‘Witness to the Oneness of Humanity’
: The Contribution and Significance of British Women Pacifists in the Era of World War Two

  • Steven Illingworth

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Women pacifists in World War Two Britain have received little attention from historians. On the rare occasions where this subject has been addressed, there has been a tendency to underestimate the significance and successes of the women who opposed the war, as the typical focus has been on a handful of intellectual women from privileged backgrounds. This thesis challenges the limitations of this approach, mainly by defining pacifism more broadly and by using a wider range of sources. These sources include the journals documenting the activities of working class pacifists and also the oral archives. Both of these have captured the voices of women from a variety of backgrounds in addition to those from intellectual circles. The result is a wide-ranging analysis of women pacifists in this era, placing their ideas and actions from the 1940s into the wider development of feminist ideology across the twentieth century and demonstrating the deep significance and impact they had on British society at this critical time.
Date of Award21 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRebecca Gill (Main Supervisor)

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