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Conscientious Objection Sources Questions

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Conscientious Objection 1. Compare source B with sources C and D. Which is the more reliable account of popular attitudes towards conscription? At the beginning of the First World War British men were called upon to fight for their country by propaganda. This was the idea of using different techniques to persuade the British people to volunteer to join in with the war effort. In 1916 the government changed to conscription, compelling unrequired citizens to go to war and leaving essential workers behind. This started a general resistance by some people, who claimed they could not fight on the grounds of conscience - these people became known as conscientious objectors. The three sources in question give different accounts of the popular attitudes towards conscription, and show whether everyone was like these objectors and had their views on conscription. Source B is not a particularly reliable source as it is a cartoon from a magazine. The illustrator would have therefore portrayed an image which he had designed to be as enjoyable as it is truthful. He would have also been compelled to show conscription in a good way, as the authorities would have probably not allowed the magazine to be published otherwise. ...read more.


The later of these men were known as conscientious objectors. They didn't fight during voluntary or compulsory enlistment, but just stayed at home - even though their country needed them and they didn't have a valid reason (except for a moral one)to be excluded from the dangers of war. Because of this a lot of citizens became 'uniformly hostile to the conscientious objectors'. The sources in question give different views on this opinion, some disagreeing whilst others agree. Source A is probably a reliable source for it is a conscientious objector recollecting his opinions on the war, and therefore would have had no reason to lie. It is not very useful as it is only one man's opinions and he doesn't actually mention how people treated him (or his family and friends). However, one gathers that he thought he was made to feel uncomfortable around others. This doesn't really imply that people were hostile against him though. Source B is not particularly reliable as it is a cartoon. It is quite useful as the illustrators depiction would have to fit in with the newspaper's political stance. However, it shows that conscription was looked upon as a good thing, and therefore those who rejected would probably not be appreciated. ...read more.


These figures are very high and to me imply that authorities generally set out to imprison objectors, however some were let off. This source seems to agree with the question saying that people were 'uniformly hostile' towards conscientious objectors. Source J is not very reliable as it is a cartoon, which means the illustrator would be trying to portray a comical image rather than a factual one. It is quite useful though as cartoons from 'Punch' magazine have a tendency to display the opinion of the general public on issues. It is not particularly useful, as although it shows how conscientious objectors acted, it doesn't show other people acted towards them. However, it does show that the objectors were looked upon as hypocritical for they claim exemption for not being able to hurt a man, and then here are displayed fighting with one another. Therefore this source generally shows that objectors were looked upon as stupid and a waste of time, however this image does not show that people were hostile towards them. Overall, I feel that these sources generally show that people were uniformly against conscientious objectors, however not many were hostile towards them. This only partly agrees with the extract in this question, and therefore only show it to be partly true. ?? ?? ?? ?? History Coursework 1 Joshua Kidd ...read more.

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