Faith and the First World War

Published: 29 April 2016

The Faith and the First World War Conference will take place at the University of Glasgow from 21 July to 22 July 2016. Submit a paper and register for the event.

The Faith and the First World War Conference will take place at the University of Glasgow from 21 July to 22 July 2016.  

A programme of events to mark the centenary of the Women’s Peace Crusade will take place on 23 July 2016 at Glasgow Women's Library. 

The importance of faith in the First World War

The extent and importance of religious faith in the First World War is undoubtedly one of the great rediscoveries of the centenary years. Among the belligerent empires and nations, religion proved to be a vital sustaining and motivating force, with the Ottoman war effort cloaked as a jihad, the United States entering the war on Good Friday 1917, and even professedly secular societies such as France experiencing a degree of religious revival.

At the same time religious convictions also provided some of the most powerful critiques of the war, contributing to tireless peace-making efforts by Pope Benedict XV and to the stand of thousands of conscientious objectors in Great Britain and the United States.

Faith also inspired many of the women who were active in war resistance and initiatives for peace, including Quakers, feminists and Christian socialists who were involved in the Hague Peace Congress of 1915, the resulting Women’s International League, and also grassroots action such as the Women’s Peace Crusade, which was launched in Glasgow in the summer of 1916. 

The conference

This conference seeks to explore the huge diversity and significance of religious faith for those who experienced the First World War, addressing themes such as faith in the armed forces and on the home front, religion, war resistance and the peace crusade, and the role of religion in remembrance.


Key-note speakers will include Professor S. J. Brown (University of Edinburgh), Dr Lesley Orr (University of Edinburgh) and Professor Michael Snape (University of Durham).

Invitation for proposals

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers on topics related to the theme.  We would welcome papers not only from academics, but also from independent scholars, local history researchers, archivists and others with an interest in this area. 

Deadline for paper proposals is 31 May 2016.  Please send abstracts (ca. 150 words) to Dr Charlotte Methuen:


To register for the conference, please contact Dr Charlotte Methuen ( or visit Faith and the First World War 

Cost to participants is £25.00 per day to include coffees, teas and lunch. Please pay by cheque (made out to “The University of Glasgow”) or by cash on the day.

First published: 29 April 2016

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