4. The “Resister” Tendency

[Link to chapter three]

PART TWO: Four Tendencies in World War II Conscientious Objection

Most accounts of World War II conscientious objection err by over-generalizing about conscientious objectors (COs). The CO experience proved to be multi-faceted and resists easy generalizations. For instance, within Civilian Public Service (CPS), two quite distinct situations existed, one within the Mennonite-administered camps and the other within all the other camps. A somewhat similar phenomenon existed in the prisons between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the other COs in prison.

Besides being historically inaccurate, over-generalizations about World War II conscientious objection obscure the different approaches characteristic of these various tendencies of response to conscientious objection. As an analytical tool intended to help us in our present-day interpretation and application of lessons from this experience, I have developed a typology of our general tendencies among World War II COs. This typology, while based on extensive research and analysis, is by the nature of the case impressionistic – which is part of the reason I use the word “tendencies” rather than “types.”

Extreme differences in kind and amount of past community involvement (ranging from lifetime Amish to total individualists), resultant motivations, contemporary community support, theological and philosophical perspectives, and other factors led to a huge diversity of experiences and attitudes among COs during the War. COs shared only the common factor of a refusal to join the military. But among these differences can be discerned tendencies that allow for some grouping and make it possible to draw some conclusions from what happened.

These tendencies should not be seen as more than tendencies. Any particular CO would no doubt fit into no one specific tendency completely. I am not proposing laws or absolute principles. My typology is meant to be used on the level of hermeneutics, intuition, tentative interpretation, suggestion. It is not a method to provide air-tight proofs concerning what conscientious objection was, is, and should be.

I isolate four distinct tendencies, two of which are closely tied with the two groups mentioned above, the Mennonites and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mennonites (about 40% of the CPS population) generally fit into the “servant” tendency, and Jehovah’s Witnesses (about 70% of the prison population) generally fit into the “separatist” tendency.

Many of the other COs also fit into these two categories. Those who do not, are divided into two similar though distinct categories, the “resister” tendency and the “transformer” tendency. The main distinction between these two groups is their respective attitude toward CPS. The resisters tended to refuse to cooperate while the transformers worked within CPS to reach their goals of social transformation.

In this section I will describe these four tendencies and analyze their respective strengths and weaknesses. I will use 12 categories for comparison: (1) attitude toward the state; (2) attitude toward social change; (3) sources of central influence; (4) experience with regard to prison; (5) attitude toward CPS; (6) the paradigmatic fruit of each tendency; (7) long-term attitudes as the War dragged on; (8) proportion relative to the total CO population; (9) major communal identity; (10) inclinations on an individualistic/communal spectrum; (11) relative articulateness, especially as concerns outside world; (12) overall strengths and weaknesses.

The focus of my research in these chapters is on newspapers published by various CPS camps. I have examined papers from 53 camps,[1] constituting a large majority of the camps that published papers. The content of these papers varies greatly. Some papers simply report news, but many – representing a cross-section of tendencies – include many first-person accounts from campers that detail their attitudes toward CPS and many of their experiences. The newspapers are supplemented by several first-person written accounts of COs,[2] personal interviews with World War II COs,[3] and numerous secondary sources.[4]

The “Resister” Tendency

Attitude toward the state

A rejection of cooperation with the warring state characterized the resister tendency. Many resisters went to prison and those who did not generally found themselves in positions of non-cooperation and even overt resistance within the Civilian Public Service (CPS) camps.

Resisters saw war as intrinsically evil and not to be compromised with in any way. They saw conscription as inextricably tied with war itself. Donald Wetzel is an example of a pacifist who initially accepted alternative service but quickly discovered that it required too much of a compromise. So he walked out of his CPS camp and spent the rest of the War in federal prison as a draft law violator. Wetzel concluded that war would not be possible without conscription; thus conscription itself must be resisted. This point of view came to be shared by many pacifist leaders, such as Dorothy Day, A. J. Muste, and Harold S. Gray – those Muste and Day also lent their assistance to those who felt they could compromise with alternative service.[5]

Conscientious objector (CO) Igal Roodenko summarized two basic reasons for resisters not compromising with Selective Service (SS) and the direction of the draft and CPS program. He first reasoned that the absolute evil of war depends upon conscription, hence conscription itself must be resisted. He also reasoned that since the individual is the basic unit in society and not to be violated, the way in which conscription sacrifices the individual to the altar of the state must be resisted. Conscription, he believed, led to totalitarianism.[6]

For many, resistance to compromise with conscription meant refusing to be drafted at all, since they saw accepting alternative service as too much of a compromise. Lowell Naeve, Arle Brooks, and Frederick H. Richards are three examples of men who did this and went to prison.

Draft officials persuaded Naeve to register, but he refused to report. He intended from the beginning to go to prison. “By registration for the draft I felt I had, as a ‘responsible individual,’ given the government the ‘go-sign’ for a war,” an action he then repudiated. His sense of responsibility dictated to him total non-cooperation.[7]

Brooks emphasized the connection between conscription and warfare and asserted that he simply could not cooperate, even though he himself could have received a ministerial exemption.

“Registration is the first and necessary step for conscription. My conscience will not permit me to take that first step. As a minister I could have received complete exemption. I felt it my moral duty to do all within my power to protect against conscription which will eventually weaken and destroy democracy. I am not evading the draft. I am defending democracy.”[8]

Richards also emphasized the voluntary nature of his submission to arrest out of principled opposition to the draft, as he had chosen to return from humanitarian service in Mexico openly to resist the draft.

“If our draft law contained a clause exempting men who, like myself, cannot conscientiously accept any compulsory service demanded by the state, I would be glad to volunteer for dangerous constructive service for my fellow men, as I did in Mexico…. Conscription is the denial of the personal responsibility of a man to live up to the right as he sees it; the right to obey a Higher Law than that of the state – the law of God as revealed to his conscience – the Inner Light of the Quakers. For a man eager to work towards the alleviation of human suffering, conscription leaves no freedom of conscience. Conscription is the legal enforcement of the proposition that human beings exist only for the purpose of doing what the government wills. It may be brought out, that conscription is the basic assumption underlying all Communist, Nazi, and Fascist ideologies.”[9]

Resisters strongly emphasized freedom of conscience. Evan Thomas, a World War I draft resister, brother of Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas, and a major figure in the War Resisters League (WRL), perhaps most articulately expressed this conviction. Thomas asserted that “the first purpose of the CO in this country is to bear witness to the need for freedom of conscience.”[10]

Denny Wilcher, a Quaker CPSer who finally decided CPS involved too much of a compromise, ended up in prison. For Wilcher, it became “evident that the fundamental issue is and should be the freedom of the church from the state.” CPS embodied a denial of that freedom because SS used the Historic Peace Churches and their allies to enforce coercive oversight of COs.[11]

Resisters criticized the Peace Church involvement in CPS as compromising the separation of church and state, seeing the Peace Churches as involved in the enforcement of conscription. Resisters saw conscription as intrinsically coercive of the individual conscience.[12]

Attitude toward and sense of responsibility for social change

As a rule, COs with resister tendencies had a very strong sense of responsibility to change the world, somehow by their actions and attitudes to bring about an end to warfare. Often they had strong commitments to other types of social causes too. However, an extreme individualism that caused them to avoid all “causes” also characterized some resisters. These latter resisters believed that they mainly had responsibility simply not to give in to state-enforced coerion.[13]

James Peck highlights the strong sense of social and political responsibility. “The most effective way for an individual to start outlawing war,” he asserted, “is simply to refuse to take part in it.”[14] He refused to fight against Hitler not due to a lack of a sense of responsibility to stop Hitler; but rather due to a stronger sense of responsibility to stop war.[15]

A group of resisters meeting in Chicago in April 1943 issued a collective statement that asserted that their refusal to fight needed to be a positive act as well as a saying “No.” They characterized pacifism as a “courageous, non-violent opposition to injustice” undertaken out of a strong sense of calling to overcome injustice in this world. Part of this responsibility is to make the message of active non-violence known to the world.

“Instead of clamoring for personal privilege and exemption, pacifists who see pacifism as active resistance feel they should take the offensive by placing their message before the people of the world. This at times would seem to lead to negative action – refusing to register, refusing to take a physical exam, refusing to go to camp, walking out of camp. But it also demands what is easily recognized as positive action – becoming involved in the non-violent fight for racial justice, participating in all kinds of symbolic acts such as publicly demanding a people’s peace, uncompromsingly opposing conscription of labor, and campaigning for a democratic world by opposing imperialism in India and elsewhere.”[16]

Resisters saw their acts of non-cooperation as fulfilling their sense of responsibility to resist state totalitarianism and encroaching militarism. This emerged from a sense that they must act however they could to bring about increased “liberty, civil rights, transformation of society, and political revolution.”[17] This urge often left them internally divided by doubt as to the best methods and where compromise would be appropriate. It also created many tensions within CPS with administrators and fellow CPSers.

Resisters experienced widespread uncertainty over the most responsible direction to take. Pacifist leader A. J. Muste, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), deep down a resister, varied in his approach. He initially supported CPS but then led the FOR out of involvement with CPS. He himself refused to register when SS extended registration to men between the ages of 40 and 65. He had strong commitments to social change and saw radical pacifism as the way to do that. This total commitment to pacifism meant a commitment to non-cooperation with “evil,”[18] including by the end of the War non-cooperation with CPS.

Denny Wilcher struggled with his involvement as a CPSer, finally reaching the point where he felt he would be most responsible were he to walk out of camp and go to prison.

“In the past 2 1/2 years I have seen men unjustly coerced, treated as means rather than as children of God, told that wrong was right and an injustice was justice, in the name of the Society of Friends. I regret my own blindness and lack of grasp of essential human values in sharing in the administration of this system….The struggle in CPS is between two theories of Christianity. One claims that our faith must be socially and politically relevant; the other follows the creed of negation, of withdrawal, of unconcern. CPS is designed for this latter group. It has offered me the freedom of irresponsibility; this I cannot accept. One is not free in the crisp air and glorious heights of the back-country Sierras. One is free only when one has the opportunity to contribute his life with maximum effectiveness to the reconstruction of the social order.”[19]

Many resister-types went back and forth between CPS and prison in their search for the most responsible action to take. Agard Bailey, for example, went to prison as a draft resister before accepting parole into CPS at the Mancos, Colorado, government camp:

“In prison I felt I should be doing work of national importance. Having done this so-called work for more than a year while on parole, I now see that the work in this camp is merely boondoggling. I can do my country infinitely more good by opposing conscription, the right hand of war, than by engaging in the frenzied inefficiency which characterizes this project. To me, opposing those things which lead to war is work of highest national importance. I am guilty and responsible for war when I fail to oppose what makes for war.”[20]

Sources of Central Influence

Notions of non-violent resistance greatly influenced many resisters, especially those formulated and practiced by Gandhi. For others, simply their own sense of unwillingness to cooperate in any way with the war-making state and its instruments influenced them most. Indirectly, at least, such earlier champions of individual conscience as Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy influenced all resisters.

The literature of resisters referred to Gandhi at times, but more often discussed certain Gandhian-like tactics. The “work slowdown” often came into use. Total refusal to work by CPSers made them liable for prosecution, so often they would only go through the motions and try to express their non-cooperation in that way.

This quest for effective non-violent resistance led some campers to remain in CPS as opposed to going to prison. One of these, Roy Kepler, argued that COs followed a more politically effective strategy of resisting the draft when they remained in CPS and resisted in that context rather than going to prison and being “drained off into a relatively quiet corner under still more completely authoritarian control.” For Kepler, the first step in resisting within CPS came with the assignment to the government camps where the resisters could deal directly with SS. There, resisters would refuse cooperation with the goal being to challenge public tolerance for “totalitarianism” via publicity of how SS would crack down on these resisters.[21]

The editors of the Mancos, Colorado, camp papers, CPS GI, echoed Kepler’s call for publicity as a tactic of resistance to the draft and the drift toward “totalitarianism.” In their response to criticism over the negative outside publicity engendered by some Mancos campers flying a “slave” flag instead of the US at their camp, they asserted that:

“Discreet silence on our part will gain us nothing but discreet contempt from society…. Perhaps at least we are awakening to an understanding of the true meaning of the past five years. Perhaps a substantial part of American pacifism is now in process, having profited by the mistakes of recent years, of reasserting itself in the current stream of events, politically and economically. If this struggle is to be at all effective, it means uncompromising insistence upon genuine recognition of freedom of conscience and the right of every minority to enjoyment of basic civil liberties. By acquiescence to state oppression, as exemplified by CPS, how can we honestly hope to support the struggles of minorities in this country like blacks, Japanese, etc., to gain the fundamental rights of society? While attempting to build new and constructive social institutions, we cannot indulge in lavish ‘wishful thinking.’ To the evils of society we must conduct an all-out campaign of resistance. If the ‘slave’ flag is the only way we can educate, to notify other minorities that we didn’t perish numbly in internment, then raise them over every CPS camp and let the nation’s papers howl.”[22]

Some of the COs in prison would have taken exception to Kepler’s perspective regarding the ineffectiveness of their resistance in prison, while sharing a commitment to the importance of publicity regarding the extent of governmental coercion and sharing a commitment to resist that coercion. These prisoners would point to the integration of the dining hall at Danbury Federal Prison as an important example of successful non-violent resistance and as important training for post-War work. They also would have pointed to the publicity surrounding the abusive treatment COs Stanley Murphy and Louis Taylor received from Federal prison personnel as a widely known reminder to people of the continuing possibility of resistance.[23]

The SS attitude that COs should be kept as quiet as possible frustrated CPSers such as Charles Barnes, who early in the War (May 1942) expressed the goals of many resisters in CPS:

“If civil disobedience and other testimony are worthwhile we should not withhold them from the citizens but publicize them. Hunger strikes, labor union formation; initiation of socialized projects to alleviate slum conditions; civil disobedience in witness to our protest of race riots, labor intimidation, imperialistic war aims, the unconstitutionality of the Selective Service Act, and the broken pledges of our government to us; these are some suggestions of action we might take. Intercamp communication should be set up to organize and coordinate our group action. Statements giving our purposes would be sent to the news agencies just preceding our action. Only when we have shown valor in decisive action can we justify our existence and denounce war as the greatest evil of our day.”[24]

SS intransigence contributed to the frustration of hopes like Barnes’ and facilitated an increasingly negative thrust to the resisters’ actions. They came to the conclusion as the War went on that the main product of their resistance was not going to be any kind of direct transformation of society nearly as much as simply the witness that individual conscience could not be totally stamped out by government coercion and denial of freedom for COs. Hence, resisters saw their acts of negative resistance to be service as constructive to American society as helping the mentally ill was for COs less scrupulous about compromise with the state.[25]

Perhaps the most extreme case of this in CPS came at the government camp at Germfask, Michigan, which the government established in an apparent attempt to segregate the most extreme resisters in one locale. The camp was extraordinarily inefficient. The campers became quite adept at “botching” their jobs, requiring specific orders for every step of a task, deliberately making “mistakes,” spending about 20% of their time reporting sick. The project superintendent estimated that the camp operated at about 8% overall efficiency.

The slowdown campaign intended to highlight the oppressive nature of the draft and CPS. The campers received publicity via an article in Time, but the article, being highly critical, did little to communicate the campers’ concerns – portraying them as eccentric gold-brickers.[26] These “novice satyagrahis” in CPS had minimal direct effect outside of “a few harried government officials” directly involved and the considerable discussion engendered within pacifist ranks.[27]

Experience with Regard to Prison

Many COs with resister tendencies ended up in prison. This happened at different times for different people. For some, such as Jim Peck, prison loomed as their likely fate from the time of the passage of the draft law. Peck had an immediate awareness that compromising with the warring state in any way would fundamentally violate his conscience. Others, such as Donald Wetzel, felt more ambivalence and went into CPS initially before quickly realizing that CPS involved too much compromise. And others, like Denny Wilcher, went into CPS with few doubts and only gradually came to the realization that they could no longer cooperate. In these latter two cases, going to prison resulted from walking out of CPS camps and being arrested for non-compliance with the provisions of the draft law.

While by far the best known of the four types, resisters made up only slightly more than 20% of the CO prison population. Jehovah’s Witnesses made up about 75% of the CO prison population.

A central characteristic of the resister prison population lay in its refusal to accept CPS as a legitimate option. Most chose to reject that possibility when offered. In some cases (e.g., Agard Bailey, mentioned above), COs in prison accepted the CPS option before being disillusioned by their CPS experience and deciding that they could not stay in CPS. In other cases (e.g., Lowell Naeve), COs served their initial sentence, gained release, then faced re-arrest and re-imprisonment for failure to register with SS.

Charles Swift, a CO prisoner, stated that one did not go to prison due to it being a good or bad thing to do in itself. Rather, one went simply out of one’s total opposition to war and an inability to cooperate with it in any way, including performing alternative service. The prison experience provided many tensions and much suffering: segregation from society, family and friends; constant injustice by those running the prisons; opportunities to effect reform at times in tension with the need simply to resist. However, Swift felt (and so too did others like Jim Peck, Lowell Naeve, and Donald Wetzel whose accounts are mentioned above) that in most cases the prison experience deepened the purpose of COs’ lives and heightened their commitments to active nonviolence.[28]

Resisters who started out in CPS often quite possibly found prison to be a psychologically more satisfying situation than CPS, since it was much more “involuntary” and hence freed them from constant doubt about their level of compromise.[29]

Resisters who went to prison, in following their strong convictions and rejecting any kind of compromise with the claims of the state, ironically found themselves placed under the control of an even more thorough system of institutionalized coercion than they would have found in CPS or the military. However, many accepted prison because at least they could honestly maintain their integrity and know that their convictions could not be bought off by promises of comfort or social approval. And they did experience some fruit from their resistance; if nothing else a knowledge that they maintained individual values in the face of authoritarian dehumanization and hence kept some kind of spark alive in the darkest of times.[30]

Attitude Toward CPS

The most distinctive trait of resisters vis-à-vis transformers can be found in the resisters’ very strong criticism of CPS and unwillingness to cooperate within CPS. The transformers, as we will see, willingly cooperated with CPS in order to gain the possibility of performing “meaningful” work such as service in mental hospitals. The resisters within CPS found themselves at odds with almost everyone including the SS representatives who had ultimate responsibility for camp discipline, the government-employed project supervisors, church service committee people who administered the camps, and other CPSers (especially those with servant tendencies who shared little of the resisters’ critical attitude toward CPS).

Resisters especially criticized CPS for being too closely tied with conscription, a characteristic that simply denied its campers too much freedom. Evan Thomas outlined four reasons for his rejection of the CPS program.

“(1) It required all men classified in 4-E to go to a camp or go to prison. This puts pacifists directly in the business of aiding and abetting coercion and the denial of civil liberties, to say nothing of conscience. (2) It links conscience with the necessity of raising relatively large budgets and thereby immediately compromises its faith. (3) It encourages bureaucracy by its supine acceptance of the principle of centralized authority. Up to the present, it is practically impossible for any pacifist to make a move on behalf of COs except through the executive secretary of NSBRO. (4) It emphasizes the principle of authority rather than democracy. The entire system is designed to work from above down. COs are expected to be quiet and have everything done for them. Pacifists are so afraid of losing their authority that they make it difficult for any CO to break away from it.”[31]

Many resisters used terms such as “slave labor” to characterize what when on in CPS. By this, they referred both to the fact that the program forced them to do work without pay and benefits and that it gave them little option regarding what kind of work they did. Generally this work turned out to be manual labor in remote locations. Over time, more attractive work options emerged, but resisters often could not take advantage of them because of previous discipline infractions.

Many resisters saw CPS evolving into simply an arm of SS. By the summer of 1942 CPSer Ray Trayer asserted that many COs felt very disillusioned about CPS.

“They expected and were promised in CPS something audacious, creative, new; they find that “work of national importance” is a program for keeping the boys busy. Consequently they are willing to accept the brand of non-conformers, non-cooperators even to the agency which gave these camps birth – to repudiate the whole conscription system as they come to sense more keenly the lack of respect for individual initiative and responsibility, and as it becomes more necessary to compromise their integrity.”[32]

These people also criticized what they saw to be the military-like nature of CPS due to SS’s influence. They pointed to the presence of active Army officers in the key posts of administration, the awarding of military honors to some of them for their service in CPS (Col. Kosch received the Distinguished Service Cross), and the military pattern of the regulations prescribed for CPS. They found the legal fiction that in SS military officers were acting in their “civilian capacity” unpersuasive.[33]

The resisters became very critical of the Peace Church service committees who administered CPS camps and worked with NSBRO in its relationship with SS. Ironically, the service committee they most directly criticized, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), also had the most sympathy with their concerns. But few resisters had direct contact with Brethren Service Committee (BSC) and even fewer with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

Resister Paul Johnson expressed several reasons for CPSer discontent with church administration of the CPS camps:

“First is the moral damage done to the pacifist and his position when he administers conscription under the military direction of SS. There is a morally valid position in administration only when it is with, and as the representative of, the conscriptee. Since in practice we have not fully escaped the “concentration camp” idea, some assignees are losing confidence in the pacifist administration. Second, the administration of conscription in a sense admits the validity of conscription. This weakens the testimony by pacifist groups. Third, it is hard to see how the pacifist administration of base camps gives the men effective leadership in giving devoted service. There have been many benefits from the present administration such as special projects, an educational program, and individual consideration. On the other hand, it is not clear that these depend on continued pacifist administration of base camps.”[34]

Denny Wilcher, a Quaker resister who ended up walking out of CPS and going to prison, gained some notoriety through several articles published in the Christian Century that argued that the Peace Churches should not administer CPS, a perspective he also argued for in several CPS newspapers. Wilcher feared that his church and the other Peace Churches wasted their precious financial and administration resources best left to the state:

“The first obligation of the peace churches and all those concerned is to weigh considerably the possibility that they are accepting a function which belongs definitely only to the state. If the program is returned to the government, the Peace Churches will find it possible as the need grows to devote their funds and organizational energy to concerns more evidently pacifist; the men in camps will have an opportunity to make a more clear-cut judgment as to what they can and cannot do without feeling that they are taking direct action against the Peace Churches; the pacifist Christians will have more acceptable evidence to present to substantiate their claim to a distinctive stand and vocation in time of war; and the puzzling existence of a rapprochement between the pacifist Christian groups and the secular warring state will have been eliminated from an independent and freely critical Protestantism.”[35]

Wilcher also criticized the service committees for allowing SS to usurp almost all of their authority within CPS. SS forced them to turn over the records of all major discipline problems (e.g., men who went AWOL or refused to work) so SS could prosecute. This put the service committees in the role of enforcing conscription in time of war. The service committees also lacked the freedom themselves to transfer men between projects. All transfers had to be approved by SS, which was on record as feeling no need to match CPSers’ skills and interests with their assigned types of jobs.[36]

Many resisters felt the Peace Churches tried to impose their philosophy regarding a literal reading of the Sermon on the Mount on other COs. For resister Robert Constable, the Peace Churches took the teaching of Jesus just a little too far. “Peace churches often rationalize their taking part in CPS on the basis of the ‘second-mile’ philosophy, but Jesus did not petition the Roman authorities for a law which forced others to go the second mile.”[37]

Many resisters within CPS concluded that the program simply had too many inherent contradictions between the government’s motivations in establishing and overseeing CPS and the COs’ and Peace Churches’ motivations in taking part in it and administering the camps. CPSer Curtis Watson saw these contradictions as “inherent and fatal.”

“The failure of CPS results essentially from the conflict between the demands of Selective Service, the final authority over the system, and the desires of the COs, who provide the reason for the system’s existence. The rigid and lasting demands – of a very negative sort – which are the bases for SS’s operation of the system, are not compensated by the fact of a small amount of significant detached service. For one thing, that agency is very concerned that it can tell the public that the lot of the CO is at least equally miserable as that of the soldier. As a corollary to this, it really cannot allow the main portion of our work to be anything but uninteresting, insignificant, and physically exhausting – since this is the fate of a large portion of our army. And finally it is interested in isolating us from population centers since thereby the chance for good public relations is excellent, there being little or no public for us to come into contact with. In outright opposition to these demands lie the desires of the CO. Very often he did not really accept conscription but came against his will with the same reluctant resignation which characterizes the attitude of a large number of soldiers. Even if he did reluctantly accept it, he almost universally feels that he should be doing work which is of immediate ‘national importance’ and tangible help to suffering humanity. Since most of the work is either long time forestry or soil conservation work, and could be done by ‘a healthy moron,’ he feels that his talents, his training, and the needs of the present are being horribly neglected.”[38]

Others pointed out a contradiction between “supposing that it was possible to do at once an exceptional service and maintain a clear-cut protest.” Due to war-time realities, protest had more importance than service. Service took the edge off protest; it “obscures the conscription issue and dilutes the strength of our protest against war.”[39]

While many resisters within CPS ultimately chose to register their rejection of the program by walking out and accepting prison as their fate, others stayed in CPS in order to render CPS ineffective and dramatize its wrongs. CPSer Dave Newhall summarized this perspective:

“Their protest takes the form of non-cooperation with the work program, not to the point of refusing to work, but rather a complete refusal to do anything without explicit instructions, even when instructions would not ordinarily be required by a low grade moron engaged in the same activity. If told to get an axe, they asked which axe; if told to chop with it, they asked how. Told to cut down trees they asked which one to start on, and then waited to be directed each time where and how to cut it. The result in the course of six months proved conclusively that conscription can accomplish almost nothing without the cooperation of those conscripted.”[40]

The slowdowners generally alienated most of the non-resister CPSers who found the coercive implications of the resisters’ strategy repellent, even if the rationale for that strategy included a commitment to nonviolence.[41] Certainly major reasons for this had to do with the immaturity of many of the resisters and the cynicism and passivism stemming from SS’s lack of responsiveness. However, most of the non-resister COs also did not share the resisters’ antipathy toward CPS and even toward conscription itself.

Paradigmatic Positive Fruit of This Tendency

The training in nonviolent action that many resisters received both in prison and in CPS camps stands as the most positive product of resister tendencies. In several significant cases resisters put this training to use in post-war civil rights and anti-nuclear weapon demonstrations and activities.

As early as 1942, A.J. Muste asserted that Gandhian nonviolence might have a major role to play in gaining civil rights for blacks in the United States. In line with that, supported the Fellowship of Reconciliation hiring James Farmer and Bayard Rustin to begin efforts to make that application.[42] Rustin, a Quaker, spent time in prison during the War as a draft resister.

Many resisters in prison suffered greatly from their separation from society and many violated their convictions due to the unrelenting pressure of the coercive prison system. On the other hand, many worked very hard and, somewhat successfully resisted the prison state and effected a small measure of reforms within the prisons. A coordinated work-strike aimed as ending racial segregation in the dining hall at Danbury Federal Prison serves as one example. The strike ultimately succeeded and effected full integration.

Several COs gained experience here that served them in post-war activism. Danbury veteran Jim Peck afterwards became very involved with the activities of the Congress on Racial Equality. “These demonstrations constituted our attempts to apply effectively on the outside the nonviolent methods of protest which we had used in prison,” he later explained. “Somehow it seemed a continuation of the same struggle.” Peck “felt certain that nonviolence would prove as effective in combating racial discrimination on the outside as it had been in Danbury.”[43]

Two pacifists, looking back upon the prison rebellions, concluded that COs “salvaged from their years of captivity ideas of immeasurable value to all of us who contemplate in the coming totalitarian days a continual warfare with the state – both in and out of its prisons.”[44]

Overall, though, resistance seemed to drain the energies of those who chose that route, especially those who stayed within CPS. Few of them remained active after the War. Those who did attempt to apply their newly acquired nonviolent tactics to social issues tended to come from the prison population.

These activists received some immediate encouragement, as Jim Peck reports:

“The first pacifist post-war demonstrations, against prison racial segregation, were our attempts to apply effectively the nonviolent methods of protest which we used in prison. During [the prison] strikes we had been under constant scrutiny and control of uniformed screws mostly hostile to our aims and therefore to us. During the demonstrations on the outside, we were similarly scrutinized by uniformed cops, who often expressed their hostility through violence or illegal arrest. The issues involved on the outside – amnesty, opposition to conscription – were of course broader. The methods, such as picketing and leaflet distribution, were different. Yet, somehow it seemed a continuation of the same struggle, a struggle against what we believed to be an injustice. We discovered that a small number of COs –not more than 30 – could get national and even international publicity for pacifism by means of well-timed public demonstrations of such an unusual nature that the press could not ignore them. We were anxious, primarily, to get our fellow-COs freed and to win a general amnesty, and secondly to carry on an effective campaign against war and against the threat of permanent conscription in the US.”[45]

However, this hopefulness proved to be short-lived. The resisters’ movement, being essentially secular and political, found itself strongly affected by the temper of public attitudes toward its issues of concern. During the War, the resisters (both in prison and CPS) found themselves somewhat insulated from public attitudes by their isolation and their close proximity to others who shared the same commitments. After the War they no longer had the strong sense of community they had in prison and CPS, and they received little other encouragement. People showed disinterest more than hostility, given their strong faith in the possibility of military might serving the human good. Many who might have been sympathetic, including COs with resister tendencies, felt exhausted after their war-time experiences. Consequently in the late 1940s and early 1950s, someone such as Jim Peck stood as a very lonely figure in his striving to keep the spark of nonviolent activism alive.[46]

Long-term Attitudes

Those COs with resister tendencies had a comparatively high proclivity for burn-out. Their stance demanded a great deal in terms of emotional and physical energy as they strove very hard to avoid compromise and to resist intense pressure to do so. Such energy inevitably ran low over time, especially when the War dragged on and on. For those in prison, this emotional and physical toll ran even higher.

Another important factor, especially for those with dependents, emerged when the financial burden grew increasingly heavy. Along with financial hardship, many resisters also suffered greatly from lack of emotional support from family and friends. For many, refusing to fight in the War left them very lonely.

More intangibly, frustration grew due to the resisters’ inability to make a significant impact on SS in terms of their demands for more freedom and easier physical and financial hardship discharges. Discouragement led to despair as time went on.

Gordon Zahn, a Catholic CO, noticed how easily COs with resister tendencies became discouraged:

“Men suffered the CPS equivalent of combat fatigue, authentic breakdowns caused by, or dangerously intensified by, the mental attrition created by the CPS experience itself….As the weeks stretched into months and years, and the national consensus in support of the war deepened and spread into all areas of life…, this sense of alienation [intensified] and [took] its final toll. Different men would deal with these accelerating strains and tensions in different ways. Some found relief in quiet adjustment and resignation to whatever was to be. Others, by contrast, took on almost perverse satisfaction in forcing issues to demonstrate that they were at odds with the world and drew a measure of psychological strength from that. All were exposed to the steady accumulation of the effects of this alienation until much of their initial idealism was soured by cynicism and bitterness. In the most extreme or sensitive cases, severe psychological trauma was always a possible, even a likely result.”[47]

Caleb Foote’s observations of the government camp at Lapine, Oregon, applied to other locations, too, when idealism became blunted by the seemingly endless war and the harsh tactics of SS:

“Radicals sit at the left hand of the mess hall, conservatives at the right, apparently because the former think the latter dull, while the Henry VIII table manners of the left spoil conservative appetites. While the right stand in silent grace, the left sit and clash dishes together and yell. The government ordered them to come to meals promptly at the bell, so the bell was stolen; it told them to keep the dorms clean, so ‘Tobacco Road,’ habitat of ‘radicals,’ is filthy by policy. Life at Lapine is dull, and it is garnished by freshman pranks – or downright rudeness when it will get a laugh. Hot air is pumped into minor conflicts between men and government until they swell to a size that grips the whole camp in tense suspense or uproarious laughter. Time passes faster that way.”[48]

Even those who maintained the energy to continue their protest against CPS from within, tended to have their focus narrowed significantly:

“A careful observer, visiting Mancos, felt that the assignees had largely lost their vision of protest against war and had come to the point where they merely protested the immediate situation in which they found themselves. Furthermore, he predicted that the antagonism and frustration so clearly present in the camp would continue until the camp was demobilized. This prediction proved accurate not only for Mancos but for the other battlefields in government-administered CPS camps where the objectors were locked in direct combat with the agents of state authority.”[49]

Proportion of Total CO Population

It is, of course, impossible to speak to this issue with any precision since no records were kept noting whether a CO was a “resister,” “transformer,” “servant,” or “separatist.” Institutional affiliations provide a clue. Those identified as War Resisters League members tended to be resisters. Quakers, Fellowship of Reconciliation members, and those from mainline Protestant churches tended to be transformers, though many were also resisters. Mennonites as a rule were servants, though a few were separatists, and Church of the Brethren members also tended to be servants, though some were transformers. Jehovah’s Witnesses tended to be separatists, as did many of the COs from small, more fundamentalist churches.

Even with this lack of precision, it is still safe to say that resisters contributed a small minority of the total CO population. About 60% of the 12,000 CPSers came from the three Peace Churches, 15-20% from mainline Protestant churches, and 15-20% from “small religious groups” including Jehovah’s Witnesses. Less than 10% were unaffiliated or affiliated with the War Resisters League.[50] And not all of these were resisters, though certainly a significant number of the mainline Protestant and Quaker COs would have been. All told, probably fewer than 1,000 CPSers had strong resister tendencies. Of the prison population of slightly over 6,000 COs, Jehovah’s Witnesses totaled about 4,400. The remaining 1,600 likely included mostly resisters, though numerous other socially-alienated groups such as “Negro Muslims” and Hopi Native Americans had COs in prison.[51] Hence, the total number of resisters probably totaled less than 2,000, or about 10% of the total number of COs in CPS plus prison.

Major Communal Identity

The religious affiliations of resisters varied considerably. Neither Jehovah’s Witnesses nor Mennonites provided any resisters. Perhaps some Brethren were resisters, but very few. On the other hand, many Quakers had resister tendencies (e.g., Denny Wilcher, who went to CPS first before going to prison, and Frederick Richards, who refused to register and went to prison immediately). One source indicates that 41 Quakers went to prison.[52]

About 100 Catholics and Methodists went to prison. However, many of those had transformer tendencies and would have gone into CPS had they been allowed to by misclassifying draft boards. Many resisters mentioned above had no religious affiliation or belief (e.g., Jim Peck, Lowell Naeve, Donald Wetzel).

Those in CPS with no church affiliation were no more likely to be resisters than were Quakers or Methodists. Many non-church-affiliated COs loyally supported the community-ideal in CPS and remained loyal to the program, especially when detached service options such as mental health work became available.[53]

Nonetheless, a sense of independence from formal religious institutions and dogma characterized most resisters. Because the draft law specified that legal COs’ pacifism must be based on “religious training and belief,” those who wanted to avoid prison generally claimed some sort of religious affiliation regardless of how closely they identified with the group they had membership in. Draft boards varied a great deal in strictness on this issue. Some asked only for some kind of vague assertion of religious belief and often accepted membership in the Fellowship of Reconciliation or even the War Resisters League as sufficient evidence.

So, COs with little or no religious commitment did make it into CPS. Some of the most vocal resisters were in this group. And within CPS resisters such as Robert Davison tended to resent church dominance:

“Church sponsorship of COs indicates to the public that “religious” people have a monopoly on pacifism and that churches alone are responsible for making pacifists. [We] feel that pacifists should not be considered extraordinary people, but ones who believe “religiously” in democracy, human personality, and civil rights. Believing this [we] wish to actively fight fascism with [our] pacifist beliefs. In an age when most people aren’t impressed by church doctrines, the chances for pacifism becoming a popular movement are very slim if the public continues to think of it as exclusive church property. To succeed as a movement, people must be reached by appeals founded on the basis of their reason or common sense, and their common decency – the only avenues by which men in this age can be moved toward ideal ends….When the public realizes that to be a CO does not mean that you must be an active church-goer and a believer in a NO PAY ideal as well as I WON’T MURDER, then there may well be seven million COs instead of seven thousand.”[54]

Jim Martin articulated a typical perspective on the belief system of many resisters, combining generic religious beliefs with strong political concerns.

“As a non-historic pacifist, I find my pacifism based on my acceptance of Christ’s commandment to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself;’ on my belief in the Universal God dwelling in all mankind and making us all brothers of one flesh and sons of one Father; on my faith in love, as exemplified by Christ, as the most creative force in the world, capable of overcoming all evil; and on my historical, psychological, and sociological background of the waste, tragedy, and futility of war and the basic equality of all men, differentiated largely because of traditions and customs originating in their locality of birth.”[55]

Membership and involvement in the War Resisters League constituted the closest thing to a communal identity for many resisters. The League was founded in the 1920s as a non-religious alternative to FOR. Never a very large organization, its peak membership during World War II totaled about 2,000.

About 50 CPSers successfully claimed that the League as their sole “religious affiliation” when they registered and claimed conscientious objector status.[56] More significantly, as the War went on, the League tended more and more to speak out on behalf of unaffiliated pacifists and resisters in general within CPS. Though the League related to NSBRO in an advisory capacity, it generally expressed dissatisfaction with CPS.

International War Resisters League leader Grace Beaton summarized the League in 1943:

“The War Resisters League refused approval of [CPS] from the beginning on the grounds that compulsion destroyed its voluntary character, and that detached service or government- maintained camps for those who wish it should be provided. On the face of things, the CPS camps look plausible, but on closer examination it appears that the whole thing is working out as a clever way of avoiding a mass demonstration of resistance to war, and on easing pressure on the authorities by making it appear that some real recognition of the CO’s position was made while all the time demanding surrender to compulsion.”[57]

Secular, individualist resisters who essentially arrived at their commitments on their own, typically affiliated with the League under the need for support during wartime. Jim Peck, a pacifist activist beginning in the early 1930s, only became involved with a specifically pacifist group until 1940 when, partly due to a realization that war was inevitable for the US, he joined the League. He has remained active in the organization ever since.[58]

Lowell Naeve did not get involved with the League until after he had been released from prison upon completion of his sentence for draft resistance and face re-arrest when he refused a second time to register for the draft. He then utilized the very helpful assistance of League lawyers in defending himself.[59]

Inclinations on an Individualist/Communal Spectrum

Of the four tendencies of COs, the resisters are the farthest toward the individualist pole on the spectrum. Many did have some kind of communal affiliation, but rarely gave that as the basis for their pacifism. As a rule, they fairly closely fit the account of conscientious objection given by James Childress that we looked at in chapter two.

Many resister-type COs articulated their commitments in individualistic ways. Ray Trayer wrote that:

“The dominant pattern of the CO is an accentuated concept of individuality, “each man a separate and strange equation.”…[We must] see the other individual not as a militarist or a pacifist, not as a conformist or a non-conformist, but rather see him as an expression of life, infinitely varied, not reducible to formulae, rules, or regulations.”[60]

Roland Cook referred to a trip to Germany in the 1930s which convinced him of the evils of social conformity and submission to group pressure. “We must all learn to think, to create, to build through our own selves” if we are to withstand all threats of totalitarianism – German and American through World War II conscription policies.[61]

Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas saw the CO as one who

“Positively asserts the dignity of the individual and the basic principles of democracy by his insistence that no agency of the state can compel him against his reasoned conviction to invest his whole life in that which, to him, is wrong.”[62]

Charles D. Hornig anticipates Childress’s notion of conscience in his statement that he was a CO because “my conscience dictates to me that absolutely nothing can justify one man taking the life of another. To betray this scruple would be worse than death.”[63]

Lowell Naeve, Jim Peck, and Donald Wetzel all lived out their pacifism in strongly individualistic ways. Naeve writes of being unwilling to accept any political loyalty above his own beliefs:

“Just before World War II started, I went to Mexico, expecting to stay for six or seven years. Communists were plentiful in Mexico City; they tried to get me to join ‘the party.’ I refused. The Communists wanted to be the whippers; the US, the British, the Dutch, wanted to be the whippers. I came to see I was an individual caught in between, literally a man without a country. What I saw in Mexico only convinced me I should oppose the coming war.”[64]

Naeve became a pacifist at a very young age when he experienced extreme revulsion at seeing animals killed for sport.[65] When he returned from Mexico in order to resist the draft in person, FBI agents grilled him regarding his involvement in anti-war groups. He denied any, “at the time I didn’t know any existed.”[66]

Wetzel recounts a similar development, also being revulsed by observing animals killed. The violent death of his mother, who was run over by a car when he was 13, also profoundly affected him. He describes his pacifism as being totally individualistic.[67]

Peck also claims to have had no direct outside influences in his development of pacifist convictions. He see his start at independent thinking as being “stimulated by the extreme conformity of teachers as well as students” in the upper-class boarding school he attended as a youngster.[68]

Sibley and Jacob summarize some of the implications of the individualism of COs with resister tendencies.

“The tendency for emphasis on individual conscience was to create a kind of self-centeredness which frequently affected profoundly the perspective from which the CO viewed the world. The psychological pattern inherent in this egotism is relatively clear: that is, when emphasis was placed on individual conscience and upon its rights against the practices of a war-making and conscripting society, the individual CO sometimes tended to build a wall about himself and to view all problems solely from the perspective of his individual salvation. It was but a short step from this position to the conclusion in thought and action that “I am right and society is totally wrong.” The formula might, and did in some instances, easily become “I am right and my fellow objector is totally wrong.” Thus the very tendency to see all things from the perspective of an individual salvation individually attained led in certain cases to a kind of intolerance, not only of those who were deemed to be wrong in making war but also with reference to those other objectors whose consciences dictated different courses of action.”[69]

If anything, the events of the War reinforced resisters’ individualism. Their lack of success in any significant group acts of resistance pushed them back to the last bastion of freedom, the individual conscience. More and more they spoke of at least being able to salvage individual self-respect and of the importance of at least a few refusing to conform totally to a warring society. Also, the War itself and its incredible destructiveness drove some back to the individual as the only hope for sanity.

A.J. Muste reflects this movement. In the early years of the War he worked very hard for communal goals within the pacifist community, strenuously defending the Fellowship of Reconciliation as an organization against the attacks of some resisters and tempering his own inclinations toward radicalism in deference to group strivings for consensus. But in the post-War period Muste moved away from a wholehearted devotion to organization expressions of pacifism. The watershed was Hiroshima. After August 1945, his guiding theme became “the individual conscience against the atomic bomb? Yes, there is no other way.”[70]

Relative Articulateness, Especially as Concerns the Outside World

Resisters clearly articulated their beliefs, both within the CPS structure through camp newspapers and in the outside world through articles and, after the War, books and pamphlets.

Resisters tended to be the best educated of the CPS population. They also tended to put much more thought into why they did what they did. SS required all men filing for CO status to fill out a form providing evidence to support their claim for exemption from going into the military. COs with servant tendencies who had membership in a Peace Church usually gave short answers and mainly pointed to their membership in their church and their repetition of church teaching as the basis for their stance. In contrast, those with resister tendencies often wrote out extensive and personal answers to questions asking for the bases for their pacifism and what supported those claims.

Because of their relative articulateness and visibility, resister-type COs have been much more well-known among the general public and non-Peace Church academics than servant and separatist-types. Concomitant with this wider familiarity has come the tendency to see those COs with resister tendencies as the norm. As pointed out above, in fact resisters were a small minority in the whole CO population. It is possible that even though numerically they were a minority, they were the “purest” type of CO. this conclusion, though, is likely a bit circular since one’s notion of what a “pure” CO is is quite possibly determined by a pre-existing bias based upon knowledge of resister-types or at least a notion that the other tendencies, especially the servant and separatist ones, are by definition not ethically interesting. To evaluate that bias we will look at the other tendencies.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Resisters tended to have very strong and coherent senses of personal conviction and conscientiousness about their pacifism and complete unwillingness to cooperate with the war system. They had a depth of commitment which provided them the strength to withstand extreme social pressure and deprivation. Those who went to prison especially experienced hardships and at times faced extremely violent sanctions.

Resisters model the power of a few heroic individuals to withstand the coercion of an all-powerful state based on their unshakeable convictions and total commitment to remain true to those convictions at all costs. For pacifists and others committed to radical social change they exemplify the power of principle. Resisters prophetically exposed American militarism’s totalitarian tendencies.

On the other hand, for resisters, the extreme individualism and absolutism of some contributed to a lack of sympathy and understanding of other COs’ convictions. One result of this was that these resisters tended to alienate other COs, an event that was quite counter-productive to resister attempts to be catalysts for widespread resistance within CPS as a tool to gain significant concessions from Selective Service.

The rigor of the resister stand seems to have led to several cases of burn-out, cynicism, and nihilism when acts of resistance bore no fruit. Resisters took a heroic stance which only a few COs could take. The focus on absolute principles of conscience made it difficult for resisters to adapt to changing circumstances, as did their general unwillingness to consider any type of compromise.

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[1] For a list, see section IV in the bibliography.

[2] For those who went to prison instead of CPS, see footnote nine in the next chapter. Two informative books by CPSers are Hobart Mitchell, We Would Not Kill (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1983) and Gordon Zahn, Another Part of the War: The Camp Simon Story (Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 1979).

[3] See section V in the bibliography.

[4] The most comprehensive works include: Leslie Eisan, Pathways of Peace: A History of the Civilian Public Service Administered by the Brethren Service Commission (Elgin, IN: Brethren Press, 1948); Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Civilian Public Service (Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee, 1949); Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952); Theodore Wachs, “Conscription, Conscientious Objection, and the Context of American Pacifism, 1940-1945” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinoise, 1976); Neal M. Wherry, Conscientious Objection (Washington, DC: Selective Service System Special Monograph, no. 11, 1950); Lawrence S. Wittner, Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969); Gordon Zahn, “A Descriptive Study of the Social Backgrounds of Conscientious Objectors in Civilian Public Service During World War II” (Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1953).

[5] Donald Wetzel, Pacifist, Or, My War and Louis Lepke (Sag Harbor, NY: Permanent Press, 1986), 198-199; A. J. Muste, Of Holy Disobedience (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Pamphlets, 1952), 25-26; Alfred Hassler, Conscripts of Conscience (Nyack, NY: Fellowship Publications, 1942), 30; Gordon Zahn, Another Side of the War: The Camp Simon Story (Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 1979), 36.

[6] Igal Roodenko, “So That Others Might Be Free,” CPS GI #8 (June 1944), 8.

[7] Lowell Naeve, A Field of Broken Stones (Glen Gardner, NJ: Libertarian Press, 1950), 3.

[8] Quoted in Clarence Pickett, For More Than Bread (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1953), 334.

[9] “Statement of Frederick Howard Richards Before the U.S. Court in Philadelphia,” Federal Convicts: Numbers 1128 and 1129: From College to Prison (n.p., 1941), 8-9.

[10] Evan W. Thomas, “The Conscientious Objector in World War II,” Calumet 1.21 (Sept. 10, 1942), 6.

[11] Denny Wilcher, “Shall the CPS Camps Continue?” Camp Walhalla News 1.5 (Jan. 1943), 7.

[12] Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription and Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952), 473.

[13] Personal accounts of social-responsibility-oriented resisters are found in James Peck’s two books: Underdogs Vs. Upperdogs (Canterbury, NH: Greenleaf Books, 1969) and We Would Not Kill (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1958), and Franklin Zahn, Deserter from Violence: Experiments with Gandhi’s Truth (New York: Philosophical Library, 1984). Donald Wetzel, Pacifist, and Lowell Naeve, A Field of Broken Stones, tell the stories of more individualistic resisters.

[14] Peck, Underdogs, 100.

[15] Peck, Underdogs, 18.

[16] “Proceedings – Chicago Conference on Social Action,” Chicago, 1943. (Mimeographed.), 11.

[17] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 43.

[18] A. J. Muste, The World Task of Pacifism (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Pamphlets, 1941), 39.

[19] Denny Wilcher, “Statement On Sentencing for Going AWOL,” Sage O’Pinion 2.9 (Mar. 1944), 13.

[20] Agard Bailey, “Prison…CPS…Prison…” CPS GI #12 (Feb. 1945), 6.

[21] Roy Kepler, “It was Bad at First, But We Got Used to It,” CPS GI (Apr. 1945), 8.

[22] “COs in the News: Good or Bad?” CPS GI #20 (May 1946), 9.

[23] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 374, 412-416.

[24] Charles Barnes, “Another ‘Dear Joe.’” San Dimas Rattler 3.6 (May 15, 1942), 6.

[25] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 417.

[26] Lawrence Wittner, Rebels Against the War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), 78-79.

[27] Wittner, Rebels, 81-82.

[28] Charles Swift, “Letter from a Non-Registrant,” Sage O’Pinion 1.8 (Feb. 1943), 9.

[29] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 360; Wetzel, Pacifist, 50.

[30] Wittner, Rebels, 85-86.

[31] Evan Thomas, “CPS and Alternative Service,” Seed #5 (Sept. 1942), 6.

[32] Ray Trayer, “Patience or Protest,” Calumet 1.17 (July 10, 1942), 7.

[33] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 261.

[34] Paul Johnson, “XYZ Plan,” San Dimas Rattler 6.7 (Sept. 1, 1944), 8.

[35] Wilcher, “Shall,” 8.

[36] Wilcher, “Shall,” 8.

[37] Robert Constable, “Life More Abundantly,” Harmony 2.3 (March 1943), 10.

[38] Curtis Watson, “The Failure of CPS: Church Indifference to CO Morale,” Salt 1.1 (March 1942), 8.

[39] Dave Newhall, “If a Man Compel Thee,” Sage O’Pinion 3.1 (Aug. 1944), 5.

[40] Newhall, “If a Man,” 5-6.

[41] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 276.

[42] Wittner, Rebels, 64.

[43] Quoted in Wittner, Rebels, 92.

[44] Quoted in Wittner, Rebels, 92.

[45] Peck, Underdogs, 61.

[46] Wittner, Rebels, 282.

[47] Zahn, Another, 226.

[48] Caleb Foote, “Conscription in the Raw,” CPS GI #8 (June 1944), 9.

[49] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 256.

[50] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 168.

[51] Neal W. Wherry, Conscientious Objection (Washington, DC: Selective Service System Special Monograph #11, vol. 1, 1950), 63; Gordon Zahn, “A Descriptive Study of the Social Backgrounds of Conscientious Objectors in Civilian Public Service During World War II” (Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1953), 24.

[52] Zahn, “Descriptive,” 24.

[53] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 169-170.

[54] Robert Davison, “Why Some Chose GI Camp,” The Irrigator #4 (Sept. 1943), 3.

[55] Jim Martin, “Direction,” Castaner Newsletter 1.22 (Sept. 1, 1943), 6.

[56] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 169.

[57] Grace M. Beaton, Four Years of War (Middlesex, England: War Resisters League, 1943), 15-16.

[58] Peck, We, 64.

[59] Naeve, Field, 150.

[60] Trayer, “Patience,” 1.

[61] Roland Cook, “Of Beauty and Gardens,” Calumet 1.6 (Jan. 25, 1942), 7.

[62] Norman Thomas, “The CO in World War II,” Calumet 1.22 (Sept. 25, 1942), 4.

[63] Charles D. Hornig, “Why I am a CO,” The Columbian 1.8 (May 9, 1942), 7.

[64] Naeve, Field, 9.

[65] Naeve, Field, 6-7.

[66] Naeve, Field, 10.

[67] Wetzel, Pacifist, 19, 40.

[68] Peck, We, 68.

[69] Sibley and Jacob, Conscription, 464-465.

[70] Quoted in Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson, Abraham Went Out: A Biography of A.J. Muste (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981), 97.