IAWM press event in Buswell’s Hotel at 11.00am on Tuesday 05 August re WW1 commemorations

Irish anti-War Movement (IAWM) Press Release, 30 July 2014


To coincide with the 100th anniversary of World War 1, the Irish anti-War Movement (IAWM) will hold a press event in Buswell’s Hotel at 11.00am on Tuesday 05 August to launch its new pamphlet "World War 1: What did they die for?", and to formally release its statement on the World War 1 commemorations.

The event will be addressed by artist Robert Ballagh, the Chair of CND the Revd. Patrick Comerford, former MEP Patricia Mc Kenna and writer, historian and secretary of the IAWM Steering Committee, John Molyneux.

The IAWM statement has been signed by over 50 people including Christy Moore, Sinead Cusack, Robert Ballagh, Felim Egan, Raymond Deane, Trevor Hogan, Prof. Kathleen Lynch, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Clare Daly TD and various other people from cultural, academic and political life.


Full IAWM Statement here:

JULY 2014

August 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Far from being a "war to end all wars" or a "victory for democracy", the war was a military disaster and a catastrophe for humankind which left 16 million dead and 20 million wounded, many horribly so. Britain alone suffered almost 900,000 military deaths and a further 124,000 civilian deaths. Life in the trenches was a living hell. Desertions were punished by firing squad. Those who survived were deeply scarred with many suffering debilitating long-term effects.

The war became a testing ground for new mechanised techniques of mass killing with the development of tanks, gas warfare and aerial bombing that encouraged huge profiteering through the armaments industry. In the US alone, for example, war profits saw the creation of 21,000 new millionaires.

The dominant, simplistic justification for World War 1 is that it was a tragically necessary expedient to halt German domination of Europe. We believe it is important to remember that this war was driven by the major imperial powers' competition for influence around the globe. It was an unnecessary slaughter conducted for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Many of the lies told to justify the war on all sides at the time resonate today as young men are cajoled into fighting wars for spurious reasons.

We believe it is vitally important that the sacrifice of the 49,000 soldiers from the island of Ireland who died in World War 1 should be commemorated. We also believe that the supposed good cause for which they died should be exposed for the imperial slaughter that it was. We are not in any way disrespecting the memory of dead Irish soldiers by criticizing the architects of this carnage but we dispute the revisionist narrative idealising the ‘good cause’ that these soldiers died for, a narrative often used to supposedly bridge the nationalist and unionist traditions.

We call on the Irish government not to use the occasion of the commemorations to justify the slaughter of World War 1, or to justify the ongoing militarisation of Europe or the current state of perpetual warfare being promoted by the major world powers. In a time of serious international tension and seemingly perpetual war we call on everyone, but especially Governments, to ensure that this anniversary is used to expose the real reasons behind World War 1, to analyse the senseless succession of wars in the intervening hundred years, and to promote peace and international co-operation in an effort to end all war forever.