Borderless Movements for Peace 1889–1914: Agency, strategy and conceptual world of socialist and liberal peace activism

Project: DissertationIndividual research project

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Humanities

Keywords

Description

Abstract:
During the 25 years before the First World War in 1914 two different kinds of peace movements, one bourgeois-liberal and one socialist, were organised to fight militarism and war. The two movements – represented by the International Peace Bureau and the Second International, respectively – grew in size between 1889 and 1914. At the beginning of 1914, IPB organized over 200 peace associations, representing approximately one million members. The socialist labour movement, on their part, gathered around four million members, and different social democratic parties were active in most European parliaments. The numbers of newspapers and affiliated associations, like trade unions, are difficult to count but were numerous. In view of the outbreak of the war in 1914, these popular anti-war movements and their leading organisations, which did their best to rally public opinion against war, appear to have been complete failures. However, the picture is far more complicated. The growing international peace movement actually had a significant impact on public debate at the turn of the last century – and their efforts reverberated throughout much of the 1900s. An in-depth analysis of this movement and its agency, strategy and conceptual world reveals new perspectives on the ongoing debate on how to form a persuading agenda and how to influence public opinion and the governments. This is interesting because it can teach us, today, about attempts to withstand ongoing arms race and harmful nationalism.
The purpose of the present thesis is to systematically examine how and why different perspectives on the burning issue of peace versus war were discussed and practiced by the bourgeois and socialist peace movements at an international level between 1889 and 1914, and to compare the actions of the movements with each other. The comparison between the two movements is the most important methodological element of the dissertation. The thesis makes a contribution in three different research areas, shedding new light on questions of agency, strategy and on the “conceptual worlds” of the two movements. As such, the thesis presents new knowledge about the formative period of the international peace struggle. It is argued that in a time of militarism, imperialism and Western domination, various resistance movements were created to bring forth challenging ideas about peace. On a more general level, this study has also aimed to contribute to understanding how the emergence of international social movements during the decades around the turn of the century meant various new forms of political struggle and opinion formation.
Short titleBorderless Movements for Peace 1889–1914
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2009/01/012020/01/28

Participants

Related research output

Fredrik Egefur, 2020 Feb 18, 1 ed. Lund: Lund University (Media-Tryck). 382 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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