Feminist pacifism during the First World War demonstrated both considerable organization and intellectual productivity, despite its minority status. In France, feminist peace activists were especially isolated because of the unity induced by the German invasion. Most feminist organizations rejected pacifist calls for a mediated end to the war. Of those few women who did not accept the union sacrée, one of them, Jeanne Halbwachs, came to influence the direction of a study group within France's liberal and pro‐war Ligue des droits de l'homme (or Human Rights League) known as the Société d’études documentaires et critiques sur la guerre. Halbwachs was one of a tiny number of French women who managed to sustain ties to the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace in Amsterdam during the war, and who used her awareness of their ideas to turn the male‐dominated Société toward a pacifist position that was critical of France's claim to be fighting a just war. Halbwachs’ story shows the extent to which transnational feminist peace activists succeeded in traversing wartime borders and influencing national politics.

Peace & Change
Department of History

Johnston, A. (2016). Jeanne Halbwachs, International Feminist Pacifism, and France's Société d’Études Documentaires et Critiques sur la Guerre. Peace & Change, 41(1), 22–37. doi:10.1111/pech.12170