Document 14: "Modern Methods of Warfare and the Protection of the Civil Population," 1929. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Collection, IV-8-1, Archives, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, WILPF Papers, 1915-1978 (Microfilm, Reel 104, frame 389).
Members of WILPF committed to combating chemical weapons and their production initiated an aggressive educational forum--a study conference. Their original memo appealed to the emotions of the audience by implying that chemical weapons would be used in future wars to threaten civilian populations. The memo further called upon scientists, technicians, and social organizations to support complete disarmament, including the elimination of chemical warfare. WILPF hoped that horror of chemical warfare would enlist broad support for total disarmament.
MODERN METHODS OF WARFARE
AND THE PROTECTION OF THE CIVIL POPULATION
Conference organised by the WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR
PEACE AND FREEDOM, FRANKFORT-on-MAINE, January 4 - 6, 1929.
The world situation has never been more critical.
Formerly war raged only over a limited area; the evil was localised.
Nowadays it tends to spread and become general.
Formerly insecurity and fear were generally confined to one place at a time.
Today the whole universe is "Balkanized," fires break out simultaneously all over the world.
The horrors of war have never threatened the world in a more terrifying way;
War has never threatened such extensive territories;
Never has it imperilled [sic] such masses of human beings as today, with the new methods of warfare.
It is no longer a question of conflicts between armed mercenaries;
It is not even a question of struggles involving mobilised male youth;
Today, it is as a celebrated phrase has describe it, "total war."
A new war would be above all a war of economic interests, in which the civil populations, without distinction of age or sex, would be "thrown into the abyss of war."
With the unlimited means of destruction provided by modern science, and the extension of the risks of war to civil populations, a new war would be a war involving the simultaneous extermination of the peoples, and which would threaten the whole of civilisation.
The object of the FRANKFORT CONFERENCE, -- which is to be a study conference, -- is to get from scientists and technicians of unquestioned attainments, particulars as to the destructive potentialities of modern science when used in the service of war, and as to the inanity of methods of protection.
Also to make known to the masses the danger which threatens them -- a danger of whose gravity and extent they are ignorant.
It is to warn them against the illusion that real protection is possible.
It is to lead them in this way to interest themselves in the problems of peace.
It is to incite them to act in favour of total and universal disarmament, the logical consequence of the pact for the renunciation of war, and the only efficacious measure.
We beg all those who for any reason take an interest in the questions to be discussed, to come and take part in it.
We invite workers’ organisations and political and social organisations to send delegates -- or observers -- who can report back to their group.
We ask all those who sympathise with our action to help us by giving moral and material support.
The Organising Committee.
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