A Mediation Appeal signed by Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Chrystal Macmillan on behalf of no fewer than twelve million suffragist women, was delivered to the Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, and all the relevant Ambassadors in London on Friday 31 July 1914. Meanwhile, Russia, Germany and France began mobilizing.
International Manifesto of Women July 1914
“We, the women of the world, view with apprehension and dismay
the present situation in Europe, which threatens to involve one
continent, if not the whole world, in the disasters and the horrors of
war…. We women of twenty-six countries, having banded
ourselves together in the International Womenâ€™s Suffrage Alliance
with the object of obtaining political means of sharing with men the
power which shapes the fate of nations, appeal to you to leave
untried no method of conciliation or arbitration for arranging
international differences which may help to avert deluging half the
civilised world in blood.”
Signed by Millicent Fawcett and Chrystal Macmillan IWSA
Jus Suffragii Vol 8 No 13 September 1914, page 1
A public rally to urge the UK Government to remain neutral and to mediate between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was held on the evening of Tuesday 4 August 1914 in the Kingsway Hall, London. At the close of the rally a deputation of women took the two resolutions that had been agreed at the rally to 10 Downing Street. However, but within the hour war was declared.
As 1914 progressed into December Emily Hobhouse penned an Open Christmas Letter to the Women of Germany and Austria. It was signed by over 100 women suffragists, many of whom became members of the Women’s International League (WIL). The letter was published in the January 1915 issue of Jus Suffragii, the journal of the International Women Suffrage Alliance (IWSA).
On 4 August 2014, WILPF UK commemorated the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 close to the site of the old Kingsway Hall, London. A appeal made by the Manchester councillor Margaret Ashton in 1914 to avert the coming war was re-enacted.