Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Swartout

Second Advisor

Philip Wittman

Third Advisor

David Messenger


In 1940 the United States government enacted the country’s first peacetime draft. While Americans generally supported the government as it prepared for entry into World War II, a few organizations remained deeply committed to pacifism. Dedicated to peace for centuries as part of their dedication to Christianity and the nonresistant message of Jesus Christ, the Historic Peace Churches (HPCs) were threatened by conscription. Having struggled historically to maintain their nonresistant stance in the face of governmental opposition, these peace sects—primarily the Society of Friends, the Mennonite Church, and the Church of the Brethren—worked together for the first time on the eve of American involvement in World War H to secure an alternative to the armed services. The result of their efforts, Civilian Public Service (CPS) was the culmination of past HPC struggles with the United States government and various European governments.