The Peacemaker's Role in the Anti-Vietnam War
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When the Menzies government reintroduced National Service in 1964 and then sent conscripted soldiers along with volunteer service personnel to fight in the Vietnam War, the pacifist movement in Australia was faced with the dilemma of whether to actively encourage young men to be conscientious objectors to National Service, or merely support those who already held such beliefs? One of their most effective tools was the newspaper The Peacemaker, founded in 1939. The Peacemaker provided an alternative voice during the war, and supported conscientious objectors to military service in both war and peacetime. Always short of funds, The Peacemaker survived on subscriptions and donations until the end of 1971, when it ceased publication. The Federal Pacifist Council [FPC], which produced the newspaper, regarded it as a worthwhile investment in time and resources. In order to assess the extent of its impact, this chapter surveys issues of The Peacemaker from the last seven years of production (1964 to 1971), and examines FPC Minutes and correspondence between objectors and the newspaper’s editor, Vivienne Abraham. It is intended that examining The Peacemaker as a case study may shed some light on the broader issue of the efficacy of the alternative press as a means of communication.
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