Field Punishment No.1
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This is the story of New Zealand’s first conscientious objectors. Archibald Baxter, Mark Briggs and hundreds of other men who refused to be conscripted into the First World War, refused to believe that ordinary working men like themselves were ‘the enemy’, and refused to renounce their personal beliefs despite the unrelenting efforts of the Allied military machine. We follow the journey of fourteen pacifists who were arrested for their stance against the war and secretly shipped off to Europe. They endured two years in prisons, punishment camps and, ultimately, the Western Front. How these men were stigmatised and tortured in an attempt to break their spirit makes for a dramatic and brutal story of war – but how they dealt with the cruelty is even more extraordinary. Their integrity, courage and kindness to the ordinary soldiers who dealt with them were more than matched by acts of compassion from the soldiers, as digger and pacifist alike confronted the futility of the ‘Great War’.
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