The Danish Peace Academy
Holger Terp: Danish Peace History
Working paper 1
Afterword: A Danish Peace Academy
War is the alternative to peace, not the other way around. On June 19, 2000 the Danish Peace Academy was established. An educational institution still under development.
We Danes knew much about war and too little about peace. Already the author Ludvig Holberg complained in his history of Denmark, that other authors ‘only occupied themselves with wars, battles and sieges’196.
The idea of establishing a Danish peace academy had developed from the wars in Yugoslavia, where army personnel dominated the news every night. Why was not a civilian or better a pacifist explaining what was going on?
A few friends of mine established a working group and we are trying to get Danish academicians to establish peace education in Denmark. So far, with but little response.
For many years I have had the idea that the history of pacifism and the peace movements were neglected within the Danish research establishment, where more important things were studied to get butter on the table. For me it meant that all historical and political text books were wrong, because they missed the peaceful corrective in long periods of Danish as well as international history and policy. None in Denmark had heard of Anthony Benezet (1713-1789), the French-American inventor of social movements.
I started of by collecting a bibliography of the international peace movement, Peace in Print, and then I got the idea to write a documented world history and a Encyclopaedia on peace and security. Because of the Internet, I could publish there, not being ready to publish on paper, yet. There are still a few subjects which needs to be taken care of.
The Peace Academy has a time line where documented events can be followed as they develop both at the present, past and future. The time line is linked with the encyclopaedia so it is easy to read the definitions. And it is possible to go from the encyclopaedia to the time line. The documentation are printed publications, reprints and links. Also there are some few experimental lessons.
The idea with the peace academy has taken some 20 years of work to evolve. Most of the documents are in Danish, but there are some English and a few German pages.
The address is http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/index.htm
When the published documents of social movements disappear, the communication of their history and ideas from primary sources prove to be difficult. Danish peace work has been and still is international oriented.
The online access to records of printed books in Denmark is surprisingly good. However, the same is not the case regarding articles in newspapers and magazines, though specialised bibliographies exist.
The cases here presented shows, that protests against militarism in Denmark are much more common than recorded by the popular historians from the middle age to the present time, and that future historians of Danish peace history have many subjects to deal with. Danes have used all legal ways and some illegal means to stay civilians. The problems seem to be, that either the popular historians are victims of propaganda, asleep eyes wide open, or they are fabricating slick volumes which leave out the history of peace, the protests against armaments, wars and conscription. By doing this, the popular Danish history books become lopsided. Military personnel takes the floor every time present and historical events are explained in the mass media, especially radio and television.
Researchers in the field of peace history in other countries where written records of protest against militarism are sparse, might benefit from using some of the methods used in this article. Old historical presentations as well as old sources are vitally important, especially while researching for events, which might only be described by local or specialised historians.
Comments, debate and critique is most welcomed.
196 Struwe, Lars B.: Soldater er også mennesker : Om forskningen i dansk 1700-tals militærhistorie og New Military History. In: Historisk Tidsskrift, 2003:2 p. 384.