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Challenge to Mars

Challenge to Mars: Pacifism from 1918 to 1945

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 560
  • Book Info
    Challenge to Mars
    Book Description:

    Emerging in 1918 from the devastation of WWI, the modern pacifist movement expanded rapidly and soon became organized on a transnational basis. These essays present aspects of the movement's development to the end of WWII.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7279-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Part One From Peace to War

    • 1 Mennonites and Military Service in the Soviet Union to 1939
      (pp. 3-20)

      In 1917, the year of the October Revolution, Mennonites in Russia were looking back on 130 years of residence in the country.¹ The years just prior to the First World War have been termed their ‘golden age,’ though dark clouds had already begun to gather. Nationalist journalists had been aiming hostile broadsides at non-Russian minorities such as the Germans for over twenty years, and land-expropriation legislation also directed quite obviously at Germans had been passed in 1912. During the First World War Mennonites had to deal with heightened anti-German feelings generated by the conflict, as well as the issue of...

    • 2 Russian Baptists and the Military Question, 1918–1929
      (pp. 21-40)

      For a short time in the first half of the 1920s people who promoted principles of non-violence dominated the leadership of the central administration of the Russian Baptist Union. The ascendancy of these men, most of them second-generation Baptists, became possible largely because of the success of Lenin’s political revolution and the Bolsheviks’ victory in the civil war following their seizure of state power in October 1917. The decline of pacifist influence over the administrative and creedal development of Russian Baptists coincided with the emergence of Stalin’s domination of the Soviet Communist party.

      The period when religious pacifism dominated the...

    • 3 Pacifism and Conscientious Objection in Finland, 1918–1945
      (pp. 41-59)

      The Grand Duchy of Finland was under Russian rule from 1809 to 1917, and the organized peace movement established itself there rather late. By the end of the nineteenth century pacifist ideas, especially those of Leo Tolstoy, had begun to spread to Finland. In addition, sectarian pacifism of Western origin appeared for the first time, including the pacifism of Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists.¹ In 1898, Suomen Rauhanyhdistys (Finnish Peace Association) was formed on the initiative of Jean Boldt, but there are no traces of its actually functioning.² The first proper peace organization, the so-called first Suomen Rauhanliitto (Finnish Peace Union)...

    • 4 In Search of a ‘Lost’ Belarusan Pacifist Leader
      (pp. 60-66)

      Pacifism attracted few adherents in interwar Poland. The country had regained its independence in 1918 as a result of war. Before that date, in partitioned Poland a tradition of insurrectionary nationalism possessed deep roots stretching back to Kościuszko’s unsuccessful uprising against the occupying Russian forces in 1794, just before the old Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) finally succumbed to its three neighbours’ aggressive designs. In the 1920s and 1930s the Polish army became a symbol of the nation’s will to live again; all able-bodied male citizens were required to undergo military training. The penalties for refusing to bear arms, when required to do...

    • 5 War Resisters in Weimar Germany
      (pp. 67-88)

      Conscientious objection was a concept foreign to the peace movements of nineteenth-century continental Europe. With their principles derived from the intellectual legacy of the Enlightenment, and their roots in liberal middle-class, orbürgerlichidentity, they saw themselves as part of a more encompassing reform movement; they had pursued five fundamental goals: ‘arbitration, arbitration treaties and clauses in treaties, an International Authority or Tribunal or Congress, and [simultaneous and proportional] disarmament.’¹ That conscientious objection was discussed at all at world peace congresses before 1914 can be attributed chiefly to the influence of nonconformist Protestant denominations in the Anglo-Saxon peace movement, and...

    • 6 The Anarchopacifism of Bart de Ligt
      (pp. 89-100)

      The Dutchman Bart de Ligt (1883–1938) ranks among the most influential antimilitarists of the interwar period. His activities up to 1919 – his Christian-socialist period – were largely confined to his own country. Thereafter, when he was to link his anti-militarism to a free-religious anarchism, he became active in international networks of antimilitarists. An intellectual with a wide and deep erudition, he was not only an organizer but also an important theoretician who made original contributions to the debate on non-violent means of struggle. Following a concise biographical sketch, I present de Ligt’s main ideas and conclude with an...

    • 7 The Conviction of Things Not Seen: Christian Pacifism in France, 1919–1945
      (pp. 101-116)

      Surveying the years between 1919 and 1945, we can see that French religious pacifism underwent an evolution that can be broken down into four major stages. The years 1919–25 represented a wilderness experience, when Christian pacifists were among the very small minority crying out for reconciliation between France and Germany. The second phase, between 1925 and 1932, saw a transfiguration, when French religious pacifists basked in the new-found respectability that the achievements of Aristide Briand gave to all forms of opposition to war.¹ Following Briand’s death in 1932 there began a Gethsemane experience that endured until the outbreak of...

    • 8 Defending the Rights of Man: The Ligue des droits de l’homme and the Problem of Peace
      (pp. 117-133)

      Historians have only recently begun to examine the history of French pacifism in the interwar period.¹ Despite claims by some² that pacifism in France was strongly influenced by religious culture, it seems clear that for the most part it was far more political than religious in inspiration. This holds true both for what I have calledpacifisme ancien style, which had a liberal, internationalist, and juridical epicentre as opposed to a primarily religious one, and also for thepacifisme nouveau stylethat emerged from it in the late 1920s. The latter form was integral or absolute and arose from a...

    • 9 A Legitimate Peace Movement: The Case of Britain, 1918–1945
      (pp. 134-148)

      The British peace movement was not only the most influential of any major country’s during the period covered by this volume but also the most legitimate in the sense of being accepted even by its opponents as idealistic and publicspirited rather than subversive or selfish.¹ In this essay I try to explain why this was the case by examining the deep roots that the movement had put down; the connections that it made with the mainstream of politics; its interwar strength, resulting in part from the integrity and prudence of its leadership; the demeanour of the peace movement and conscientious...

    • 10 Women Pacifists in Interwar Britain
      (pp. 149-168)

      In the late 1920s, writes a leading British peace historian, pacifism was frequently linked with vegetarianism: ‘The unwillingness to take life explains this connection; less logical but almost as strong was pacifism’s affinity for ... feminism.’¹ The intention of this essay is to investigate this affinity by looking specifically at women pacifists in interwar Britain. In the first part I look at three members of each of three groups of women holding anti-war views – socialist anti-militarists, pacificists, and pacifists. In the second part I describe the three types of links that three particular pacifists — Vera Brittain, Helena Swanwick,...

    • 11 The Peace Pledge Union: From Peace to War, 1936–1945
      (pp. 169-185)

      In 1937 H.R.L. (‘Dick’) Sheppard, founder and moving spirit behind the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), defeated Winston Churchill in an electron for the rectorship of Glasgow University. Unfortunately, Sheppard died of a heart attack a few days after his victory, on 31 October 1937, at the age of fifty-seven. At the time of his death the organization that he had launched was at its peak. It had a membership in excess of 118,000, a network of over 440 local groups, and a newspaper,Peace News, with weekly sales approaching 15,000; and there was reason to hope that his vision of...

    • 12 J.S. Woodsworth and War
      (pp. 186-198)

      On 8 September 1939, James Shaver Woodsworth, Canada’s leading democratic socialist, rose at his desk in the House of Commons. The Speaker had called for a vote on the country’s first independent declaration of war. In the preceding debate several French Canadians had opposed the commitment, observing that the conflict was yet another product of imperialism, Britain’s war. When the vote was called, however – a voice vote – only Woodsworth asked that his negative be recorded. Members had muttered disapproval as he gave his reasons during the debate. Far more striking than this momentary disapproval was the respect accorded...

    • 13 ‘Practical’ and Absolute Pacifism in the Early Years of the U.S. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
      (pp. 199-217)

      The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) confronted challenges to define its pacifist identity and to establish a women’s peace and justice community in the years immediately following the First World War. As full citizens who had withstood the surge of wartime nationalism and opposed the war, the women of WILPF committed themselves to building a peaceful world but faced a number of choices about how best to work for their goals. During 1919–21 WILPF, and in particular its US section (WILPF US), debated the use of pledges as a means of giving concrete and explicit expression...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • 14 The Fight against War of the Historic Peace Churches, 1919–1941
      (pp. 218-240)

      In April 1922 Wilbur K. Thomas sent an appeal to a number of persons associated with North American religious bodies affirming ‘both in creed and in practice that enduring Peace among peoples and Nations can only be secured by an earnest adherence to the teachings of Jesus.’ Thomas was the executive of the recently founded and Philadelphia-based American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). He had taken up his duties in Pennsylvania after directing relief work in France and Belgium during the First World War, as well as in Germany, Austria, and Russia in the immediate postwar period. In reflecting about the...

  7. Part Two The Second World War

    • 15 Quakers in Uniform: The Friends Ambulance Unit
      (pp. 243-255)

      From the earliest days of this war, from the time of the Finnish expedition in 1939, these men have given admirable service. They have served with quiet self-effacing efficiency and with high courage. I do not think that any fighting soldier would hesitate to pay tribute to these men who, prevented by their principles from bearing arms, have none the less willingly suffered the full dangers and rigours of war while pursuing their humane calling of tending the wounded and sick.

      Basil Nield, MP, British House of Commons, 9 November 1945

      This tribute was one among many paid to the...

    • 16 Conscientious Objection in Canada
      (pp. 256-271)

      Given a war situation, we Mennonites can practice our belief in Canada only because other Canadians are kind enough to fight for our right to our belief. The godless man then dies for the belief of the Christian! Further, is it even possible for us not to participate today? Ultimately, even the farmer works for the War because he produces the food that makes fighting possible. Mere refusal will not do: positive action alone is possible. But we as a church have gone on in the traditional ways of reacting to war, not considering that the world has changed, even...

    • 17 Pacifists as Conscientious Objectors in Australia
      (pp. 272-291)

      With the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 the peace movement in Australia almost completely collapsed. Most pacificists believed in the justice of the Allied war effort, and the necessity of Australian participation was confirmed for them when in February 1942 Japan for the first time actually bombed northern Australian ports. Communists and fellow travellers, once Germany had invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, wholeheartedly supported the war. Only the pacifistssensu strictocontinued to declare their opposition to fighting, but on grounds more of religion or ethics than of political policy. Anti-war activity in Australia reached...

    • 18 Pacifism and Conscientious Objection in New Zealand
      (pp. 292-311)
      J.E. COOKSON

      Pacifism, as defined for this book, never included more than a tiny minority in New Zealand either between or during the wars. The two main pacifist organizations of the Second World War period – the Christian Pacifist Society (CPS), started in 1936, and the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), launched in 1938 – had a few hundred members, with a significant number belonging to both; in the censuses of 1936 and 1945, 494 and 546 people, respectively, professed to be Quakers. There is no reason to think that there were ever many more than a thousand formally committed pacifists in the...

    • 19 Conscience and Conscription in a Free Society: U.S. Civilian Public Service
      (pp. 312-330)

      On a rainy spring morning on 15 May 1941, twenty-six men arrived at a former Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in the Patapsco State Forest near Elkridge, Maryland, accompanied by almost twice as many reporters and photographers. Though they were only ten miles from Fort Meade, home of the 29th Division, these men wore no uniforms and carried no weapons. They had come to Patapsco as the vanguard of Civilian Public Service (CPS), an endeavour that many hoped would offer a witness against war. Over sixteen million men and women served in the armed forces during the Second World War....

    • 20 Pacifist Professional Women on the Job in the United States
      (pp. 331-345)

      During the Second World War, a growing number of American women were employed outside the home, and by 1944 women represented one-third of the American labour force. While millions of women willingly supported the war effort, a small minority opposed the war. As we see in this essay, many of these women faced difficult moral dilemmas, and quite a few of them expressed their belief through direct or indirect involvement with Civilian Public Service or in the helping professions, especially in teaching, nursing, and dietitics, where further difficulties sometimes confronted them as pacifists.

      Many pacifist women were immediate family members...

    • 21 Prison Journey of an American War Resister
      (pp. 346-359)

      American males who grew up in the 1920s and 1930s did not anticipate a military draft.¹ Memories of the First World War increased the public’s cynicism about war itself. Anti-German hysteria coupled with wholesale violations of civil liberties on the home front were hard to understand in retrospect and fed the disillusionment. Added to this was resentment over the failure of European countries to repay war debts owed to the United States. A naïve hope for the abolition of war was fuelled by such actions as the Pact of Paris, 1928, in which the signatories rejected war as an instrument...

    • 22 Conscientious Objection and Popular Culture: The Case of Lew Ayres
      (pp. 360-369)

      In late March 1942, only a few months after the United States entered the Second World War, actor Lew Ayres (1908–1996) announced that his Selective Service Board had accepted his appeal for conscientious objector (CO) status. He added that he had been assigned to a Civilian Public Service (CPS) camp for the duration of the war. Ayres, a popular Hollywood actor whose first movie success had been the anti-war filmAll Quiet on the Western Front, was to become the most famous CO during the war and was the first to garner national publicity.

      At the time of his...

    • 23 Conscientious Objectors in Nazi Germany
      (pp. 370-379)

      Sectarian pacifism of the Quaker or Mennonite variety scarcely existed in interwar Germany. Quakers formed a new and tiny group there, whereas German Mennonites, a considerably larger denomination, had already publicly given up their traditionalWehrlosigkeit(non-resistance) shortly before the outbreak of war. Nevertheless a few Mennonites still adhered to their church’s original stand against bearing arms. During the Second World War, if conscripted, most succeeded in eventually obtaining non-combatant duties, usually as ambulance men. But this was done unofficially by the army; the Mennonite church had also renounced, along with the doctrine ofWehrlosigkeit, the non-combatant status that in...

    • 24 Danish War Resisters under Nazi Occupation
      (pp. 380-394)

      How does a pacifist organization react when, in spite of more than a decade of efforts, war breaks out and the country is occupied by foreign troops? Does it reject its ideals and participate in armed combat — first, in direct military action against the invaders, and later, in the underground resistance movement? Or does it maintain the purity of its ideals and retreat to the sidelines, viewing developments as a mere onlooker (as though saying ‘I told you so’ or This is notmywar’)? How does it deal with members who have used force to resist the occupier?...

    • 25 Pacifists in Nazi-Occupied Norway
      (pp. 395-408)

      When Norway was occupied by the Germans on 9 April 1940, there had been no significant military actions in the country for 220 years, apart from scattered battles on Norwegian soil in the conflicts with the British in 1807 and the Swedes in 1808 and 1814. The country’s three million inhabitants could be described as a democratic and peace-loving people without proud traditions of war. During the First World War and the interwar years Norway was a neutral country. The national military defence establishment was weak and badly equipped for war. Nevertheless, the Norwegians more or less spontaneously stood up...

    • 26 For Church and Peace: Dutch Christian Pacifists under Nazi Occupation
      (pp. 409-424)

      Among the most active Christian pacifist organizations that emerged after the First World War was the Dutch Kerk en Vrede (Church and Peace) which came into being in 1924. Its members committed themselves to a total renunciation of war; and its program included support for conscientious objectors (COs) and close collaboration with such radical pacifist bodies as the International Union of Anti-Militarist Ministers and Clergymen. Membership rose fairly rapidly to reach a peak of 9,143 in 1932. Though numbers declined during the stormy 1930s, when those leaving included several prominent activists, the figure still stood as high as 5,589 on...

  8. Part Three Pacifist Outreach:: Japan and India

    • 27 Pacifism in Japan, 1918–1945
      (pp. 427-439)

      Japan’s history makes it difficult to treat the subject of pacifism in the way in which it is usually dealt with in the West, where Christianity and the rise of individual consciousness (conscience) have formed a basis for nonconformity. As little detailed research has been done on the subject as a whole, the treatment that follows is inevitably somewhat subjective and superficial, though I have tried to base it on reliable information.

      Historically, Buddhism (which became a prominent part of the Japanese religious heritage in the sixth century) has included strong resistance to violence. For the most part, however, this...

    • 28 Gandhi’s Satyagraha and Its Roots in India’s Past
      (pp. 440-454)

      Born in South Africa and first developed there during the years 1906–9, Gandhi’s concept ofsatyagrahabecame the cornerstone of his moral-political praxis. It served as a principle through which he integrated his religious faith, his social philosophy, and his political action. Using this weapon of satyagraha Gandhi devoted his life to fighting against evil in society and working towards India’s political liberation. It was a doctrine developed out of action and leading to action.

      This essay examines the roots of satyagraha in India’s past. Gandhi’s approach to his nation’s history may be best described as a process of...

  9. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 455-456)
  10. Index
    (pp. 457-474)