Some events around Peace Day 19 July 1919, as reported in the Melbourne press over one week
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AND THEN - What peace?
The Woman Voter 7 August 1919
The Anzac sermon was preached by an army chaplain; it was a glorification of the Australians, with some humorous sidelights. It had none of the dignity and impressiveness that one would have thought the occasion demanded, and offered no comfort to those present who had lost relatives at Gallipoli and on other battlefields.
He denied absolutely the oft-repeated statement that the Australian soldiers were undisciplined. They were splendidly disciplined, he said, but their disciplined conduct had no trace of servility.
He spoke feelingly of the social conditions that had killed soldiers before they entered the trenches. The evidence in the trenches of the terrible results of those social conditions had roused many men to the sense of their duty to their fellows, and made them resolve that when they returned to civil life they would do all in their power to right the wrongs4 under which their comrades had lived.
The Woman Voter 3 July 1919
Peace has come. Let those who can still deceive themselves celebrate it. Of peace I have little to say. It is unspeakable, what there is of it. We have saved the world from the Germans. Heaven send us something to save the world from us...
We are at war or warring in pretty well every quarter of the globe. We consign to starvation a million people - women, little children and old men - firmly refusing to end our war with them, even when the war with their men had ceased...
We bomb defenceless towns from the air, while our press is still yelling for the blood of those who transgressed international law and our gentle women and brave men bear these unnameable things with an equanimity in which can be detected not one quiver of protest, though our sense of justice, our feeling for humanity, is so sensitive that one bomb dropped upon an English town will cause a cry that reverberates the whole world round.
With “good effect”, with “satisfactory results”, covers the whole incident when the human beings done to death are those who decline to accept our ruling in their affairs; but I wish, for my soul’s relief, I could find two words that would express our damnable hypocrisy.
Vida Goldstein was stranded in London without the fare home. According to the Woman Voter the amount raised was disappointing, owing to the strike and to the outbreak of influenza. It was not enough to pay for the return passage. Vida retired from politics, later campaigning again but on individual issues such as equal pay, bacterial warfare and nuclear disarmament.
The WPA and the Women’s Peace Army will be remembered in Australian History as the one band of workers who never wavered for one instant in the Australian fight for internationalism, which the WPA began on August 7, 1914.
The Woman Voter 18 December 1919
The world is sick unto death, and the sources of Government - if we may put it like that, polluted. The blockade is the devilish anticlimax of the war; the cold-blooded, unimaginative, concerted actions of our rulers, into whose hands we, with other democracies, lie like puppets, dumb and obedient, guiltily impotent, or wickedly acquiescent to the awful horrors done in the name of expediency by our representatives...
The present intention of the Association is to go into recess (not to vegetate, but to possess out souls); into what we shall then emerge, it doth not yet appear. But we MUST not, DARE not, be idle...
To the immortal credit of the WPA and its President, we were one of the shining minority who remained true to the principles of Peace, espoused so loyally by the “Voter,” when so many others, alas, bowed to expediency...
The “Voter” never turned its back, but marched breast forward, then as ever. It cared neither for the cautions of the timid or the blame of its enemies...
And now the “Voter” does not die, nor does perish the work that it has done, mostly by the pen of its editor, Miss Goldstein. Its voice has gone into many places of the earth, and its influence has been potent. It has been a trailblazer.
The Woman Voter recommended that members join the newly created Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.