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"Conshies"
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Jim
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Location: South West Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:02 pm    Post subject: "Conshies"  Reply with quote

On another thread, the matter of conscience has arisen.
With the start of WWI being marked in this centenary year, the matter of those who would not fight as a matter of conscience has arisen in a few news articles on BBC Radio Scotland.
These people were treated with bile and revulsion by many in the general populus in both World Wars, yet many refused to fight for cultural, political or religious reasons.
Were they just as much herose as those buried on the battlefield?
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gone
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say it took nads of stainless steel to be a CO, especially given the atmosphere at the outbreak of World War One (which we didn't really see second time around). Anybody who took that position and stuck to it through the public revulsion, imprisonment and beatings-amounting-to-torture that many received deserves respect.

Floo wrote:
One of my Grandfathers probably wouldn't have described himself as a conchie, but didn't like the idea of killing others. He acted as a medical orderly during WW1 going into the battlefield to retrieve the wounded.


There were objectors and objectors, though. Some, like Floo's grandfather, were happy to take a non-combatant role: others saw that as still assisting in the prosecution of war and steadfastly refused even to do that. The composer Sir Michael Tippett was one of the latter during World War Two and did a couple of months in Wandsworth.
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Jim
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep.
It took a heck of a lot of guts to maintain the position of refusing to take up arms, especially amidst the jingoistic attitude which pervade the start of both world wars.
In my community, those - usually communist or Christian Brethren - who refused to fight were treated like persona non grata for four decades and more after WWII.
It took guts even to remain in, or return to, the semi-rural area where I live, knowing the stigma which went with the term 'conshie'.
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Rose
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: "Conshies" Reply with quote

Jim wrote:
On another thread, the matter of conscience has arisen.
With the start of WWI being marked in this centenary year, the matter of those who would not fight as a matter of conscience has arisen in a few news articles on BBC Radio Scotland.
These people were treated with bile and revulsion by many in the general populus in both World Wars, yet many refused to fight for cultural, political or religious reasons.
Were they just as much herose as those buried on the battlefield?


Some of them were!

Those that helped the injured, and disposed of bombs.

Just because killing someone goes against someones conscience doesn't mean they can't find something they could do to help people.

Even staying at home and being a fire warden or MP took some guts!
Especially if you are trying to rescue people from a damaged house that has a bomb in it!
Julie
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trentvoyager
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stating the bleedin' obvious here - but if we were all CO's then wars would be a lot more difficult for the powers that be to prosecute.

I know it's unlikely ever to happen, human nature being what it is, but the logic of the CO's postition from that standpoint is infallible.
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Rose
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jehovahs Witnesses are conscientious objectors. That's one of the reasons Hitler had so many of them gassed alongside the Jews.

That and the fact they refuse to conform to nationalism or support and flags etc.

Didn't go down very well with the Nazis because they were so nationalistic.

But yes I suppose it does take guts to stand your ground!

Julie
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IvyOwl
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not all conshies took their stance for the same reason. Some thought it through more carefully than others, they refused to be manipulated by the 'bravery' and 'patriotic' rhetoric of the powers that be while others were perhaps more into self preservation. Yet others took the 'thou shalt not kill' commandment as an absolute. But by and large I would say that anyone who took that stance showed guts in the face of all that opposition.

One of my uncles (A born again believer of the Plymouth Brethren variety) was one. He spent the war as an orderly in a military hospital and the experience left him extremely traumatised.
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Rose
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a religious group I quite like the Quakers, they are very open and accepting of people be they gay or anything else.

I think they tend to be conscientious objectors as well.

https://www.quaker.org.uk/WWI

Julie
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Ketty
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Location: Walking the narrow path, singing merrily and living Victoriously

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:07 pm    Post subject: Re: "Conshies" Reply with quote

Jim wrote:
On another thread, the matter of conscience has arisen.
With the start of WWI being marked in this centenary year, the matter of those who would not fight as a matter of conscience has arisen in a few news articles on BBC Radio Scotland.
These people were treated with bile and revulsion by many in the general populus in both World Wars, yet many refused to fight for cultural, political or religious reasons.
Were they just as much herose as those buried on the battlefield?


I don't think you can compare Jim.  Each a hero in their own way, maybe.

Thank goodness we live in more enlightened times - or do we?  Due to men's lust for power and control and land and money, boys have always been 'cannon fodder' throughout the ages.  It was what they did, and how they were raised to expect to be.  One would hope that in these days where war is fought in a different way, that people would have more understanding and respect for those whose conscience, for whatever reason, would not allow them to even consider killing another human being.


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