What happened to conscientious objectors in the First World War?

Conscientious objection

For all those of you who don't feel like going to the armed forces later (for whatever reason) and would rather do community service instead, I have put together a few tips here.

Community service is best, but also military service immediately after leaving school and before studying or training. If you only go about your duties after your studies, then you are, on the one hand, the old sack between quite a few young people doing their community service, and on the other hand, your chances of being hired at the companies fall badly.

If you want to do something that is reasonably fun, you should start looking for a job about 3/4 of a year in advance. It is best to ask in hospitals, homes for the disabled, retirement homes or similar social stations in your area and find out which positions are advertised as community service positions. In most cases, you can then register for a position; only in a few cases have I heard that you have to be recognized as a refuser.
Before you decide on a job, however, you should talk to the people who are doing your future job now, in order to rule out later disappointments, because the 13 months can be damn long. Since the people logically have to fill their civilian positions, they only tell you about the good sides of your future civilian position. But if you talk to your predecessor, he will also explain the "dirty work" that will also be part of your area of ​​responsibility. Please do not imagine that you will find a civilian position that corresponds to the typical cliché picture. Most of the time, Zivi's do the jobs that an employee would not do or that would be simply too expensive for permanent employees. You will probably find it difficult to find a job where you spend the time exclusively reading pictures, playing the PlayStation and surfing the Internet. And remember: since the good jobs are always gone first, you should start looking for a job as early as possible.
If you wait too long, it can also happen that you will be assigned a position by the Federal Office for Community Service. These are mostly the jobs that no other civilian wants to do because of their field of activity.

At the same time, as is well known, you have to go to the military replacement office for a draft. If you still haven't got a written appointment six months in advance, then write a friendly letter to the district military replacement office with the request to give you an early inspection appointment. It goes faster if you also give as a reason that career planning reasons would require this (does not always have to be true).
When you have your inspection appointment, the best thing to do is to run to the residents' registration office immediately to get one criminal record certificate to be exhibited. This fun usually costs you 15, - DM, and if you apply for express (then you have the wipe within a few days), it costs another 5, - DM (I still don't know whether it is a Bribery for the officials or whether this is actually necessary due to additional work). If you go to one of the external offices of your city administration, it is usually as fast as with the express, but then you only pay the 15, - DM. By the way, this sum will not be reimbursed by the father state.

If you go to the draft now, you should bring the following with you immediately:

It is best to tell the counselor immediately that you want to refuse. Then one pushes an application in your hand in which you then have to write that you want to refuse to use the weapon for reasons of conscience according to Article 4, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 (blablabla) of the Basic Law. And then you come to the "full-body examination", in which everything of you is examined. If the doctors there do not come to clear results, if you are unlucky you must expect to be sent to a specialist for a consultation. This is bad in that it delays the entire process accordingly. If you are not taken out of service (and unfortunately this happens to most of us), then you give the above-mentioned stuff to your service advisor.

If you want to refuse military service, then unfortunately it is not enough if you make it clear to the officers at the district military replacement office that you have something against order or that you don't feel like crawling through the dirt for any officers in the icy snowstorm. As reasons are exclusively Accepted reasons of conscience that would prevent you from working with the weapon. This could include, for example, your own experiences with death (for example that your grandfather recently died blablabla) or that you enjoyed a Christian upbringing with which you cannot reconcile military service (communion / confirmation, etc., always in your résumé even if you were in church on Christmas Eve last time and never go there otherwise). There are also references to wars (world wars from history lessons, Gulf War, Balkans, current conflict locations from geography, etc.) that you cannot understand. However, it must be made clear that you abhor wars of any kind and that you have learned from religious instruction or from your parents, for example, to avoid conflict situations without violence. But remember that the dates and facts should match your résumé. Your parents can certainly help you with your résumé. A tabular curriculum vitae is sufficient.

In the following you have two reasons with which the service on the weapon could be successfully refused:

1st example

usual letterhead

Subject: Conscientious objection to military service

Due to my aversion to war and armed violence, I refuse military service for reasons of conscience. I am entitled to do so under Article 4, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 of the German Basic Law.

My aversion to weapons and the violence of war came from my parents at an early age. My parents avoided letting me play with toy guns at a young age - this even made me an outsider at times, for example at carnival, but now I don't blame my parents for this step. My parents also taught me to resolve all conflicts non-violently. In fact, I have found that many situations can be resolved non-violently. In elementary school and lower secondary school in particular, there were relatively frequent scuffles among classmates, but so far I have always managed to avoid them. In addition, I enjoyed a Christian upbringing from my parents, especially from my mother, which was later supplemented by communion and confirmation lessons. Here I learned to avoid violence, to forgive and "to love one's neighbor as myself". Literally I certainly did not take this commandment, but in spite of all of this it taught me that every person has the same right to life as myself, because after all we all have the same Creator in a religious or origin in an evolutionary sense. So why should people living in a war zone suddenly lose their right to life when they may not even support the warring parties? If I thought of killing such people, I probably couldn't reconcile it with my conscience for my entire life. What bothers me most is that I usually don't have to act of my own free will, but on orders and against my own conscience.

The first war I experienced was the Gulf War. At that point in time I couldn't understand what was happening in the Gulf myself, but I was still one of those who were there at the protest marches and human chains. In the following years and with increasing age, however, one only really began to think about a war like this, and one wonders why so many, sometimes innocent, people had to die, because on both sides there were numerous victims who did not have to must be, because after all, the outcome of the war was certain beforehand.

Another war that moved me a lot was the Balkan War in the former Yugoslavia. While Iraq is far from my homeland, Yugoslavia is a country that is in Europe and therefore not that far from Germany. It is hard to imagine that in a country from which you had only recently received postcards from friends who were vacationing there, a war suddenly raged. This war touched me even more when I found out that dayy not only shot soldiers here, but also civilians, and it made no difference whether they were old people or children. I was particularly shocked by the report from a television magazine about the mass graves in which the victims of this war were buried, which particularly shocked me because the lives of these victims were probably no longer of any value. This also does not agree with my human values.

Another aversion to war came from my history class at school. Here, too, the senseless killing became more than clear - numerous people had to die just because they had to carry out an order. But what was special about World War II was the killing of all those who did not conform to the National Socialist racial ideology. I cannot understand the idea of ​​determining the value of a person only on the basis of his origin and his religion and it fills me with horror.

In addition to the history lessons, I also got numerous aversions to war and gun violence through my advanced exploration course. For me it is still not understandable that the developing countries are still investing more in armament than in the development of their country. Here, too, you can see the values ​​of those in power, who are probably more interested in their own power than in the welfare of their people. I found a newspaper report particularly shocking, in which it was stated that children are used as soldiers in such countries because they can handle weapons at an early age and also have the "advantage" that they are not yet afraid of death due to a lack of life experience because they don't yet know what death actually means. This thought filled me with anger, because I cannot understand why children of the age group who are in the sixth grade in my school and are well on their way to getting a decent education, sometimes pose a threat to their own people with weapons . And it is even fun for the children to shoot other people, because children of this age group in these countries have not yet developed a conscience.

I also have problems with gun violence in everyday life. There are numerous computer games where the goal of the game is to go through rooms and "shoot" as many people as possible. Admittedly - like everyone in my circle of friends, I also install these games on my PC, but after a short time I no longer enjoy them and then delete them again. Even with such virtual games, in which basically nothing happens despite a hit, I just find it abhorrent and also consider this to be pointless killing. Instead of cooling off my frustration and the like in the sports club than with this virtual killing.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I take the position that armed violence creates more conflicts than it solves. I think it is possible to resolve almost all political conflicts at the diplomatic level, but it is far easier for those in power to issue an order than to work out a diplomatic solution strategy based primarily on their abilities and skills does not depend on his wealth.

I hope that I was able to explain my reasons of conscience to you and ask you to recognize me as a conscientious objector.

Instead of military service, I am happy to do alternative service.

2nd example:

usual letterhead

Subject: Justification of my conscientious objection

Because of my pacifist and Christian convictions and the associated aversion to any form of violence, warfare and gun violence in particular, I would like to refuse to use the weapon. According to Article 4, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 of the German Basic Law, I am entitled to do so.

The decision to refuse military service and instead take the alternative of community service followed a conviction that has developed in my life so far. Therefore, the astray of the reasons for and against military service led, although very intensively, but after a short time to the decision to fulfill my duty as a German citizen to the state but also to society, in which I do the civil service, in my opinion, more reasonable for me. There are many reasons for this, so I would like to explain them in more detail below.

In my now over eighteen years of life experience, I was lucky to have been educated and instructed by four very capable and experienced institutions. These four institutions include first of all my family, but also the school, as well as the Catholic Church and perhaps the most ambiguous, the rest of society.
All four together formed a worldview in me, the highest credo of which could be: The human being's greatest good is life.

In the family, this creed is closely related to the complete renunciation of violence in spite of some conflicts. In early childhood my younger brother and I were taught to renounce violence and to be peaceful with all his fellow men, which from my present point of view bears positive fruits. If you resolutely exemplify peaceful interactions, you will for the most part meet with a lot of sympathy and recognition, so that I cannot remember ever having been involved in serious violent confrontations.

My parents also showed me that as an adolescent you don't always live easily in such a position. The renouncement of cable television, certain computer games or toy weapons often push you into an outsider position in preschool and later in lower school as well. Here, too, I can only see positive things from my current point of view.

A short time later, however, I came into contact with something that immediately made me aware of what war and armed violence mean for people: Tales of my two grandfathers about World War II on the side of the Wehrmacht. The background was brought closer to me at the same time, both at high school and at home.
What was bad for me was the fact that my grandfathers were fighting for something, killing. should or should be killed by whom they were disgusted. Their greatest enemy was not even in front of them, but above them. This enemy didn't even give them an alternative.

This fear also dominates my thoughts of a war in which I will not even defend my convictions, but rather will be forced to do violence to someone who will meet the same fate as me. To kill someone who never harmed me would be like murder for me, even in the event of war.

As a modern person at the end of the 20th century, I was not only brought up in the Christian-pacifist sense, but also profited from the increasing internationalization of society. For example, I can enjoy a close friendship with a French man, which incidentally emerged from a pen friendship between our parents. I am also close friends with a classmate of Indonesian origin.
I want to express that in a war it is mostly states that fight against each other. Usually only different state systems or certain national customs compete with each other, but not the people who, taken individually, more unite than differentiate.

Furthermore, views and convictions of a Christian and moral nature take hold at this point. As a Christian fellow citizen, I am familiar with the doctrine of peaceful coexistence among all people; That is why I am also convinced that only reconciliation can settle disputes, never violence, as we unfortunately still do too often. Solving a conflict with violence means provoking counter-violence, which always ends with unnecessary and above all innocent victims. This is not only taught by the Christian faith, any philosophies or history; this is what everyday common sense teaches us again and again.

Unfortunately, I see a constant potential for aggression in our world today, which would have devastating consequences if it broke out due to a worldwide potential for weapons and destruction. Most of the victims would be bystanders. I therefore consider it my duty to counteract this potential for aggression in order to enable my fellow human beings and, above all, our future generations a safe, peaceful life.

In order to follow my convictions and actively support it, I see community service as a good opportunity to do this and at the same time to fulfill my duty as a German citizen to the state and society. I want to use the opportunity offered by the state to gain experience that will definitely be useful to me on my path in life. I am convinced of this and I would like to ask you to acknowledge my refusal to do military service.

You should definitely include two A4 pages in your justification. If you print this on two sheets of paper, it looks like a lot more. If you don't get to the two sides, then choose a font size that puts you on two sides. However, you must not forget to include your personal identification number on your résumé or with the mountain ignition. Everything that involves additional effort for officials costs you a lot of time in your planning.

So if you immediately bang these three things around the ears of the on-site consultant, then you save yourself a long palaba. Also says that you have already been registered for a community service. In addition, the processing is then much faster and you save the money for the stamps. Nevertheless, you can still take a little time; however, this is not recommended.

After about four weeks of objection, the district military replacement office will send your documents to Cologne Federal Office for Community Service. Here it will take another four weeks until you are officially recognized as a refuser or not. If this takes too long for you, you can also speed up the processing process in Cologne considerably with an appropriate reason. When you have your approval, you go to your civil service office with your draft reports (all the junk that you received from the district military replacement office after the draft) and present your documents to the clerks there. They will then suggest you to the Federal Office for Civilian Service in Cologne and inform them that you have a position where you can do your alternative service. If you don't do this, Cologne will assign you a position, but this is usually a shit job that nobody else wants to do.

I hope that I have been able to give you a few tips on conscientious objection. You will find more information by typing the term KDV into a search engine - there is a lot more information on this topic on the Internet.

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This website was created by © Sven Keßler on May 27, 1998 and updated on September 24, 1999.