resources: experience & stories

June 2017

This report from Veterans For Peace UK details how the Army's training process has a forceful impact on attitudes, health, and behaviour even before recruits are sent to war. The findings show that military training and culture combine with pre-existing issues (such as a childhood history of anti-social behaviour) to increase the risk of violence and alcohol misuse. Traumatic war experiences further exacerbate the problem.

The report explains that the main purpose of army training is to mould young civilians as soldiers who will follow orders by reflex and kill on demand. It demands unquestioning obedience, stimulates aggression and antagonism, overpowers a healthy person’s inhibition to killing, and dehumanises the opponent in the recruit’s imagination. Recruits are taught that stressful situations are overcome through dominance.

The First Ambush? Effects of army training and employment (70pp) draws on veterans’ testimony and around 200 studies, mainly from the UK and US, to explore the effects of army employment on recruits, particularly during initial training.

 

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January 2017

Army adverts don't tell you what being a soldier is really like.

At 17, Wayne Sharrocks joined the infantry. His training made him obey the army completely, until it had control of how he thought and what he did. He says that by the end of his training he could have killed another person right in front of him 'at the flick of a switch' with ‘an insane amount of aggression’. He now thinks army training is 'massively damaging' to the mind of a young person.

After he turned 18 Wayne was sent to Afghanistan. There he saw a friend’s legs ripped off and another friend killed. He was injured in the face. Nothing in his training could protect him or his friends.

He couldn't just ‘switch off’ his army training after he left, he says, which caused him all sorts of problems.

Now Wayne thinks that the army shouldn’t be recruiting 16 and 17 year-olds. While it still does, he believes it's better to wait until you’re 18 before deciding whether to join up.

Find out about Wayne's time in the army in these 3-minute videos:

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November 2016

Veterans for Peace UK is an international chapter of the U.S.network. 

They run workshops in schools and colleges giving an honest view of military life, as well as publish and campaign around military and peace issues. 

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October 2016

Listen to talks given by David Gee (writer on militarism and campaigning to raise the age of recruiting into the UK armed forces) and Ben Griffin (Veterans for Peace UK) from the conference on Creeping Militarisation of Everyday Life organised by Movement for the Abolition of War Youth. 

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revised 2016

Teach Peace, a new resource from the Peace Education Network, is a set of eight assemblies, follow-up activities, resources, prayers and reflections on peace for primary schools.

From the UN peace day, 21 September, to the International Day for Children as Victims of War, 4 June, the school year is filled with opportunities to use the assemblies and activities in Teach Peace. This resource will help to ensure peace is a key theme in our children’s education and help you to celebrate peace and the peacemakers in your school.

The entire resource is free to download below. Hard copies of Teach Peace are available from the Peace Education Network for £5. Also available in Welsh.

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2014

Choices Then and Now is a cross curricular resource that suggests strategies for teaching about World War I, recent and current conflicts, extremism and resilience and the choices available to people then and now.

The  full colour booklet provides a scheme of work, differentiated mid term plans and a range of untold  stories to engage  primary, secondary and post sixteen students. The accompanying CD ROM contains limited stories and activities for Key Stage 1 and a wide range of materials for teaching and learning across all phases, largely drawn from items in the Peace Museum UK’s extensive collection. Visit www.peacemuseum.org.uk to find out more about the diverse items in the collection.

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2013

Watch on YouTube

A 4 part investigation into 'the soldier myth' - talking to front-line soldiers about recruitment, training, fighting and coming home

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2011

The Skinback Fusiliers, "a fast, funny and deeply disturbing novel about life in the British army today seen through the eyes of three young men." This is a novel based on the real experiences of 3 young men. Serialised on Open Democracy in 2011. Read it and add your comments to the well of feedback this book has generated.

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June 2011

These BBC radio programmes explore the effect of killing on people in the military, how many are unable to kill and others live with the effects of having killed for the rest of their lives.

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2008

winter soldierThe Winter Soldier project, organised by the United States based group, Iraq Veterans Against War, details eyewitness accounts from Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of the testimony focuses on the individual soldier’s experience and how they felt about their participation and actions. Six episodes have been created for web viewing (or can be downloaded), e.g. Broken Soldier which tells the stories of 3 soldiers.

2007

There are many active veterans groups in the US. The Veterans’ Education and Outreach Project has produced a guide called Advice From Veterans on Military Service and Recruiting Practices. Although much of the information in the guide is mainly relevant to the United States, it does cover a number of important considerations for those considering enlisting in any army such as Conscientious Objection and War and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

2007

army of noneStrategies to counter military recruitment, end war, and build a better world

Aimee Allison and David Solnit, 2007

This is a book from the heart of the vibrant counter recruitment movement in the United States. It looks at the many ways in which schools and communities have become targets for military recruiters and how those schools and communities have responded - with a powerful movement that seeks to resist the militarisation of young people.

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This archive and educational materials resource has an extensive collection of materials which tell the stories of the men and women conscientious objectors of the 20th century. It documents their experiences, videos their recollections, promotes their ideals and publishes teaching resources.

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Veterans for Peace UK: a new organisation for veterans of the armed forces committed to opposing war through nonviolent means. Veterans for Peace UK are available to speak at schools and events.

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