Ann Kramer

Conscientious Objectors of the Second World War

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“Drawing on extensive primary sources, Kramer describes the inter-war peace movement that gave birth to many conscientious objectors” (Military History Monthly).
Even today, most histories of the world wars focus on those who fought. Those who refused to do so are often overlooked. It is perhaps only recently that their bravery and extraordinary principles are being recognized.
In the First World War, 16,000 men in Britain became the first ever conscientious objectors, and were reviled and brutalized as a result. The conscientious objectors of the Second World War—both men and women—did not experience the same treatment as those earlier COs, but to some extent it was a harder stand to take. It was not easy to refuse to fight in the face of Nazism and Fascism, when large areas of Europe were occupied and when almost the entire British population was organized for total war.
Conscientious Objectors of the Second World War: Refusing to Fight tells the stories of these remarkable men and women who bravely took a stand and refused to be conscripted. To bring this fascinating subject to life, Ann Kramer has used extensive prime sources, such as interviews, memoirs, contemporary newspaper accounts, letters, and diaries. Working from these and other sources, she asks who these men and women were who refused conscription and killing, what their reasons were for being conscientious objectors, and how they were treated. The book finishes by exploring their achievements and impact, suggesting that their principles and influence continue to this day.
“[Kramer shows] conscientious objectors in all their infinite variety.” —Peace News
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308 printed pages
Original publication



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