Common Print, the publishing arm of the Common Weal, has published the first comprehensive history of the anti-World War One movement in Scotland. Objectors & Resisters: Opposition to Conscription and War in Scotland 1914-18 by Rob Duncan charts the stories of the outstanding women and men who showed great campaigning skills, principles and courage in fighting against the drive to war and the conscription of young, mainly working class men.
Conscientious objectors (men who were called up to fight but refused on moral grounds) and the many women and men who were not eligible for service but campaigned agains the war were very much in a minority in Scotland at the time but many of the political struggles which defined 20th century Scotland can be traced back to a radical tradition born during the anti-war movement.
The book (a series of extracts can be found at the end of this release) tells the stories of well-known activists such as John Maxton, Keir Hardie, Mary Barbour and Helen Crawfurd as well as many unknown Scots who made a stand during the war. The book also contains songs and photographs from the period and local information about how the campaign spread across Scotland. It charts the harsh repression of the movement and the torture-like conditions in which activists were held while in prison and the extent to which Scotland played a major part in the global campaign against the war.
In the end, proportionately Scotland had the highest loss of life on the battlefield of any participating country apart from Turkey and Serbia.
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