The Conscientious Would Not Go

 

The Conchie by Arthur W. Gay. By permission of the Peace Museum, Bradford.

The exhibition “Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors”  continues at Bristol Cathedral until January 8th. See here for details.

During its first two months, thousands of people have come to learn about the 350 men from the Bristol area who, for moral. religious and political reasons, refused to fight in World War 1.

On Saturday December 2nd, as part of a series of events linked to the exhibition, Revd. Dr. Clive Barrett will give a talk in the Cathedral titled The Conscientious Would Not Go – Christian Resistance to War, 1914-18

100 years ago thousands of men were arrested in Britain because of their refusal for moral, religious or political reasons to fight in World War 1. Many were imprisoned. Some of them, including members of the Church of England, refused on the basis of their faith. They believed it was wrong for them, as Christians, to fight. Clive Barrett explores some of these stories and looks at how they can inspire us to stand for peace today.

The talk begins at 1.30pm in the Chapter House.

The Revd. Dr. Clive Barrett belongs to the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and chairs the Peace Museum in Bradford, Yorkshire. His book ‘Subversive Peacemakers – War Resistance 1914-18, An Anglican Perspective‘ was published in 2014.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Resistance to War: German Perspectives 1914-1933

An afternoon of talks looking at events in Germany during and after World War 1.

Date: Saturday November 11th 2017
Venue: Studio 1, M Shed,  Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN
Time: 1:30pm to 4:45pm
Getting there: https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/getting-here/#on-foot

On November 11th, Armistice Day, nearly 100 years after the First World war ended, we traditionally mourn the British and allied dead. In fact, the war was a tragedy for all the peoples who took part and we should mourn all those who died.

In Britain, the remembrance ceremonies are accompanied by military parades which glamorise war. By implication, the sacrifices of previous generations are presented as an example to be followed by the present generation in the next war. This is a powerful and abiding idea, deep in the British psyche. In modern Europe with nations at peace with each other since 1945, this seems completely inappropriate and dangerous.

There were people on both sides who opposed the war at the time and said it was a waste of human life and resources. This November 11th, Remembering The Real World War 1 brings you three talks telling the little-known story of some of those Germans who opposed war between 1914 and 1933.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Karl Liebknecht speaking at an anti-war rally – November 1918

Making a stand: German opposition to World War One

Speaker: Ingrid Sharpe

During and after the First World War, ‘German’ and ‘Germany’ became bywords for militarism and a hundred years later commemoration of the First World War centenary can sometimes give the impression that the war was accepted without opposition in Germany, and that the First World War was fought without any dissenting German voices. This talk will look beyond German militarism at the various forms of anti-war resistance practiced by German citizens, including those conscripted into the German army.

Before the war, there were social, political and religious forces against militarism that were largely suppressed but not destroyed by military censorship. The terrible experience of war also created new opposition among the scientists, politicians and soldiers who participated in it and a small but determined minority within the organised women’s movement formed international links across enemy lines to speak out against the war and to influence the peace processes.

Ingrid Sharpe is Professor of German Cultural and Gender History at the University of Leeds, with a particular research emphasis on the First World War and Weimar Germany.  She leads the Resistance to War strand of the Legacies of War project and her interests include resistance to war by groups and individuals, especially within the organised women’s movement. She leads a project on women’s role in the German Revolution of November 1918 that will lead to a new play to be performed in the UK and Germany in 2018 war resistance, gender, women’s groups, commemoration and the German Revolution 1918.

Mutinying German Servicemen – October 1918

How to stop a war: The German servicemen’s revolt of 1918

Speaker: Roger Ball of Bristol Radical History Group

The German revolution of 1918-20 and its violent suppression is a little known event in the British popular memory. Where it is described the narrative typically commences with the mutiny of sailors from the German High Seas fleet over the first few days of November 1918. However, the numerous actions against the continuation of the war by hundreds of thousands of German soldiers on the western front during the preceding summer, have been exposed in recent years through the work of historian Nick Howard.

Drawing extensively on the research and writings of Howard, this talk exposes the scale and content of this resistance, which developed from refusals, desertion and mutiny to the formation of Soldiers’ Councils, the organisational cells of the revolution that followed. It also charts the extraordinary events in ‘occupied’ Belgium where, in the autumn of 1918, nationalist war transformed into internationalist civil war.

Demonstration In Bavaria 1919

Remembering my father: from the Bavarian workers rising of 1918 to resisting the rise of the Nazis.

Speaker: Merilyn Moos

Merilyn will tell the story of her father, Siegfried Moos, who was involved in key political events in Germany between 1918 and 1933 – from the defeat of the Bavarian revolutuion of 1918/9 by the anti-Communist Freikorps, Siegfried recognised the danger the early Nazi party formed and was deeply involved in the almost forgotten resistance to the Nazis pre-1933. He was active in a number of organisations associated with the German Communist Party, such as the Red Front who opposed the Nazis on the streets, sports organisations, humanist clubs and of course agit-prop theatre. Unlike many of his comrades, Siegfried lived to fight another day, leaving Germany in 1933 to live in the UK.

Merilyn Moos was born in Oxford to Siegfried Moos and Lotte Moos, anti-Nazi activists and communists from Germany, who escaped from Hitler’s regime to England in 1933. Merilyn’s book Beaten but not Defeated (Zero Books, 2014) is a biography about her father and the story of his early life and the trauma of the loss of his family that he was reluctant to share with his children.

For more information on this event email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

‘Westfront 1918’ – Classic War Film The Nazis Hated

Westfront 1918 (Vier von der Infanterie)

Where: Cube, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2 8JD

Time: 8 pm

Date: Monday November 6th

Tickets: Admission £4, £3 concessions

To book tickets: http://www.cubecinema.com/programme/event/westfront-1918,9758/

To find the Cube: http://www.cubecinema.com/pages/about/directions/

As part of a series of events looking at World War 1 from a German perspective, we are very pleased to provide a rare chance to see what has been acclaimed as ‘one of the greatest anti-war films’.

Made in 1930 by the acclaimed German director Georg Pabst, this sub-titled version is screened thanks to the support of the Goethe-Institut.

The screening will be introduced by Humberto Perez-Blanco, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at UWE.

Westfront 1918 was made at the same time as the Hollywood production of All Quiet on the Western Front but with a bleaker tone consistent with Pabst’s earlier films. It was particularly pioneering in its early use of sound—it was Pabst’s first “talkie”—with Pabst managing to record live audio during complex tracking shots through the trenches.

Westfront 1918 was a critical success when it was released, although it was often shown in truncated form. With the rise of the Nazis, the film quickly became considered by the German authorities as ‘unsuitable’, notably for its obvious pacifism, and for its clear denunciation of war. This was an attitude that propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would label as “cowardly defeatism”.

“One of the greatest anti-war films of the twentieth century” Louder than War website

The banned classic of international solidarity” Senses of Cinema film journal

Cowardly defeatism” Joseph Goebbels

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Opposing Conscription – ‘This Evil Thing’

This Evil Thing – Play

Come to see this widely acclaimed one-man play about World War 1 conscientious objectors

When: FRIDAY 27th OCTOBER, 19.00-21.00 (Doors Open 18.30)
Where: BRISTOL CATHEDRAL, COLLEGE GREEN, BS1 5TJ

Presented by REMEMBERING THE REAL WORLD WAR 1 to accompany the REFUSING TO KILL exhibition

Seats are limited and must be booked.
Tickets £5 (plus small booking fee) –  www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/this-evil-thing-tickets-37000717141

January 1916. Bertrand Russell is one of the greatest mathematicians of his time. Bert Brocklesby is a young schoolteacher and Methodist preacher. When military conscription is brought in, their worlds are turned upside down.

THIS EVIL THING is the compelling and inspiring story of the men who said no to war. From a chapel in Yorkshire to the House of Commons, from a cell in Richmond Castle to a firing squad in France, the questions raised here are as relevant and urgent as they were 100 years ago.

Michael Mears, ‘the award-winning master of the one-man show’ (The List) portrays conscientious objectors and a host of other characters with breath-taking physical and vocal dexterity, in this highly original piece of storytelling – partly using verbatim testimonies, while interacting with a multi-layered sound landscape and vivid visual imagery.

Michael’s previous solo plays – Soup, about homelessness, and Tomorrow We Do The Sky – won critical acclaim and a Scotsman Fringe First Award. He has also written and performed five specially commissioned solo plays for BBC Radio 4.

‘Michael Mears is that rare combination of fine writer and formidable actor.’ Bonnie Greer, Time Out

Directed by Rosamunde Hutt Sound design by Mark Noble Set design by Mark Friend Lighting design by Zoe Spurr Produced in association with Room One (roomone.com)

www.facebook.com/thisevilthing

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

‘Refusing To Kill’ – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors

From Saturday September 9th, the Remembering The Real World War 1 group are presenting an exhibition ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ in Bristol Cathedral on College Green. The exhibition will run until early January.

Over 350 men from the Bristol area refused to fight in World War 1. They claimed the status of conscientious objector for moral, religious or political reasons. Some agreed to take non-military roles. Others spent much of the war in prison, often under harsh conditions.

A largely untold part of Bristol’s World War 1 history – this exhibition tells the stories of these men and the people in the city who supported them. Rarely seen documents will be displayed together with photographs, letters from COs and artefacts.

The exhibition will look at Why Conscription Was Introduced; What was a CO; Attitudes to COs – from government, churches, military, public; Local Networks Of Support; and the Long Term Effect of WW1 COs up to present day.

You can help publicise the exhibition by liking/sharing the Facebook page at 
https://www.facebook.com/RefusingtoKillBristolWW1COs/

There are printed flyers. If you know of anywhere they can be used please email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

For Cathedral opening times see https://bristol-cathedral.co.uk/visit-us/opening-hours/

Alongside the exhibition there will be a series of talks, drama and musical events. Details of these will be available soon.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

The Somme – From Both Sides Of The Wire

British Soldiers ‘Going Over the Top’ At The Battle Of The Somme

Apologies for postponement from last month. The event details are now:

Date: Mon 3rd July, 2017
Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: The Cube, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2 8JD
Price: £5/£4
Map & Directions: http://www.cubecinema.com/about/directions/

Tickets can be booked on the Cube website at
http://www.cubecinema.com/programme/event/the-somme-1916-from-both-sides-of-the-wire,9377/

This BBC series, shown last year, used original research in German military archives to look at long-standing assumptions and prevailing myths about the what happened in the most iconic battle of the First World War. We are showing the final programme, End Game which questions the broadly accepted idea that the Somme campaign was the ‘decisive victory’, British Commander in Chief Douglas Haig claimed it to be. It examines the revealingly different military cultures of the British and Germany armies, not just in terms of their contrasting tactics but in their attitudes to military discipline, showing how the British executed more than ten times as many deserters as the Germans.

The film will be introduced by Michael Poole, its executive producer, who recently retired from the BBC. He was the executive producer and often the initiator of an impressive list of arts and documentary programmes including ‘Empire of the Tsars’, ‘Being the Brontes’ and the long running ‘Timeshift’ series.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

POSTPONED – The Somme 1916: From Both Sides of the Wire

British Soldiers ‘Going Over the Top’ At The Battle Of The Somme

PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT IS UNAVOIDABLY POSTPONED FROM JUNE 5TH.

THE NEW DATE IS PROBABLY JULY 3RD. FULL DETAILS WILL BE POSTED HERE SOON.

Any queries please email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Date: Mon 5th Jun, 2017
Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: The Cube, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2 8JD
Price: £4/£3
Map & Directions: http://www.cubecinema.com/about/directions/

This BBC series, shown last year, used original research in German military archives to look at long-standing assumptions and prevailing myths about the what happened in the most iconic battle of the First World War. We are showing the final programme, End Game which questions the broadly accepted idea that the Somme campaign was the ‘decisive victory’, British Commander in Chief Douglas Haig claimed it to be. It examines the revealingly different military cultures of the British and Germany armies, not just in terms of their contrasting tactics but in their attitudes to military discipline, showing how the British executed more than ten times as many deserters as the Germans.

The film will be introduced by Michael Poole, its executive producer, who recently retired from the BBC. He was the executive producer and often the initiator of an impressive list of arts and documentary programmes including ‘Empire of the Tsars’, ‘Being the Brontes’ and the long running ‘Timeshift’ series.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Sylvia Pankhurst, ‘The Dreadnought’ and the Great War

Sylvia Pankhurst

This meeting has been re-arranged from last November, when John Newsinger was unable to come due to illness.

Although her mother Emmeline and sister Christabel were vocal supporters of World War 1, Sylvia Pankhurst’s newspaper ‘ The Dreadnought’ was the most consistently anti-war publication. It not only opposed the global conflict but condemned the crushing of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, supported the 1917 Russian Revolution and campaigned for a revolution in Britain. Come and hear more about her life and her part in resisting the war.

Date: Thursday 25th May, 2017
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Venue: The Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
Map: Here
Price: Donation
Speaker: John Newsinger

Professor John Newsinger is the author of numerous books including The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire (2006)Fighting Back: The American Working Class in the 1930s (2012) and most recently The Revolutionary Journalism of Big Bill Haywood: On the Picket Line with the IWW (2016).

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Spies And Troublemakers

 

The Tsar Goes Up In Flames – February 1917

This month sees the centenary of one of the key events of World War 1, the February Revolution in Russia. Unrest broke out among soldiers at the front and civilians at home. The Tsar abdicated and the Provisional Government under Kerensky was installed. There were demands for the war to be ended. Britain and France were desperate for their Russian ally to carry on the war. Intense pressure was exerted on Kerensky to keep Russia in the war.

On this centenary Aled Eirug is giving a talk considering the impact of these world changing events on the Welsh people. Aled is the former head of news and current affairs at BBC Wales and is writing a book on Welsh opposition to the First World War.

Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017 
Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm 
Venue: The Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
MapHere
Price: Donation 
Speaker: Aled Eirug

In 1917 in Britain, one of the government’s worst nightmares was developing. There had always been a ‘hard-core’ of opposition to the war on political, moral & religious grounds. Over the course of the war this opposition had developed as conscription was introduced. It began to be joined by industrial militancy as working conditions came under attack. With the February Revolution those opposed to the war could see an alternative and a way for the war to end. The authorities understood the threat this posed to Britain’s place in the war.

Aled’s talk reveals the activities of the British intelligence services in South Wales during the First World War, and examines their concern for the region’s threatening cocktail of industrial and social militancy and opposition to the war .From January 1916, the newly formed MI5 rapidly expanded in an attempt to combat the influence of a subversive combination of pacifism, socialism and industrial militancy. As the German threat from spies and espionage receded, the intelligence agencies re-directed their zeal at combating the enemy within. Aled studies the growth of the intelligence agencies in an industrial and labour context, highlights the monitoring activities and organisation of the intelligence services in south Wales, and considers the anti-war campaign that reached its height in 1917 bringing together under the banner of subversion, a toxic mix of support for the Russian Revolution, opposition to the war, and demand for workers’ control.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor honours Bristol peace campaigner

A courageous socialist and peace campaigner” – that’s how Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell describes Walter Ayles, Bristol’s most prominent opponent of the First World War and former MP for Bristol North. McDonnell is MP for Hayes and Harlington, the constituency for which Ayles was elected in 1950

At 3.30 pm on Thursday February 16th John McDonnell will visit 12 Station Road Ashley Down, BS7 9LB, the former home of Walter Ayles who was imprisoned in 1916 for his opposition to the war. In April 2016 the Bristol Remember the Real World War One Group unveiled a plaque on his home.

The Bristol Radical History Group has just published “Slaughter No Remedy”, a short biography of Walter Ayles with an introduction by John McDonnell. In it Ayles is quoted as saying: “Because horrible outrages and ghastly crimes have been committed by others, that is no reason why I too should kill and maim and destroy…Hate cannot be destroyed by hate. It can only be transformed by love.”

Join us there on Thursday February 16th if you can.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com