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Title: Gendering the peace : anti-militarism in British women's writing between the Wars
Author: Askham, Marie
ISNI:       0000 0001 3430 8503
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2007
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The inter-disciplinary study interrogates how British, feminist, anti-militarist writers sought, through their literary output, to influence their readership and bring about consensual change during the inter-war period, so that the country would anticipate and plan for peace rather than anticipating further war. Through their writings, they denounced the militarist principles that underpinned the First World War and aimed to secure lasting peace. Some of the writers believed that this responsibility fell to women. The topic was investigated through examination of a wide range of primary and secondary source material. Secondary material included historical research into women's lives during the inter-war period and studies of British women's literature during and between the wars that focused on issues of war and peace. Primary material included investigation of archive material and the literary output between the wars of the writers with whom I am mainly concerned, considering various gemes and taking account ofhistorical context. The writers occupied a range of anti-militarist and pacifist positions, although they all sought peace. During the 1920s they pursued their quest with confidence. Disarmament seemed possible and the League of Nations offered hope in its implementation. However, during the 1930s, following Hitler's rise to power, when Fascism increasingly threatened cultural and intellectual freedoms and democracy in mainland Europe, their confidence wavered. The Spanish Civil War demonstrated the ruthlessness of the European dictators working in unison to crush democracy, causing some of them to further question the legitimacy of their enterprise. As the probability of war with Germany increased, the majority of writers endorsed a military response to Hitler in order to restore peace and democracy. This did not represent an abandonment oftheir values since they retained their core anti-militarist principles and only endorsed war for the sake of protecting cultural and intellectual freedoms and restoring peace and democracy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available