Conscientious objectors were those who believed in god, had a pacifist view on life and preached peace. To an extent, military tribunals were fair, allowing men to state their case as shown in both sources 7 and 8 however highlighted through source 8, decisions made were also harsh, particularly on individuals such as absolutists. Although conscientious objectors could gain exemption, as underlined in source 7, views were also very unsympathetic towards those who declared themselves ‘unfit for service’ emphasized in source 8.
To a certain extent, the tribunals were fairly conducted, supported through sources 7 and 9 where as many as ‘50’% of objectors were exempted which is suggested in source 7. However, it is known that as many as 80% were provided exemption of some sort. This clearly shows that ‘appeals were not just a formality’. Military tribunals were set up to hear the cases of those who refused to fight. This highlights that those who felt to be unfit were given a chance to explain themselves, without being forced into service. Evident through source 9, individuals were supported with there views and awarded exemption on the condition of land work. By doing this, authorities enabled conscientious objectors not to fight on the front lone yet still do work which was committed to the cause.
Although there are elements of fairness within the sources, it is also a known fact that conscientious objectors were treated harsh. Source 9 illustrates that no discipline was shown towards them as authorities shared little ‘understanding’ of those who ‘demanded absolute exemption’. With over three thousand of them being put to work in hard labour camps and 10 percent being sentenced to death, it is clear that the authorities felt intimidated by the objector’s actions and felt the need to take extreme measures to prevent their beliefs from affecting others initially in favour of the war.
Overall I think it is clear that although conscientious objectors were...
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