Sample History Paper on Woman’s Peace Party – WW1

THE SIGNIFICANCE, ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND/OR FAILURES OF THE PEACE (ANTI-WAR) MOVEMENT IN ANY PERIOD BEFORE 1945

Woman’s Peace Party – WW1

Introduction: The history of the Woman’s Peace Party

When the United States was preparing to enter World War 1, there was a group of women who were strongly opposed to the move. These women especially from Washington were in frequent protests in a bid to condemn the move. The media, The Washington Post had it on its headline back then as “War against War.” Two years before the United States officially entered the war, these women converged at a conference on January 10, 1915, at the Willard Hotel, where The Women’s Peace Party was formed. Among the speakers who addressed the conference was the pioneer of the social work and feminism, Jane Addams, the president of the International Alliance for Women Suffrage, Carrie Chapman Catt. The conference was also included two delegates from the District’s branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution and representatives from all the corners of the United States of America. In total, there were approximately 3000 delegates who unanimously resolved to champion the peace program to ultimately end the war. There next course of actions was detailed into clauses such as; education of the youth on the essentiality of peace, the abolishment of the economic causes of war, a step to gradually sensitize the world to substitute law for war, championing for the creation a commission by the government to promote international peace, among others.[1] In addition to these, their plan also intended to mobilize international governments by drawing a clear picture of the role of the women in championing for peace. Apart from their projections for peace, the convention also admonished the concept of war and anything related to it including the perpetrators. In her conference address, Emmaline Pethwick-Lawrence, representing London, described the perpetrators of the war as international gamblers, whose main aim was nothing short of rape, pillage, murder, cruelty, and all sorts of crimes against humanity.[2]

The Women’s Peace Party agenda were condensed into readable pamphlets and circulated to the suffragists in Washington and other parts of the United States of America. The pamphlets had a clear message and that was, to enlist all the women on board to arise to the respect of the rule of law on human life and to abolish war. Therefore, the central idea of this research paper is to focus on the Women’s Peace Party by exploring its significance during those early days when the World War 1 was looming, its accomplishments as far as its values, mission and principles were concerned and the challenges it faced during its operations. [3]

The significance of the Woman’s Peace Party (WWP)

Founded in January 1915, Woman’s Peace Party was unique to other peace organizations of that time. Its approach on matters world peace was pegged on the fundamental belief that Peace is a woman’s issue. This belief revolved around the idea of the women’s full participation and involvement in the political processes, was vital in curbing the world conflict. The members of the Woman’s Peace Party advocated for both the world peace and the women’s rights. In this process they made a clear statement on the significance of a peaceful society where the lives of human beings are regarded as sacred and should be respected. [4]

As if that was not enough, the women took it to the international podium where they were concerned with international relations affairs. They championed a unique perception of the international relations where they pointed out that women suffered immensely from the wars that wreck world. The members of the Woman’s Peace Party were out to sensitize the world on foreign affairs even though most of them were denied their democratic rights of voting back at home. These feminist pacifists, as some books of history, call them, never grew weary in their course. In other words, the women found it helpful to extend their operations across the borders of the United States of America in a bid to appeal for a global peace, not just in America.[5] Their main goal was to create a world without war and as a result supported the mediation movement.

In April 1915, the woman’s Peace Party sent over a thousand delegates to the International Congress of Women at The Hague, Holland. These delegates were drawn from over twelve countries including Germany, Italy, and Great Britain who were viewed as belligerent in their position on the war. In this world forum the women were able to prove a point on the impacts of war on women. They brought to the attention of the world that the war exposes women to crimes such as sexual assault and mental torture. In this forum therefore the women significantly argued their case on the significances of a peaceful and just world where dialogue and mediation should be used as a means of conflict resolution. Their mission in this forum was to advocate for the establishment of a World without War and the creation of international entities charged with the responsibility of mediation of the international peace.

The feminist pacifists under the umbrella of the Woman’s Peace Party wished-for a peaceful world of free trade among the nations, universal disarmament, equal rights for women, and national self-determination. After the congress the women were on another mission; the party sent two delegations who traversed a total of thirty-five neutral and belligerent countries. In those countries they met both political and religious leaders in a mission to promote peaceful resolutions to the conflicts. Jane Addams, who was a co-founder of the party and had also served as the chairperson recalled their visits. “Our mission was simple. Foolish it may be, but it was not impossible.” She said. The women returned to their countries of origin more determined than ever before. They realized that their mission was noble as should be pursued to the later. That mission was to advocate for a diplomatic solution to the then ongoing conflicts.[6]

Back in America, the woman’s Peace Party representatives continued with their firm pressure on the then-president Woorow Wilson to initiate peace talks. The women were bubbling with ideas to maintain the neutrality of the United States of America in the war. They refused to give up because so much was at stake. In January 1916, when the World War 1 was underway but the United States was still playing neutrality, the Woman’s Peace Party representatives appeared before the congress house committee on foreign affairs. The women testified in favor of a joint diplomatic resolution to establish a commission for enduring peace.

Accomplishments

While the Woman’s Peace party was not the only anti-war organization in those early days, their contribution to the world peace cannot go unnoticed. Although their efforts to advocate for United States of America’s neutrality in the war proved futile, their general contributions to make the US stay away from the war was immense. While Jane Addams led the delegations to the International Women Congress in The Hague, the pressure that the rest of the team kept alive at home was conspicuous. Their undying calls for diplomatic solutions to the war and the government to maintain neutrality was going a long way. Historians recognize such protests as one of the many reasons that delayed the entry of the United States of America to the World War 1.[7]

These women played a significant role in advocating for the equal rights of the women that we enjoy today. When the members of the Woman’s Peace Party were invited to meet the Committee of Foreign Affairs, their testimonies painted a clear picture of important members of the society. Breskiridge in her testimony displayed total wisdom and intelligence on the matters governance and leadership. Her mission was to prove to the committee that American women were undoubtedly intelligent and super informed thus deserved to be involved in matters politics and leadership. This is where the fight against social injustices such as gender disparity began. Thanks to these witty women, our women can vote, lead and enjoy equal rights as men today.[8]

Despite the fact that their peace campaigns did not achieve an immediate aim, the women left a huge mark on the international relations, foreign affairs, and diplomacy. Their model for a world without peace had a significant impact on the United Nations. Some of their proposals and beliefs are what form the United Nations agenda today. Among these are peaceful coexistence, national self-determination, free trade among others.[9]

Challenges and setbacks

Despite putting their best foot forward, America entered World War 1 on April 6, 1917. This was their major setback as one of their main aims was a world without war. The US entry to the war only made things go from bad to worse. This was a low moment for the Woman’s Peace Party as all their efforts seemed wasted and unappreciated.[10]

On the other hand, members of this party received constant criticisms from all corners of the country. Many of them were attacked on what their criticizers called being “unpatriotic.” For example, Jane Addams, the then Chairperson and co-founder was rebranded from “Saint Jane” to “The Most Dangerous Woman in America.” She was accused of alienating the United States of America’s public opinion on the war and tainting the reputation of the men who were dying for home, nation, and the peace itself.[11]

In addition to that some of them faced travel bans and detentions. Winston Churchill closed the North Sea in a bid to paralyze the movement of the Woman’s Peace Party members in and out of the American territory. Furthermore, this closure prevented most of the British delegates from attending the planned international conventions and even detaining the United States Delegation’s ships. This move greatly affected the operations of these women as there were no more movements and associations.[12]

Conclusion

In summary, the Woman’s Peace Party played a significant role in the creation of a peaceful world. Even though their efforts did not bear an immediate positive results, they left marks that were later used to end World War 1. During and after World War 1, women had already been granted their right to vote, governance, and actively and freely participate in politics. Their voices could be heard! Feminists leaders from America led by Jane Addams and Carrie Chapman Catt and other women across the Europe, held a convention at the International Conference of Women at The Hague and came up with resolutions that would later form the peace treaties for international permanent peace. Their quest for a peaceful world informed the need to create international bodies that advocate for dialogue and diplomatic resolutions to wars among today’s nations.

 

 

Bibliography

Addams, Jane. Peace and bread in time of war. University of Illinois Press, 2010.

Henderson, Nevile. Failure of a Mission: Berlin, 1937-1939. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2018.

Kutz-Flamenbaum, Rachel V. “‘Recruiting or Retaining? Frame Reception in the Women’s Peace Movement.’’.” Research in Social Movement, Conflict and Change 32 (2011): 191-218.

Maine, Margo. Body wars: Making peace with women’s bodies (an activist’s guide). Gurze Books, 2011.

Pierson, Ruth Roach, ed. Women and peace: Theoretical, historical and practical perspectives. Routledge, 2019.

Tickner, J. Ann, and Jacqui True. “A Century of International Relations Feminism: From World War I Women’s Peace Pragmatism to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.” International Studies Quarterly 62, no. 2 (2018): 221-233.

 

 

[1] Addams, Jane. Peace and bread in time of war. University of Illinois Press, 2010.

 

[2] Addams, Jane. Peace and bread in time of war. University of Illinois Press, 2010.

 

[3] Maine, Margo. Body wars: Making peace with women’s bodies (an activist’s guide). Gurze Books, 2011.

 

[4] Kutz-Flamenbaum, Rachel V. “‘Recruiting or Retaining? Frame Reception in the Women’s Peace Movement.’’.” Research in Social Movement, Conflict and Change 32 (2011): 191-218.

 

[5] Maine, Margo. Body wars: Making peace with women’s bodies (an activist’s guide). Gurze Books, 2011.

 

[6] Kutz-Flamenbaum, Rachel V. “‘Recruiting or Retaining? Frame Reception in the Women’s Peace Movement.’’.” Research in Social Movement, Conflict and Change 32 (2011): 191-218.

 

[7] Tickner, J. Ann, and Jacqui True. “A Century of International Relations Feminism: From World War I Women’s Peace Pragmatism to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.” International Studies Quarterly 62, no. 2 (2018): 221-233.

 

[8] Maine, Margo. Body wars: Making peace with women’s bodies (an activist’s guide). Gurze Books, 2011.

 

[9] Maine, Margo. Body wars: Making peace with women’s bodies (an activist’s guide). Gurze Books, 2011.

 

[10] Pierson, Ruth Roach, ed. Women and peace: Theoretical, historical and practical perspectives. Routledge, 2019.

 

[11] Henderson, Nevile. Failure of a Mission: Berlin, 1937-1939. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2018.

 

[12] Pierson, Ruth Roach, ed. Women and peace: Theoretical, historical and practical perspectives. Routledge, 2019.