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Finding a Cure for War: Women's Politics and the Peace Movement in the 1920s

Susan Zeiger
Journal of Social History
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 69-86
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3787631
Page Count: 18
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Finding a Cure for War: Women's Politics and the Peace Movement in the 1920s
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Abstract

This study of the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War, the largest American women's peace group in the 1920s, demonstrates that traditional pre-war notions of gender solidarity and women's special place in politics continued to exert a powerful influence on white middle-class women's organizations in the era after suffrage. The key to understanding the CCCW is a generational view of women's politics. The nine organizations in the CCCW coalition were diverse; differences are highlighted by a comparison of two groups within the coalition, the Women's Christian Temperance Union and former suffrage leaders. Despite their differences, CCCW women were unified by a common tradition of women's politics based on pre-war political organizing and a shared vision of female moral reform. This political legacy is traced through the CCCW's most important political acitivity of the 1920s, the campaign for the Kellogg-Briand treaty to outlaw war. If shared generational politics held the CCCW coalition together, generational difference with younger women was a fragmenting force in women's peace politics after the war. A brief examination of college women's peace activism in the 1920s suggests that a feminist generation gap prevented older and younger women from uniting around common concerns.

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