Anglican army chaplains' responses to prostitution on the Western Front, 1914–1919
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Anglican Army chaplains’ responses to prostitution in the First World War remain a neglected subject. Typically, historians have used references to prostitution in chaplains’ diaries and memoirs as anecdotes to illustrate moral tensions with military authorities. However, this approach implies a consistent moral condemnation throughout the conflict, contradicting recent research which emphasizes that chaplains adapted to their military environment and changed their perspectives. This article moves beyond the prevailing use of isolated anecdotes by situating chaplains’ responses to prostitution within military and social contexts. Rather than a static moralist position, it argues that chaplains’ responses to prostitution shifted throughout the conflict. While early responses were characterized largely by interventionist moral objections, from 1915 onwards these moral objections were accompanied by pragmatic assessments and criticisms of regulated prostitution. By adopting a chronological approach, and contrasting civilian and military chaplains approaches to the subject, this study argues that chaplains’ responses to regulated prostitution provide another means of showing how the military environment affected chaplains’ moral stances.
Earnshaw , J T 2021 , ' Anglican army chaplains' responses to prostitution on the Western Front, 1914–1919 ' , First World War Studies , vol. Latest Articles . https://doi.org/10.1080/19475020.2021.1968469
First World War Studies
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.