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Cowards, traitors, dodgers, effeminates - Laurie Taylor discusses reactions to conscientious objectors during the First World War.

The First World War was the first conflict in which Britain used conscription, and it was the same law, the 1916 Military Service Act, which made it possible for people to 'conscientiously object' and opt out of bearing arms. It was not an easy status to achieve or an easy option to take, however, because 'conchies', as they were known, were attacked, stigmatised, imprisoned and considered effeminate. Laurie Taylor discusses a new study which explores the mixed feelings and confused anxieties the British public felt toward conscientious objectors in a period when traditional masculinity was already under great strain.

Also, Laurie talks to Emma Robertson about her study into music at work. It was banned in most factories in the 19th century, until Cadbury and Rowntree started introducing hymns in their workplaces to raise morale as well as productivity.

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30 minutes


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