PPU HOME | sitemap







Links here are for information and do not necessarely reflect PPU policy
- Soldiers in the battlefield
- Signs and symbols
- Free-school run by ex-soldiers
- Troops to teacher UK style

Militarism is a word that is not often heard in the Queen Vic or indeed many other places; it is like so many isms a slippery word with a variety of definition to suit the occasion or point of view. It is a word that gained widespread use in the middle of the 19th century and was very ‘popular’ by propagandists during WW1 when posters exhorted us to ‘Smash German Militarism’. The PPU, had it been around then, might have put a slightly different spin on this; its slogan might have been ‘Scrap all Militarism’. The point being that militarism in advance of WW1 did not exist only in Germany but was also rife in Britain.

Viewed at its simplest militarism is the belief in the use of force and violence to promote and protect national interest. The most visible mechanism of this value system is of course the armed forces to which we must add all those who enthusiastically support, praise and exalt the military. In Britain this has become a full time business for some but these days there is a positive orgy of enthusiasm for the armed forces around Remembrance time despite the military’s total ineffectiveness at their job - winning battles or managing their budget. They and their cheerleaders do however excel in stage-man- aged events such as the drive past of cortèges of flag draped coffins. BBC 24 viewers can spend hours watching planes flying in, taxiing and finally unloading a coffin by robot-like soldiers and then more time watching the hearse drive away, (images controlled by the MoD). Incredibly a town has been given City status for letting people block its pavements and wave flags, while a hearse goes by. These and many such things underpin the military mindset and its acceptance.

The Imperial War Museum North’s slogan is ‘War Shapes Lives’; however when we visited it it did not live up to that statement. Yes war shapes lives (mostly by dislocating and destroying them) but surely the more important issue, which an institution such as the IWM cannot con- front, is what ‘shapes’ wars? How is it that these murderous and destructive events are allowed to happen rarely enter public discourse?

At remembrance time those of us who shun the red poppy tend to differentiate ourselves by speaking about remembering all the war dead not just the British military dead as the British Legion and officially inspired ceremonies do. This is a fair but surely limited differentiation.

Remembrance Day is portrayed as a national event, but however individuals choose to understand it it is a British Legion inspired highly promoted occasion praising the work of the RemembranceUK military. Some insist that neither Remembrance Day nor the Red poppy glorify war,perhaps not, but then what does glorifying war mean? Praising the returning ‘heroes’ because they participated in the violent invasion of another country per- haps? The defender of the red poppy may not be ‘glorifying’ war in the sense that they say war is great let’s have some more but they are surely supporting the military and the whole political, industrial, social complex whose end point is death and destruction through the enrichment of individuals, companies, financiers and pension funds. If not why not demand a bit of disarmament. Remember and Disarm as we would say.




  Ex army personnel run school
  Militarism and remembrance
  Military urbanism
  Militarising education
  Militarism is spreading in Britain
  What covenent? what nation?
  Militarisation of Britain
  Military lessons
  Puplis against militarism
  Take action
  Last one out turn off the lights
making room for peace living history


External reference
  MoD youth policy pdf
  Recognition of Armed Forces pdf
  MoD Cadet related documents

We are collecting examples of material - adverts, packaging etc that use violence or representation of violence - in its promotion. Original sample ideal but digital copies also welcome.  If you would like to help with the development of a teaching resource on how the acceptance of violence is generated, transmitted and maintained contact us here



Cities Under Siege - the new military urbanism. Stephen Graham
The New American Militarism. Andrew J Bachevich


Peace Pledge Union, 1 Peace Passage, London N7 0BT. Tel +44 (0)20 7424 9444  contact   |  where to find us