‘Recognised’ forms of opposition

Jonathan Atkin

in A War of Individuals

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780719060700
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700105 | DOI:
‘Recognised’ forms of opposition

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Opposition to the Great War took many forms. Of a wartime total of 3,964 conscientious objectors referred to the adjudicating Pelham Committee by local tribunals, 1,716 declared themselves Christadelphians and hence possessed a religious objection to the war. There existed, of course, other denominations of religious opposition within the almost 4,000 declared conscientious objectors in Great Britain – in particular the Quakers. It is worth pointing out how even within the ‘organised’ forms of anti-war protest, there was a great variety of personal response. While religion of all denominations played a large part in determining responses to the war, both for and against, in many cases the boundaries between ‘recognised’ opposition and humanistic anti-war reaction could become blurred. There were individuals who exhibited a drier, more ‘rational’ and (especially) moral stance in relation to the war. Some examples show that the existence of a moral element to objection to war and military compulsion was not only documented in post-war studies but also in contemporary publications.

Keywords: Great War; Great Britain; anti-war protest; Pelham Committee; Quakers; religion; opposition; military compulsion

Chapter.  3537 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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