Conscience, Government and War
Conscientious Objection in Great Britain 1939–45
This book, first published in 1982, is a systematic and detached analysis of the 60,000 British conscientious objectors in the Second World War, forming an examination of the relationship between the individual and the State in time of war. It sets out to show how the British Government dealt with the challenge that conscientious objectors posed and how far it was able to correct the abuses and injustices that occurred in the First World War. It traces the background of pacifism between the Wars and the introduction of conscription, and gives a detailed account of the functioning of the Conscientious Objectors’ Tribunals and an assessment of their work. It goes on to examine the reactions and attitudes of Tribunal members, employers and the rest of the population, and how these were affected by the Government lead. It recounts the experience of objectors in civilian life and private and public employment, and how they fared in the armed forces and prisons. It also assesses the contributions made by the voluntary organisations who helped conscientious objectors in the war.
Table of Contents
1. Prospects of War: Inter-War Pacifism and the Introduction of Conscription 2. The Tribunals: Their Procedures and Decisions 3. Tribunals in Action: Their Work and an Assessment of It 4. Objectors in Civilian Life: the Unconditionally and Conditionally Exempted Objectors 5. Public Employers and Their Attitude to the Employment of Conscientious Objectors 6. Conscientious Objectors in the Armed Forces and In Prison 7. The Peace Pledge Union and the Central Board for Conscientious Objectors