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Leaving World War II Behind

June 20 - July 31


The purpose of the course is to inform the participant and enable them to inform others of why World War II is not a good justification for military spending and war planning, both because WWII happened in a very different world from today’s, and because common beliefs about the nature of and justifications for WWII are false. By debunking myths about WWII having been necessary, justifiable, and beneficial, we can strengthen arguments for moving to a world beyond war.

The course will explore why WWII was not fought to rescue anyone from persecution, was not necessary for defense, was the most damaging and destructive event yet to occur, and could have been prevented by avoiding any of several bad decisions.


This six-week online course will enable participants to:

  • explore questions about WWII as they ask, “What does WWII have to do with military spending?”;
  • produce their own pitch to explain how and why WWII did not have to happen, and test their ideas against the critical feedback of others on the course;
  • investigate ideas about why the U.S. (and other major allies) participation in WWII was not justifiable, focusing especially on how the U.S., Britain, and allies did not have to prioritize opposing the Soviet Union, develop and promote the dangerous bunk science of eugenics, develop the practice of racist segregation, develop practices of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and concentration of people on reservations, fund and arm the Nazis, and engage in an arms race with Japan.
  • develop an action plan for how to bring their learning back to their own context, in a way that influences their own practice and the learning and practice of others.
click here for more information and to register


By the end of the course, therefore, participants will be able to:

  • explain their understanding of the relationships between WWII and military spending today;
  • present their case for why they think WWII did not have to happen;
  • produce an argument for why WWII was neither justifiable nor beneficial;
  • explain how they can support their claims with evidence;
  • know how to use their learning from this course in the development of war abolition work in their own contexts.

Framework and outline for the course

A facilitated online learning experience led by World Beyond War experts, Leaving WWII Behind is based upon the book by the same. The modules of the course are organised around the books chapters. The course is designed as a resource to help the book come alive. It provides an interactive space for participants to go deeper into and implement ideas contained in the book. Toward that end, each week of the course represents a step along in the process of supporting participants to understand and be able to make their own case for why they think WWII should be left behind.


World BEYOND War
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