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Intelligent CompassionThe Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Feminist Peace$
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Catia Cecilia Confortini

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199845231

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845231.001.0001

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“Evidence of Things Unseen”

“Evidence of Things Unseen”

WILPF and Disarmament

(p.29) Chapter 3 “Evidence of Things Unseen”
Intelligent Compassion

Catia Cecilia Confortini

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes and analyzes the policies of WILPF on disarmament from 1945 to 1975. The chapter shows that WILPF’s worldview about the causes of war, militarization, and the arms buildup and their elimination went through two distinct phases. It moved from an emphasis on legal and political agreements as first steps in making nuclear arms unnecessary, to a focus on nuclear abolition and an optimistic view of the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, to the articulation of a harsher economic critique of the war system. The WILPF’s critique emphasized that the nuclear arms buildup, together with nuclear energy use and traffic in small arms, were cornerstones of an economic system based on profits rather than needs. Thus, between 1945 and 1975, WILPF constructed its idea of peace around different ideologies, each imbued with its own sets of gender assumptions. The chapter argues that shifts in the international environment are not enough to understand how or why WILPF formulated different ideas and policies about peace as related to disarmament issues in the 1970s. The chapter shows that the international environment favored increasingly self-reflective practices that led to the articulation of more far-reaching peace and disarmament arguments.

Keywords:   disarmament, arms reduction, WILPF, peace movements, militarization

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