What is a CO?

Canada is a wonderful country! Why would anyone refuse to defend such a great nation? Why didn't COs want to fight? Conscientious objectors refused to fight during the Second World War for many reasons.

One type of conscientious objector was someone who had compared the good and bad sides of war. This type of conscientious objector saw that the results of war are often worse than the evils that the war was intended to solve. Through careful, logical thinking, they saw that war was an enemy of humanity.

Another type of conscientious objector was the person whose heart, mind, and conscience were guided by religious principles. Most of the COs in Canada during the Second World War were Christians. COs believed that Jesus was opposed to the idea of war. As followers of Jesus, these Christians refused to go to war.

Nearly all of the 10,000 COs during the Second World War had religious motivations. Of these COs, over 7,500 were Mennonites. Who are the Mennonites and why did they become leaders in the Canadian conscientious objector movement? By learning more about Mennonites, we will better understand the CO experience in Canada.