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response since divisions had caused considerable difficulties in W. W. 1.4
Unity, however, continued to be a problem for Mennonites during World War II and stemmed largely through the widely divergent experi ences of the different Mennonite groups during World War I. The Russlaender Group, having come to Canada in the 1920's when public opinion had been against them and when provisions for exemptions from military service had not been made explicit, felt they should offer to do alternative service. They had done alternative service in Russia and felt that offering to do the same in Canada would ensure that they would not be called upon for active service.'
The Kanadier group (those Mennonites that had come to Canada before 1920) were divided on the question of alternative service. Many of the Kanadier west of Manitoba also favoured offering to do alterna tive service." The Kanadier of Manitoba, however, held that their Privilegium of 1873 exempted them from all military service and no service should be offered. They were prepared to go along with alterna tive service if required, but insisted the initiative must come from the government. 7 This division made it impossible to present a unified Mennonite position and resulted in two separate Mennonite organiza tions negotiating with the government.
In the R.M. of Rhineland these divisions were not as much of a problem. When war broke out representatives of Manitoba Mennonite Churches from southern Manitoba formed a committee of Elders to represent their concerns to the government. This committee included, among others, Peter A. Toews of the Sommerfelder Church, Jacob Froese of the Old Colony Church, David Schulz of the Bergthaler Church, W. H. Falk of the Rudnerweider Church, Johan P. Bueckert of the Blumenorter Church and Heinrich S. Voth of the Mennonite Brethren Church. Most of these groups opposed all forms of alternative service, though the Blumenorter Church did withdraw from the Elders Committee briefly before 1942 to join the Manitoba Executive, headed by Elder Johan Enns and C. F. Klassen of Winnipeg, which was advocating alternative service. 8
Alternative service ceased to be a divisive issue after February of 1941 when the Federal Government announced that all Mennonites, regardless of when they had come to Canada, would be required to serve in alternative service work camps. Eventually, both organizations came to take a similar stand; both had to make concessions, both rejected all forms of service in uniforms and under military command and both accepted various forms of civilian alternative service."
After 1941 all Rhineland draftees who did not want to enlist were