The Story Begins

The Story Begins


Ft. Douglas (Utah) C.O. Barracks, Nov. 12, 1919 – Swarthmore College Peace Collection: Eichel Family Papers


The difficult experiences of conscientious objectors in World War I served as the stimulus for creating a legal alternative to military service as World War II approached. The essays, oral history interviews, photographs and stories linked from this page provide a window into the WWI experience.

World War I: The Story Begins, by Nicholas Krehbiel 

Historian Nicholas Krehbiel's essay explores the experiences of conscientious objectors in WWI, and highlights the developments between the two wars which led to the creation of an alternative service program in WWII.  Krehbiel is the author of General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011.

Oral History Interviews with World War One Conscientious Objectors (selected excerpts), Sourcebook, Joint Effort of the Schowalter Oral History Collection of Bethel college and Mennonite Central Committee Peace Section, Printed by Mennonite Central Committee, 1986.

Nonresistance under Test, the story of Emanuel Swartzendruber, a Mennonite who was drafted March 4, 1918 and sent to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia.