Peace alliance of war participants
The Peace Association of War Participants (FdK) was a non-partisan, pacifist and anti-militarist organization of former German soldiers of the First World War in the Weimar Republic . It existed from 1919 to 1927 and, in its prime in 1921, had around 30,000 registered members.
The FdK was founded on October 2, 1919 in Berlin by left-wing Republican intellectuals. The initiators were the journalist Karl Vetter , then editor of the Berliner Volks-Zeitung , as well as Carl von Ossietzky and Kurt Tucholsky , who also wrote articles for this newspaper. Founding members were the scientists and pacifists Emil Julius Gumbel and Georg Friedrich Nicolai , the bookseller and pacifist Otto Lehmann-Rußbüldt and the former officer Willy Meyer .
In the Berliner Volkszeitung on October 19, 1919 an appeal to found the federal government appeared:
- The world war is over. If it is supposed to have had a purpose , it can only have been to instruct the peoples about the madness of armed conflicts. Such gigantic teachings are also quickly forgotten. It is important to keep alive the memory of the suffering, the blood, the pain, the suppressed humanity. Above all, the war participants must work for this. You know what 'war' means. You must therefore fight against war and for peace by all means.
- War participants of all countries - unite! [...]
- The voice of the millions of combatants, their social and, above all, their ideal demands must be heard; the war participants are the most qualified to have a say in the matters of war.
- Participants in the war, comrades, come to us as comrades-in-arms against tyranny and international violence, against chauvinism and politics that has put precious blood at risk for the benefit of individuals.
- War against war!
The FdK wanted to move the generation of German war participants across party lines and military ranks to pacifist and anti-militarist engagement and to commit them to the goal of world peace and the elimination of the causes of war. He therefore campaigned nationally and internationally for conscientious objection , a general strike in the event of an impending war, the abolition or non- reintroduction of general conscription and the gradual dissolution of all standing armies.
He also advocated the establishment of a League of Nations as a parliament and confederation of states, to which the obligatory arbitration of interstate conflicts should be entrusted. Domestically, one should peace education , securing the general welfare , individual human rights and social justice , the Parliamentary democracy consolidate and prevent such a war. He also wanted to create a counterweight to militaristic and anti-democratic organizations such as the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten .
The first public rally of the federal government took place on December 14, 1919 in the teachers' club in Berlin. Numerous soldiers of the Reichswehr , especially those who had fought in the Baltic States , tried to disrupt the meeting.
“Never again war” movement
The initiative to found the Never Again War Movement during the Weimar period came from the FdK: The action committee with the motto “Never again war!” Was constituted on July 1, 1920 under the chairmanship of the FdK. He organized the annual anti-war day demonstrations , which numerous other pacifist organizations joined. As a result, these events were very popular. Around 15,000 demonstrators came to the first demonstration of this kind on August 1, 1920, and in the following year as many as 200,000 people took part in this action in the Berlin Lustgarten. It was also supported by the trade unions and the SPD . Around 500,000 demonstrators took part in these peace rallies throughout the German Reich .
At the rally on August 1, 1922, Tucholsky's anti-war poem "Three Minutes of Hearing" was performed for the first time, ending with the lines:
- " No conscription! No soldiers!
No monocle potentates!
No medals! No trellises!
No reserve officers!
You are the future!
Shake it off, the bondage!
If you only want, you are all free!
Your will be done ! Are not there!
If you only want: with you is the victory!
- No more war! - "
(Theobald Tiger:" Three minutes of hearing ", in: Republican Press ., July 29, 1922 No. 6)
Structure and decay
Between 1919 and 1921, the FdK formed a network of numerous, relatively independent local groups, which in 1921 had around 30,000 nominal followers. This made the FdK, alongside the traditional pacifist organizations - above all the German Peace Society and the International League for Human Rights - the largest group in the German peace movement of the early Weimar period. The local groups often worked closely with unions and other working class organizations. They sought and cultivated contacts with war participants from former enemy states.
After the split in the USPD in 1922, the goals of which were close to many FdK members, many of the local groups fell out among themselves, so that the FdK fell apart. It was re-established in the same year, but from then on only had around 700 to 750 members and only rarely appeared in public. In 1927 his subgroups, which were still in existence, including the Rhenish-Westphalian Association of Opponents of War based in Solingen , were accepted into the German Peace Cartel.
- quoted with original emphasis from: Kurt Tucholsky: Gesamtausgabe. Texts and letters. Volume 3, Reinbek 1999
- Report in the Berliner Tageblatt from December 15, 1919 "A stormy gathering of war participants"
- Reinhold Lütgemeier-Davin u. Kerstin Wolff: Memoirs of Helene Stöcker. Cologne: Böhlau, 2015, p. 326.
- Article Friedensbund der Krieg Participants , in: Hermes Handlexikon: The Peace Movement , ECON, Düsseldorf 1983, p. 138f
- Helmut Donat ; Karl Holl (Ed.): The Peace Movement - Organized Pacifism in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Econ-TB 10024, Düsseldorf 1983, ISBN 3-612-10024-6 .
- Reinhold Lütgemeier-Davin: Pacifism between cooperation and confrontation. The German peace cartel in the Weimar Republic. Pahl-Rugenstein, Cologne 1982, ISBN 3-7609-5104-X (At the same time, dissertation at the University of Kassel 1981).
- Reinhold Lütgemeier-Davin: Basic mobilization against the war: The never-again-war movement in the Weimar Republic. In: Karl Holl, Wolfram Wette (Ed.): Pacifism in the Weimar Republic. Contributions to historical peace research. Schöningh, Paderborn 1981, ISBN 3-506-77457-3 , pp. 47-76.
- Kurt Tucholsky: Complete Edition. Texts and letters. Edited by Antje Bonitz, Dirk Grathoff, Michael Hepp, Gerhard Kraiker. 22 volumes, Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1996ff, ISBN 3-498-06530-0 (volume 1).