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Pela Paz! For Peace! Pour la Paix!

(1849–1939)

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Edited By Maria Manuela Tavares Ribeiro, Maria Fernanda Rollo and Isabel Maria Freitas Valente

Peace is generally defined as a state of non-belligerency between states. This means that it is defined negatively as the absence of war. So is peace just a pause between two wars?
In French, the term is significant: peace is considered a slice of life between two conflicts. Thus, we speak of the early 20 th century as the «Belle Époque» and we talk about the «interwar period», which implies the failure of peace.
Twenty years after the end of the Great War, another, even more terrible conflict began. At the same time, an inversion of values took place in European minds that along with the horrors of war made it very difficult for any Franco-German reconciliation to take place. We would have to wait for the end of the Second World War and its consequences to speak of peace as a realistic utopia.
This volume brings together a number of articles in Portuguese, French and English – on topics such as «thinking peace», intellectuals and peace, federalism and universalism, religiosity and secularism, women and peace, and campaigns and mobility – from many prestigious experts and young researchers. They bring new ways of thinking and interdisciplinary perspectives, and provide an attentive, critical reading of the core subject. This volume proposes to substantiate concepts, projects, movements, speeches, images and representations, and to deepen the knowledge of the key personalities who thought about peace between 1849 and 1939.
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Tolstoy’s Influence on International Pacifism (1914-1928)

1. Tolstoy and the debate on conscientious objection (1893-1914)

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Bruna Bianchi*

Abstract: This essay is based on an extensive analysis of the writings of European and American peace activists, of the pacifist journals founded in war years in Switzerland and other European countries; “war poetry”; the correspondence of Romain Rolland; the writings and activity of Pavel Biriukov; propaganda documents; censored correspondence (mostly in Italy); and the statements of conscientious objectors. The essay aims at reconstructing the importance of Tolstoy’s ideals in the shaping of new theoretical perspectives based on the notion of individual conscience. It also will try to understand the reasons which led so many pacifists to embrace disarmament, conscientious objection and other forms of disobedience, notions previously considered inadmissible by both pacifists and socialists. Finally the paper discusses the limits of the reception of Tolstoy’s thought. Many pacifists, while accepting the primacy of conscience and the principle of non-violence, did not see their ideas as grounded in religion.

On 27 July 1928, the centenary of the birth of Tolstoy, at the congress in Vienna of the anti-war organization War Resisters International (WRI), the President, Fenner Brockway1, invited the assembly to honour the memory of the Russian writer, “one of the highest guides of humanity”, “the father of our movement”2.

The WRI, the most important peace organization founded after the war, placed the rejection of any form of direct or indirect participation in the war at the centre of its program. In 1928 it had hundreds of thousands of...

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