460673
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

George Drower is an expert on overseas territories and international politics. He has also written a number of gift books, including Gardeners, Gurus & Grubs and Boats, Boffins & Bowlines (The History Press). He lives in London.

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