ABSTRACT

As international tensions gathered that late July of 1914, Christabel was in Paris packing her suitcases and collecting her papers together, ready to travel to St Malo where she would meet up with her mother and Ethel Smyth. On 1 August she telephoned Lincoln’s Inn to report her departure for Brittany. 1 Jessie Kenney, her secretary, had already left for London with a copy of one of Christabel’s key articles. Laying the blame for the international crisis on the misuse of power by men, Christabel argued, ‘This great war, whether it comes now, or by some miracle is deferred till later . . . is God’s vengeance upon the people who held women in subjection, and by doing that have destroyed the perfect human balance.’ That which had made men ‘for generations past sacrifice women and the race to their lusts, is now making them fly at each other’s throats’. In the coming days, it would be enfranchised women – for women must and would be enfranchised – who would save the race. ‘Women of the W.S.P.U., we must protect our Union through everything’, Christabel pleaded. ‘It has great tasks to perform . . . for the saving of humanity.’ 2