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© Peace Pledge Union

It is now many years since Victor Hugo said, 'Let us dishonour war'. That was a somewhat revolutionary enjoinder, but since it was made pacifism has changed and broadened, and the positive aspect of Hugo's words is becoming the more appropriate, and the more revolutionary. Pacifism, once thought to be a matter bounded by religious scruple, has become sufficiently positive and sufficiently broad in its implications to be approached and accepted by widely differing minds. Until recently it has perhaps been the general impression that pacifism is no more than an attitude to war adopted by those whose faith leads them to believe that the killing of their fellow-men is contrary to the mind of Christ, and that pacifists are those who refuse to take part in warfare but go no further. There are many who reach pacifism from directions that cannot be called purely religious. For them pacifism is not a matter only of the emotions and of faith, but a logical deduction, a philosophic necessity, an intellectual reality based on a study of the sciences of sociology, anthropology, politics, history, economics.
It is thus that pacifism becomes something more positive than a renunciation of war. It becomes a quest for peace and for the things that belong to peace in the truest sense, an active vital and practical matter requiring constructive thought and constructive action, as well as a certain way of living. It becomes not merely a method of preventing and eradicating war, but finally a movement embodying an ethic, an attitude to life of which peace is an inseparable part rather than the whole.
It is perhaps because of this broadening of the meaning of the word pacifism that a movement such as the Peace Pledge Union, having among its members some hundred thousand men and women of very divergent philosophic, religious and political opinions, has become a possibility; and that it has been able to be divided up into about seven hundred active groups would seem to indicate that pacifism is indeed more than a negative renunciation of war and has become a thing of imperative and positive vitality. For those active in these groups the renunciation and elimination of war is but the first step in the construction of peace and the construction of peace but one step in the construction of a wiser, saner and more humane social order.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
The items appear in chronological order.

Father, Forgive Them is abridged from a chapter in Two Days Before, a series of addresses on the Words from the Cross, published by SCM Press in 1924. Grateful acknowledgement is made to the publishers for permission to reprint.If Another War Comes What Will You Do? originally appeared in 1934 as one of a weekly series of articles which Dick then wrote for the Sunday Express. It was republished by Cassell in 1935 in Some of My Religion. (A quotation from Winston Churchill illustrating the horrors of modern war has been omitted.) Grateful acknowledgement is made to the publishers for permission to reprint.

I Will Not Fight is an abridgement of Dick's introduction to We Did Not Fight edited by Julian Bell, published by Cobden-Sanderson, 1935, an anthology of 1914-18 experiences of war resisters.

Murder is Wrong is compiled from extracts from a conversation jointly with Aldous Huxley and an anonymous interviewer published by Nash's Magazine in mid-1936 and reprinted by the PPU in September 1936 as a pamphlet under the title 100,000 Say No! Huxley's part of the conversation has already been republished in Pacifism and Philosophy, a pamphlet available from the PPU.

Armistice Day is abridged from an article in Peace News, 7 November 1936.

A Candid Letter to the 'Men Who Matter' was published by the PPU as a broadsheet. It has not been possible to pinpoint the exact date of publication, but it was probably late 1936 or early 1937.

The Christian Attitude to War is abridged from a sermon preached in St Mary Woolnoth on 26 February 1937. The full text was published as a broadsheet by the PPU in 1939 or 1940.

The Root of the Matter is an abridgement of an essay entitled Religion in a collection edited by Dick. The whole collection published in 1937 by Cassell under the title of The Root of the Matter, was described as an attempt to reach the root of the matter in relation to what is wrong with the conditions of modern life, and to build up constructive proposals for a better state of affairs. Grateful acknowledgement is made to the publishers for permission to reprint.

Let Us Honour Peace is abridged from Dick's introduction to Let Us Honour Peace, (Cobden-Sanderson, 1937) a collection of essays by prominent pacifists such as Charles Raven, Vera Brittain and Gerald Heard, and others not so well known.

 

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