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. Military careers are publicised in schools and through services for young people. In 2009 the UK government created Armed Forces Day in 2009 and, in 2020, the May Day bank holiday was shifted to VE Day – now postponed to August by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Quakers in Britain and Quakers in meetings around Britain challenge the embedding of military values by increasing scrutiny of militarism in public life, and demonstrating a culture of nonviolence.

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.

    Quakers call for global ceasefire

    The global threat of the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need for humanity to focus on common challenges that we face.

    Quaker Peace & Social Witness has joined the #GlobalCeasefire initiative alongside 193 other organisations to persuade world leaders and combatants to put aside their differences, lay down their weapons and work together to tackle the pandemic. See the list of organisations backing the ceasefire.

    The destructive and wasteful character of militarism is laid bare in the current circumstances. Critically ill COVID-19 patients are being denied adequate care due to lack of ventilators and other necessities, whilst billions continue to be spent on weapons of mass destruction.

    Social resources should be directed away from militarism, which makes the world less safe and less peaceful, towards healthcare and other vital public services that create real security and increase social resilience.

    Alongside Quakers across the country and others in the peace movement, 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 getting involved in this work, please contact Daniel Jakopovich, Peace and Disarmament Programme Manager, at danielj@quaker.org.uk.

    Take action

    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:

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    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.

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    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

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    9 September 2021 by Quaker Roots

    Contact us

    Daniel Jakopovich
    Peace & Disarmament Programme Manager
    020 7663 1090