Lesson Plan: World War I and Religious Peace Groups

World War I and Religious Peace Groups

Goshen College History Professor John Roth introduces the topic of religious peace groups and their role during WWI.


The outbreak of World War I fueled passionate responses from people around the world as countries became embroiled in the war. There were those who supported the war, others were more vigilant in their approach and some citizens disagreed with it altogether. People with similar philosophies regarding the war began to coalesce and take action. In this lesson, students will hear from members of the Quaker, Mennonite and Christian peace organizations as they talk about their institutions' responses to the U.S. and Britain’s entry into World War I.


  • Step 1:

    Handout: World War I and Religious Peace Groups (Google Doc)

    As a class, view the video below to introduce the topic to students.

    Video Clip 1: World War I and Religious Peace Groups ( 2:20)

    Goshen College History Professor John Roth introduces the topic of religious peace groups and their role during WWI.

  • Step 2:

    Ask students to view the following videos on the various religious organizations and World War I. Students can take notes in the related sections on the accompanying handout. This can be done as an individual or jigsaw activity.

    Video Clip 2: World War I: Quakers (8:28)

    Jane Dawson, Head of External Communications for Quakers in Britain, talks about the Quaker perspective on WWI.

    Video Clip 3: World War I: American Friends Service Committee (5:47)

    Don Davis, Archivist with the American Friends Service Committee, talks about the organization's perspective on war.

    Video Clip 4: World War I: Fellowship of Reconciliation (4:33)

    Max Hess, Interim Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation, talks about the origin of the organization and its perspective on war.

    Video Clip 5: World War I: Mennonites (5:27)

    Author and Professor Emeritus at Bethel College James Juhnke talks about this group's efforts during WWI.

  • Step 3:

    As a class, discuss the philosophy of each group as it relates to war, as well as any actions the groups took during this time, any outcomes and their significance. Then ask students to complete the following activity.


    Considering the information in the videos, your notes and class discussion, what are your thoughts on the current conflicts that are occurring around the globe? Do you support the war efforts? How would you approach a resolution? Write a letter to your member of Congress explaining your position.


  • Altruistic
  • American Relief Administration
  • Benevolence
  • Conciliation
  • Conscientious Objection
  • Conscription
  • Conscripts
  • Dissent
  • Dissenter
  • Dogma
  • Ecumenical
  • Famine
  • Friends Ambulance Unit
  • Herbert Hoover
  • Interdenominational
  • Kellogg-briand Pact
  • Meeting For Sufferings
  • Military Service Act
  • Orthodox
  • Pacifism
  • Parliament
  • Peace Testimony
  • Precedent
  • Schism
  • The Hague
  • Theology
  • Universal


GeographyU.S. HistoryWorld History


High SchoolUniversity