Period III Quakerism after the First World War 1914-1941

CHAPTER 37
1

FRIENDS RELIEF AND RECONSTRUCTION WORK

IN MANY important respects the First World War marks the beginning of a new period in the history of the Society of Friends both in England and America. The war found some Friends hesitant in their attitude toward it and the issues which it raised and the traditional Quaker testimony against all war held the loyalty of members with varying degrees of power.

With regard to participation in the war, three distinct groups emerged. One adhered from conviction to the historic Quaker opposition to all war as incompatible with their Christian discipleship. From this group many young Friends went before the English tribunals and to the American cantonments as conscientious objectors. Some of these refused to accept any imposed alternative to military service. Others of them felt free to accept a variety of alternative services of a beneficent character. A second group retained their opposition to war generally, but felt that an

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1
For fuller accounts of this work see Fry, A Quaker Adventure; Jones, R. M. , A Service of Love in Wartime; Graham, Conscription and Conscience; Jones, M. H., Swords Into Ploughshares; and Jones, Lester M., Quakers in Action.

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