The First World War centenary (2014-2018) is being accompanied by a tidal wave of events, exhibitions, TV series, books and commemorations. However, one key aspect of the War’s history is receiving little or no attention: the history and stories of the people and organisations that opposed the conflict, and took action to stop it.
Moreover, this history – of police raids and buried documents, feminist peace initiatives and clandestine printing presses, striking German munitions workers and communities of resistance in Huddersfield, Hackney, and Bradford (among other places) – appears to be largely unknown even to contemporary activists.
To help counter this omission Peace News (PN) has produced a series of ten highly-visual colour posters, featuring the distinctive graphic art of Emily Johns, celebrating key figures and events from the First World War anti-war movement – including figures and events from Germany & the Global South – bringing their stories and chutzpah alive for a new generation.
Peace News has also collaborated with the poetry publisher Hearing Eye to commission six poems poems and 2 songs from Alan Brownjohn, Mererid Hopwood, Dan Kennedy, Krysia Mansfield and Anna Robinson.
Sample praise for ‘The World is My Country’:
- ‘It is wonderful to see the spirit of these brave people celebrated in this manner. I’m happy if I had any role in making these people better known—and with these great posters you’ve carried that a step farther.’ – Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of the Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914 – 1918
- ‘The book is a real gem – with various stunning facts and memorable quotations to be rediscovered there … I am really so bucked up to see some of the forgotten people immortalized there on [Emily’s] posters … You are doing magical things!‘ – Douglas Newton, author of Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush to War, 1914 (Verso, 2014).
- ‘Thank you very much for the posters (and the book). They are absolutely splendid, great historical research, and I plan to put some on a pin-board to take and show whenever I give a talk on WW1.’ – John Gittings, author of The Glorious Art of Peace: From the Iliad to Iraq (Oxford University Press, 2012).
- ‘I write with some delay to say a big thank you on behalf of both of our groups for the wonderful ‘The world is my country’ evening the other day. There has been nothing but praise, from many quarters; your talk went seamlessly and naturally from being uplifting, disturbing , and entertaining in turn. Above all it was informative and interesting throughout.’
- ‘I really enjoyed your event at Torriano this evening. Everything: 1,000 falafels, the many words, the few songs and poems, singing to the film, the fresh air break half-way through … It had the mood of a family celebration even if I was not a family member. May I congratulate you all!’
- ‘[T]hank you for speaking at Senate House Library last week … the combination of Gabriel’s research and Emily’s work made for a fascinating evening. It was both thought-provoking and beautiful! We cannot thank you enough for your time and effort.’