What is pacifism?

  • (noun): The belief that all international disputes can be settled by arbitration.
    See also — Additional definitions below


Pacifism is opposition to war and violence, even to the point of allowing self-harm rather than a resort to violent resistance. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud (1864–1921) and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901. The concept is an ancient one that goes back to the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), and Jesus. In modern times, it was refined by Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) into the practice of steadfast nonviolent opposition which he called "satyagraha". Its effectiveness served as inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr. among many others. An iconic image of pacifism came out of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 with the "Tank Man", where one protester stood in nonviolent opposition to a column of tanks. Historians have identified that event as being a key motivation that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall which ultimately precipitated the nonviolent fall of Communism.

Read more about Pacifism.

Some articles on pacifism:

Makoto Fujita - Pacifism
... In order to convey his antiwar message, Fujita devoted all his energy into the 2007 movie Best Wishes for Tomorrow (Ashita he no Yuigon), in which he portrayed a class-B war criminal sentenced to death following Japan's surrender. ...
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship - Second World War
... The leader of the Reich clearly felt deeply threatened by her pacifism ... Although initially opposed to pacifism (and, in fact, working for Naval Intelligence during World War I), after much soul-searching, she found pacifism to be the correct ...
Pacifism - Criticism
... One common argument against pacifism is the possibility of using violence to prevent further acts of violence (and reduce the "net-sum" of violence) ... Learning and committing to pacifism helps to send a message that violence is, in fact, not the most effective way ... In light of the common criticism of pacifism as not offering a clear alternative policy, one approach to finding "more effective ways" has been the attempt to develop the idea of "defence by civil resistance", also ...
Modern-war Pacifism
... Modern-war pacifism, sometimes known as "just-war pacifism" or "nuclear pacifism" is a moral position that holds that modern war can never be morally justified ... It is distinct however from other forms of pacifism in that it recognizes that, in certain historical contexts, wars might have been capable of being justified, and thus it presupposes the ... In the view of modern-war pacifism, the destructive potential of modern (especially nuclear) weapons makes it impossible for any modern war to meet the proportionality criterion of the Just ...
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship - APF Publications and Resources
... the Christian spiritual foundations of pacifism ... tracts and an explanation of the Church's teachings on pacifism, through to articles discussing pragmatic pacifist responses to the problem of Hitler and ... to the Sermon on the Mount and the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ to show pacifism as the most Christian response to warfare, such as how Jesus, through ...

More definitions of "pacifism":

  • (noun): The doctrine that all violence in unjustifiable.
    Synonyms: passivism