Mrs Pankhurst escaped Britain at the end of July 1914 to avoid being sent back to prison as per the terms of the Cat & Mouse Act. She shipped away to St Malo to regain her strength and meet up with her WSPU commander-in-chief, daughter Christabel.
August 1 – Mrs Pankhurst was in a crowd that gathered to hear the St Malo mayor read Germany’s declaration of war against France. She remembered her school days in Paris. Her enthusiasm for France and prejudice against all things German resurfaced. She got word to her WSPU London headquarters to stop all activity until the crisis was over.
August 4 – war breaks out between Germany & Britain.
August 7 – Home Secretary McKenna responded to the truce with the Suffragettes by agreeing that suffrage prisoners who undertook not to commit further offences would be released.
August 10 – This was changed to all suffrage prisoners were to be released unconditionally.
August 12 – Mrs Pankhurst sent a letter to all members of the WSPU, temporarily suspending military action.
But it proved not to be temporary. As Mrs Pankhurst and Christabel threw themselves into the war effort and forgot about Votes for Women, the Suffragettes were no more. A little over 3 years later, 22 women’s suffrage societies were represented by Millicent Garrett-Fawcett, president of the NUWSS, when she went to see the government to be told women had won the vote. The Suffragettes were not one of them. The Suffragettes movement had died on August 12th 1914.