Do You Agree with the View That Conscientious Objectors Were Treated Fairly by the Authorities in the 1st World War

Topics: World War I, Conscription, World War II Pages: 4 (1246 words) Published: April 12, 2013
Do You Agree With The View That Conscientious Objectors Were Treated Fairly By The Authorities In The 1st World War? Whether or not conscientious objectors were treated fairly by the authorities during the First World War has been widely debated. Although the tribunals established to deal with conscientious objectors undoubtedly had good intentions, it is arguable that the outcomes reached were not always just, and reflective of the applicants true circumstances. With outcomes ranging from total exemption to imprisonment, there was a large spectrum of possible situations that objectors could find themselves facing. Furthermore, due to the varying reasons for individuals to seek exemption, tribunals often found difficulty in verifying or rejecting applicants. Thus whether or not conscientious objectors were treated fairly is largely open to interpretation, considering the difficult circumstances and ambiguity surround each applicants appeal. Source 7 is from ‘The Last Great War’ published in 2008 by Adrian Gregory. It implies that conscientious objectors were indeed treated fairly, with the odds of gaining at least a temporary exemption quoted at a “high” 50%. However, after further analysis Source 7 suggests that appeals were ludicrously audacious, and left the tribunal with no choice but to reject such application e.g. a man who wanted a delay to ‘complete a course of hair treatment’. The verification of the systems fairness is amplified when it is stated that the decisions made were “just”, and decided upon by “sympathetic”, “careful” colleagues. However whether or not this perspective on the system is accurate is open to interpretation. Although it is apparent that the government’s intentions were good, and the tribunals appointed were intended to be humane and fair, this was not always the case. Due to the fact that it was left to local councils to choose the individuals who actively sat on the panels, it became frequent that they selected themselves. This...
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