WW1

9 June 2014Feature

A historian uncovers the truth behind Britain’s rush to war in 1914

A hundred years later, British historians of the ‘dire necessity’ school still assert that Britain’s Great War should be remembered simply as a harsh reality that had to be faced. They insist that nothing other than a righteous war against German militarism was conceivable in 1914. They plead for the old sugary verities to be reasserted – that Britain was in the right, that Germany was in the wrong, that the cause was just, and that it was a stand-tall moment –…

9 June 2014Feature

No 2 in Peace News’ ‘The World is my Country’ poster project.

By 1918, Britain’s No-Conscription Fellowship was led by women, as the male leadership was in prison. Catherine Marshall was a key organiser of the NCF. Joan Beauchamp was the official publisher of the NCF’s newspaper, The Tribunal, and Lydia Smith her secret co-editor, using a woman with a pram as a…

9 June 2014News

On International Conscientious Objectors Day

PHOTO: ALEX GERRARD/PAX CHRISTI

Watched by Valerie Flessati (left) of the First World War Peace Forum, at the 15 May Conscientious Objectors (CO) Day ceremony in Tavistock Square in central London, Cindy Sharkey (right) remembers her CO grandfather who refused to fight in the First World War.

A socialist member of the Independent Labour Party, Eleazor ‘Dil’ Thomas refused to participate in what he saw as a capitalist war, waged to preserve the empire. As well as remembering women war…

20 March 2014Resource

Adam Hochschild, author of 'To End All Wars' helped us launch the Peace News WW1 project 'The World is My Country' in January 2014 at Friends House in London.

Adam‘s book 'To End All Wars: A Story of the Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914 – 1918' is the major inspiration for The World is My Country

 

 

Lion tamers and agents provacateurs

The only recent account of the First…

20 March 2014Feature

by Emily Johns. The first in the Peace News poster series celebrating the anti-war movements of the First World War. For the whole story see www.theworldismycountry.info

18 March 2014Feature

During the First World War, the great powers mobilised economic, human and military resources all over the world. They drew fighting men from all over the world into the conflict. They fought battles all over the world. The empires of the day threw their colonies and their colonial subjects into a war for supremacy.

In terms of economic mobilisation, Dr Glenford D Howe notes that, in the West Indies alone: ‘Gifts [in kind] to the value of several thousand pounds were contributed by the colonies to the war effort; these included sugar, rum, oil, lime, cotton, rice, clothing, logwood, and nine aeroplanes. A total of 11 ambulances and adequate funds for their maintenance were donated, and approximately two million pounds sterling was given to the British government and charities.’…

18 March 2014Feature

The European war against the world began long before 1914

There are a lot of issues that are debatable about the First World War. There is one fact, though, that ought to be beyond debate, and which ought to be acknowledged on all sides in the national conversation during this centenary year.

Reasonable people can differ, for example, on how important imperial rivalry was in causing the war. What all reasonable people should agree on, however, is that if, by some miracle, the major European powers had managed to stabilise their relationships…

18 March 2014News

On 15 May, descendants of more than 30 First World War conscientious objectors will take part in this year’s International Conscientious Objectors’ Day commemoration in Tavistock Square, London.

One of the speakers on 15 May, Mary Dobbing, took part last year in the women’s peace delegation which visited the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul. She also campaigns for justice for Palestinians in the footsteps of her CO grandfather, a Quaker teacher in the Middle East at the time of the…

27 February 2014Resource

Originally made for Peace News in 1966, 'Postcards Home' is entirely composed of postcards sent to and from the front during the First World War, both picture and text.

Skilfully directed by Dai Vaughan, it does not seek to evoke the physical reality of war so much as to hint at the breakdown of normal relationships and the inherent frailty of human attachments which such a breakdown reveals.

Film uploaded to Peace News's YouTube channel with the permission of Concord Media.…

21 February 2014Feature

Peace News' First World War poster project

This year’s centenary of the start of the First World War is accompanied by a tidal wave of events and commemorations. But one key aspect of the war’s history is likely to receive little or no attention: the history and stories of the people and organisations that opposed the conflict.

Moreover, this history – of police raids and buried documents, feminist peace initiatives and clandestine printing presses, striking German munitions workers and communities of…

18 February 2014News

Over 120 people squeezed into the Bloomsbury Suite at Friends House in London on 17 January to hear renowned US author Adam Hochschild talk about his book To End All Wars – the only recent account of the First World War to foreground the war’s opponents.

According to Hochschild: ‘The First World War changed the world for the worse in every conceivable way, but despite its folly and devastation people in Britain have one thing they should feel proud of. From 1914 to…

20 January 2014Project

The First World War centenary (2014-2018) was accompanied by a tidal wave of events, exhibitions, TV series, books and commemorations. However, one key aspect of the War’s history received little attention: the history and stories of the people and organisations that opposed the conflict.

Moreover, this history – of police raids and clandestine printing presses, disobedient soldiers and feminist peace initiatives, Maori princesses and striking German munitions workers – appears to be…

19 January 2014Blog entry

A letter from Peace News published in The Guardian, 16 Jan 2014

In his 2011 book To End All Wars – the only recent account of the first world war to foreground the anti-war movement – Adam Hochschild asks: "If we were allowed to magically roll back history to the start of the 20th century and undo one – and only one – event, is there any doubt…

31 December 2013Feature

The History Column

The received image of the British public’s reaction to the outbreak of the First World War is usually that of jubilant, flag-waving crowds, assembling in front of Buckingham palace to cheer the royals and sing the national anthem. On 5 August 1914, an editorial in The Times described the previous evening, saying that: ‘the streets were packed with cheering masses.… Flags were waved from cabs, omnibuses and private cars.’

Less-well-recorded is the fact that just two days earlier, an…

31 December 2013Comment

Jonathan Cape, 2013, 56pp, £20

This is one segment of the outstanding 24-foot-long drawing by Joe Sacco of the first day of the battle of the Somme from his concertina book The Great War: July 1, 1916 (an illustrated panorama with an essay by Adam Hochschild. Jonathan Cape, 2013, 56pp, £20). At first, the mass of figures shuffling through trenches appear to be Where’s Wallys, then peering closer you see that they are all…