Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Conscientious Objection
(630 words)

Conscientious Objection

The rejection of the legal obligation to fulfill one’s military duty in times of war. A distinction must be drawn between conscientious objection in the narrow sense and other ways of evading wartime military service.

Conscientious objection, which was also an important motive for emigrating from Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, was traditionally practiced by a number of religious communities, for instance by the Quakers and Mennonites. In 1914, however, no country with a conscript army had made provis…

Cite this page
Jahr, Christoph, “Conscientious Objection”, in: Brill’s Digital Library of World War I. Consulted online on 25 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2015

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