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. It is also the accompanying practice of preparation for war. This makes the world less, not more secure. Investment should be channelled into the humanitarian, peace-building and development efforts that will wither the roots of war and build true security.

Get involved


    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.

    Responding to military engagement in schools

    One way a society's attitudes to war are influenced is through education. Thousands of British primary and secondary schools are visited each year by the armed forces and even arms manufacturers. In order to help schools and families respond to this, the Peace Education team has written a pamphlet providing guidance. Responding to military engagement in schools (PDF) encourages critical thinking about under-18 recruitment and draws on advice from English, Welsh and Scottish governments regarding educational impartiality. The pamphlet also explains where to find practical resources that can help introduce a range of perspectives, as well as the obligation to promote peace, tolerance and nonviolence (UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 29).

    For schools in Wales a bilingual version is available with resources relevant to the Welsh curriculum. Request English or bilingual (English/Welsh) physical copies by emailing peaceedu@quaker.org.uk. Below are the PDFs for schools in Wales:


    While militarism has existed in Britain for a long time, in recent years increasing resources have been devoted to it, the arms race has intensified and the promotion of militarism across society has also increased. Military careers are publicised in schools and through services for young people. In 2009 the UK government created Armed Forces Day.

    Quakers in Britain and Quakers in meetings around Britain challenge the squandering of resources on militarism. We challenge the new arms race in military capability, including the development of ever more devastating weapons of mass killing. And we challenge the embedding of military values in society by increasing scrutiny of militarism in public life, and by helping to build a new culture of peace and non-violence.

    Take action

    Working for demilitarisation

    The destructive and wasteful character of militarism is laid bare by the fact that average annual government spending planned for the period 2021-25 is £47bn for the military and weapons of mass destruction, and only about £6bn for reducing UK carbon emissions.

    Social resources should be directed away from militarism, which makes the world less safe and less peaceful, and towards peace-building, health-care, mitigation of the climate crisis and other vital public services that create real security and increase social resilience.

    Alongside Quakers across the country and others in the peace movement including the Global Campaign on Military Spending UK (offsite link) and Rethinking Security (offsite link), we are working to raise awareness of the many costs of militarism, and to advance the cause of demilitarisation and disarmament on which true peace and security depend.

    If you are interested in holding a meeting for learning on how we can build community support for demilitarisation, or in otherwise getting involved in this work, please contact Dixe Wills, Campaigns Coordinator, at dixew@quaker.org.uk.

    Host a screening of War School

    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 war glorification? War School explores answers to these difficult questions. The questions raised are explored through interactive learning resources from the Peace Education team including a comic book available to download.

    After a successful series of screenings in 2019, the film has been made free-to-view online.

    Watch the trailer here to get a flavour of the film.

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    www.war.school | Learning resources

    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 it questions the creeping militarisation of schools. Share it with a friend to help spread awareness of the issue.

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    Download the 'Take action on militarism' pack

    Produced by Quakers in Britain and Forces Watch, this pack (PDF) looks at key aspects of British society where military values are present. These include 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 how to 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.

    Find out more

    'Rebuilding society through peacemaking and disarmament' blog

    Read a blog piece by Daniel Jakopovich, a former QPSW Peace Lead, on rebuilding society through peace-building and disarmament.

    'The new tide of militarisation' resource

    The new tide of militarisation briefing reveals the government's strategy to increase public support (and willingness to pay) for the military, to make recruitment easier, and to stifle opposition to unpopular wars.

    Our partners

    Quakers in Britain works closely with other organisations challenging militarism.

    • Forces Watch (offsite link)
    • Global Campaign on Military Spending UK, a network of organisations seeking to raise awareness about the need to move away from militarism in order to build a peaceful, just and sustainable society. Consider affiliating your local and/or area meeting to this network.
    • 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

    Stepping forward for peace: a public display of unity and peace

    16 May 2024 by Joe Holtaway

    Contact us

    Peace Campaigns
    020 7663 1185