A visual celebration of the people and movements that opposed the First World War, featuring the graphic art of Emily Johns
“[We] will break before we bend … The world is my country” – Derby anti-war activist Alice Wheeldon, who was framed for plotting to murder the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, in a letter from prison, February 1917.
The First World War centenary (2014-2018) will be accompanied by a tidal wave of events, exhibitions, TV series, books and commemorations. However, one key aspect of the War’s history is almost certain to receive little or no attention: the history and stories of the people and organisations that opposed the conflict.
Moreover, this history – of police raids and buried documents, feminist peace initiatives and clandestine printing presses, striking German munitions workers and communities of resistance in Huddersfield, Hackney, and Bradford (among other places) – appears to be largely unknown even to contemporary activists.
To help counter this omission Peace News (PN) will research and produce a series of ten highly-visual colour posters, celebrating key figures and events from the First World War anti-war movement – including figures and events from Germany & the Global South – bringing their stories and chutzpah alive for a new generation.
These posters will be distributed widely at WW1-related events throughout 2014 as well as serialised inPN itself.
If you would like to help fund this project and receive copies of the posters please go to Kickstarter
- a secret soldiers’ pact to shoot to injure rather than to kill;
- the gleeful, even mischievous, appropriation of a pompous prosecutor’s words for use as anti-war propaganda;
- the network of refuges for war resisters on the run in Sheffield, Liverpool, and Leicester;
- the jailing of one of the century’s greatest philosophers (who had already been dismissed from his college and banned from “prohibited areas” amounting to one-third of Britain for his anti-war activities, and who subsequently managed to smuggle a letter out of jail, hidden in the uncut pages of the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society);
- the conscientious objectors shipped to France and sentenced to death, saved by the sexual charisma of a famous aristocrat;
- the Jamaican man who refused to be conscripted on the grounds that the European Powers “have oppressed and tyrranised over my fellow-men” while “I am not given ordinary privileges as a citizen”.