Die Wehrfreiheit der Altpreussischen Mennoniten, Eine geschichtliche Erörterung (Marienburg, 1863), by Johann Wilhelm Mannhardt, was the first comprehensive documented history of the Mennonite principle of nonresistance. The book consists of 202 pages and 95 pages of appendices. In the first chapter the author treats the "dogma" of nonresistance among the various Mennonite groups; in the second chapter, the major part of the book, he presents the relation of the Mennonites of Prussia to the state. In an appendix he quotes from the writings of Menno Simons and from Mennonite confessions of faith, catechisms, and official documents by the governments to prove that the Mennonites traditionally have adhered to the principle of nonresistance and that this has been honored by rulers and governments. The reason for the writing of this book was a Prussian cabinet order in preparation according to which the Mennonites of Prussia, who had enjoyed complete exemption from military service, were now expected to do alternative service. In spite of the book the cabinet order was passed 3 March 1868. This book designates the last definite stand on nonresistance by a large group of Prussian Mennonites. Those who were not willing to accept alternative noncombatant service migrated to Russia and America. The majority, however, stayed and accepted this service and gradually also full military service. By 1933 no German Mennonites claimed exemption from full military service. Mannhardt also wrote the Danzig Gedenkbuch der Gemeinde, vol. III, in which he relates this development in great detail. Later he somewhat modified his position on nonresistance, and wrote a series of articles in Mennonitische Blätter, "Zur Wehrfrage," 1868, 75 ff., and 1869, 5-8, 12-15, 31-34, 37-41, 48-50.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV.
Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde. Danzig, 1919: 124 ff., 175 ff.
 Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Wehrfreiheit der Altpreussischen Mennoniten, Die." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Jan 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wehrfreiheit_der_Altpreussischen_Mennoniten,_Die&oldid=144652.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Wehrfreiheit der Altpreussischen Mennoniten, Die. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 January 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wehrfreiheit_der_Altpreussischen_Mennoniten,_Die&oldid=144652.
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