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Well-known peace sign , originally the logo of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament , designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom

Under Pacifism (from the Latin. Pax , "peace" and facere , "to make, do, act") are understood in the broadest sense, an ethical attitude that the war rejects in principle and strives armed conflicts to avoid, prevent and Create conditions for lasting peace . A strict position categorically rejects any form of violence and advocates non-violence . The opposing attitude to war is represented under the antonym Bellicism .

Pacifism as a teaching and movement is considered a phenomenon of western modernity. In its history, very different variants have developed, which have also led to different, inconsistently used definitions. At present, the rejection of war as an event and institution ( anti-war-ism ) is the lowest common denominator of pacifist positions.


The term pacifism was established at the beginning of the 20th century as a political battle term for the peace movement . The word is derived from the Latin noun pax for "peace" (genitive pacis ) and the verb facere for "to do, make, create". In classical Latin there were compounds of these two words such as pacificus - "peacemaker" - or pacificare - "to make peace; pacify, appease ”. The word compound also appears in older languages ​​and religious and wisdom traditions of antiquity .

The neo-Latin word pacifism , however, did not emerge until the 19th century, when an organized peace movement developed as a result of the French Revolution and in connection with the bourgeois-liberal emancipation movement in Europe and the USA.

The first known creator of the word is the French JB Richard de Radonvilliers, who wanted to establish the term in 1846 in the meaning: “Système de pacification, de paix; tout de qui tend à établir, à maintenir la paix. "(" System of pacification, of peace; everything that strives to establish and preserve peace. ") However, the new creation was not generally taken up. For the time being, terms such as peace friends , amis de la paix or peace movement continued to prevail. Also Federalists or internationalists were common as a label. Pacifism was not successfully established until 1901 . In an article of August 15, 1901 in the Belgian newspaper L'Indépendance Belge , the French notary and president of the Ligue internationale de la Paix et de la Liberté, Émile Arnaud , requested the use of this term on the grounds that:

"Nous ne sommes pas seulement des 'pacifiques', nous ne sommes pas seulement des 'pacifiants', nous ne sommes pas seulement des 'pacificateurs'. Nous sommes le tout à la fois, et autre choses encore: nous sommes, en un mot, des Pacifistes. "

“We are not only peaceful, we are not only peaceful, we are not only peacemaker. We are all together and more: we are, in a word, pacifists. "

- Émile Arnaud : Le Pacifisme. In: L'Indépendance Belge , August 15, 1901

The term should “denote the totality of individual and collective endeavors that propagate a policy of peaceful, non-violent interstate conflict resolution and aim at the end of a peacefully organized, law-based community of states and nations”. Just a few weeks later, at the tenth World Peace Congress in Glasgow from September 10th to 13th, 1901, the new term was picked up by the national peace societies. There were several reasons for this:

"With the retort term 'pacifism', on the other hand, all partial goals of the peace movement and the peace movement itself could be captured in a concise and memorable way, and the made-up word had the same advantage of being usable in many languages ​​and thus the advantage of serving the needs of an international movement."

- Karl Holl : Pacifism in Germany , Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 70
Alfred Hermann Fried propagated pacifism in Germany.

This also applied to the peace movement in the German-speaking countries. At the urging of the prominent peace activist Bertha von Suttner, the then chairman of the German Peace Society, Alfred Hermann Fried , propagated the term in the journal Die Friedens-Warte . His aim was to replace the term "peace friend" because:

“There was no indication in this designation of the way in which we want to achieve this goal, which distinguishes us from the other Platonic friends of peace, not a single indication that we do not want to enjoy a pleasantly naive state, but that we seriously and hard want to bring about a new state of things. "

- Alfried Hermann Fried : Peace friend, federalist or pacifist? In: The Peace Watch. 3/1901, pp. 118f.

Despite Fried's efforts, the term pacifism was slow to gain acceptance in Germany before the First World War . In France, however, it spread more quickly and was included in the standard Larousse dictionary as early as 1907 : "pacifiste adj., 'Qui s'emploi à faire régner la paix, à résoudre les conflits par l'arbitrage'; m. 'partisan de la paix entre les Etats.' "(" pacifistic adjective, 'strive for peace to rule, that conflicts are resolved by arbitration'; male 'supporter of peace between states' ")

Even if the term established itself in the following period for the organized peace movement and its positions gained more recognition with the First World War , it was not possible to ascribe a clear meaning to it. For this reason,

“From a conceptual point of view, that pacifism has been trivialized in relation to the private attitude that peace is generally preferable to war. But anyone could call themselves a pacifist. "

- K. Röttgers : Article Pacifism. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Volume 7, Darmstadt 1989, pp. 218–229, here p. 228

Efforts have therefore been made since the 1930s to limit the term back to individual, more radical currents of pacifism and to make the attitude to violence a distinguishing feature. According to the historian Karl Holl is

“Rightly (...) the inadequacy of this distinction has been pointed out and that, contrary to its self-image, continental European pacifism is to a large extent not to be regarded as 'pacifism' because it often affirmed the national defense war and because 'only' the federal, interstate one Order and the right of peoples to self-determination belonged to the peacekeeping instruments proposed by him. "

- Karl Holl : Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 771

At the beginning of the 1980s, in the debate about the NATO double decision , the term experienced a clear expansion again in the general linguistic awareness:

“The peace and arms debate that has been going on for months has meant that the terms 'pacifist' and 'pacifism' are no longer used as narrowly by many as they used to be. Those who are committed to peace and who sometimes take part in a demonstration are considered pacifists. "

- Der Spiegel : Every fourth pacifist against the peace movement. November 30, 1981, p. 94

Recently, too, it has been criticized that the “debate about pacifism sometimes suffers from the fact that it relies on a narrowed term pacifism”. Occasionally, a distinction is made between a narrow , a narrow and a broad term pacifism.

"While the narrow concept of pacifism categorically excludes the use of force, the narrower one emphasizes the negation of the use of military force, whereas the broad concept of pacifism sees the endeavor to overcome the institution of war as the characteristic."

- Stefan Grotefeld : Pacifism or Pacifism? In: Jean-Daniel Strub, Stefan Grotefeld: The just peace between pacifism and just war: Paradigms of peace ethics in discourse. Stuttgart 2007, p. 102, note 4

While, according to Grotefeld, there is sometimes a reference in the literature that the broad term pacifism is widespread on the European continent, the narrower and narrower one, on the other hand, in the Anglo-Saxon region, he himself assumes that "in general, non-scientific usage (...) the narrower term “pacifism” has been enforced for a long time. According to pacifism researchers, “pacifism is only understood adequately from a historical perspective as well as a theoretical position (...) if such a narrow definition is refrained from”.

Motives and theoretical foundations

Pacifists give different motives and reasons for their attitude. One of the most important is the reference to the right to life and physical integrity guaranteed in human rights , which is violated and threatened by war and which must be protected. The inevitable killing of uninvolved people in war is considered to be morally justifiable in the sense of deontological ethics (pacifism of attitudes). Pacifists often equate killing in war with murder. Kurt Hiller wrote : "Pacifism is: the movement against murder." Kurt Tucholsky's dictum : " Soldiers are murderers " is as well known as it is controversial . Behind this is often a "categorical" form of pacifism, according to which military violence is never a legitimate means for conflict resolution.

In contrast, a so-called “conditional” pacifism assumes that a war can be allowed or prohibited under certain conditions: allowed, for example if it achieves a lasting peace; prohibited, for example when the war carries the risk of escalating into world war and self-destruction. Nuclear pacifism, for example, advocates the thesis that in view of the arsenals of nuclear weapons and the bloc confrontation in the Cold War, every conflict involves the risk of nuclear war and is therefore irresponsible. This position is also an example of a “consequentialist” pacifism which, in contrast to the deontological one, does not reject war from the outset, but because of the incalculable consequences.

The theory continues to distinguish whether pacifism is understood as a goal or a means . When target pacifism overcoming the standing institution of war and the question of peaceful coexistence in the center. Overcoming the war is seen as the highest moral goal, although violence is not excluded as a means. When middle-pacifism it is all about avoiding violence as a means of resolving conflicts. In another sense, it is to be understood that pacifism itself is a means of achieving the pacifist goal. By not using violence in a specific case, long-term non-violent relationships should be built up.

In addition to the ethical, there are also utilitarian reasons with which pacifists turn against war. The English author Norman Angell had a strong impact with his 1910 book The Great Illusion (Original: The Great Illusion ), in which he wanted to prove that the war is bad business and that even the victor harms himself due to the economic ties. The advocates of free trade in the 19th century also advocated pacifist theses, as they were of the opinion that war severely impaired economic exchange for the benefit of all.

Furthermore, many pacifists declare that they belong to a religious tradition. The traditional peace churches, as well as strong pacifist currents in the major churches, refer to the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth and derive from it an unconditional commitment to peace, which can include politically different goals and methods.

Historical currents

In pacifism research there is no uniform typology of the different currents. In 1927, the philosopher Max Scheler distinguished between eight pacifisms, starting with the historical-individual nonviolence, through the economic-liberal concept of free trade, to the cultural pacifism of the cosmopolitan idea . The ethicist Wolfgang Lienemann distinguishes four typical basic positions according to the social carrier groups: 1. religious pacifism, 2. moral-ideological pacifism, 3. anarcho-syndicalist pacifism, 4. political-scientific (“organizational”) pacifism. The dictionary of “coming to terms with the past” lists almost 20 different pacifism attributes, from A for absolute pacifism to Z for corrosive pacifism . The following are some of the currents that have emerged in history and that are frequently mentioned in the debates.

Religious pacifism

Religiously motivated pacifists like the Quakers (originated in England around 1650) played a significant role in the establishment of the first peace societies in the USA and England at the beginning of the 19th century. With parts of the Franciscans , the Waldensians , Hussites , Hutterites , Mennonites , some Baptists and the “Church of the Brothers”, they belong to the so-called peace churches, which arose as marginal Christian groups partly since the early Middle Ages, partly during and after the Reformation . These groups exclude military service for themselves in order to witness the coming kingdom of God through this distance from conventional power politics . This is why they traditionally stayed out of politics for the most part; Since 1945 this distance has been a controversial issue within themselves, and in many cases peace church groups expressly participate in decision-making processes relating to peace policy.

As theocrats , Jehovah's Witnesses also reject any military service. Some of them, including Helene Gotthold , were executed for this under National Socialism . Likewise, the members of the Christadelphian religious community have consistently refused to use the weapon until today.

Inspired by the works of the writer Leo Tolstoy (especially The Kingdom of Heaven within you ), the movement of the Tolstoyans was formed around the turn of the 20th century . Its followers represented a form of Christian anarchism and pacifism, primarily based on the Sermon on the Mount , which is understood as a direct, absolute command of God. They rejected state institutions, private property and a secular legal order. Both under the Tsarist regime and later under Soviet rule , the Tolstoyans were persecuted for their anarchist and radical pacifist ideas. The ideas of Tolstojanism had a strong influence on intellectuals like Pierre Ramus , John Ruskin and Mohandas Gandhi as well as on the Israeli kibbutz movement in the first half of the 20th century . A particularly active Tolstoyan movement developed in the religious-socialist , anti-militarist and anarchist scenes in the Netherlands .

Representatives of absolute nonviolence were sometimes criticized by more anti-militarist groups because they did not want to fight actively enough for their goals. This is how the left-wing pacifist and journalist Franz Leschnitzer judged the different types of pacifists in 1926:

“Absolutists or Tolstoians or Gandhists in any case reject all violence ... and in any case are raped by anyone who violates. They have fresh, brave leaders; but the majority of those led are pissed offs and morons, who are to blame for the fact that even clever and actually anti-war people stick to the stupid idea that real pacifists must be real washcloths. "

- Potemkin film and pacifists. In: The world stage. June 29, 1926, p. 1026

Religious pacifism in Christianized Europe has been no longer limited to traditional peace churches since the beginning of the 20th century and parallel to the emergence of the ecumenical movement and interreligious dialogue . Large parts of the conventional large churches reject war as a means of politics and draw different consequences from it: for example, conscientious objection, commitment to concrete disarmament steps (the World Council of Churches, for example, calls for total worldwide renunciation of means of mass destruction) as well as participation in a peace movement and Work against causes of war.

"Bourgeois" pacifism

The organized peace movement of the 19th century was an expression and product of the rising bourgeoisie. Starting in the USA (1815), peace associations and societies were formed in numerous states. Their composition, especially in Germany, was very homogeneous, “mostly independent merchants, industrialists, bankers, lawyers, civil servants, professors and pastors were involved. It is a phenomenon within urban society, not the flat country. ”Likewise, bourgeois pacifism in Germany stood in opposition to the labor movement . Representatives of the socialist movement used the term "bourgeois" disparagingly.

Bertha von Suttner was the best-known representative of the peace movement in the empire.

The concept of bourgeois pacifism was based on the ideas of the Enlightenment and the belief in historical progress. What was important was the idea that it should also be possible between states to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner by setting up supranational organizations. With the help of supranational law, a League of Nations and arbitration tribunals should enable peaceful conflict resolution. Characteristic of this were, for example, the formation of the Société Française pour l'arbitrage entre nations in France in 1867 and the English International Arbitration and Peace Association in London in 1870. In Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, the lawyers Walther Schücking and Hans Wehberg were among the most important exponents of pacifist-oriented international law. Their position is also known as right-wing pacifism.

Another main goal was to bring about a merger of the European states. Therefore, in 1901 , the Russian sociologist Jacques Novicow suggested replacing the term peace friend with federalist and calling the entire movement federalism . Another component was the expansion of international trade, which was also given a role in promoting peace. To reduce the effects of a possible war, the pacifists called for states to disarm.

For bourgeois pacifism, the rejection of all military violence was not a defining feature of the term. The pacifists of the time affirmed the defensive war in principle and also disagreed in individual cases as to whether armed defense was possible and justified. They recognized the state monopoly of force and state sovereignty as a prerequisite for international treaties to limit violence and to overcome war. The national wars of liberation of the 19th century were also not a problem for the Peace Friends.

A central means of achieving their goals was to educate the population. The ideas of the peace movement were to be conveyed through lectures, magazines, other publications and through congresses. The bourgeois pacifists also assumed that they could influence government agencies with their educational work.

Scientific or organizational pacifism

Starting from the bourgeois pacifism of the 19th century, various counter-movements and further developments developed in the 20th century. This included the "scientific pacifism" propagated from 1908 by the Austrian pacifist Alfred Fried. He distinguished this pacifism, also known as “organizational” or “revolutionary”, from “reform pacifism”, which he characterized and criticized as follows:

“Reform pacifimus turns against war as a phenomenon, not against its causes. So he wants to change a result, eliminate a consequence or limit its evil effect without going to the body of its causes. But the causes of the wars lie in the anarchy of international relations [...] Reform pacifism does not turn against international anarchy; he lets the principle persist, does not seek to clog the source of violence. "

- Alfred Fried : The foundations of revolutionary pacifism. Tübingen 1908, p. 3
Signet of the Friedens-Warte with interlocking gears

The term organizational referred to the increasing interdependence and intensification of global trade and contractual relationships, for which the term globalization has meanwhile become established. Characteristic for Fried's considerations was the selection of interlocking gears as the title sign for his magazine Die Friedens-Warte , because this symbol better than doves, olive branches, angels or broken swords “working together for a common purpose” and “the power of order through the spirit “Should illustrate.

Behind Fried's concept there was also an unease about Suttner's “sentimental pacifism”, which, in the opinion of its critics, appealed too strongly to morality and emotion and relied too little on rationality and science. In Fried's conviction, however, the historical development tends towards a state of regulated violence, which replaces unregulated violence, anarchy. However, this does not result in eternal peace because wars to maintain law and order are always possible. Even if Fried's attempts to put pacifism on a more scientific basis met with general approval, the rejection of the moral point of view also met with criticism. The later Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ludwig Quidde complained at the German Peace Congress of 1914:

“One wants to have overcome sentimental pacifism and pretends to represent scientific. It is true that pacifism has developed, that we now have a ramified literature that is far above the older one. But the distinction just mentioned harbors the danger that idealism will be neglected and even destroyed. Pacifism now has a scientific basis which it makes use of; but he himself is not science. It is a direction of will that encompasses the whole person. "

- quoted from: Karl Holl: Pazifismus. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 776

Radical pacifism

Radical pacifists like Carl Mertens fought against illegal activities in the Reichswehr in their writings .

“Radical pacifism” subsumes endeavors that go beyond the initiatives customary in bourgeois pacifism. Above all after the First World War , possibilities were sought to combat the preparation of wars more effectively and to defend oneself more strongly against militarization in the event of war. The peace movement received a stronger anti-militarist component under the anarchist slogan “War on War” and the slogan “ Never again war ” . These included, among other things, the demand for the abolition of conscription , the pursuit of general disarmament, the propagation of conscientious objection and the establishment of a legal organization to secure peace beyond the League of Nations. In Germany during the Weimar Republic it played an important role for the radical pacifists to expose the secret armament of the Reichswehr by circumventing the provisions of the Versailles Peace Treaty. This resulted in numerous charges of treason .

The left wing of the German Peace Society , which was represented by the West German regional association around Fritz Küster and its organ Das Andere Deutschland , saw itself as radical pacifists . The journalist and writer Kurt Tucholsky also counted himself to the “big family of radical pacifists” and demanded from the workers the insight “that pacifism cannot be fought for with tactical concerns and senile resolutions, but only with the strongest active resistance: with the absolute refusal of compulsory service and the general strike in the arms factories ”. Tucholsky did not rule out illegal methods either:

“There is only one kind of pacifism: the one who fights war with all means. I say: with all, including the illegal ones; for the legal system of the national state, which is based on state anarchy , cannot be required to recognize conscientious objection - it would be suicide. So we have to help the state a little bit - by all means until the knowledge of the crime of war has spread across the board . "

- Ignaz Wrobel : Healthy pacifism. In: The Other Germany. March 31, 1928, p. 4 (emphasis in original)

Unlike in the case of “scientific pacifism”, however, there is no elaborate theoretical concept with which radical pacifists differentiate themselves from “notables pacifism”, as it was disparagingly called.

Revolutionary pacifism

Kurt Hiller founded the Revolutionary Pacifists Group.

Since Fried's “revolutionary pacifism” had not established itself historically, the writer and activist Kurt Hiller picked up the term again in the 1920s to include his own concept. In 1926 Hiller founded the Revolutionary Pacifists Group (GRP), which was considered the leftmost organization of the German peace movement. Hiller propagated a pacifism of action that not only wanted peace, but also made it. He asked:

"Are we pacifists to give yesterday's mass slaughter a different ideological foundation and a different name - or are we pacifists to finally end the age of mass slaughter?"

- Is Geneva Peace? Speech at the 12th German Pacifist Congress in Heidelberg on October 8, 1926 , Berlin 1927, p. 9f.

Tucholsky, who also belonged to the GRP, used the term militant pacifism for it .

According to the journalist Franz Leschnitzer, its goals were, among other things, that

"We curse every struggle between nations and long for the final battle in the nations: the victory of the wage laborers over manufacturers and traders, the soldiers over the 'superior' shit."

- Potemkin film and pacifists. In: The world stage. June 29, 1926, p. 1026

While Hiller had given pacifist goals priority over socialist ones at the beginning of the 1920s, he later believed that bringing about a lasting state of peace was only possible in conjunction with socialism. Within the group of revolutionary pacifists, there were different views on the use of force to overcome capitalism. A group around Helene Stöcker understood revolution to be an "intellectual transformation", the communist supporters around the later East Berlin international lawyer Alfons Steiniger called for an "offensive" strategy that supported the civil war. Hiller himself postulated an active struggle for the introduction of socialism, which should guarantee a lasting state of peace:

“Nonviolent pacifism is good as a description of a final goal state, as visionary eschatological painting, not as a guide to action in the morning. And if this pacifism calls itself 'radical', it must be said that it is radical only in its inability to realize, in its political impotence, in its powerlessness against the human beast. (…) Revolutionary pacifism has repeatedly stated that pacifism is a doctrine of the goal, not of the way; that the way to the goal can lead through blood. "

- Kurt Hiller : Is Pacifism Dead? In: The New World Stage. November 15, 1934, pp. 1442ff.

Anarchist pacifism

Forms of resistance and refusal to war were already propagated as a minority position at conferences of the international labor movement in the 19th century by anarchists and linked to demands for conscientious objection and strikes against the war. Domela Nieuvenhuis formulated his own anarcho-pacifist movement for the first time. Since the second half of the 20th century, anarchist pacifism has been understood to be explicitly pacifist, in the narrower sense fundamentally anti-militarist and non-violent currents of anarchism. These currents have been part of the anarchist discourse on content since the 19th century , although the corresponding discourse for a long time consisted of spectacular militant and violent forms of social revolutionary and anarchist action, for example in the form of mostly individual political assassinations or other armed attacks as propaganda Act was superimposed.

In general, anarcho-pacifism is understood to mean ideas and theories that reject rule and state and whose followers refuse to use violence against the life and limb of people in their actions .

Civil disobedience , strikes , boycotts as well as blockades and occupations are propagated as effective resistance methods , and under the slogan "War on War", sometimes acts of sabotage against facilities and equipment such as war weapons and military vehicles are propagated, which, in the opinion of the anarcho-pacifists, contribute to the ruling and oppressive ones Maintain power relations and hierarchies . Gustav Landauer , Erich Mühsam and Ernst Friedrich are among the most important representatives of anarchist pacifism in Germany .

Nuclear or nuclear pacifism

Atomic bomb test as part of the Desert Rock military exercise, Yucca Flats, November 1, 1951

The atomic or nuclear pacifism emerged after the end of the Second World War under the impact of the destructive power of the newly developed nuclear weapons . In many cases it resulted not only from the moral rejection of weapons of mass destruction, but also, as “situational pacifism”, “from the sober assessment of the conditions (...) under which alone war can be waged in the nuclear age”. The development of nuclear arsenals in the USA and the USSR raised the fear of the extinction of all humanity, so that nuclear pacifism became a "widespread social attitude".

In Great Britain, and from then on in other western countries, this attitude gave rise to the Easter marches and the campaign for nuclear disarmament . In the Federal Republic of Germany, the rejection of rearmament that had been widespread since 1950 was followed by the Kampf dem Atomtod movement in 1957 , after the nuclear armament of the military alliances in Western and Eastern Europe became foreseeable.

Important representatives of atomic pacifism during this period were the Nobel Prize winners Max Born , Otto Hahn , Frédéric Joliot-Curie , Bertrand Russell , Albert Schweitzer and, until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein .

Nuclear pacifism experienced a renaissance in the 1970s and 1980s with the debate about NATO's double decision . The resolution dominated the foreign and domestic policy debate from 1979 to 1983 in Western Europe and the Federal Republic of Germany and allowed a broad peace movement to grow. While the proponents saw the new US missiles as necessary "retrofitting" and closing a "missile gap" compared to the Soviet SS-20 missiles, the opponents saw them as a qualitatively new upgrade step in the context of new military strategies of the United States Department of Defense , which had been implemented since 1980 spoke publicly of a nuclear war confined to the “battlefield” of Europe. Critics and arms control institutes saw this as a new level of escalation in the dangerous nuclear arms race . This threatens to slip out of political control and requires a departure from the largely recognized doctrine of equilibrium in security policy in order not to lead to war .

A major point of criticism from the opponents of the resolution was that the nuclear annihilation potential of both sides was already sufficient for the multiple annihilation of the world, so any further armament would make no sense. The danger of a war by mistake and an “atomic holocaust” has increased considerably due to the shortening of the warning times.

After the end of the East-West conflict, nuclear pacifism came under pressure and “tried to defend against a mood of the times during the Balkan War that again voted for military operations for certain good purposes”.

History and impact

First approaches and roots

Organized pacifism is a phenomenon of the modern age and “pacifism is one of the central concepts of the 20th century”, but the longing for peace is as old as humanity. In the words of Ludwig Quiddes: "From the earliest days of human history handed down, even the most fierce and war-used peoples have a desire to replace bloody violence and male-murderous war with a state of peaceful community." Those affected themselves, who suffered in ancient despotism under the wars of their rulers and were largely without political influence. On the other hand, it was also adopted by an early educated class who tried to moderate, advise and criticize the rulers, justified it philosophically and passed it on as a literary idea of ​​peace. It is also anchored in the traditions of some religions as an ethical instruction for action, the otherworldly promise of the future or a concrete utopia .

Far Eastern Religions

A folk song of the Imperial Guard from the Chinese Book of Songs ( Shījīng ), written between 1000 and 700 BC. Chr., Reads in a German adaptation:

We are the emperor's ladders and rungs!
We flowed like water in a river ...
You shed our red blood uselessly ...
General! [...] We are the emperor's eagles and owls
Our children are starving ... our wives are howling ...
Our bones are rotting in strange soil ... [...]
Which mother has another son? "

- Kurt Fassmann (ed.) : Poems against the war. Munich 1961, p. 11

Following on from this folk tradition, the Chinese sages, Laotse and Confucius , tried to achieve peace by balancing their powers both internally and politically. This questioning of the war was not necessarily connected with the rejection of all military violence.

In Hinduism , peace on earth is only conceivable as the effect of the spiritual union of the human soul ( Atman ) with the world soul, the Brahman . For the Vedas this alone can overcome the disastrous connection between karma and eternal reincarnation , i.e. the causality of retribution. The Bhagavadgita therefore teaches that war and struggle will never cease. However, they no longer touch him who becomes one with the divine. The caste system therefore remained untouched.

The Jainism teaches the ascetic ideal of harmlessness ( ahimsa ) and therefore prohibits the killing of any life. In this way the wise man tries to distance himself from the world, which is entangled in fateful violence, without expecting it to change. Only the redeemed achieve eternal peace. Nevertheless, Gandhi deduced from this in the 20th century politically effective strict nonviolence .

The Buddhism took over the command of the harmlessness of the monks, mitigated for the Laity. The commitment to compassion and mercy towards all living beings is both the path to enlightenment and its consequence. This resulted in non-violent conflict management, which had also had an impact on politics since the great empire of Ashoka (3rd century BC). The expectation of peace remained tied to the figure of the “good ruler” and presupposed his unrestricted power. In countries and regions influenced by Buddhism, intolerant violence against people of different faiths, for example in Japan , also occurred .

Greco-Roman antiquity

One of the first evidence of the critical examination of the war can be found in Pindar (Fragmentum 110):

"War is only sweet to the inexperienced, but the experienced fear very much in his heart that he is approaching."

The Peloponnesian War prompted Aristophanes around 421 BC. For the poetry of his comedy Eirene , in which he plaited a prayer for Panhellenic peace. 411 BC He also wrote the comedy Lysistrata , in which women force their belligerent husbands to peace by depriving them of love.

The Hellenism extended the idea of peace of the surrounding peoples, but understood them parallel to the conquests of Alexander the Great as a violent pacification of the barbarians , so as a result of military victories. He also attests to the construction of an Eirene altar after the peace treaty between Sparta and Athens (around 375 BC). The sacrificial cult there was supposed to secure the fragile political peace.

Classical Greek philosophy first developed the idea that war can only be justified by the overriding goal of peace (e.g. Aristotle , Nicomachean Ethics 1177b). This is constrained by the affirmation of the separate social order into free and slaves , which must be preserved. Although unity (lat. Concordia ) was regarded as a high virtue among people , it hardly changes the conditions that cause violence.

The educated Romans partly adopted this tradition ; thus a lost work by Varro ( Logistoricus Pius de Pace ) dealt with this topic. From Cicero (106–43 BC) the quote has come down to us: The most unjust peace is still better than the most just war. Fundamental criticism of war can also be found in the poems of Virgil (70–19 BC) and Horace .

In the Roman legal tradition, peace then gained importance as the highest political goal of statecraft. The idea of ​​the Pax Romana had been common property since Caesar's tolerant religious policy ; it remained, of course, dependent on expansion and submission. Since the Roman Empire, peacemaking has been synonymous with total military rule. It was concentrated entirely on the person of the ruler, who secured his sole right to set the general legal order in the imperial cult .


In biblical scriptural prophecy there is a vision of the end of all violence in war and the worldwide dismantling and conversion at the beginning of the kingdom of God ( Isa 2 : 2–4  EU ):

Direction will go out from Zion , and YHWH's word from Jerusalem.
And he will judge the Gentiles and correct many peoples.
There they will turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into sickles.
For no people will lift up the sword against another, and from then on they will no longer learn to wage war. "

This vision attributed to Isaiah (8th century BC) hopes for concrete, universal disarmament and conversion of the peoples by listening to the legal command of the God of Israel, which the Israelites chosen by him would have to follow by way of example. It was also directed against the appropriation of YHWH for their own political purposes and in Micha's version ( Mi 4.1-5  EU ) is linked to a confessional commitment to keep peace. It is related to the universal disarmament motives of the Psalms (e.g. Ps 46,9f.  EU ) and also influenced later prophets like Joel ( Joel 4,1.9-12  EU ) and Zechariah ( Zech 8,20-23  EU ). Following on from pre-exilic promises such as Isa 9 : 1-6  EU , the post-exilic prophecy expected universal disarmament and worldwide law and justice for those without rights from the Messiah as the human representative of God's rule.


According to the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth affirmed the hope of Jewish prophecy with his proclamation of the kingdom of God for the poor :

"Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called sons of God."

- Mt 5.9  EU

According to his interpretation of the Torah in the Sermon on the Mount , his followers should realize charity by renouncing vengeance , counterviolence and loving their enemies ( Mt 5 : 38-48  EU ).

The early Christians understood Jesus' crucifixion as an anticipation of the final judgment through the substitute assumption of guilt and the renunciation of violence by the Son of God ( Phil 2,5–11  EU ). This is how Paul of Tarsus impressed his church in the letter to the Ephesians :

“HE is our peace, who made one out of both [the warring Jews and foreign peoples] and broke off the fence that was between them, namely enmity:
by creating a new person out of both and making peace and both reconciled with God in one body through the cross on which he killed enmity. "

- Eph 2,14ff  EU

In the person and gift of life of Jesus Christ, Christians see God's final, binding commandment of reconciliation . That is why membership in Christianity for the first three centuries was usually considered incompatible with military service .

Since the turn of Constantine , more and more soldiers and Roman civil servants became Christians. After Emperor Theodosius I had elevated Christianity to the state religion in 380 , it became necessary to adapt the early Christian ethics to the new situation and to enable Christians in civil service to participate in police and military services. In his Civitas Dei , Augustine of Hippo developed the doctrine of just war that has remained fundamentally decisive for the attitude of the major churches to this day.

Christian pacifism quickly took a back seat and became a permanent minority opinion in theology and church . An example of this is the work De recuperatione terrae sanctae (About the reconquest of the Holy Land) , published in 1306 , in which the French scholastic Pierre Dubois developed the idea of ​​a "lasting peace" in Europe. Pacifist minorities were also often persecuted as heretics in the Middle Ages . At that time a number of peace churches emerged , including the Paulicians , Waldensians , Mennonites , Quakers and some of the Baptists . These groups also play a role again in modern pacifism and influenced church peace movements.

Early modern times and enlightenment

A historical root of modern pacifism are appeals for peace and peace drafts, which have been published with increasing frequency since the Reformation , but at that time hardly had any social or overall political impact. To the extent that nation- states established themselves and acted as actors in war, they also became the addressees of philosophical and political appeals for peace.

Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote the treatise Dulce Bellum Inexpertis in 1515 . In it he stated that anyone who found it sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland ( dulce et decorum est pro patria mori ) did not know what war was. In 1517 he wrote Querela pacis , The Lament of Peace , in which he combined the Christian idea of ​​peace with a belief in human humanity.

The Strasbourg professor Matthias Bernegger published the pacifist text Proaulium Tubae Pacis in 1620 , which turned against the war incitement of Caspar Schoppe and sought mediation with France. In 1623, the French monk Émeric Crucé drafted the first peace plan in his little book The New Kineas , which aimed not only at peace in Europe but throughout the world.

In 1638 Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, in his Memoires des sages et royales Oeconomies, presented an alleged secret political plan by King Henry IV for a lasting peace in Europe. Even if this grand plan ( Grand Dessein ) is only supposed to have been based on a fiction, according to historians it stands at the "historical beginning of broad-based peace appeals".

"To establish the belief of a long tradition of appeals for peace that the peace plan was born in the center of power, projects of perpetual peace therefore not in principle alien if they only found their way into the centers of political power [...]"

- Kurt Röttgers : : pacifism. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy. Volume 7. pp. 218-229, here p. 219

In 1717, the Abbé Charles Irénée Castel de Saint-Pierre appealed to the alleged plan of Henry IV in his work Projet de traité pour rendre la paix perpétuelle entre les Souverains chrétiens and proposed the establishment of a European princes' union, which should be directed against peacemakers . The princes should give up the warlike state of nature and establish a civil legal status. In this way they could also secure their domination within. However, Jean Jacques Rousseau rejected this idea in his Extrait , since for him waging war was an essential characteristic of tyrannical states.

Immanuel Kant is considered one of the most influential peace theorists.

It was only after the spread of general human rights that peace appeared as an idea dictated by reason with a claim to political realization. Immanuel Kant wrote the treatise On Eternal Peace in 1795, probably the most influential work on this , in which he described the state of war as a state of nature:

“The state of peace among people who live next to each other is not a natural state (status naturalis), which is rather a state of war, that is, if not always an outbreak of hostilities, it is a constant threat from them. It must therefore be donated ; for the omission of the latter is not yet a guarantee for it, and without it being done to a neighbor by the other (which can only happen in a legal state), the one whom he has asked to do so can treat him as an enemy. "

- Immanuel Kant : For Eternal Peace , in: Works in twelve volumes. Published by Wilhelm Weischedel. Volume 11 . Frankfurt am Main 1977, p. 203

In order to ensure a lasting peace and comprehensive disarmament of the armies, Kant proposed the development of a contractually secured universal international law. He envisaged the introduction of the republican form of government as a basic condition and was the first to combine the idea of ​​peace with the bourgeois emancipation movement. Kant's writing "is considered the high point of European peace literature and has been reissued over and over again".

In the wake of Kant, numerous philosophers such as Friedrich Schelling , Jean Paul and Johann Gottlieb Fichte dealt with the peace problem. Friedrich Schlegel went even further than Kant and formulated: "Universal and perfect republicanism and eternal peace are inseparable, interchangeable terms." Friedrich von Gentz ​​was more critical in the book On Eternal Peace , published in 1800 . The later advisor to Prince Metternich viewed the idealistic idea of ​​achieving peace through sensible insight with skepticism and therefore tried more than Kant to describe the political conditions for peace. He saw it in an international legal system that must also protect the human rights of those who think differently and those of different faiths. In doing so, he moved the enforcement of the rule of law into the focus of peace policy considerations, with Gentz already anticipating the coming increase in armed conflicts to total war in the age of nationalism and imperialism .

19th century

With the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, contemporaries seemed to be able to start an era that was no longer determined by war and violence among nations. The first peace societies were founded, such as the Massachusetts Peace Society in 1815 by the postmaster and preacher Noah Worcester. The first European peace society was established in 1816 with the London Peace Society . This was followed by the Société de la Paix in Geneva in 1830 and the Comité de la Paix in France in 1841 , which emerged from the Société de la Morale Chétienne founded in 1821 . In 1828 the American peace societies already merged to form the American Peace Society .

While the Anglo-American peace societies referred mainly to the Christian conscience , the continental European groups invoked the ideals of the French Revolution and were often free thinkers . In the beginning they had only a few members, mostly from middle-class sections of the population. With the rise of liberalism, these groups grew and organized joint international peace congresses, for example in London in 1843 , in Brussels in 1848 , the first major international peace congress in Paris in 1849 , in Frankfurt am Main in 1850 , in London in 1851, in Manchester in 1852 and in Edinburgh in 1853 . Characteristic of the peace movement in the 19th century was the reference to other political and economic goals, such as the abolition of slavery and the expansion of free trade . For the leader of the free trade movement, the English entrepreneur Richard Cobden , free trade meant “the opportunity to eradicate the poison of war; he alone will bring the joy of civilization to people ”.

There was no German peace movement at the time. The Königsberg Peace Society, founded in September 1850, had already been banned again in March 1851. Not until 1886 was a peace association founded again in Frankfurt am Main, which was soon followed by societies in other cities. The idea of ​​peace experienced a strong upswing in German-speaking countries with the publication of the novel Die Waffen Down! the Austrian author Bertha von Suttner. Spurred on by the success of her novel, she founded a Peace Society in Austria in 1891, which was followed by the establishment of the German Peace Society (DFG) in November 1892 . Von Suttner was in correspondence with the French ex- admiral Paul Emile Réveillère , who had turned into a pacifist in 1891. The organization of the Hamburg World Peace Congress in 1897, the series of which was resumed in Paris in 1889, drew greater attention to the German peace movement. German delegates were also represented at the first Hague Peace Conference in 1899. An agreement for the peaceful settlement of international disputes was passed there.

World Peace Congress 1907 in Munich: Bertha von Suttner (seated row, second from left), organizer Ludwig Quidde (right next to it), Frédéric Passy (right next to it); Margarethe Quidde (behind Ludwig Quidde), Henri La Fontaine (right next to her), AH Fried (standing row, third from right), Fridtjof Nansen (standing row, ninth from left)

Despite a greater degree of organization and increasing publicity - also through the Nobel Peace Prize , which was first awarded in 1901 - the pacifists at the beginning of the 20th century did not achieve any significant influence on the politics of the imperialist states. The results of the second Hague Peace Conference of 1907 also fell short of expectations in terms of the establishment of an international arbitration system and disarmament efforts. Especially in the German Reich, the supporters of the peace movement saw themselves exposed to strong hostility. The German Defense Association , founded in 1912 , was explicitly directed against the "dreams of world peace and international fraternization". The bourgeois pacifism, whose representatives mostly belonged to the left-liberal spectrum, lacked a mass base because the social democracy resisted cooperation. Only after the collapse of capitalism did this promise itself a long-term perspective of peace and for a long time viewed pacifism as a “bourgeois obfuscation ideology”. Only in the years before the beginning of the First World War did the positions converge.

First World War

The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 meant the "collapse of the pacifist utopia" (Karl Holl). This particularly affected the supporters of organizational pacifism like Fried, who now had to realize that the increasing interdependence of state relations had provided no guarantee for peace. The international labor movement also failed to find a common position against the war. The French socialist leader Jean Jaurès was murdered by a nationalist in Paris at the end of July 1914. The SPD voted in the Reichstag for the war credits. After the outbreak of war, the military authorities monitored and censored the pacifists, who now had to find new methods of organization and a new program.

In the German Reich this led to the founding of new organizations, such as the Bund Neues Vaterland , which were more domestically oriented and aimed at democratizing Germany as a prerequisite for peaceful development. Since the authorities forbade the federal government from any activity in February 1916, the Central Office for International Law was founded in the summer of 1916 , which campaigned for a mutual agreement and pushed for democratization. The new organizations were also severely hampered and, like other pacifist efforts, were unable to exert decisive influence.

Since 1916, the pacifist and political salonière Hetta Countess Treuberg campaigned first for an end to the war and then, despite persecution by the authorities, for a peaceful Germany. In doing so, she used her international fame and connections to influential politicians, intellectuals and journalists of various political stripes.

At the international level, pacifists also continued their efforts. In the spring of 1915 , the newly founded Dutch Anti-Oorlog-Raad convened a conference in The Hague, in which delegations from the warring states as well as neutral countries such as the USA, Sweden and Norway took part. France, however, was not represented. The international activities of the German pacifists were made increasingly difficult by the authorities.

In the USA, the debate about pacifism was shaped by isolationist and pro-German circles advocating its positions in order to prevent the USA from entering the war. In the opinion of the interventionists , however, this played into the hands of the politics of the German Reich. Nonetheless, Allied politicians used pacifist rhetoric to articulate the goals of the war, including the intent to establish lasting peace through justice. The foreign policy of US President Woodrow Wilson in particular was influenced by pacifist ideas. The last of his 14 points, formulated in January 1918, contains the demand for the establishment of an association of nations “for the purpose of mutual guarantees for the political independence and territorial inviolability of both small and large states”.

After the war, members of the peace movement like Hellmut von Gerlach defended themselves against accusations of inactivity: “We pacifists were sometimes accused by friends of ours that we had done too little during the war. It seems to me that we have done what we could do without becoming illegal, assuming not inconsiderable personal risks. "

Nevertheless, pacifism is credited with stepping out of its niche in the First World War:

“During the world war, pacifism proved to be a power of the first order. In the name of pacifism, the war was waged until Germany was completely defeated. (...) The historical conception of pacifism became the public opinion of the world during the war and also became the open avowal of broad layers of the German people during the German revolution. "

- Paul Herre (ed.) : Pacifism. In: Concise Political Dictionary. Volume 2. Leipzig 1923, p. 288.

Weimar Republic

Demonstration by pacifists in 1921 in Berlin's Lustgarten

Towards the end of the First World War, pacifism was very popular in Germany and other European countries due to the prevailing war fatigue and widespread problems (e.g. hunger in the turnip winter 1917/18, lack of many everyday items). After the November Revolution , members of the peace movement temporarily got into political offices ( Ludwig Quidde , Hellmut von Gerlach , Walther Schücking ), but soon lost their political influence again. Pacifism also gained a mass base with organizations such as the Peace Association of War Participants and the Never Again War Movement until around 1923.

From 1918 right-wing circles attacked the pacifists as traitors and created a domestic political climate in which Kurt Eisner (1919), Hans Paasche (1920) and Alexander Futran (1920) were murdered and von Gerlach (1920) and Maximilian Harden (1922) Assassinations were carried out. Students also agitated against professors with pacifist views such as Albert Einstein , Georg Friedrich Nicolai , Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster or Emil Julius Gumbel .

These nationalist circles assessed the terms of the Peace Treaty of Versailles as a result of pacifism. Many German pacifists rejected this treaty, according to Ludwig Quidde in May 1919 in the Weimar National Assembly :

“Nobody has more reason than us pacifists to take the greatest harshness against these peace conditions. (...) These peace conditions destroy the conditions for international understanding and the League of Nations. (...) We do not want to drift into the mood of the war of retaliation, we want an honest, lasting peace, and that is why our opponents must not force such a peace on us. "

- Ludwig Quidde : Speech at the 39th session on May 12, 1919

Pacifists discussed the question of war guilt controversially. Foerster and Nicolai accepted the German war guilt in principle, Schücking, Wehberg and Quidde, on the other hand, first demanded careful investigations independent of the state. It became clear that German pacifism had become “socially and ideologically more heterogeneous, rich in nuances and considerably more controversial” than before the start of the war in 1914. However, the pacifists agreed that the terms of the Versailles Treaty, especially its arms restrictions, should be complied with after it was signed.

In order to pool the splintered forces, 13 associations joined forces at the turn of the year 1922 to form the German Peace Cartel (DFK), which in 1928 represented 22 associations with a maximum of 100,000 members. In the course of the Weimar Republic there were also wing battles within the German Peace Society because the various groups tried to outdo each other in their radicalism. The writer Otto Flake judged the journalist and writer Kurt Hiller in 1926 : "Hiller is so very radical pacifist that he outbids every resolution at the congresses with an even more extreme one." Also the journalist and later Nobel Peace Prize laureate Carl von Ossietzky (1889–1938 ) sharply criticized the peace movement before the start of the 1924 World Peace Congress in Berlin:

“The sentimentality of yore has given way to robust declamation, the friendly sermons of the Suttner to the hateful expectorations of wild men. Fanatics and sectarians of all kinds have joined this, project makers with the cardinal recipe for all world evils, all-world reformers who abhor meat, consequently also muscle power and everything masculine in general; they father their children, if there is no other way, then at least with pronounced reluctance, and would like to commit all of humanity to the kohlrabi diet. Politicians are in the minority between troublemakers and strange saints. They have done their part, but so far they have not succeeded in orienting the movement as such to realities. "

- Carl von Ossietzky : The pacifists. In: The day book . October 4, 1924, p. 1400 ff.

The increasing radicalism and fragmentation of Weimar pacifism made cooperation with the parties of the Weimar coalition increasingly difficult. Finally, the radical wing around Fritz Küster succeeded in pushing the bourgeois forces around Quidde out of the leadership of the German Peace Society, which "let organized pacifism in Germany become completely isolated".

At the international level, however, when Germany joined the League of Nations in 1926, an important goal of the pacifists oriented towards international law was achieved. This also applied to the Briand-Kellogg Pact concluded in 1928 , with which the signatory states renounced the use of war as an instrument of their policy. The pact also meant the attempt to outlaw wars in general and to create a basis for subsequent legal proceedings and judgments on the illegality of wars of aggression such as the Nuremberg Trials . The 1925 Geneva Protocol against the use of poison gas, however, was also received with a critical eye by pacifists, since the abandonment of this weapon would make the war more controllable for the military:

“The pacifist discoveries about the gas war were terrible in the bones of our militarists, especially the militaries who are at the stage, for whom it is now beginning to dawn that in the new war it is no longer possible to distinguish between primeval nobility with tall, rear-lying bars and bourgeois front-line pigs. (...) The war itself is ruined by the poisonous gases. But that would take away the bread for thousands of those who have relied on bravery as a livelihood. "

- Lothar Engelbert Schücking: : The gas war. In: The world stage. June 23, 1925, p. 939

In the late 1920s, reprisals against pacifists intensified in the Weimar Republic. Ossietzky and Walter Kreiser were convicted of espionage in the so-called Weltbühne trial in 1931 . The independent socialist pacifist Emil Gumbel was dismissed as a professor at Heidelberg University in 1932 after initial resistance from the Baden government. The Protestant theologian Günther Dehn was not allowed to take up his professorship in Halle / Saale in 1932 under pressure from the National Socialist German Student Union . A Berlin court, however, did not evaluate the sentence “Soldiers are murderers” coined by Tucholsky as an insult to the Reichswehr and acquitted the accused Weltbühne editor Ossietzky in July 1932.

National Socialism and World War II

Carl von Ossietzky imprisoned in a concentration camp (1934)

Alongside liberalism and Marxism, pacifism was one of the main ideological enemies of National Socialism . In the Nazi doctrine "the criticism of pacifism, bundled from traditional, conservative and right-wing extremist ideological elements, culminated in a total denial of pacifism". With the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor in January 1933, the leaders of the peace movement strong repression and persecution were exposed. After the Reichstag fire , on February 28, 1933, the Nazi regime banned the DFG and its affiliated Christian Social Party . On March 3, the DFG newspaper Das Andere Deutschland was banned, on March 5, the DFG office was closed and the files there were confiscated. Numerous pacifists were arrested and interned in concentration camps, including Küster, Ossietzky, Gerhart Seger , Hiller and Paul von Schoenaich . Gerlach, Harry Graf Kessler , Otto Lehmann-Rußbüldt , Ludwig Quidde, Helene Stöcker , Anna Siemsen fled abroad . Others, like Foerster, Tucholsky and Berthold Jacob , had already taken to safety.

The first expatriation list of the German Reich from August 1933 included emigrated KPD and SPD members as well as important representatives of the German peace movement such as Alfred Falk , Foerster, Gerlach, Kurt Grossmann , Gumbel, Jacob, Lehmann-Rußbüldt, Leopold Schwarzschild and Tucholsky.

The withdrawal from the League of Nations in October 1933 meant the Nazi regime's open rejection of international forms of conflict resolution. Emigrated and expatriated pacifists protested in 1935 against the reintroduction of conscription and the associated threat of the death penalty for conscientious objectors and deserters. The German exile movement achieved in 1936 that Ossietzky, who had been imprisoned in concentration camps for years, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1935. This made the terror against dissenters under the Nazi regime public worldwide.

Most German pacifists expected that sooner or later the Hitler regime would unleash war. It therefore seemed plausible to turn away from the principle of non-violence in order to be able to defend oneself in the event of an attack. After English unions had declared on September 9, 1934 that they would support their government in the event of an attack, Gerlach wrote in exile in Paris:

“The English workers have not been unfaithful to pacifism, they have only realized that other times require other methods of pacifism. What was allowed or even good before Hitler can become a crime against pacifism under Hitler, namely an encouragement of his violent policy and thus an increase in the risk of war. "

- Hellmut von Gerlach : Neo-Pacifism. In: Pariser Tageblatt. September 9, 1934, pp. 1f.

Kurt Tucholsky, too, had little understanding in Swedish exile for the compliant attitude of the Western powers towards Hitler and considered tough, but non-military steps to be necessary:

“Being nothing but a pacifist is like having a dermatologist say, 'I'm against pimples.' You don't heal with that. (...) I have always considered a war of intervention to be insane (...) There is still a big difference between this war and an energetic and clear stance by all the powers of Europe. (...) What was to be done: boycott. Blockade. Internal interference in this barbarism without waging war. "

- Supplement to the letter to Hedwig Müller of March 16, 1935.

On his arrival in American exile, the writer and pacifist Ernst Toller demanded: “Pacifism is not enough to defeat him (Hitler). The democracies must unite, wage war against Hitler and his politics together and stop the rearmament of Germany. ”However, the non-German pacifists took a more cautious position towards the Nazi regime. Despite a fundamentally negative attitude towards Hitler, his demand for a revision of the Versailles Treaty was met with understanding, also for pacifist reasons. After a meeting of the Socialist Workers' International and the International Trade Union Confederation in March 1939, one of the English delegates wrote:

“The German nation throws off its fetters at Versailles, and how much we dislike and distrust its leader and disapprove of his methods, the result is not entirely unwelcome. (...) we would not see the agreements after the last world war completely revised without satisfaction. "

- English pacifism. In: Sozialistische Warte. August 15, 1936, p. 336.

The National Socialists knew how to use such moods by applying a “hypocritical pacifism” that the later NS functionary Konstantin Hierl had already sketched in 1928:

“There are two types of pacifism, a real pacifism, which arises from weak, sick disposition or delusion, but is meant honestly, and a hypocritical pacifism. The latter is a political weapon and almost serves to prepare for war. By lulling the enemy with peace phrases, he seeks to induce him to neglect his armor. The soporific haze that he shows the enemy is then also suitable to cloud one's own armor. "

- Konstantin Hierl : Quoted from: Hypocritical pacifism. In: Pariser Tageblatt , May 26, 1935, p. 2.

Hitler himself also invoked "pacifism" to justify his aggressive foreign policy course:

“For us, pacifism can only be based on the humanitarian theory that every nation must have a right to life. I say live, don't vegetate. Anyone who wants to create peace must first find out about the rights of peoples. "

- Hitler says peace rests upon rights. In: The New York Times. January 26, 1936, p. N1

Unlike in 1914, however, the pacifists were not surprised by the outbreak of war in September 1939 . For example, as early as August 1939, Albert Einstein asked US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to force the construction of an atomic bomb .

After the failure of the League of Nations , Roosevelt made a second attempt during the Second World War to create an organization to ensure peace and, together with the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill , drew up the Atlantic Charter . On January 1, 1942 , 26 states referred to the principles of the Atlantic Charter in the declaration of the United Nations . The cooperation of the Soviet Union and the Republic of China in the new peace order resulted in the Moscow Declaration of the Four Powers on October 30, 1943 , which called for the fastest possible creation of a general organization for the maintenance of peace, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states and international security. At the Dumbarton Oaks conference , further discussions were held about the establishment of the UN. After France was included in the circle of the main powers, the Charter of the United Nations was finalized at the Yalta Conference in 1945 . It was signed by 50 states on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco .

1945 to 1989

After the end of the Second World War, the positions of pacifism (previously discredited by the Nazi regime in Germany ) were generally considered to have been rehabilitated. This is exemplified in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, formulated in 1946 . The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki also sparked fears of apocalyptic destruction in the event of a nuclear war . As after the First World War, a “never again war mood” prevailed among many people, which encouraged the pacifist organizations to start over. This mood was reflected, for example, in several state constitutions in western Germany. For example, Article 3 of the constitution of South Baden (which was passed by referendum on May 18, 1947) read : “No citizen of Baden may be compelled to perform military service.” The right to conscientious objection , as enshrined in the Basic Law, also goes back to the influence of pacifists ; Among other things, the DFG (re-established in 1946) campaigned for this. Article 26 also banned the preparation of a war of aggression .

Due to the development of the East-West conflict , the pacifist movement in Germany got back on the defensive:

"To the extent that in West Germany the keyword 'peace' was associated with communist subversion and thus made taboo, in the GDR the appropriation of the historical 'bourgeois peace movement' as a 'humanistic legacy' took place within the framework of the ideological internal German dispute. At the same time, however, the aversion to the prospect of a renewal of Germany's military strength, at least in the early days of the Federal Republic of Germany as a pacifist mainstream of the West German population, remained clearly pronounced. "

- Karl Holl : Pacifism in Germany . Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 220

This basic trend manifested itself, for example, in the Without Me movement at the beginning of the 1950s, when the rearmament of the Federal Republic in connection with joining NATO was discussed. A referendum movement brought about six million anti-rearmament signatures, but no political success.

Another such initiative, called the Paulskirche Movement after its starting point , was also unsuccessful.

From 1950 onwards, supporters of rearmament and integration into the West tried to make the term pacifism with negative connotations such as illusionary, corrosive, absolute, aggressive, vulgar and radically contemptible. The news magazine Der Spiegel stated in 1957: “The pacifist post-war shock quickly disappeared.” The peace movement received a new international impetus from the start of the Easter marches in England in the late 1950s. This form of protest, which was primarily directed against nuclear (competition) arming , was also adopted by German pacifists and initially practiced from 1960 to 1969. Because of the discussion about the Vietnam War and the emergency legislation , the Easter march movement was also popular with students. The movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, also when the Prague Spring (1968) was broken up by Warsaw Pact troops . According to historians, however, the pacifist protest potential "by no means [...], the protest had only passed from a manifest to a latent phase". This is how university and non-university institutions for peace and conflict research emerged in the West ; The number of conscientious objectors also increased in the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1974 the DFG merged with conscientious objectors' associations to form the DFG-VK.

Protesters burn the flag of the USA in front of a US military base in Germany (December 1982)

With the beginning of the debate on NATO's double resolution on December 12, 1979, pacifist positions returned to the public consciousness. The peace movement succeeded

" To make the expression pacifism, which was stigmatized in the 1950s (as it was with the Nazis), usable again in a positive way and to successfully counter the defamation of attitudes associated with it."

- Martin Wengeler : The language of armament. On the history of the armaments discussions after 1945 , Wiesbaden 1992, p. 277 f., Emphasis in the original

The decision of the West led to a high “nuclear-pacifist mobilization effect” (Holl), since many people feared that “the so-called 'retrofitting' of the West could lead the Soviet Union to reverse the Western first strike strategy. H. cause a preventive war, which would turn Europe and first of all the two German states into a theater of war ”. The controversial debate in Germany culminated in an assertion by the then CDU General Secretary and Family Minister Heiner Geißler , who said in the Bundestag in June 1983: “This pacifism of the 1930s made Auschwitz possible.” In the ensuing discussion, politics and the public largely distanced themselves from it Geissler's thesis and accused him of, among other things, of “ misrepresentation of history ”, “intellectual division of the people”, “instrumentalization of a terrible past” and “perverse logic”. After the decision of the then CDU / CSU-FDP government ( Kohl I cabinet ) to retrofit and the start of the deployment of Pershing II , the protests subsided again in the mid-1980s.

After 1989

The end of the bloc confrontation (fall of the Berlin Wall , the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union ) initially meant the vague hope of a " peace dividend " for pacifism . In the 1990s, new forms of warfare emerged that were again more predictable (they no longer implied the risk of a nuclear escalation). When asked how the civil wars in Bosnia and Somalia should be dealt with, a split in the peace movement emerged:

"In view of the excesses of ethno-nationalist and separatist groups in the breaking up Yugoslavia, which resulted in expulsions, rape and massacres, parts of European-American pacifism began to develop an exception logic, according to which there are good reasons not only for military intervention in crisis areas, but even for bombing Yugoslav cities as an effective means of successfully preventing human rights violations. The causa iusta of human rights violations would not recognize another wing of pacifism but. This stigmatized the approval of the military intervention of the Allies as “betrayal of the idea of ​​the pacifism” and also denied that the reasons for the war were “good”. Scoring was done z. B. under the aspects of 'legitimate' and 'efficient'. "

- Gertrud Brücher : Pacifism as a discourse. Wiesbaden 2008, p. 169

In the 1999 debate about the legitimacy of so-called humanitarian interventions , the philosopher Jürgen Habermas made a distinction between the positions of right-wing pacifism, which advocates operations such as the Kosovo war , and pacifism of opinion, which rejects them:

“Right-wing pacifism not only wants to contain the lurking state of war between sovereign states under international law, but also to abolish it in a cosmopolitan order that is continuously legalized. (...) Direct membership in an association of world citizens would also protect the citizen against the arbitrariness of their own government. "

- Jürgen Habermas : Bestiality and humanity. In: The time . April 29, 1999
Demonstration against nuclear weapons in Germany at Büchel Air Base (August 2008)

The internal pacifist debates about the legitimacy of military operations continued during the ' war on terror '. For example, the Green politician Ludger Volmer pleaded for a responsible, ethical political pacifism that acts “in the sense of a world domestic policy ”. Critics accused Volmer of “fraudulent labeling” and “removing taboos from war”. The use of language was also criticized:

“But, of course, it has nothing to do with pacifism, no matter what adjective you may use to decorate it: It is a mere word-bell in which the term is completely emptied in order to cloud your own fundamental change in policy. One could argue about whether the political turnaround was right or wrong. But doublespeak is always wrong, and to call a purposeful approach to war 'pacifism' is an insult to the intelligence of the reader. "

- Jochen Hippler : A lot of smoke, but little fire. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. March 11, 2002

Volmer's position is also cited as an example of postmodern pacifism , in which the earlier labels have become superfluous and in which "pacifist and bellicose positions sometimes merge into one unit". In this case, pacifism shows a close proximity to the just war theory ; the compatibility of the two positions is questioned.


Criticism of a peaceful attitude that is not geared towards military armament and confrontation has been documented since ancient times. The Latin motto “ Si vis pacem, para bellum ” (“If you want peace, prepare yourself for war”) has been handed down. In militarist states such as the German Empire , pacifist positions were fought as "peace-building" and state-damaging agitation. This sometimes went hand in hand with an appreciation of the war, which was attributed "in addition to harmful, beneficial, ennobling, morally educational effects" ( Felix Dahn ). In Germany pacifism adhered more strongly than in other European countries to the “suspicion of political naivety, of the unmanly and of weakness, yes, also of moral inferiority and unpatriotic sentiments”.

Non-violent pacifism is also viewed critically by people who do not support war as such. In the current debate, Jan Narveson's criticism is often quoted that such pacifism is incoherent and self-contradicting:

"The pacifist is against violence. But he won't take the further step of using it if it should be necessary to prevent or to defend against initial violence. "

“The pacifist is against violence. But he will not make use of it in a further step if this should be necessary to prevent original violence or to defend himself . "

- Jan Narveson : Is Pacifism Self-Refuting ?. In: Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (Ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 127

Defending oneself and one's loved ones is, in Narveson's view, a fundamental right that must be demanded by force if necessary. If this is not possible, people are denied the right to life in certain situations, which in turn violates a basic premise of pacifism. Narveson is countered by saying that pacifists are also interested in abolishing war as an entire institution and thus ensuring long-term peace. In this case, to the arrangements established by Martin Ceadel distinction between pacifism and pacifism pointed out. While pacifism stands for the doctrine of non-violence, which represents pacifism rather the desire to stand up at the political level for the abolition of war.

In recent times, pacifists have continued to be accused of giving no answers on how to deal with new forms of violence with their basic ethical attitude, which was justified in earlier times. The Green politician Ludger Volmer asked in a controversial article in 2002:

“Such pacifism is established as a universal ethic, against the claims of which the pragmatism of every government fails. But: Can the pacifist outlook rightly make this claim to absoluteness? Or do not many who call themselves pacifists shirk the obligation to consider the political implications of their basic attitude and to bring it up for debate? "

- Ludger Volmer : What remains of pacifism. In: Frankfurter Rundschau . January 7, 2002

In return, Volmer pleaded for a responsible, ethical political pacifism that “cannot deny military force as a last resort, as a last resort” in order to fight terrorism, for example. The peace researcher Harald Müller countered this:

“For human rights as well as for unconditional pacifism, the abandonment of unconditionality and the recognition of historical relativism means abandoning oneself. Encouraging pacifism to do so does not seem to me to be very promising. Both positions, but also the deliberate, ethical and responsible position, which Minister of State Volmer calls 'political pacifism', are confronted with inevitable dilemmas. "

- Harald Müller : thorn in the flesh of the self-righteous. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. January 24, 2002



Overview representations

  • Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1978, ISBN 3-12-903880-9 , pp. 767-787.
  • Kurt Röttgers: Pacifism. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy. Volume 7. Schwabe, Basel 1989, pp. 218-229, ISBN 3-7965-0698-4 .
  • Pacifism. In: Georg Stötzel (Ed.): Dictionary of "Coping with the Past". The Nazi past in public usage. Volume 2. Hildesheim 2009, ISBN 978-3-487-13881-7 , pp. 345-366.
  • Wolfram Beyer: What is pacifism? First appeared in the Lexicon of Anarchy.


  • Karl Holl : Pacifism in Germany. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-518-11533-2 .
  • Karlheinz Lipp (ed.): Pacifism in the First World War. A reader. Centaurus, Pfaffenweiler 2004, ISBN 3-8255-0492-1 .
  • Karl Holl, Wolfram Wette (Ed.): Pacifism in the Weimar Republic. Schöningh, Paderborn 1981, ISBN 3-506-77457-3 .
  • D. Hart, D. Schubert, RM Schmidt: Pacifism between the world wars. HVA, Heidelberg 1985, ISBN 3-920431-42-1 .
  • Wolfgang Benz: Pacifism in Germany: Documents on the Peace Movement 1890-1939. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-596-24362-9 .
  • Dieter Riesenberger : History of the Peace Movement in Germany. From the beginning until 1933. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1985, ISBN 3-525-01332-9 .
  • Theodor Körner: Iuramentum and early peace movement (10th-12th centuries). Schweitzer, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-8059-0670-6 .
  • Kurt von Raumer: Eternal Peace. Peace calls and peace plans since the Renaissance. Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau / Munich 1953.
  • Reiner Steinweg (ed.): The new peace movement. Analyzes from peace research. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-518-11143-4 .

Christian pacifism during and after World War II

  • Johannes Ude : You shouldn't kill! Mayer, Dornbirn 1948.
  • Jean Lasserre : The War and the Gospel. (Original title La guerre et l'évangile. 1953). Kaiser, Munich 1956. Contained in CD-ROM Reference Library for Christian Peace Theology. Directmedia, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89853-013-2 .

Single topics

  • Kurt Hiller: Pacifism of Action - Revolutionary Pacifism. Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-8136-0025-4 .
  • Helmut Kramer , Wolfram Wette (Hrsg.): Law is what uses arms - justice and pacifism in the 20th century. Structure, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-351-02578-5 .
  • John Desmond Bernal : World without war (original title World without war. ) Translated by Kurt Baudisch. German Science Publishing House, Berlin 1960.
  • Peter Petersen : Visions of Peace in the Music of Hans Werner Henze. In: Hartmut Lück, Dieter Senghaas (ed.): From audible peace. Frankfurt am Main 2005, pp. 239-268.

Web links

Wiktionary: pacifism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. World's best-known protest symbol turns 50 by Kathryn Westcott on BBC Magazine, accessed August 13, 2010.
  2. Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 15.
  3. ^ Gertrud Brücher : Pacifism as a discourse. Wiesbaden 2008, p. 7.
  4. Compare: Jenny Teichmann: Pacifism and the Just War. Oxford 1986, pp. 1f.
  5. Thomas Kater: Against War - For Which Peace? Philosophy and Pacifism in the 20th Century. ] In: Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (Ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 90.
  6. So it says in the Latin translation of the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 5.9): “beati pacifici quoniam filii Dei vocabuntur” (Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God).
  7. see: K. Röttgers: Pazifismus. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy. Volume 7. Darmstadt 1989, pp. 218-229, here p. 218.
  8. JB Richard de Radonvilliers: enrichissement de la langue française; dictionnaire des mots nouveaux. 2nd Edition. Paris 1845, p. 446.
  9. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 768.
  10. Every fourth pacifist against peace movement. In: Der Spiegel. November 30, 1981, p. 94.
  11. Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 13.
  12. Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 14.
  13. Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 23ff.
  14. ^ Kurt Hiller: Left Pacifism. In: The new Rundschau . 1920, pp. 1357-1376, here p. 1366.
  15. Ignaz Wrobel: The guarded theater of war. In: The world stage . August 4, 1931, p. 191.
  16. Max Scheler: The idea of ​​peace and pacifism. Lecture given in 1927, Berlin 1931 (Bern / Munich 1974).
  17. ^ Wolfgang Lienemann: Responsibility Pacifism (legal pacifism). In: Jean-Daniel Strub, Stefan Grotefeld: The just peace between pacifism and just war: Paradigms of peace ethics in discourse. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 77-80.
  18. ^ Pacifism. In: Georg Stötzel (Ed.): Dictionary of "Coping with the Past". The Nazi past in public usage. Volume 2. Hildesheim 2009, pp. 345–366, here p. 366.
  19. ^ Achim von Borries: Quaker (Religious Society of Friends). In: Helmut Donat, Karl Holl (ed.): The peace movement. Hermes Handlexikon, Düsseldorf 1983, p. 315f.
  20. see for example Markus Weinland: The Peace Ethic of the Church of the Brothers in the area of ​​tension between non-violence and global responsibility. Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-17-013722-0 ; German Mennonite Peace Committee DMFK ; Mennonite news: European Mennonites discuss Mennonite contact point on European affairs (2007) .
  21. Dennis de Lange: You are the revolution! Tolstojanism as a social movement in the Netherlands. Verlag Graswurzelrevolution, Heidelberg 2016.
  22. ^ Peace Movement: Gentle Crusade. In: Der Spiegel. April 27, 1981.
  23. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany. Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 14.
  24. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany. Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 15-19.
  25. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Helmut Donat, Karl Holl (ed.): The peace movement. Hermes Handlexikon, Düsseldorf 1983, pp. 299-301.
  26. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany. Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 15f.
  27. Alfred Fried: Brief explanation of the nature and goal of pacifism. Berlin 1914, p. 16f.
  28. Ignaz Wrobel: The large families. In: The world stage . March 27, 1928, p. 471.
  29. ^ Ignaz Wrobel: German children in Paris. In: The world stage. April 7, 1925, p. 14.
  30. Ignaz Wrobel: Healthy Pacifism. full text.
  31. ^ So Kurt Hiller in: The difference with the KPD. In: The world stage. October 20, 1925, p. 588.
  32. ^ Kurt Hiller: Left Pacifism. In: The new Rundschau . 1920, pp. 1357-1376.
  33. Ignaz Wrobel: About the so-called treason. In: The Other Germany. September 11, 1926, p. 2.
  34. Reinhold Lütgemeier-Davin: Group of Revolutionary Pacifists (GRP). In: Helmut Donat, Karl Holl (ed.): The peace movement. Hermes Handlexikon, Düsseldorf 1983, p. 166f.
  35. ^ Reprint in: Die Tribüne.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. April 4, 1940, No. 12, pp. 427f.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  36. Pacism in the Lexicon of Anarchy by Wolfram Beyer
  37. Compare to this: Ulrich Linse: Anarchismus und Pazifismus. In: Helmut Donat, Karl Holl (ed.): The peace movement. Hermes Handlexikon, Düsseldorf 1983, pp. 20-25.
  38. ^ Gertrud Brücher : Pacifism as a discourse. Wiesbaden 2008, pp. 109–150, here p. 109.
  39. ^ Gertrud Brücher : Pacifism as a discourse. Wiesbaden 2008, p. 112.
  40. ^ Gertrud Brücher : Pacifism as a discourse. Wiesbaden 2008, p. 120.
  41. Thomas Kater: Against War - For Which Peace? Philosophy and Pacifism in the 20th Century. In: Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (Ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 90.
  42. Ludwig Quidde: The history of pacifism. (1922) In: Ludwig Quidde (author); Hans-Ulrich Wehler (Ed.): Caligula. Writings on militarism and pacifism. Frankfurt am Main 1977, p. 131.
  43. Compare: Andrew Alexandra: On the Distinction between Pacifism and Pacificism. In: Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (Ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 113ff.
  44. Theodosius Berenicus (alias): Proaulium Tubae Pacis, Occentae Scioppiano Belli Sacri Classico . Nikolaus Wyriot, Strasbourg 1621 ( digitized version of the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel)
  45. ^ Pacifism. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy. Volume 7. pp. 218-229, here p. 218.
  46. ^ Dieter Riesenberger: History of the peace movement in Germany. From the beginning until 1933. Göttingen 1985, p. 16.
  47. ^ Friedrich Schlegel: Attempt on the concept of republicanism. In: Ernst Behler (Ed.): Critical edition. Volume 7. Paderborn 1966, p. 23.
  48. ^ Dieter Riesenberger: History of the peace movement in Germany. From the beginning until 1933. Göttingen 1985, p. 19.
  49. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany . Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 29 f.
  50. ^ Dieter Riesenberger: History of the peace movement in Germany. From the beginning until 1933. Göttingen 1985, p. 94f.
  51. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 777.
  52. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany . Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 89-94.
  53. ^ What Will Pacifists Say to This? In: The New York Times. February 22, 1918, p. 10.
  54. Hellmut von Gerlach: The battered pacifists. In: The world stage. December 15, 1925, p. 901.
  55. ^ Dieter Riesenberger: History of the peace movement in Germany. From the beginning until 1933. Göttingen 1985, p. 215 f .; 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. Paderborn 1981, pp. 47-76.
  56. ^ Stenographic reports of the negotiations of the constituent German National Assembly. Vol. 327, pp. 1107 ff. , Berlin 1920.
  57. ^ A b Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 782.
  58. Reinhold Lütge Meier-Davin: German Peace Cartel (DFK). In: Helmut Donat, Karl Holl (ed.): The peace movement. Hermes Handlexikon, Düsseldorf 1983, pp. 86-93; Reinhold Lütgemeier-Davin: Pacifism between cooperation and confrontation. The German Peace Cartel in the Weimar Republic. Cologne 1982.
  59. ^ Otto Flake: German Left? In: The world stage. April 20, 1926, p. 399.
  60. ^ Carl von Ossietzky : Accountability - The Pacifists in the Gutenberg-DE project
  61. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 783.
  62. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 785.
  63. Hellmut von Gerlach: Neo-Pacifismus.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Pariser Tageblatt. September 9, 1934, p. 2.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  64. Kurt Tucholsky: Supplement to the letter to Hedwig Müller from March 16, 1935 .
  65. ^ War upon Hitler urged by Toller. In: The New York Times . October 13, 1936, p. 5.
  66. ^ English pacifism.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Sozialistische Warte. August 15, 1936, p. 336.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  67. Hypocritical Pacifism.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Pariser Tageblatt. May 26, 1935, p. 2.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  68. ^ Adolf Gasser : Albert Einstein. In: Helmut Donat, Karl Holl (ed.): The peace movement. Hermes Handlexikon, Düsseldorf 1983, p. 99f.
  69. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany . Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 220.
  70. ^ Constitution of the state of Baden from May 18, 1947 .
  71. full text
  72. Federal Court of Justice, judgment of August 2, 1954: Trial against the functionaries of the main committee (Neumann, Dickel and Bechtel)
  73. ^ Pacifism. In: Georg Stötzel (Ed.): Dictionary of "Coping with the Past". The Nazi past in public usage. Volume 2. Hildesheim 2009, pp. 345–366, here p. 350.
  74. Do it like Adenauer. In: Der Spiegel. January 16, 1957, p. 15 f.
  75. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany . Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 231.
  76. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism in Germany . Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 233 f.
  77. Minutes of the Bundestag session on June 15, 1983 (PDF; 3 MB) p. 755.
  78. ^ Pacifism. In: Georg Stötzel (Ed.): Dictionary of "Coping with the Past". The Nazi past in public usage. Volume 2. Hildesheim 2009, pp. 345–366, here pp. 356–360.
  79. Jürgen Habermas: Bestiality and Humanity. In: The time. April 29, 1999.
  80. Ludger Volmer: What remains of pacifism. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. January 7, 2002.
  81. ^ Pacifism. In: Georg Stötzel (Ed.): Dictionary of "Coping with the Past". The Nazi past in public usage. Volume 2. Hildesheim 2009, pp. 345-366, here p. 364.
  82. Jochen Hippler: A lot of smoke, but little fire. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. March 11, 2002.
  83. ^ Gertrud Brücher: Pacifism as a discourse. Wiesbaden 2008, p. 9.
  84. Barbara Bleisch, Jean-Daniel Strub (ed.): Pacifism. History of ideas, theory and practice. Bern 2006, p. 30.
  85. Compare the protest of Pastor Holzinger from Münsingen (Württemberg) in the church gazette against the peace agitation of the Stuttgart pastor Otto Umfrid in 1897, in: Wolfgang Benz: Pacifism in Germany: Documents on the Peace Movement 1890–1939. Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 10.
  86. Wolfgang Benz: Pacifism in Germany: Documents on the Peace Movement 1890-1939. Frankfurt am Main 1988, p. 10, p. 11.
  87. ^ Karl Holl: Pacifism. In: Otto Brunner (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Volume 4. Stuttgart 1978, pp. 767-787, here p. 773.
  88. Martin Ceadel: Thinking about Peace and War. Oxford 1989.
  89. Ludger Volmer: What remains of pacifism. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. January 7, 2002. The entire debate can be found at:
  90. Harald Müller: Thorn in the flesh of the self-righteous. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. January 24, 2001.