God, Britain, and Hitler in World War II: The View of the British Clergy, 1939-1945

By A. J. Hoover | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
Introduction: The Legacy of the Great War

During the 1960s the United States fought a long, costly war in Vietnam; it was the most unpopular and divisive military conflict in American history. The ambiguities of the conflict led to a high degree of domestic unrest in the country. Young antiwar protesters devised a pithy slogan called "Give peace a chance!" The antiwar groups in Great Britain in the 1920s and 1930s preached a similar message to the British people: Give peace a chance. Perhaps no period in world history has witnessed more talk and organization for peace than the period of 1919 to 1939. For many moral, sensitive people, the Great War of 1914 to 1918 had brought history to a head. Millions took seriously the claim that it was a "war to end all wars" and went to work to build a new world without military conflict. If we now chide such people for their "unrealism," we must remember that their determined optimism seemed eminently justified at the time. 1

Hopes for peace were usually associated with the new League of Nations, sired by President Woodrow Wilson, though rejected by his own U.S. Senate. In Britain the League of Nations Union became the most influential society for peace during the 1920s. Every Armistice Day, Christians were encouraged to support the League and work for international understanding and reconciliation. Oldfashioned patriotism was frowned upon as the cause of the Great War and the enemy of internationalism. Clergymen used the Bible and their pulpits to stress the doctrine of universal love, and its political corollary, internationalism.

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God, Britain, and Hitler in World War II: The View of the British Clergy, 1939-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: The Legacy of the Great War 1
  • Notes 5
  • Chapter 2 - 1939: War Again? 7
  • Notes 20
  • Chapter 3 - Dealing with Pacifism 23
  • Notes 46
  • Chapter 4 - The Enemy: Fascism-Nazism 51
  • Notes 74
  • Chapter 5 - The Decline and Fall of Liberal Humanism 79
  • Notes 95
  • Chapter 6 - The War for Christian Civilization 97
  • Notes 117
  • Chapter 7 - 1945: A New Order? 121
  • Notes 132
  • Chapter 8 - Reflections 135
  • Notes 137
  • Selected Bibliography 139
  • Index 145
  • About the Author *
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