Unarmed and Dangerous

Ref: C3741293

This is a chance to explore the stories of people who are often overlooked – and who some would rather forget. We will explore opposition and resistance to World War One, from conscientious objectors who refused to fight to women peace activists who held an international peace congress in the Netherlands, from religious groups that split over the war to soldiers who mutinied. The course focuses on Britain, although international comparisons and influences will also be mentioned. We will use primary sources such as the letters and diaries of those involved, asking what motivated them and what they achieved. We will look at ways in which opponents of World War One have been remembered and consider our own reactions. This course is open to you whatever your knowledge of World War One and whatever your views on war and peace.

Course aim

A chance to explore an important but overlooked aspect of World War One: the men and women in Britain who opposed the war, refused to fight and campaigned for peace.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Those who have previously studied World War One, and those who have not, are both welcome.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Summarise the key facts about anti-war movements in Britain during World War One.
  • Speak in more detail about at least one aspect of anti-war movements in Britain in World War One, making an argument for or against the idea that it had a significant effect.
  • Outline and debate differing views on why anti-war movements in World War One are not better known today.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • You may find it helpful to bring a notebook and a pen.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No reading outside of the class is required. The tutor will suggest further reading for those who are interested and have time, but this is not essential for completing the course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full Course information sheet

Unarmed and Dangerous


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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