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Quaker Studies

Abstract

Based on extensive research into the 1914-1918 anti-war movement in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, this study sets out to examine the proposition that Huddersfield was a 'special place' in the strength of its anti-war community and in the tolerance shown to it. In the process, it raises fundamental questions about historians' understanding of the way in which British society dealt with the war. It criticises what it sees to be an essentially metropolitan view of the war which it regards as inaccurate and misleading. It also raises questions about popular attitudes towards the war, the nature of anti-war groupings, accepted calculations of Conscientious Objector (CO) numbers and the notion of the CO as an individual 'suffering for conscience sake'. In doing so it makes a plea for more local studies and, in particular for closer attention to the idea of the CO as representative of a coherent and self-sustaining broad-based radical sub-culture.

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