Quakers are working with others to expose and challenge the new tide of militarism in Britain.

Militarism is the belief that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests. This makes the world less, not more secure. Investment should be channelled into the humanitarian, peacebuilding and development efforts that will wither the roots of war and build true security.

While militarism has existed in Britain for a long time, in recent years the promotion of it across society has increased. Militarism can be seen in schools, services for young people and initiatives like the creation of Armed Forces Day in 2009 and, in 2020, the planned shift of the May Day bank holiday to VE Day.

As our report, 'The new tide of militarisation' shows, recent UK governments have sought to embed military values in British culture. Quakers in Britain and Quakers in meetings around Britain challenge this by increasing scrutiny of militarism in public life, and offering alternatives through peacebuilding and a culture of nonviolence.

Get involved

    Resource

    Take Action on Militarism

    This pack is a toolkit for action. With inspiring case studies and campaign guides, Take Action on Militarism will help you challenge the normalisation of war in policy, the media, education and across society.

    Host a screening of War School

    Launched in November 2018, the documentary War School: the battle for Britain's children takes a close look at militarisation in Britain. Made by POW Productions, the film features interviews with former soldiers and Quakers in Britain staff who work on countering militarism.

    How does war affect those who leave military service? How do the armed forces share military values with schoolchildren? What role does the government play in the culture of valorising war? War School explores answers to these difficult questions.

    Many Quaker Meetings are hosting community screenings of the film in meeting houses all around Britain. Visit the War.School website to find out about screenings near you, or to host a screening in your Local Meeting House. Watch the trailer here to get a flavour of the film:

    Download the 'Take action on militarism' pack

    If you'd like some ideas on how to challenge instances where war is being championed or made to seem like the only option, have a look at the Take action on militarism pack (PDF). To make the pack, Quakers in Britain teamed up with ForcesWatch, an organistion that scrutinises the ethics of military recruitment and challenges efforts to embed military values in society.

    The pack looks at key aspects of British society where military values are present, including Armed Forces Day, armed forces recruitment of under-18s in schools, cadet youth groups, and Remembrance. It includes tips on how to make interventions when militarism crops up, and deepen people's knowledge of the issues.

    Hard copies of the pack can be requested from the Quaker Centre Bookshop: quakercentre@quaker.org.uk or 020 7663 1030.

    Read 'The new tide of militarisation'

    The new tide of militarisation briefing reveals the government's strategy to increase public support for (and willingness to pay for) the military, to make recruitment easier, and to stifle opposition to unpopular wars. We encourage you to use the briefing as a starting point for discussion of militarism in your local meeting.


    Share The Unseen March short film

    The Unseen March is a short film from Quakers in Britain. It brings together voices from education, the armed forces, and public life, and questions the creeping militarisation of schools. Send it to a friend to help spread awareness of the issue.

    Our partners

    Quakers in Britain works closely with other organisations challenging militarism.

    • Visit Forces Watch (offsite link) to find information and resources on challenging militarism in British society.
    • Visit Veterans for Peace UK (offsite link) to find out more about their work educating young people on the true cost of war.
    • Visit the Rethinking Security, a network of UK-based organisations, academics and campaigners who are working to create a just and peaceful world by seeking to address the underlying causes of conflict and insecurity.

    Related blog

    Remembrance: why it matters

    5 November 2019 by Marigold Bentley

    Contact us

    Sahdya Darr
    Peace & Disarmament Coordinator
    020 7663 1108
    sahdyad@quaker.org.uk
    @DisarmQuaker