Peace activists in Britain can be described as semi-detached idealists, and in 1854 they opposed a decision to go to war. By the end of World War II they were in a state of shock, fired by the issue of nuclear weapons. During that period peace activism was achievable to an intermittent level. This chapter discusses peace movements and whether they are to be regarded as pressure groups rather than expressive organizations. Ideology unites the peace movement against militarists, crusaders, and defencists but also divides it between an absolutist and a reformist wing while the amorphous grouping described as ‘pacifist’ argues that the abolition of war will be achieved only by improving the international system structure or of its constituent states.
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