Memorandum on the Treatment of "Absolutist" Conscientious Objectors at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas

Date

1918-11-19

Title

Memorandum on the Treatment of "Absolutist" Conscientious Objectors at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas

Date

1918-11-19

Description

memo outlining treatment of absolutist C.O.s

Subject

WWI conscientious objection / objectors

Coverage

Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas

Creator

Civil Liberties Committee of the League of Democratic Control

Rights

Copyright for this material may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection or may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendants) of this set of papers or records, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact SCPC staff for further information.

Format

image/jpg

Language

English

Type

text

Transcription

MEMORANDUM ON THE TREATMENT OF "ABSOLUTIST" CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS AT FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS.

A handful of "absolutist" C.O.'s at Fort Leavenworth have provoked a group of military authorities to inflict upon them tortures, sufferings and persecutions characteristic of the middle ages. After enduring the petty persecutions and often times the brutality of camp officials, having been sentenced by courts martial for long terms of imprisonment, and having been delivered to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, nine of these men were determined not to obey orders of military officers in charge of the Barracks. For this refusal they have been cast into solitary dark dungeons in the sub-basement of the Fort, fed upon bread and water, manacled to the bars of their cells for 8 and 9 hours a day and brutally treated by guards when released for sanitary reasons. According to military regulations this can not be continued for more than two weeks at a time without a two weeks intermission, but these regulations are not always observed. Some twenty others who did not take this attitude upon first coming to Leavenworth, have been led to do so on account of the mistreatment of their fellows and on account of other conditions which have been forced upon them.

Some of these men have been adjudged sincere in their conscientious objection against military service, but were court martialed because of their refusal to accept the furloughs for service which were offered to them, some may be merely obstinate and stubborn in their position, while some may be in a pathological condition, but whatever may be their attitude or condition we feel that protest should be made against the treatment which they are receiving on the grounds that no human should be subjected to such persecution and suffering for any cause whatever.

The enclosed letter gives a detailed report of the present condition at Fort Leavenworth. it is written by a C.O. well known as a reliable man. He has not yet taken this final step of the absolutist.

IMPORTANT Telegraph Sec. of War Baker at once urging that conditions be investigated and that such practices be stopped for any prisoners, regardless of whether they are C.O.'s or not.

Civil Liberties Committee of the League For Democratic Control, H.L. Rotzel [Retzel?], Secretary

Nov. 19, 1918

Citation

Civil Liberties Committee of the League of Democratic Control, “Memorandum on the Treatment of "Absolutist" Conscientious Objectors at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed November 21, 2019, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/1654.

Transcribe This Item

  1. MemoReAbsolutistsByCLCNov19th1918.jpg