Anti-English sentiment or Anglophobia (from Latin Anglus "English" and Greek φόβος, phobos, "fear") means opposition to, dislike of, fear of, or hatred towards England or English people.[1] The term is sometimes used more loosely for general anti-British sentiment.[1] Its opposite is Anglophilia.

Within the United Kingdom

In his essay "Notes on Nationalism", written in May 1945 and published in the first issue of the intellectual magazine Polemic (October 1945), George Orwell wrote that "Welsh, Irish and Scottish nationalism have points of difference but are alike in their anti-English orientation".[2]


A 2005 study by Hussain and Millar of the Department of Politics at the University of Glasgow examined the prevalence of Anglophobia in relation to Islamophobia in Scotland. One finding of the report suggested that national "phobias" have common roots independent of the nations they are directed toward. The study states that:

Scottish identity comes close to rivalling low levels of education as an influence towards Anglophobia. Beyond that, having an English friend reduces Anglophobia by about as much as having a Muslim friend reduces Islamophobia. And lack of knowledge about Islam probably indicates a broader rejection of the ‘other’, for it has as much impact on Anglophobia as on Islamophobia.[3]

The study goes on to say (of the English living in Scotland): "Few of the English (only 16 percent) see conflict between Scots and English as even 'fairly serious'." Hussain and Millar's study found that Anglophobia was slightly less prevalent than Islamophobia, but that unlike Islamophobia, Anglophobia correlated with a strong sense of Scottish identity.

In 1999 an inspector and race relations officer with Lothian and Borders Police said that a correlation had been noticed between the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and anti-English incidents.[4] However, Hussain and Millar's research suggested that Anglophobia had fallen slightly since the introduction of devolution.

In 2009, a woman originally from England was assaulted in an allegedly anti-English racially motivated attack.[5] Similar cases have been connected with major football matches and tournaments, particularly international tournaments where the English and Scottish football teams often compete with each other.[6][7][8] A spate of anti-English attacks occurred in 2006 during the football World Cup.[9] In one incident a 7-year-old boy wearing an England shirt was punched in the head in an Edinburgh park.[10]


The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, also known as the "Acts of Union", passed by the Parliament of England, annexed Wales to the Kingdom of England, and replaced the Welsh language and Welsh law with the English language and English law.[11][12] In particular, Section 20 of the 1535 Act made English the only language of the law courts and stated that those who used Welsh would not be appointed to any public office in Wales.[11] The Welsh language was supplanted in many public spheres, with, for example, the use of the Welsh Not in some schools. This would later be adopted as a symbol of English oppression.[13]

Since the Glyndŵr Rising of the early 15th century, Welsh nationalism has been primarily nonviolent.[14] However, the Welsh militant group Meibion Glyndŵr (English: Sons of (Owain) Glyndŵr) were responsible for arson attacks on English-owned second homes in Wales from 1979–1994, motivated by cultural anti-English sentiment.[14] Meibion Glyndŵr also attempted arson against several estate agents in Wales and England, and against the offices of the Conservative Party in London.[15][15][16]

In 2000, the Chairman of Swansea Bay Race Equality Council said that "Devolution has brought a definite increase in anti-English behaviour," citing three women who believed that they were being discriminated against in their careers because they could not speak Welsh.[17] In 2001 Dafydd Elis-Thomas, a former leader of Plaid Cymru, said that there was an anti-English strand to Welsh nationalism.[18]

Northern Ireland

During the Troubles, the IRA mainly attacked targets in Northern Ireland and England, not Scotland or Wales,[19] although the IRA planted a bomb at Sullom Voe Terminal in Shetland during a visit by the Queen in May 1981.[20] However, the ancestry of most people in the Loyalist and Unionist communities is Scottish rather than English.

In the Protestant community, the English are identified with British politicians, and are sometimes resented for their perceived abandonment of loyalist communities.[21]

Outside the United Kingdom

In 1859, in his essay A Few Words on Non-Intervention, John Stuart Mill notes that England "finds itself, in respect of its foreign policy, held up to obloquy as the type of egoism and selfishness; as a nation which thinks of nothing but of out-witting and out-generalling its neighbours," and urges his fellow countrymen against "the mania of professing to act from meaner motives than those by which we are really actuated."[22]


There is a long tradition of Anglophobia within Irish nationalism. Much of this was grounded in the hostility felt by the largely Catholic Irish for the Anglo-Irish people, which was mainly Anglican. In Ireland before the Great Famine, anti-English hostility was deep-seated[23] and was manifested in increased anti-English hostility organised by United Irishmen.[24][25] In post-famine Ireland, anti-English hostility was adopted into the philosophy and foundation of the Irish nationalist movement. At the turn of the 20th century, the Celtic Revival movement associated the search for a cultural and national identity with an increasing anti-colonial and anti-English sentiment.[26] Anti-English themes manifested in national organisations seen as promoting native Irish values, with the emergence of groups like Sinn Féin. One popular nationalist slogan was "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity",[27] and the well-known anti-World-War-I song "Who is Ireland's Enemy?" used past events to conclude that it was England, and furthermore that Irish people ought to "pay those devils back".[28]

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was founded in 1884 as a countermeasure against the Anglo-Irish Athletic Association, which promoted and supervised British sports such as English football in Ireland. The GAA was founded in the anti-English ideas of Thomas Croke, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly.[29] From 1886 to 1971 the GAA focused national pride into distinctly non-English activities.[30] Members were forbidden to belong to organisations that played "English" games, and the organisation countered the Anglicisation in Irish society.[31][32][33] With the development across Ireland of Irish games and the arts, the Celtic revivalists and nationalists identified characteristics of what they defined as the "Irish Race". A nationalistic identity developed, as being the polar opposite of the Anglo-Saxons, and untainted by the Anglo-Irish community.[34] A sense of national identity and Irish distinctiveness as well as an anti-English assertiveness was reinforced to Catholics by teachers in hedge schools.[35]

A feeling of anti-English sentiment intensified within Irish nationalism during the Boer Wars, leading to xenophobia underlined by Anglophobia,[36] and resulting in two units of Irish commandos who fought with the Boer against British forces during the Second Boer War (18991902). J. Donnolly, a member of the brigade, wrote to the editor of the Irish News in 1901 stating;

"It was not for the love of the Boer we were fighting; it was for the hatred of the English." (J. Donnolly letter to the Irish News, 1901)[37]

The pro-Boer movement gained widespread support in Ireland, and over 20,000 supporters demonstrated in Dublin in 1899 where Irish nationalism, anti-English, and pro-Boer attitudes were one and the same. There was a pro-Boer movement in England as well, but the English pro-Boer movement was not based on anti-English sentiments. These opposing views and animosity led the English and Irish pro-Boer groups to maintain a distance from one another.[38] Despite this however scathes of Irishmen joined various Irish Regiments of the British Army during this time, more so than pro-Boer commandos.

The W. B. Yeats play The Countess Cathleen, written in 1892, has anti-English overtones comparing the English gentry to demons who come for Irish souls.[39] Films set during the Irish War of Independence, such as The Informer (1935) and the Plough and the Stars (1936), were criticised by the BBFC for the director John Ford's anti-English content,[40] and in recent years, Michael Collins[41][42] and The Wind That Shakes the Barley[43][44] (despite being a joint British-Irish production) have led to accusations of Anglophobia in the British press. In 2006, Antony Booth, the father-in law of Tony Blair, claimed he was the victim of anti-English vandalism and discrimination while living in County Cavan, Ireland, with his wife.[45] In addition, in August 2008 an English pipefitter based in Dublin was awarded €20,000 for the racial abuse and discrimination he received at his workplace.[46]

In 2011, tensions and anti-English or anti-British feelings flared in relation to the proposed visit of Elizabeth II, the first British monarch to visit Ireland in 100 years. The direct invitation by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and the Irish government, was hailed by the Irish press as a historic visit,[47] but was criticised by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.[48] An anti-Queen demonstration was held at the GPO Dublin by a small group of Irish Republicans on 26 February 2011, and a mock trial and decapitation of an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II were carried out by socialist republican group Éirígí.[49] Other protests included one Dublin publican (the father of Celtic player Anthony Stokes) hanging a banner declaring "the Queen will never be welcome in this country".[50]


After the Norman conquest in 1066, Anglo-Norman replaced English as the official language of England. However, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Plantagenet kings of England lost most of their possessions in France, began to consider England to be their primary domain, and turned to the English language. King Edward I, when issuing writs for summoning parliament in 1295, claimed that the King of France planned to invade England and extinguish the English language, "a truly detestable plan which may God avert."[51][52] In 1338, Philip VI of France authored the Ordinance of Normandy, which again called for the destruction and elimination of the English nation and language. The Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) between England and France changed societies on both sides of the Channel.

The English and French were engaged in numerous wars in the following centuries. England's ongoing conflict with Scotland provided France with an opportunity to destabilise England, and there was a firm friendship (known as the Auld Alliance) between France and Scotland from the late-thirteenth century to the mid-sixteenth century. The alliance eventually foundered because of growing Protestantism in Scotland. Opposition to Protestantism became a major feature of later French Anglophobia (and conversely, fear of Catholicism was a hallmark of Francophobia). Antipathy and intermittent hostilities between France and Britain, as distinct from England, continued during later centuries. It has become more and more political.

United States

In 2002, academic John Moser said that, although Anglophobia is now "almost completely absent" from United States society, this was not always the case. He stated that "there were strains of Anglophobia present in virtually every populist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries," with the Populist Party, for example, "referring to England as a 'monster' that had 'seized upon the fresh energy of America and is steadily fixing its fangs into our social life.'"

Reasons suggested for the faltering of Anglophobia included the impact of the Second World War, and reduced political support for Irish nationalist movements compared with that in earlier periods. Moser also said:[53]

In an age when the wealthiest and most influential Americans tended to be associated with things British—the vast majority were of Anglo-Saxon descent, wore English-tailored suits, drove British-made automobiles, and even spoke with affected British accents—it was quite natural for Great Britain to fall within the sights of disaffected populists. In more recent years, however, this has changed. When one thinks of wealth and influence in contemporary America, particularly when one considers those who have made their fortunes in the past thirty years, English culture does not immediately spring to mind.

The film industry is widely perceived to give a British nationality to a disproportionate number of villains.[54]

The late Lyndon LaRouche, a former perennial candidate for US President and a movement leader known for theories of conspiracies, has been called the "most illustrious" Anglophobe in American politics.[55]

Anglophobia in the Irish-American community

The Irish-American community in the United States has historically shown antipathy towards the English in particular.[56] Anglophobia has been a defining feature of the post-famine Irish-American experience. Bolstered by their support of Irish nationalism, Irish-American communities have been staunchly anti-English since the 1850s, and this sentiment is fostered within the Irish-American identity.[57][58] Irish immigrants who settled in the United States often prospered there, retaining the bitterest animosity to England, and many of them subscribed from their weekly wage to keep up the anti-English agitation.[59] Anglophobia was a common theme in Democratic Party politics.[60]

This was due in part to the nature of their history and manner of their emigration, when they brought with them a strong specific sense of Anglophobia.[56][57] Irish-American newspapers, like the pro-Catholic Truth Teller which was founded in 1825 by an anti-English priest, were influential in the identity of the community.[61] Anglophobia in print was also seen in the autobiographies of noted Irish-Americans, such as Elizabeth Gurley, a leading American socialist,[62] and William Z. Foster, who reported in his memoirs how his father, who died at over eighty, never said the word "England" without adding "God damn her!"[62]

In 1842, the first national gathering of Irish-Americans took place in Philadelphia:

The convention ended with anti-English speeches and three cheers for Ireland…[]…Thus they influenced the progress of nationalism in Ireland and shaped their Irish-American identity.[62]

Anti-English feelings among Irish-Americans spread to American culture through Irish-American performers in popular blackface minstrel shows. These imparted both elements of the Irish-American performers' own national bias, and the popular stereotypical image that the English people were bourgeois, aloof, or upper class.[63] Sentiments quickly turned into direct and violent action when in the 1860s the Fenian Brotherhood Society invaded Canada to provoke a United States-British war in hope it would lead to Irish freedom.[64] Violence is said to have included direct action by Fenian sympathisers, with the assassination of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, himself an Irish Canadian and Irish nationalist who was against the invasion, although he was very critical of the Orange Order, and it has long been suspected they were his true killers.[65] Goldwin Smith, professor at Cornell University, wrote in the North American Review that "hatred of England" was used as a tool to win the Irish-American vote.[66] A similar observation was made in 1900 by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay, who criticised the Prairie Populist and his own Democratic party's political pandering to attract the support of the Irish diaspora:

State conventions put on an anti-English plank in their platforms to curry favor with the Irish (whom they want to keep) and the Germans whom they want to seduce. It is too disgusting to have to deal with such sordid lies.[64]

Well into the early 20th century anti-English sentiment was increasing with famine memorials in the Irish-American communities, which "served as a wellspring for their obsessive and often corrosive antipathy," as noted in the British Parliament in 1915:

There is no part of the world where anti-English influences worked so powerfully than in the United States. Almost every Irishman there is the son or grandson of an evicted tenant – evicted in all the horrors of the black 40s. And most of them have heard stories of them from their mother's knee.[67]

Some newspapers, including the San Francisco Leader and the New York Irish World, first published in 1823, were renowned for their anti-English articles.[68] The Irish World blamed the mainland United Kingdom for the depopulation and desolate state of Ireland's industries.[69] One newspaper, the Gaelic American, called a student performance of the British national anthem by some girls of Irish heritage from a convent school an act of disloyalty, where they were taught to reverence the traditions of the hereditary enemy of their race and religion.[69]

A commemorative stamp by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie on a century of peace between America and Great Britain was criticised by the Irish-American press.[69] In recent years American political commentators, such as Pat Buchanan, have highlighted the anti-English stance of the Irish Diaspora in the United States of America.[64]


Chinese hatred of the British can be traced to the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion and the sale of opium drugs in China in the late nineteenth century.

One notable incident of hatred against British by Chinese villages in Guangdong was a denunciation they wrote saying: "We note that you English barbarians have formed the habits and developed the nature of wolves, plundering and seizing things by force." and "We patriots have received the favour of the Celestial Dynasty in nourishing us for two centuries. Today, if we do not exterminate you English barbarians, we are not human beings. You [the English] have killed and injured our common people in many villages and seriously hurt the universal harmony. You also completely destroy the coffins in several places, and you disastorously destroy the Buddhist statues in several monasteries. This is the time when Heaven is angered and mankind is resentful, even the ghosts and spirits will not tolerate you beasts (the English)".[70]


Anti-British sentiment has been described as "deeply entrenched in Iranian culture",[71] and reported to be increasingly prevalent in Iran. In July 2009, an adviser to Ali Khamenei called Britain "worse than America" for its alleged interference in Iran's post-election affairs.

Animosity has been dated back to the early 19th century, when a British diplomat, Sir Gore Ouseley, was responsible for drawing up the country's boundaries after the First Russo-Persian War.[72] In the first half of the 20th century, the British Empire exerted political influence over Iran (Persia) in order to control the profits from the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. As a result, British influence was widely known to have been behind the overthrow of the Qajar dynasty in the 1920s, the subsequent rise of Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the successful coup d'état overthrowing prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953.[73][74][75] In November 2011, attacks on the UK's embassy in Tehran led to the closure of the embassy and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from the UK, with the Iranian parliamentary chairman Ali Larijani stating that the incident was the outcome of "decades of domineering moves by the British in Iran."[72]

The classic Iranian novel My Uncle Napoleon, published in 1973, lampoons the widespread belief that the English are responsible for events that occur in Iran.

Australia and New Zealand

"Pommy" or "Pom" (probably derived from rhyming slang - pomegranate for immigrant)[76] is a common Australasian and South African slang word for the English, often combined with "whing[e]ing" (complaining) to make the expression "whingeing Pom" an English immigrant who stereotypically complains about everything. Although the term is sometimes applied to British immigrants generally, it is usually applied specifically to the English, by both Australians and New Zealanders.[77][78] From the 19th century onwards, there were feelings among established Australians that many immigrants from England were poorly skilled, unwanted by their home country, and unappreciative of the benefits of their new country.[79]

In recent years, complaints about two newspaper articles blaming English tourists for littering a local beach, and called the English "Filthy Poms" in the headlines and "Poms fill the summer of our discontent", were accepted as complaints and settled through conciliation by the Australian Human Rights Commission when the newspapers published apologies. However, letters and articles which referred to English people as "Poms" or "Pommies" did not meet the threshold for racial hatred.[80] In 2007 a complaint to Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau about a television commercial using the term "Pom" was upheld and the commercial was withdrawn.[81] Films such as Gallipoli and Breaker Morant have highlighted anti-English sentiment felt by some Australians.

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Further reading


  • Acomb, Frances Dorothy. Anglophobia in France, 1763-1789: an essay in the history of constitutionalism and nationalism (Duke University Press, 1950)
  • Bell, Philip J. France and Britain, 1900–1940. Entente and Estrangement (Longman, 1996)
  • Berthon, Simon. Allies at War: The Bitter Rivalry among Churchill, Roosevelt, and de Gaulle (2001). 356 pp.
  • Black, Jeremy. Natural and Necessary Enemies: Anglo-French Relations in the Eighteenth Century (1986)
  • Brunschwig, Henri. Anglophobia and French African Policy (Yale University Press, 1971).
  • Gibson, Robert. The Best of Enemies: Anglo-French Relations Since the Norman Conquest (2nd ed. 2011) major scholarly study excerpt and text search
  • Horne, Alistair, Friend or Foe: An Anglo-Saxon History of France (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005).
  • Johnson, Douglas, et al. Britain and France: Ten Centuries (1980) table of contents
  • Newman, Gerald. "Anti-French Propaganda and British Liberal Nationalism in the Early Nineteenth Century: Suggestions Toward a General Interpretation." Victorian Studies (1975): 385-418. in JSTOR
  • Otte, T. G. "From “War-in-Sight” to Nearly War: Anglo–French Relations in the Age of High Imperialism, 1875–1898." Diplomacy and Statecraft (2006) 17#4 pp: 693-714.
  • Pickles, Dorothy. The Uneasy Entente. French Foreign Policy and Franco-British Misunderstandings (1966)
  • Schmidt, H. D. "The Idea and Slogan of 'Perfidious Albion'" Journal of the History of Ideas (1953) pp: 604-616. in JSTOR; on French distrust of "Albion" (i.e. England)
  • Tombs, R. P. and I. Tombs, That Sweet Enemy: Britain and France, the History of a Love-Hate Relationship (Pimlico, 2007)


  • Frederick, Suzanne Y. "The Anglo-German Rivalry, 1890-1914, pp 306-336 in William R. Thompson, ed. Great power rivalries (1999) online
  • Geppert, Dominik, and Robert Gerwarth, eds. Wilhelmine Germany and Edwardian Britain: Essays on Cultural Affinity (2009)
  • Görtemaker, Manfred. Britain and Germany in the Twentieth Century (2005)
  • Hoerber, Thomas. "Prevail or perish: Anglo-German naval competition at the beginning of the twentieth century," European Security (2011) 20#1, pp. 65–79.
  • Kennedy, Paul M. "Idealists and realists: British views of Germany, 1864–1939," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 25 (1975) pp: 137-56; compares the views of idealists (pro-German) and realists (anti-German)
  • Kennedy, Paul. The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism 1860–1914 (London, 1980) excerpt and text search; influential synthesis
  • Major, Patrick. "Britain and Germany: A Love-Hate Relationship?" German History, October 2008, Vol. 26 Issue 4, pp. 457–468.
  • Milton, Richard. Best of Enemies: Britain and Germany: 100 Years of Truth and Lies (2004), popular history covers 1845–1945 focusing on public opinion and propaganda; 368pp excerpt and text search
  • Ramsden, John. Don’t Mention the War: The British and the Germans since 1890 (London, 2006).
  • Rüger, Jan. "Revisiting the Anglo-German Antagonism," Journal of Modern History (2011) 83#3, pp. 579–617 in JSTOR
  • Scully, Richard. British Images of Germany: Admiration, Antagonism, and Ambivalence, 1860–1914 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) 375pp

United States

  • Cook, James G. Anglophobia: An Analysis of Anti-British Prejudice in the United States (1919) online
  • Crapol, Edward P. America for Americans: Economic Nationalism and Anglophobia in the Late Nineteenth Century (Greenwood, 1973)
  • Frost, Jennifer. "Dissent and Consent in the" Good War": Hedda Hopper, Hollywood Gossip, and World War II Isolationism." Film History: An International Journal 22#2 (2010): 170-181.
  • Ellis, Sylvia. Historical Dictionary of Anglo-American Relations (2009) and text search
  • Foreman, Amanda. A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War (Random House, 2011), 958 pp.
    • Geoffrey Wheatcroft, "How the British Nearly Supported the Confederacy," New York Times Sunday Book Review June 30, 2011 online
  • Gleason, Mark C. From Associates to Antagonists: The United States, Great Britain, the First World War, and the Origins of War Plan Red, 1914-1919" (PhD. Dissertation University of North Texas, 2012); Online; "War Plan Red" was the American Army's plan for war against Great Britain.
  • Haynes, Sam W. Unfinished Revolution: The Early American Republic in a British World (2010)
  • Louis, William Roger; Imperialism at Bay: The United States and the Decolonization of the British Empire, 1941–1945 (1978)
  • Moser, John E. Twisting the Lion's Tail: American Anglophobia between the World Wars (New York University Press, 1999)
  • Perkins, Bradford. Prologue to war: England and the United States, 1805–1812 (1961) full text online
  • Peskin, Lawrence A. "Conspiratorial Anglophobia and the War of 1812." Journal of American History 98#3 (2011): 647-669. online
  • Tuffnell, Stephen. "“Uncle Sam is to be Sacrificed”: Anglophobia in Late Nineteenth-Century Politics and Culture." American Nineteenth Century History 12#1 (2011): 77-99.

Anglophobic publications

  • Gelli, Frank Julian. The Dark Side of England, (London, 2014, ASIN: B00QJ19TXI)
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