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VERA BRITTAIN testament of youth summary


Vera Mary Brittain was a British writer born on 29th December 1893 and died on 29th March 1970. She was also a pacifist and feminist best remembered as the author of the best-selling 1933 memoir Testament of Youth, recounting her experiences during the 1st World War and the beginning of her journey towards pacifism.

She was born in Newcastle and was the daughter of a well-to-do family who owned paper mills. She had quite an eventful childhood that inspired her career and future in politics as well as a woman leader.

In the 1920s she became a regular speaker on behalf of the League of Nations Union but she was invited to speak at a peace rally in Dorchester in 1936 where she shared a platform with some of the world’s most famous and renowned speakers of that era such as Laurence Housman and Donald Soper.

She was a practical pacifist in the sense that she helped the war effort by working as a fire warden and by travelling around the country raising funds for food relief campaigns. In November 1996, she suffered a fall in a London street while on her way to a speaking engagement. She afterwards found out that she had suffered a fractured left arm and broken little finger of her right hand.

These injuries began a physical decline in which her mind became more confused and withdrawn. Vera Brittain died in Wimbledon on 29th March 1970 aged 76. In her will, she requested that her ashes be poured on her brother’s grave in Italy.


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