PACIFISM, DISSENT AND REVOLUTION
Even in the confusion of August 1914, the horrors of what a sustained war might bring seemed abundantly clear to several groups of women: those on the left; those feminists for whom pacifism or anti-militarism were central to their beliefs; and those who simply could not sanction sending their beloved sons, husbands, lovers, brothers and friends to fight. It required a good deal of courage to counter the prevailing waves of patriotism that emanated from almost every institution, above all the governments of belligerent nations, during the early, optimistic phases of the war, and so the very existence of a women’s anti-war movement is significant. Moreover, a few women saw the outbreak of war as giving them a great if tragic opportunity to show the world what made the political empowerment of women so vital. They insisted that a world that listened to their voices would not, and would never in future, be a world at war.