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Explain why some people objected to the war

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Explain why some people objected to the war As the war progressed, more and more soldiers were needed to help out in the war to replace the large amounts of soldiers with casualties, as the amounts of volunteers were declining each month. There were many men who were eligible to fight but were not volunteering, so conscription had to be introduced to keep the numbers of soldiers great enough to defeat the Germans. In January 1916, The Military Service Act was introduced. All unmarried men and widowers without children or dependants between the ages of 18 and 41 were all forced to join the war. This Service Act did not apply to unmarried men who were in reserved occupations, the people who were the sole supporters of a household, those with medical disabilities or men who objected to the war on moral grounds, who had to claim exemption. This Act later proved to be flawed as it was based on the unreliable National Register which did not include large numbers of men who were not traced. On May 3rd 1916, conscription also applied to all men regardless of their marital statuses, between the ages of 18 and 41. Universal conscription had then become a fact when Britain started using conscription like all of the other countries involved in the war. Conscription being brought about 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. ...read more.


Not many people or organisations supported the Quakers, however, there were still a few. Some magazines gave them support and also some organisations like the No Conscription Fellowship, consisting of other 'conchies'. Clifford Allen, who believed in freedom, was one of the founders of this organisation, and he was the first chairman. As a punishment for refusing to join up, he received several punishments including imprisonment and hard labour. The No Conscription Fellowship (NCF) was formed to support those who objected to taking up arms in the First World War. It was an organisation that encouraged men to refuse war service. When the war began in the autumn of 1914, the editor of the strongly anti-war ILP newspaper Labour Leader, Fenner Brockway, invited those who were not prepared to render military service to get in contact. There was an immediate response to this and the whole organisation, The No Conscription Fellowship, was created, with around 300 initial members. Stephen Hobhouse is an example of a Quaker. Even though he was actually physically unfit, he claimed exemption because the war was totally against what he believed - non-violence, so Hobhouse preferred to stay at home and help the less fortunate and because of the way he claimed exemption, through religion, he was punished and was then known as a conscientious objector so he was sentenced to two years of hard labour. What being punished only made him do, was it made him confirm what he had already believed. ...read more.


By April 1919, around 73 conscientious objectors had died as a result of the way hey were treated in the Home Office Work Centres and just over 30 'conchies' were driven insane. The 'conchies' were seen as important in a way, as they helped to safeguard an individual's right to freedom of choice and expression. The high profile of conscientious objectors served to make their people recognise their own obligations. The were also used as an example of what would happen to you if you refused to join the war; some conscientious objectors were even crucified, being forced to stay up on a cross for two hours. On their second evenings they were forced to have their face facing the barbed wire, which could easily tear their skin with a slight move of their heads. The 'conchies' received no sympathy from ordinary civilians, only from soldiers. One conscientious objector received moral support from five soldiers who were arrested, they each told him to stick to his beliefs and not give in to those who are giving him orders. The civilians gave no sympathy or support as they were shown the conscientious objectors as weak cowards, who were willing to let other men fight for their freedom, without even assisting in any shape or form. Members of military tribunals would try and break them down, forcing them to join, by insulting them. They would say comments like "You are nothing but a shivering mass of unwholesome fat..." or "A man who would not help to defend his own country is a coward." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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