D O C . 3 5 7 A G A I N S T M I L I TA R Y S E RV I C E 3 5 3 357. “International Manifesto against Compulsory Military Service”[1] [Einstein et. al. 1926e] Published 26 August 1926 In: Vossische Zeitung, 26 August 1926, EE, p. [2]. During the war people in all the countries determined to throw off forever the yoke of militarism, and, when peace came, the League of Nations was welcomed as the offspring of this hope. It is our duty to see that the terrible suffering of the war does not recur. We call for some definite step toward complete disarmament and the demilita- rizing of the mind of civilized nations. The most effective measure toward this would be the universal abolition of conscription. We therefore ask the League of Nations to propose the abolition of compulsory military service in all countries as a first step toward true disarmament. It is our belief that conscript armies, with their large corps of professional offi- cers, are a grave menace to peace. Conscription involves the degradation of human personality and the destruction of liberty. Barrack life, military drill, blind obedi- ence to commands, however unjust and foolish they may be, and deliberate training for slaughter undermine respect for the individual, for democracy and human life. It is debasing human dignity to force men to give up their lives or to inflict death against their will or without conviction as to the justice of their action. The state which thinks itself entitled to force its citizens to go to war will never pay proper regard to the value and happiness of their lives in peace. Moreover, by conscription the militarist spirit of aggressiveness is implanted in the whole male population at the most impressionable age. By training for war we come to consider war as unavoidable and even desirable. By the universal abolition of conscription war will be made less easy. The gov- ernment of a country which maintains conscription has little difficulty in declaring war, for it can silence the whole population by a mobilization order. When govern- ments have to depend for support upon the voluntary consent of their peoples they must necessarily exercise caution in their foreign policies. In the first draft of the Covenant of the League of Nations,[2] President Wilson[3] proposed to make conscription illegal in all affiliated countries. It is our duty to re- store the original spirit which created the League, a spirit shared by many of those
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