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A War of IndividualsBloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War$
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Jonathan Atkin

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780719060700

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719060700.001.0001

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‘Recognised’ forms of opposition

‘Recognised’ forms of opposition

(p.10) 1 ‘Recognised’ forms of opposition
A War of Individuals

Jonathan Atkin

Manchester University Press

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

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