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"Science was digging its own grave": the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the campaign against chemical and biological warfare

Balmer, B; (2021) "Science was digging its own grave": the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the campaign against chemical and biological warfare. The Nonproliferation Review 10.1080/10736700.2020.1838703. (In press).

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Abstract

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest active women’s peace organization in the world. Although their overall aim is the abolition of all war, from the outset they voiced particular opposition to chemical warfare. Later, this became a call against both chemical and biological warfare (CBW). This article draws on archival documents to trace this history, concentrating on the early days of WILPF and then on revived interest in the topic during the late 1960s and early 1970s. While early WILPF did not define CBW as an issue with any special gendered relevance for women, the historical record shows WILPF placed emphasis on its leading role in organizing opposition. It also shows a consistency of approach, WILPF often acting in an educational capacity as an informer of public opinion about the horrors of CBW. Over time, WILPF’s role changed in that the leaders of the key campaigns against CBW came to regard their role as distinct from those of scientists.

Type: Article
Title: "Science was digging its own grave": the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the campaign against chemical and biological warfare
DOI: 10.1080/10736700.2020.1838703
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/10736700.2020.1838703
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Biological warfare, Chemical warfare, Disarmament, History, Gender
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112275
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