People Power Week 7:

Summary Handout


Imagining Other index page

The anti-war movement


The peace movement, part 1. Opposition to war:


1. Introduction: the different “strands” in the movement:

- pacifism – against war as a means of solving disputes (overlaps with non-violence)

- opposition to nuclear weapons – these weapons are different and too destructive

- non-violence – an alternative to violence, a life-style and activist. Example: ahimsa.


2. Reasons for opposing war:

2.1 Examples of religious opposition to war:

Christianity (but ‘just war’ theory), Buddhism and ‘compassion’, Hindu/Jain &

Gandhi, Jehovah’s Witnesses

2.2 Political, philosophical or ideologically-based opposition to war:

Rousseau, Kant, Marxism, Anarchism, liberal capitalism/free trade.

The consequent differing analyses of the causes of war:

imperialist rivalries, capitalism, military-industrial complex, arms manufacture,

arms race, nationalism…


3. The history of the opposition to war:

3.1 before the 20th century – after Napoleonic wars (early 19th C.).

Peace societies. International League of Peace and Freedom 1867, Geneva.

Democracy/socialism. International Peace Bureau à League of Nations 1920.

But US in Philippines etc.


3.2 the 20th century:

World War I (1914 – 18): intellectuals, poets, PPU, WILPF 1915 - women and

war., socialist opposition, mutinies, Conscientious Objectors, shell-shock.

Spanish Civil War (1936 – 39). ‘A bayonet is a weapon with a worker on each



World War II (1939 – 45): fascism vs. communism. Conscientious objectors (in

US: four times as many as in WWI. In Britain: 60,000 men and 1,000 women

applied (5,000 men, 500 women sent to prison).


‘In war one becomes what the enemy is accused of being.’ Extermination camps.

Mass/blanket bombing.


Other Conflicts Since World War II that affected the peace movement.

Vietnam (protests anti-America or anti-war?), Eastern Europe: Czechoslovakia

(non-violent resistance), Middle East (Israel...), Northern Ireland.


4. A note on pressure-groups: most arose against nuclear weapons (see next week) – WRI and PPU still exist. New: Campaign Against Arms Trade, Stop the War Coalition.