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University Students

The Peace Pledge Union seeks to end military recruitment in universities. Below is a series of resources countering various myths about the armed forces and shining a light on the realities of military recuitment and training. We encourage students to read these before considering joining the armed forces.

Military Training: Obey, Hate, Kill

An article written by Army veteran and member of PPU Wayne Sharrocks.

"Since I left the military I’ve struggled to adapt to civilian life and have suffered with mental health issues such as depression, which I eventually got help for after years of not talking about it to anyone. I also later found out that many of my peer group who had left the army were suffering from similar issues and had also never spoken about it. This culture of mental illness was the main driving force behind my research into why this occurs in the military."

"It was not combat trauma that lead to any of my mental health issues or returning to a civilian life. It was the training itself."

The Last Ambush? Aspects of mental health in the British armed forces

A report commissioned by Forces Watch.

Post-war mental health problems are most common in young soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds; also in veterans who left the forces in the last decade.

The report, The Last Ambush?, draws on over 150 sources, including 41 British military mental health studies, as well as testimony from veterans.

The First Ambush? Effects of army training and employment

A report commissioned by Veterans For Peace UK.

This report draws on veterans’ testimony and around 200 studies from the last half-century to explore the effects of army employment on soldiers, particularly their initial training.

The report finds that army employment has a forceful impact on soldiers’ attitudes, health, behaviour, and financial prospects. This is partly due to soldiers’ war experiences, but also to how they are recruited and trained, how they are conditioned by military culture, and how they re-adjust to civilian life afterwards.

Rewiring the Human Brain to Train it for Obedience and Violence: The Psychological Reality of Military Training

This article by David Gee is a brilliant overview of The First Ambush. If you haven't got the time to read the full report then this shorter article containing diagrams and video's is a great way to learn about the serious effects of military training, its effects on the brain and the long term effects of being trained to kill and even seek pleasure from it.

Video resources - Experiences of Veterans

Terms of Service in the UK Armed Forces

Do you know what you are you signing up for? Read this briefing by ForcesWatch on the restrictions placed on the rights and freedoms of recruits.

"Employment in the armed forces is unique in placing severe restrictions on rights and freedoms that are available to the rest of the UK population. The armed forces are also the only employers in the UK who legally require their employees to commit themselves for several years, with the risk of a criminal conviction if they try to leave sooner."

"This situation is all the more worrying given that the majority of recruits are very young. There is also evidence that many personnel are unclear about the length of their commitment and their rights to leave and that the information they receive can be misleading."

Before You Sign Up

Before You Sign Up is for young people who are thinking of joining the British army, and for their parents. It is also for soldiers who are thinking of leaving the army.

The army is not like the cadets or any other job. This site was built because army recruiters tend to present upsides of army life but not the downsides.

The purpose is to provide balanced information about the army, so that you can make the choice that's best for you.