Issues of War and Peace in the 20th century

World War One

Notes and resources created by Jim Pearson: 

  • WW1
  • The Rise of Pacifism
  • WW2
  • Vietnam
  • The War on Terror

Discussion Notes

Comments

David Bell
29 December 2015, 8:50 PM
26 February 2015, 4:50 PM

When I look at Jim Pearson's images in preparation for Night School On Sunday evening, I am reminded of the terrible, savage imagery of the Old Testament.

It is true that the seeds of love, justice and a sense of God in everyone are scattered liberally throughout its pages.

Equally, however, there are cries of hate and war and ruthlessness on the lips of God on other pages. Little wonder that many of the troops who returned home had no time for the church and its bible.  And for those who died did they really believe God was on their side?

David Bell
29 December 2015, 8:54 PM

Chemical Warfare

Jim Pearson/David Bell: Did the Allied forces use gas at all…I don’t think they did?
Keith Knox: Sorry am not sure but don’t believe they did. War is war and ethics go out the window.
Stuart Manins: I'm against any use of poisonous gas.
Max: It's chemical warfare!
Keith Knox: I was present at Probus last week and heard an expert on the Geneva Convention talking about it. Geneva Convention now bans gas.
Valerie: That’s right. 
Valerie: Chemical warfare helps to distance the action from the individual combatants and makes it more anonymous and guerrilla-like.
Keith Knox: What is the difference betwene chemical warfare and the mass bombing of London or Dresden? WW1 was a war of attrition.

Moral Leadership

Stuart Manins: Is Jesus the only moral leader to direct his followers to love their enemies?
Jim Pearson/David Bell: We don’t think so. Is it any different today? 
Wendy: Hopefully it would be different now.
Jim Pearson/David Bell: Sadam Hussein used nerve gas againt the Kurds, Assaid in Syria. What did you make of John Key in Parliament on sending troops again?
Max: Echoes of the justification given for our joining the war against ISIS.
Stuart: It was rubbish. I’m a pacifist.
Keith Knox: I am clearly not a pacifist - and believe that war can be justified.
Max: It seems to be more a case of supporting allies rather than any logical reason for going.

Is war ever justified?

Keith Knox: I see little difference between a police officer shooting a dangerous criminal who is threatening people and a country going to war to save its people from another country threatening it.
Valerie: It will not work - certainly not as far as attaining peace goes.
Keith Knox: Peace is not just the absence of war.
Valerie: War has not worked in the past - there is no indication it will work now or in the future.
Wendy: Wouldn't aid and education be better ?
Valerie: What issues do the people have? What do they perceive to be their needs? That is - not aid imposed but aid given in response to stated issues ...
Stuart Manins: There's a difference between defending someone being beaten up in our own community and in observing some people being savaged in another country.
Keith Knox: Sorry but I do believe war has worked in the past. If Hitler had not been stopped I shudder to know what might have happened.
Valerie: There were plots from within the German military to assassinate Hitler - thus the suggestion that Germany would have imploded if not stopped by exterior forces.

David Bell
29 December 2015, 8:55 PM

Woodbine Willie and pacifism

Valerie: Someone commented in general the other day about NZ being "jihadist" with regard to the numbers going to war, all too willing to go and fight.
Keith Knox: there was a big separation between the leaders in Britain and the people in the street.
Jim Pearson/David Bell: Keith, agree with that. Has anyone heard of Woodbine Willie, Rev Studdert-Kennedy who came back from the war convinced the churches had wrongly aligned the goals of war to the message of Jesus.  {More information on Studdert-Kennedy)
Keith Knox: yes I love his poems, and he wrote one of the hymns in our hymn book.

Editorial note: Thanks for the reminder Keith. The hymn is Awake awake to love and work MHB 588 (1933 edition)

1. Awake, awake to love and work!
The lark is in the sky;
The fields are wet with diamond dew;
The worlds awake to cry
Their blessings on the Lord of life,
As He goes meekly by.
3. To give and give, and give again,
What God hath given thee;
To spend thyself nor count the cost;
To serve right gloriously
The God who gave all worlds that are,
And all that are to be.
2. Come, let thy voice be one with theirs,
Shout with their shout of praise;
See how the giant sun soars up,
Great lord of years and days!
So let the love of Jesus come
And set thy soul ablaze.
 

Compare and contrast with his poem Indifference from the reference website above.

1. When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree, 
They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary; 
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep, 
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap. 
3.Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do,’ 
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through; 
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see, 
And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary. 
2. When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by. 
They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die; 
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain, 
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.
 

 

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