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Bertrand Russell: "Conscientious Objectors" letter to the Manchester Guardian

Bertrand Russell (18 May 1872), British mathematician, philosopher and essayist was dismissed from Trinity College, Cambridge following his conviction under the Defence of the Realm Act in 1916 for his anti-war campaigning during World War One. He was given six months, which he served when the war ended.

In 1961 he became involved in the anti-nuclear arms protests and was imprisoned for inciting members of the public to commit a breach of the peace. Russell, aged 89 at the time, was sent to Brixton Prison, where he served seven days.

On 19 March 1917, as more British men were being sent to fight World War One, Russell wrote a letter to the editor of the Manchester Guardian, speaking out against conscription. Russell states in the letter: “The conscientious objector does not believe that violence can cure violence, or that militarism can exorcise the spirit of militarism.”


Bertrand Russell

Source: No Glory in War