Socialist Opposition to WW1 - WW1 Documents

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The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 propelled the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) away from feminism in favour of patriotism. It suspended its activities on the suffrage in order to focus attention on the war effort, leaving the East London Federation as almost the only active group in the suffrage campaign. Christabel returned from her self-imposed exile in Paris to campaign against the 'German Peril'. Both she, her mother and their supporters toured the country drumming up support for the recruitment campaign

Helen Crawfurd had been an enthusiastic member of the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU), but had broken with that organisation in 1914 when its leadership abandoned the fight for the vote and enthusiastically supported the war effort – Helen was shocked at this volte face and hence together with her friend Agnes Dollen formed the Women’s Peace Crusade. This body campaigned throughout Scotland to end war and to oppose conscription when it was introduced in 1916. Crawfurd was also active in opposing the rent increases introduced early in the war especially for munitions workers.

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, between the new Bolshevik government of Russia (the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey).

It ended Russia's participation in World War I. The chief negotiator was Trotsky. Although Lenin had promised ‘Peace, Bread and Land’, this treaty was unpopular because it gave away too much Russian land especially in the Ukraine. In fact this was one of the chief reasons for the later Civil War between Red & White Russians.

This organisation was established in 1916 when for the first time in British history, the government introduced conscription for all men. Over 3,000,000 men volunteered to serve in the British Armed Forces during the first two years of the war.

Due to heavy losses at the Western Front the government decided to introduce conscription (compulsory enrollment) by passing the Military Service Act. At first only single men were called up but by 1918 married men of fifty were being conscripted into the army.