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War Resisters’ International – Tensions over Spain

Fenner Brockway resigns from the movement
The Broken Rifle Courtesy of War Resisters' International [HYPERLINK TO:]

The Broken Rifle
Courtesy of War Resisters’ International

The Spanish Civil War provoked a crisis in War Resisters’ International (WRI), as it did for many pacifist groups. Many felt that the reality of the growing threat of Fascism made a continuing pacifist approach to war untenable. One of those who took the decision to resign from WRI was Fenner Brockway, a leading figure of the organisation in 1936. In his resignation letter Brockway wrote:

‘It is with great regret that I feel I must resign from the War Resisters’ International… but I feel it is the only honest course I can take…. If I were in Spain at this moment I should be fighting with the workers against the Fascist forces. I believe it to be the correct course to demand that the workers shall be provided with the arms which are being sent so freely by the Fascist powers to their enemies. I appreciate the attitude of the pacifists in Spain who, while wishing the workers success, feel they must express their support in constructive social service alone. My difficulty about that attitude is that if anyone wishes the workers to be triumphant he cannot, in my view, refrain from doing whatever is necessary to enable that triumph to take place.’

References/Further Reading:

D. Prasad, 2005. War is a Crime Against Humanity: The Story of War Resisters’ International. London: War Resisters’ International.