Walter Hohnrodt Source Guide

Source 1: 1911 Census
This source is a transcript of the Hohnrodt family’s 1911 Census entry. It records some of the details of Walter’s home life before the war.

Prompt Questions:
Where were Walter’s parents born?
Where were Walter and his siblings born?
What nationality does this make them?

Source 2: Tribunal Statemen
This source is Walter’s statement outlining his reasons for becoming a Conscientious Objector. It was read out at his Tribunal hearing.

Prompt Questions:
What are Walter’s reasons for becoming a CO?
What does being “brought up in a socialistic atmosphere” mean?
Which reason for Walter being exempted from the army is the most convincing to you?
Which do you think would have been most convincing at the time?

Source 3: Tribunal decision
This source is a record of the Hornsey Tribunal’s decision on Walter’s hearing. It also gives the reasons for their verdict.

Prompt Questions:
What verdict did the Tribunal pass on Walter’s application for exemption?
What reasons do the Tribunal give for their verdict?
How do you think Walter would feel on receiving this verdict?

Source 4: Letter One
This letter was written while Walter was in prison for disobeying orders in Mill Hill Guard Room. In it, Walter discusses how he feels about the war and his father.

Prompt Questions:
What has happened to Walter’s Father?
What does Walter feel is the main cause of his family’s poor treatment?
How does Walter feel about the Army?
What reasons does Walter have for resisting war in this letter? Are they different to the reasons he gives in Source 2?

Source 5: Letter two
This letter was written only a month after the previous source. This letter discusses prison conditions and Walter’s feelings about resisting war.

Prompt Questions:
Does Walter sound happy about his experiences? Why?
What are the conditions in prison like?
What does he think about prison?
Do you think Walter felt the same while writing this letter as he did writing the previous one?

Source 6: Newspaper clipping
This source details an anti-German demonstration that took place in Tamworth in 1916. Demonstrations and riots were commonly used to intimidate British-German people. There were very few punishments for these riots and they were sometimes seen as a way to build British morale at home.

Prompt Questions:
What happened at this disturbance?
How do the police respond?
Whose fault was the riot, according to the article?
How does the article portray the rioters?

Source 7: Anti-German Propaganda One
This poster is a piece of Anti-German propaganda that was spread widely during the war. It depicts Germany as a “mad brute” of an ape, armed with a huge club. Posters like this one encouraged people to think of Germany and German people as wild and savage animals who were violent and dangerous.

Prompt Questions:
What would a British-German like Walter feel about this poster?
Do you think this poster was effective?
Compare this poster to some of Walter’s arguments in his Tribunal (see Source 2).

Source 8: Anti-German Propaganda Two
This source is a piece of propaganda that was made in 1919 by the British Empire Union, a group dedicated to promoting hatred and fear of Germany. It would have been distributed around the time of Walter’s final release from prison.

Prompt Questions:
What does this poster say about German people?
What kinds of feelings does it try to create?
Does this poster justify some of Walter’s arguments? (see Source 2)

Source 9: Anti-CO Propaganda
This source is a propaganda postcard made in 1916. The postcard tries to show that COs are weak, ill and cowardly, while the rhyme suggests that COs are “making it up” and were not strong enough to fight the war.

Prompt Questions:
Compare the image of the CO to Walter’s wartime experience (see Sources 4 and 5). Is this a fair depiction of COs?
How is this propaganda different from Sources 7 and 8? Why is it different?
Do you think COs were as one is shown in this image? If not, why not?