Pacifism, Feminism and Fascism in Inter-War France

TitlePacifism, Feminism and Fascism in Inter-War France
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsCooper, Sandi E.
JournalThe International History Review
Start Page103
Date Published02/1997

Excerpt in lieu of an abstract:
Pacifism as an ideology is conditioned by the historical tradition, the cultural environment, and the political realities of the national community in which it is embedded. Although pacifists insist that only an absolute denial of the resort to violence qualifies an individual as a pacifist, and indeed, that peace obtained by violent means will be unstable and disintegrate, numerous groups and individuals have considered themselves pacifists in the past 175 years who have made exceptions for just wars. In the twentieth century, the battlefields of the First World War legitimized pacifism as no earlier propaganda campaign had done, and, following the war, the variety of national and international peace societies that blossomed testified to the persuasive logic of the pacifist argument. Yet even as pacifist thinking impregnated ever-widening layers of social consciousness, this wondrous historic change confronted two challenges that ultimately wrecked its promise. Hardly had peace activists adjusted to the possibility that they might actually head mass movements when the advent of fascism, particularly its Nazi incarnation, and the implications of the Russian Revolution which produced near and actual civil war, forced the uneasy coalitions of peace groups to make unwilling political choices.

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