By Richard Crockett
WWII was in full thunder when George Orwell wrote “Pacifism and the War.” Orwell seeks to point out that pacifism at home is wonderful for enemies abroad. He cites the fact that Germany and Japan actively promoted pacifism in the propaganda they used to break the fighting spirit of the allies. At the same time, they actively suppressed pacifism at home. Orwell mentions “… pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both the penalty is or can be, beheading).”
He may have been referring to the Hans and Sophie Scholl who were beheaded by the Nazis in 1942 for distributing anti-Nazi literature. They founded the legendary White Rose Society, which is still active today. However, Orwell does not say.
Further, he gives an insider’s devilish view that Gandhi’s pacifism was extremely useful for the British, and far from being defeated by it, they employed it to good effect. Fascist regimes do not fear pacifism; they fear violence.
The classic quote you will see from this essay is: “Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other.”