Pacifists in Chains
The Persecution of Hutterites during the Great War
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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On July 27, 1918, while American and Allied soldiers fought German forces along the Western Front in Europe, four young Hutterite farm-ers from South Dakota arrived at the prison on Alcatraz Island. Weeks earlier they had been found guilty of failure to obey military orders. The farmers had refused to line up and drill alongside other recruits who were training as infantrymen at Camp Lewis in Washington State. The Hut- ...
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A book more than five years in the making can still lay claim to a touch of research drama. The most suspenseful moment in the writing of this book happened at a Hutterite colony in Choteau, Montana, in 2009. I had traveled more than 1,500 miles to the Miller Colony to ask whether I might see copies of the unpublished letters written by four Hutterite men, all conscientious objectors who had been imprisoned at Alcatraz during ...
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June 28, 1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand is assassinated, setting May 25, 1918 The four men are called up and requested to report November 21, 1918 The National Civil Liberties Bureau releases a report November 30, 1918 John Wipf, Jacob?s father, writes to U.S. Senator December 7, 1918 The War Department promises to investigate Wipf?s ...
Chapter One: Called to Duty
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...and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, The wonder is that the United States Army even wanted four young Hut-terite farmers from the Rockport Colony in South Dakota. The com-munal church to which they belonged had been resolutely set against all warfare since its inception during the Protestant Reformation nearly four hundred years earlier. And, when their grandparents immigrated to the ...
Chapter Two: Forced Migrations
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The worldly sword and the spiritual sword cannot dwell together in one The best way to picture the importance of Camp Lewis to the nation during World War I, according to a correspondent for Collier?s Weekly, was to stand in the Texas Panhandle and face north, drawing an imaginary line through the middle of the country?through Oklahoma, then Kansas, and Nebraska and the Dakotas, right up to the Canadian border. If you ...
Chapter Three: A Nation Rises Up
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Rather than knowingly wrong a man to the value of a penny, we would let ourselves be robbed of a hundred gulden. Rather than strike our worst enemy with our hand?to say nothing of spears, swords, and halberds Flags across the nation flew as if on full alert in 1918. Tacoma felt more than the stirring breeze that visited many towns; this was a community of powerful gusts, where patriotism billowed up as Patriotism. The pub-...
Chapter Four: Standing Trial
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We dare not disobey God for the sake of man?s command, though it cost In the summer of 1918, the Hofer brothers and Jacob Wipf awaited their trial for refusing to follow even the most basic of orders that they saw as military service. They had no access to independent legal counsel, putting their trust in a higher power. The military code had permitted the men to hire an outside lawyer of their choosing, if one were available, and to as-...
Chapter Five: The Dungeons of Alcatraz
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They would let neither fire, water, sword, nor executioner terrify or persuade them. . . . They would accept neither glory nor kingdom, nor all the world?s pleasures and goods in exchange for their faith in Christ, During the two months that the Hofer brothers and Jacob Wipf spent at Camp Lewis, records show, they never threatened an officer or at-tempted to escape. On the contrary, they appeared to be the most coopera-...
Chapter Six: Enemy on the Home Front
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We know of no place to go. We are surrounded by the king?s lands. In every direction we would walk straight into the jaws of robbers and The letter that appeared in the Budget, a newspaper that went to Amish homes across the country, began on a religious note and then turned casually to the weather, easing into the grave subject at hand: A greeting in our Saviors name. People are all well excepting some colds. ...
Chapter Seven: Midnight at Leavenworth
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Yea, before we would knowingly wrong a man to the value of a penny, we would rather lose a hundred pounds; and before we would strike our greatest enemy with the hand, to say nothing of the gun or sword, as the world does, we would rather die, and let our own lives be taken.San Francisco celebrated the armistice with a human chain of five thou-sand people, who gathered at the Civic Center, still wearing flu masks ...
Chapter Eight: Outside Advocates
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What will you do with the world? World is world and will remain world Though government officials were determined to sideline the National Civil Liberties Bureau, if not put it out of business entirely, the little organization in New York City remained a tireless advocate for conscien-tious objectors. The year 1918 was especially challenging, beginning with the War Department?s blunt notice (around the time that the Hofer brothers ...
Chapter Nine: Official Misjudgment
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When he finally returned to South Dakota, Jacob Wipf found a Hut-terite homeland transformed. Many of the colonies had abandoned their farms and moved to Canada, having purchased land in Manitoba and Alberta where they looked forward to a warmer reception. While the treat-ment of the Hofer brothers and Jacob Wipf confirmed the rightness of the decision to move, the Hutterites had begun exploring land options in Can-...
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At the onset of World War II, it appeared as if the United States had failed to learn from its mishandling of conscientious objectors in World War I. When the Germans invaded Paris on June 20, 1940, Con-gress began deliberating a draft measure. Lawmakers assumed that paci-fists would serve in the military as noncombatant soldiers. But the pacifist denominations lobbied with a more unified voice than they had managed in ...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 20 halftones
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
Series Editor Byline: Donald B. Kraybill, Series Editor