The White Feather Diaries: Meet the people who said No to the First World War

At the time of World War One conscientious objection was poorly understood. Many people regarded conscientious objectors as cowardly for not joining the armed forces.

White feather

The White Feather Diaries

Publishing the diaries of those who opposed WWI. To refuse to kill is a cause worth dying for.

The white feather diaries is a social media storytelling project marking the centenary of World War I. It offers an insight into overlooked aspects of war: resistance to killing and the relief of suffering.

The website follows the lives of five young people who lived a century ago and opposed World War I. Their stories, published periodically over three years, take us from the outbreak of war to the introduction of conscription and groundbreaking legislation recognising conscientious objection. Through daily posts we share their moral dilemmas and their often dangerous decisions.

For those wanting to delve further into these fascinating stories, each blog entry includes rich background material about the content of the post or the diarist and their contemporaries.

The white feather diaries sheds light on the hidden stories of those whose bravery saved lives and changed British legislation, leading to a wider recognition of the legitimacy of the right to refuse to kill. It poses the question, "What would you do?" and encourages discussion about issues still relevant today. This fascinating project, drawing from original diaries, letters and other materials, will run from 2014 to 2016. To stay informed about new posts, please follow The white feather diaries on Twitter or Facebook.

What is the significance of the white feather?

At the time of World War I conscientious objection was porly understood. Many people regarded conscientious objectors as cowardly for not joining the armed forces. The Order of the White Feather was founded at the start of the war by Admiral Fitzgerald. It encouraged women to give white feathers, a symbol of cowardice, to young men who were not in uniform to shame them into enlisting.

Source: The White Feather Diaries

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