December Object of the Month
This month’s object of the month blog is a special Christmas themed blog. Christmas is celebrated each year by billions of people around the world by Christians and non-Christians alike, as a religious and cultural celebration. We have a number of Christmas related objects in our collection including this month’s object of the month: a pamphlet published for the Peace Pledge Union by Peace News Ltd in November 1946 and was circulated to the Peace News pamphlet scheme subscribers in place of the normal October and November issues. The pamphlet is entitled, ‘interpret the message of Peace and Christmas’, and includes three poems and three drawings all by different people who were invited by the Peace Pledge Union to give an independent and personal comment on the Christmas message.
A bit about the Peace Pledge Union
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) is a British pacifist non-governmental organization. It is open to everyone who can sign the PPU pledge: “I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.” Its members work for a world without war and promote peaceful and non-violent solutions to conflict. The PPU was formed in 1936 by Dick Sheppard who published a letter in the Manchester Guardian (now the Guardian) inviting people to send him a postcard making a pledge to ‘renounce war and never again to support another.’ This was of course after World War One and three years before the outbreak of the Second World War and many people were fearful of the outbreak of another major war at this time, the Second World War of course began just three years later on September 1st 1939. There was a huge response to this letter and as a result a mass meeting was held in the Albert Hall of the people who responded to the letter and the Peace Pledge Union was formed. Its membership grew quickly – tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands by the start of the Second World War. Today the pledge and its wider implications continue to inform what the PPU does and the basis on which it acts. It is linked with similar organisations throughout the world through the War Resisters International.
Christmas may have different meanings to different people and be celebrated in lots of different ways. However, thoughts and hopes for ‘peace’ are shared by the majority of people over the festive season, both on a personal and global level. This month’s object is not currently on display but if you would like to take a closer look, you can make a visit to the museum and a member of our team and they will be able to get it out for you to see. We also have a lot of other objects in our collection relating to the Peace Pledge Union and Peace News on display and some in our stores so if you want to find out more you can come to the museum and ask a member of our team to show you some of our objects. All of us here at the Peace Museum would like to wish you merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.
Written by Sarah Bartey