Just War, 1914–1918

Keith Robbins

in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780198263715
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191714283 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

Just War, 1914–1918

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This chapter examines the First World War, considering reactions to the outbreak and British intervention. Civil war in Ireland (and perhaps in the UK as a whole) appeared imminent and bitterly divided church communities. Events in 1916, the Easter Rising, and after confirmed these divisions. In the Great War the churches stood with the state. The chapter notes their justification for doing so, but also mentions the small pacifist minority. The opportunities (and perils) for Roman Catholics receive particular attention. Thoughts for a future peaceful world order are considered as well as the attempted reconciling role of the papacy. The place of churches, both on the Home Front and with the army on the battlefield (chaplains), is given some treatment; there was perhaps some new ‘space’ for women. Finally, patriotism, peace, and progress are evaluated.

Keywords: army; chaplains; Easter Rising; First World War; Home Front; pacifism; papacy; patriotism

Chapter.  27860 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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