From Maude Royden's Peace Army to the Gulf Peace Team: An Assessment of Unarmed Interpositionary Peace Forces Academic Article uri icon


  • From Maude Royden's `Peace Army' in the 1930s to the recent Gulf Peace Team, there has been a rich but little known history of attempted unarmed interpositionary peace-keeping. Most of these initiatives have stalled at the proposal stage primarily because of a lack of money and the absence of international organizational and logistical support. The Gulf Peace Team was perhaps the least well thought through attempt; however, it did manage, for the first time, to place a group of peace campaigners between belligerents in a time of war. It would appear that with the passing of time gains have been achieved on the physical plane - the attempts are increasingly getting volunteers closer and closer to the interpositionary ideal. However, the corresponding analytical gains have not been made. It is doubtful whether independent interpositionary peace-keeping ventures will ever be able to command the economic and logistical resources required and, more importantly, raise enough volunteers to achieve a critical mass that would make a difference in terms of preventing or stopping hostilities. It would appear that the most appropriate tasks for those advocating the establishment of such `forces' are in the realms of peace-keeping limited to non-violent escort duties and the like (that is, small-scale interventionary rather than large-scale interpositionary peace-keeping), and especially peace-making and peace-building, while continuing in their efforts to encourage the establishment of local peace brigades and to interest the United Nations in the creation of a truly non-violent and unarmed peace-keeping force.

publication date

  • February 1993