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The British Peace Movement 1870-1914$
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Paul Laity

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248353

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248353.001.0001

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The Reaction of the Peace Movement to European War

The Reaction of the Peace Movement to European War

(p.216) 8 The Reaction of the Peace Movement to European War
The British Peace Movement 1870-1914


Oxford University Press

In August 1914, after a hastily organised campaign for British neutrality, the peace movement divided: some peace activists supported British intervention in the war in Europe, while others opposed it. The peace journals attest to the fact that most activists changed their position in August 1914. However, the existence of two different ideologies within peace thinking — pacifism and pacific-ism — has not been sufficiently recognised. Some of the peace campaigners who decided to support the participation of Britain in World War I did so without totally abandoning pacific-ism. The majority of peace activists, however, explained their support for British involvement in terms of the country's moral responsibility to Belgium. This chapter looks at peace associations in Britain that were for and against the war, as well as the debate about pacifism among peace societies.

Keywords:   World War I, Europe, Britain, peace movement, pacifism, pacific-ism, peace societies

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