Women 's International League For Peace And Freedom Essay

Women 's International League For Peace And Freedom Essay

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Introduction:
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), founded in 1915 at the Hague was a rare thing for the early twentieth century: an international feminist pacifist organisation. League member Anita Augspurg contrasted the ‘world of men’, ‘built up on profit and power, on gaining material wealth and oppressing other people’ with the ‘new world’ that women could develop through their political participation and opposition to war that would ‘produce enough for all and which would include the protection of children, youth and the weak.’ WILPF was one of the fastest growing international organisations that grew out of the horrors of World War One, and by the beginning of World War Two WILPF had national sections in almost every country in Europe and Northern America, as well as Australia, with the marked exception of Russia. This dissertation will establish the link between Russian women and the transnational women’s movements operating from the 1890s until World War Two, specifically with regards to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), with the overarching purpose of this work being to explore the reasons that a Russian WILPF section could not be created. It will also look at WILPF’s reaction to communism in the interwar period, especially with regards to the constant accusations levelled at the group of communist activity. With the centenary of WILPF’s first meeting at the Hague in 1915 occurring this year, it is an opportune time to investigate one of the League’s most under researched aspects. It is also important to establish the extent to which female Russian activists were able to participate on an international scale in organisations which represented their ideals and beli...


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...er international groups designed to protect communism. For example, Russian women in the 1930s played a role in the anti-fascist Amsterdam-Pleyel movement alongside some prominent WILPF members.
The goal of this dissertation is to establish a link between Russian women and international activism, and to explain why, despite these links, no Russian WILPF section could be created. Emphasis will be on the WILPF’s links to communism through its most radical members, Gabrielle Duchêne and Camille Drevet, and how this affected its reputation and willingness to join officially with Russian women. Most importantly the restrictions placed by the Soviet Union on Russian women and the groups they joined as alternatives will demonstrate that, although there was no Russian WILPF section, Russian women did play an important role on the international scene in the interwar period.

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