Hell No! We Won't Go!

Hell no! We won't go!

Postwar resistance to conscription in Australia

By Bobbie Oliver

Using court records and private correspondence as well as newspaper accounts, Hell no! We won't go! records the stories of many young men who resisted the National Service schemes of 1951-59, and 1965-72

Some became well-known; others were known only to family and friends. The book describes their experiences in court, in prison and underground in hiding. It also recounts their triumphs such as the great Moratorium campaigns of 1970 and 1971, the Melbourne University commune, the street marches and sit-ins, and the courage they exhibited in taking a stand that was often branded as cowardice.

In recounting these stories, Bobbie Oliver asks: What motivated them to take an unpopular stance - even to the extent of prison? What experiences and sufferings did they undergo? Did making a stand against militarism and war make a difference to society or change their lives?

What people say about the book

'Historian Bobbie Oliver has written an absorbing, readable, and meticulously documented account of the principled and courageous stands young conscientious objectors and draft resisters took against conscription and militarism during the decades after WWII. Particularly insightful is the way she shows their contribution to the wider movement to end Australia's 1965-1972 intervention in Vietnam, an indefensible war which cost over 500 Australian lives and more than a million (mainly civilian) Vietnamese lives. Bobbie tells inspirational stories of people who confronted militarism and coercive systems associated with the prosecution of unjust wars.'
Michael Hamel-Green, Emeritus Professor, Victoria University and former draft resister

'A welcome, robust and moving antidote to the officially sanctioned and manipulated martial enthusiasms that course through Australian society and culture.'
Rowan Cahill, radical historian, author, educator and conscientious objector

About the Author

Bobbie Oliver is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her research interests include the labour movement and anti-war protest. She has published three books with Interventions. She is the author of A Natural Battleground: The fight to establish a rail heritage centre at Western Australia's Midland Railway Workshops (2019) and is co-editor of and contributor to Radical Perth Militant Fremantle (2019). Her latest book published by Interventions is Hell No! We Won't Go! Resistance to conscription in postwar Australia (2021).