This calendar lets you know important steps, progress and setbacks in the movement for peace that have taken place on each day of the year. Produced by David Swanson, Erin McElfresh, Alexander Shaia.
Good for every year until all war is abolished and sustainable peace established.
January 1. This is New Year’s Day and World Day of Peace. This is a good day to resolve to work for the end of all war.
January 2. On this day in 1905, Conference of Industrial Unionists in Chicago forms the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), known as The Wobblies. — quote peace songs
January 3. On this day in 1977, President Carter pardons most of the Vietnam war draft resisters, nearly 10,000 qualified. (see Jan 21)
January 4. On this day in 1948, Burma, now known as Myanmar, becomes an independent sovereign nation, ending more than six decades of British rule.
January 5. On this day in 1968, “Prague Spring,” political and economic reforms, including increased freedom of speech and an end to state censorship, begins in Czechoslovakia.
January 6. On this day in 1941, President Roosevelt introduces the term “Four Freedoms”: free speech & expression; free to worship; free from fear; & free from want.
January 7. On this day in 1932, Stimson Doctrine
January 8. On this day in 1885, A.J. Muste was born.
January 9. On this day in 1918, the battle of Bear Valley was fought.
January 11. On this day in 2002, the United States opened its notorious prison in Guantanamo. This is a good day to oppose all imprisonment without trial.
January 14. On this day in 1892, Martin Niemöller was born.
January 15. On this day in 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was born. The holiday, however, is celebrated on the third Monday of January. These are good opportunities to recall King’s work against militarism, extreme materialism, and racism.
January 17. On this day in 1893, U.S. profiteers and Marines overthrew the government of Hawaii, beginning a long string of violent and disastrous government overthrows around the world. Also on this day in 1993 Hawaii held a major demonstration against U.S. occupation. This is a good day on which to advocate for Hawaii’s liberation from the United States and from the U.S. military. Also on this day in 1929, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
January 18. On this day in 2001, a jury in Manchester, Britain, acquitted ploughshares activists of conspiracy to damage a Trident submarine.
January 19. On this day in 1920, American Civil Liberties Union Is Founded.
January 21. On this day in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardoned all Vietnam-era draft dodgers, estimated to include hundreds of thousands. Also on this day in 1984 a women’s resistance camp was set up at Volkel airbase in the Netherlands.
January 22. On this day in 1939, the atom was first split at Cambridge University.
January 23. On this day in 1974, Egypt and Israel began to withdraw troops and move away from confrontation.
January 24. On this day in 1961, the U.S. military accidentally dropped two nuclear bombs on North Carolina and was very fortunate they did not explode.
January 27. This is International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Also on this day in 1914, the U.S. Marines attacked Haiti.
January 28. On this day in 1961, the Committee for Nonviolent Action demonstrated against nuclear-armed ships in New London, Connecticut.
January 29. On this day in 2014, 31 Latin American and Caribbean nations declared a zone of peace.
January 30. On this day in 1948, Mohandas Gandhi was killed . This is the School Day of Nonviolence and Peace.
January 31. On this day in 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair met in the White House. Bush proposed several crackpot schemes for starting a war on Iraq, including painting a plane with U.N. markings, flying it low, and trying to get it shot at. Then Bush and Blair held a press conference at which they claimed to be doing everything they could to avoid a war. This is a good day on which to remember that if war were really a last resort there would never be any war.
February 1. On this day in 1960, four black students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University sat down at the lunch counter inside the Woolworth store at 132 South Elm Street in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil, students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, planned a sit-in at the Woolworth Department Store. These four students later became known as the Greensboro Four for their courage and dedication to ending segregation. The four students attempted to order food at Woolworth’s lunch counter but were denied based on race. Despite the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, segregation was still ubiquitous in the South. The Greensboro Four stayed at the lunch counter until the restaurant closed, despite being denied service. The young men returned to the Woolworth lunch counter repeatedly and encouraged others to join them. By February 5th, 300 students had joined the sit-in at Woolworth’s. The actions of the four black students inspired other African Americans, especially college students, in Greensboro and across the Jim Crow South to participate in sit-ins and other nonviolent protests. By the end of March, the nonviolent sit-in movement had spread to 55 cities in 13 states, and these events led to the integration of many restaurants across the South. The teachings of Mohandas Gandhi inspired these young men to participate in nonviolent demonstrations, showing that even in a world of violence and repression, nonviolent movements can have a significant impact.
February 2. On this day in 1779, Anthony Benezet refuses to pay taxes to support the Revolutionary War. In order to maintain and fund the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress issued a war tax. Anthony Benezet, an influential Quaker, refused to pay taxes the tax because it funded war. Benezet, along with Moses Brown, Samuel Allinson, and other Quakers, were vehemently opposed to war in all of its forms, despite threats of imprisonment and even execution for refusing to pay the tax.
Also on this day in 1932, the first world disarmament convention opened in Geneva, Switzerland. After World War I, the League of Nations had been assembled in order to maintain world peace, but the United States decided not to join. In Geneva, the League of Nations and the United States attempted to curb the rapid militarism that had taken place throughout Europe. Most members agreed that Germany should have lower levels of armament compared to European countries such as France and England; however, Hitler’s Germany withdrew in 1933 and the talks broke down.
And on this day in 1990, South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk lifted a ban on opposition groups. The African National Congress or ANC became legal and has been the majority governing party in South Africa since 1994 professing to work toward a united, non-racial, and democratic society. The ANC and its most influential member Nelson Mandela were integral in the dissolution of apartheid, and allowing the ANC to participate in government created a more democratic South Africa.
February 3. On this day in 1973, four decades of armed conflict in Vietnam officially ended when a cease-fire agreement signed in Paris the previous month came into effect. Vietnam had endured almost uninterrupted hostility since 1945, when a war for independence from France was launched. A civil war between northern and southern regions of the country began after the country was divided by the Geneva Convention in 1954, with American military “advisors” arriving in 1955. A 2008 study by Harvard Medical School and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimated 3.8 million violent war deaths resulted from what the Vietnamese call the American War. About two-thirds of the deaths were civilian. Additional millions died as the United States extended the war into Laos and Cambodia. The wounded were in much higher numbers, and judging by South Vietnamese hospital records, one-third were women and one-quarter children under age 13. U.S. casualties included 58,000 killed and 153,303 wounded, plus 2,489 missing, but higher numbers of veterans would later die through suicide. According to the Pentagon, the United States spent about $168 billion on the Vietnam War (about $1 trillion in 2016 money). That money could have been used to improve education or to fund the recently created Medicare and Medicaid programs. Vietnam did not pose a threat to the United States, but — as the Pentagon Papers revealed — the U.S. government continued the war, year after year, primarily “to save face.”
February 4. On this day in 1913, Rosa Parks was born. Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist, who most notably initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott by refusing to yield her seat to a white man, while riding a bus. Rosa Parks is known as the “First Lady of Civil Rights” and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her dedication to equality and ending segregation. Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and was bullied often as a child by white neighbors; however, she received her high school diploma in 1933, despite the fact that only 7% of African Americans finished high school at the time. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, she confronted both the racism of those around her and the unjust Jim Crow laws enacted by governments. By law, Parks was required to give up her seat, and she was willing to go to jail in order to show her commitment to equality. After a long and difficult boycott, the black people of Montgomery ended segregation on the buses. They did so without using violence or increasing animosity. A leader who came out of that boycott movement and went on to lead many other campaigns was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same principles and techniques used in Montgomery can be modified and applied to unjust laws and unjust institutions today. We can draw inspiration from Rosa Parks and those who advanced her cause to advance the causes of peace and justice here and now.
February 5. On this day in 1987, Grandmothers for Peace protested at a Nevada nuclear test site. Barbara Wiedner founded Grandmothers for Peace International in 1982 after she learned of 150 nuclear weapons within miles of her house in Sacramento, California. The organization’s stated goal is to end the use and ownership of nuclear weapons through demonstrations and protests. Six U.S. senators, including Leon Panetta and Barbara Boxer, participated in this demonstration, along with actors Martin Sheen, Kris Kristofferson, and Robert Blake. The nonviolent protest at the Nevada nuclear test site brought an abundance of media attention and publicity to what was illegal nuclear weapons testing. Testing nuclear weapons in Nevada violated the law and had inflamed the U.S. relationship with the Soviet Union, encouraging further nuclear weapons development and testing. At the demonstration, the rare mix of politicians, actors, elderly women, and many others sent a message to President Ronald Reagan and the U.S. government that nuclear testing was unacceptable, and that citizens should not be kept in the dark about their government’s actions. Another message was sent to ordinary people along these lines: if a small group of grandmothers can have an impact on public policy when they get organized and active, then so can you. Imagine the impact we could have if we all worked at it together. Belief in nuclear deterrence has crumbled, but the weapons remain, and the need for a stronger movement to abolish them grows with each passing year.
February 6. On this day in 1890, Abdul Ghaffar Khan was born. Abdul Ghaffar Khan, or Bacha Khan, was born in British-controlled India to a wealthy landowning family. Bacha Khan forewent a life of luxury in order to create a nonviolent organization, named the “Red Shirt Movement,” which was dedicated to Indian independence. Khan met Mohandas Gandhi, a champion of nonviolent civil disobedience, and Khan became one of his closest advisors, leading to a friendship that would last until Gandhi’s assassination in 1948. Bacha Khan used nonviolent civil disobedience to gain rights for the Pashtuns in Pakistan, and he was arrested numerous times for his courageous actions. As a Muslim, Khan used his religion as an inspiration to promote a free and peaceful society, where the poorest citizens would be given assistance and allowed to rise economically. Khan knew that nonviolence breeds love and compassion while violent revolt only leads to harsh punishment and hatred; therefore, utilizing nonviolent means, while difficult in some situations, is the most effective method of generating change within a country. The British Empire feared the actions of Gandhi and Bacha Khan, as it showed when over 200 peaceful, unarmed protestors were brutally killed by the British police. The Massacre at Kissa Khani Bazaar showcased the brutality of the British colonists and demonstrated why Bacha Khan fought for independence. In an interview in 1985, Bacha Khan stated, “I am a believer in nonviolence and I say that no peace or tranquility will descend upon the world until nonviolence is practiced, because nonviolence is love and it stirs courage in people.”
February 7. On this day, Thomas More born. Saint Thomas More, an English Catholic philosopher and author, refused to accept the new Anglican Church of England, and he was beheaded for treason in 1535. Thomas More also wrote Utopia, a book depicting a theoretically perfect island that is self-sufficient and operates without problems. More examines ethics throughout the book by discussing the results of virtuous acts. He wrote that each individual receives rewards from God for acting virtuously and punishments for acting maliciously. The people in the Utopian society cooperated and lived peacefully with one another without violence or strife. Although people now view the Utopian society that Thomas More described as an impossible fantasy, it is important to strive for this type of peace. The world is not currently peaceful and without violence; however, it is incredibly important to attempt to create a peaceful, utopian world. The first problem that must be overcome is the act of war in all of its forms. If we can create a world beyond war, a utopian society will not seem outlandish and nations will be able to focus on providing for their citizens as opposed to spending money to build up militaries. Utopian societies should not simply be cast off as an impossibility; instead, they should be used as a collective aim for world governments and individual people. Thomas More wrote Utopia to show problems that existed throughout society. Some have been remedied. Others need to be.
February 8. On this day in 1690, the Schenectady massacre took place. The Schenectady massacre was an attack against an English village of mainly women and children carried out by a collection of French soldiers and Algonquian Indians. The massacre occurred during King William’s War, also known as the Nine Years War, after continuous violent raids of Indian lands by the English. The invaders burned down houses throughout the village and murdered or imprisoned virtually everyone in the community. In total, 60 people were murdered in the middle of the night, including 10 women and 12 children. One survivor, while wounded, rode from Schenectady to Albany to inform others what had happened in the village. Every year in commemoration of the massacre, the mayor of Schenectady rides on horseback from Schenectady to Albany, taking the same route the survivor took. The annual commemoration is an important way for citizens to understand the horrors of war and violence. Innocent men, women, and children were massacred for absolutely no reason. The town of Schenectady was not prepared for an attack, nor were they able to protect themselves from the vengeful French and Algonquians. This massacre could have been avoided if the two sides had never been at war; moreover, this demonstrates that war endangers everybody, not just those fighting on the front lines. Until war is abolished it will continue to kill the innocent.
February 9. On this day in 1904, the Russo-Japanese War began. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, Japan, along with many European nations, attempted to illegally colonize parts of Asia. Like European colonial powers, Japan would take over a region and install a temporary colonial government that would exploit the locals and produce goods for the benefit of the colonizing country. Both Russia and Japan demanded that Korea be placed under their country’s respective power, which led to conflict between the two nations on the Korean peninsula. This war was not a struggle for independence by Korea; instead, it was a fight by two outside powers to decide Korea’s fate. Oppressive colonial wars like this one destroyed countries like Korea both politically and physically. Korea would continue to host conflict through the Korean War in the 1950’s. Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War and maintained colonial control over the Korean peninsula until 1945 when the United States and the Soviet Union defeated the Japanese. In total, there were an estimated 150,000 dead by the end of the Russo-Japanese war, including 20,000 civilian deaths. This colonial war affected the colonized country of Korea more than the aggressors because it was not fought on Japanese or Russian lands. Colonization continues to happen today throughout the Middle East, and the United States tends to fight proxy wars by providing weapons to aid certain groups. Rather than working to end war, the United States continues to supply weapons for wars throughout the world.
February 10. On this day in 1961, the Voice of Nuclear Disarmament pirate radio station began operation off shore.
February 11. On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. He went on to play a key role in the official ending of Apartheid in South Africa. With assistance from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Nelson Mandela was arrested on charges of treason, and stayed in prison from 1962-1990; however, he remained the figurehead and practical leader of the antiapartheid movement. Four years after being released from prison, he was elected president of South Africa, allowing him to pass a new constitution, creating equal political rights for blacks and whites. Mandela avoided retribution and pursued truth and reconciliation for his country. He said he believed that love could conquer evil and that everybody must take an active part in resisting oppression and hate. Mandela’s ideas can be summarized in the following quote: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” In order to end war and create a society filled with peace, there must be activists like Nelson Mandela who are willing to devote their whole lives for the cause. This is a good day to celebrate nonviolent action, diplomacy, reconciliation, and restorative justice.
February 12. On this day in 1947, the first peacetime draft card burning in the United States took place. There is a common misconception that opposition to the draft began in the Vietnam War; in reality, many have opposed military conscription since its beginnings in the U.S. Civil War. An estimated 72,000 men objected to the draft during World War II, and after the war, many of the same individuals took a stand and burned their draft cards. World War II was over and there was no new imminent draft, but burning their draft cards was a political statement. Around 500 military veterans of both world wars burned their cards in New York City and Washington, D.C. in order to show that they would not participate or condone continued violence by the U.S. military. Many of these veterans rejected the long history of violent interventions in Native American and other countries around the world since the birth of the United States. The United States has been at war alomst constantly since 1776, and is a nation deeply entwined with violence. But simple acts like burning draft cards have communicated powerfully to the U.S. government that citizens won’t accept a nation constantly in a state of war. The United States is currently at war, and it is imperative that citizens find creative nonviolent means of communicating their disapproval with the actions of their government.
February 13. On this day in 1967, carrying huge photos of Napalmed Vietnamese children, 2,500 members of the group Women Strike for Peace stormed the Pentagon, demanding to see “the generals who send our sons to Vietnam.” Leaders inside the Pentagon originally locked the doors and refused to allow the protestors inside. After continued efforts, they were finally allowed inside, but they were not granted their meeting with the generals they had planned to meet with. Instead, they met with a congressman who provided no answers. The Women Strike for Peace group demanded answers from an administration that wouldn’t provide clarity, so they decided that it was time to take the fight to Washington. This day and others, the U.S. government refused to acknowledge its use of illegal poisonous gases in the war against the Vietnamese. Even with pictures of napalmed Vietnamese children, the Johnson administration continued to place the blame on the North Vietnamese. The United States government lied to its citizens in order to continue its so-called “war against communism,” despite seeing no results and incredibly high casualty rates. The Women Strike for Peace organization realized the futility of war in Vietnam and wanted real answers as to how the conflict would be ended. Lies and deception fueled the Vietnam War. These protestors wanted answers from the generals inside the Pentagon, but the military leaders continued to deny the use of poisonous gases despite overwhelming evidence. Yet the truth came out and is no longer disputed.
February 14. On this day in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded in Atlanta. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference began a few months after the Montgomery bus system was desegregated by the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The SCLC was inspired by Rosa Parks and fueled by individuals like Martin Luther King Jr. who served as an elected officer. The organization’s continued mission is to use nonviolent protest and action in order to secure civil rights and eliminate racism. In addition, the SCLC seeks to spread Christianity as what it believes is a way to create a peaceful environment for all people throughout the United States. The SCLC has struggled using peaceful methods to bring about change in the Untied States, and they have been extremely successful. There is still racism, personal and structural, and the country is not equal, but there have been major advancements in social mobility for African Americans. Peace is not something that will come about in our world without leaders like the SCLC acting in order to create change. Currently, there are chapters and affiliated groups throughout the United States, no longer limited to the South. Individuals can join groups such as the SCLC, which fosters peace through religion and can make a real difference by continuing to act on what is right. Religious organizations such as the SCLC have played an integral role in diminishing segregation and promoting peaceful environments.
February 15. On this date in 1898, the U.S.S. Maine blew up in Havana harbor and the United States baselessly accused Spain, and refused Spain’s proposal for an independent investigation, thus providing a false cause for an imperial war on Cuba, the Philippines, and various Pacific islands. Also on this date in 2003, the world protested the threatened U.S.-led assault on Iraq in what was the largest single day of public protest in history. As a result, many nations opposed the war, and the United Nations refused to sanction it. The United States proceeded anyway, in violation of the law, common sense, and human decency, resulting in the destruction of the Iraqi nation. This is a good day to educate the world about war lies and war resistance.
February 16. On this day in 1941, A pastoral letter was read in the majority of Norwegian pulpits telling the fascist regime to “end all which conflicts with God’s holy arrangements regarding truth, justice, freedom of conscience and goodness..”
February 17. On this day in 1993, leaders of the 1989 student protest in China were released.
February 18. On this day in 1961, Bertrand Russell, 89, leads march of 20,000 & sit-down of 5,000 in an anti-nuke rally outside U.K. Defense Ministry and is jailed for 7 days.
On this day in 1867, nonviolent resistance to Austrian oppression results in separate constitution, Hungary.
February 19. On this day in 1942 Norwegian teachers began successful nonviolent resistance to Nazification of schools.
On this day in 1839, Dueling is outlawed in the District of Columbia.
On this day in 1956, US rejects Soviet proposal to ban nuclear weapons tests & deployment.
February 21. On this day in 1965, Malcolm X was murdered. This is a good day to study what happened.
February 22. On this day in 1952, North Korea announced that the United States had dropped large quantities of disease infected insects.
February 23. On this day in 1836 the battle of the Alamo began.
February 24. 1933, Japan Withdraws from the League of Nations
February 25. On this day in 1932, British volunteers organize nonviolent “Peace Army” to attempt to intervene in fighting in China.
February 26. On this day in 1986, Corazon Aquino assumes power after non-violent revolt deposes Marcos, Philippines.
On this day in 1933, peace activist Carl von Ossietsky was imprisoned without trial in Germany and the Reichstag burned.
Also on this day in 1943, Nazis began rounding up Jews in Berlin who were married to non-Jewish women. The women began a protest in Rosenstrasse that resulted in the freeing of their husbands and showed potential to grow.
February 28. On this day in 1989, the Movement to Stop All Nuclear Testing was founded in Nevada, U.S., and Semipalatinsk, USSR.
February 29. On this leap day in 2004, the United States kidnapped and deposed the President of Haiti. This is a good day on which to remember that the claim that democracies don’t go to war with democracies ignores the habit of the U.S. democracy of attacking and overthrowing other democracies.
March 1. Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day, a.k.a. Bikini Day. This day marks the anniversary of the detonation of the United State’s thermo-nuclear hydrogen bomb the ‘Bravo’ at Bikini Atoll in Micronesia in 1954. In 1946, a military officer representing the U.S. government asked the people of Bikini if they would be willing to leave their atoll “temporarily” so that the United States could begin testing atomic bombs for “the good of mankind and to end all world wars.” The people have been prevented from returning to their home ever since because of the level of radioactive contamination that remains. The 1954 explosion gouged out a crater more than 200 feet deep and a mile wide, melting huge quantities of coral which were sucked up into the atmosphere together with vast volumes of seawater. Radiation levels in the inhabited atolls of Rongerik, Ujelang, and Likiep rose dramatically as well. The U.S. Navy did not send ships to evacuate the people of Rongelap and Utirik until nearly three days after the explosion. The people in the Marshall Islands and nearby places in the Pacific were essentially used as human guinea pigs in an inhumane attempt by the United States to pursue nuclear weapons supremacy. Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day is a day to remember that the colonialist mindset which allowed, and in many ways encouraged, the atrocity aforementioned still exists today, as the Pacific remains neither nuclear free nor independent. This is a good day for opposing nuclear weapons.
March 2. On this day in 1955, months before Rosa Parks, teenager Claudette Colvin was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. Colvin is a pioneer of the American Civil Rights Movement. On March 2nd, 1955, Colvin was riding home from school on a city bus when a bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white passenger. Colvin refused to do so, saying, “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it’s my constitutional right.” She felt compelled to stand her ground. “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat,” she told Newsweek. Colvin was arrested on several charges, including violating the city’s segregation laws. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People briefly considered using Colvin’s case to challenge the segregation laws, but they decided against it because of her age. Much of the writing on civil rights history in Montgomery has focused on the arrest of Rosa Parks, another woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus, nine months after Colvin. While Parks has been heralded as a civil rights heroine, the story of Claudette Colvin has received little notice. While her role in the fight to end segregation in Montgomery may not be widely recognized, Colvin helped advance civil rights efforts in the city.
March 3. On this day in 1863, the first U.S. draft law was passed. It contained a clause providing draft exemption in exchange for $300. During the Civil War, the U.S. Congress passed a conscription act that produced the first wartime draft of U.S. citizens in American history. The act called for the registration of all males between the ages of 20 and 45, including ‘aliens’ who had the intention of becoming citizens, by April 1st. Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 or by finding a substitute draftee. This clause led to bloody draft riots in New York City, where protesters were outraged that exemptions were effectively granted only to the wealthiest U.S. citizens, as no poor man could possibly afford to purchase this exemption. Although the Civil War saw the first compulsory enlistment of U.S. citizens for wartime service, a 1792 act by Congress required that all able-bodied male citizens purchase a gun and join their local state militia. There was no penalty for noncompliance with this act. Congress also passed a conscription act during the War of 1812, but the war ended before this was enacted. During the Civil War, the government of the Confederate States of America also enacted a compulsory military draft. The U.S. enacted a military draft again during World War I, in 1940 to make the U.S. ready for its involvement in World War II, and during the Korean War. The last U.S. military draft occurred during the Vietnam War.
March 4. On this day in 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists (or UCS) was founded. The UCS is a nonprofit science advocacy group that was founded by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That year, the Vietnam War was at its height and Cleveland’s heavily polluted Cuyahoga River had caught fire. Appalled at how the U.S. government was misusing science both for war and for environmental destruction, the UCS founders drafted a statement calling for scientific research to be directed away from military technologies and toward solving pressing environmental and social problems. The organization’s founding document says it was formed to “initiate a critical and continuing examination of governmental policy in areas where science and technology are of actual or potential significance” and to “devise means for turning research applications away from the present emphasis on military technology toward the solution of pressing environmental and social problems.” The organization employs scientists, economists, and engineers engaged in environmental and security issues, as well as executive and support staff. Additionally, the UCS focuses on clean energy and safe and environmentally friendly agricultural practices. The organization is also strongly committed to the reduction of nuclear arms. The UCS helped push the U.S. Senate to approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles. These reductions cut down both countries’ oversized nuclear arsenals. Many more organizations have joined this work, and there is much more of it to be done.
March 5. On this day in 1970, A nuclear non-proliferation treaty went into effect after 43 nations ratified it. The treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty with the objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, and promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Additionally, the treaty aims to further the ultimate goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty officially entered into force in 1970. On May 11th, 1995, the treaty was extended indefinitely. More countries have adhered to the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, which is a testament to the treaty’s significance. A total of 191 states have joined the treaty. India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan, four United Nations member states, have never joined the NPT. The treaty recognizes the United States, Russia, the UK, France, and China as five nuclear-weapons states. Four other states are known to possess nuclear weapons: India, North Korea, and Pakistan, which have admitted it, and Israel, which refuses to speak about it. The nuclear parties to the treaty are required to pursue “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” Their failure to do so has led non-nuclear nations to pursue a new treaty banning nuclear weapons. The high hurdle if such a new treaty is established will be persuading the nuclear states to ratify it.
March 6. On this day in 1967, Muhammad Ali was ordered by the Selective Service to be inducted into the U.S. Military. He refused, stating that his religious beliefs prohibited him from killing. After converting to Islam in 1964, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He would go on to become a three-time world champion in boxing. During the U.S. war on Vietnam in 1967, Ali refused to enter the army. Because of his refusal, Muhammad Ali was convicted of evading the draft and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was also fined ten thousand dollars and was banned from boxing for three years. Ali managed to avoid the prison time, but he did not return to the boxing ring until October of 1970. Throughout the time Ali was banned from boxing, he continued to express his opposition to the war in Vietnam while simultaneously preparing for his return to the sport in 1970. He faced intense criticism from the public for opposing the war so openly, yet he remained true to his beliefs that it was wrong to attack the people of Vietnam when the African Americans in his own country were treated so poorly on a daily basis. Though Ali was known for his power and talent related to fighting in the boxing ring, he was not an unthinking supporter of violence. He took a stance for peace in a time when it was dangerous and frowned upon to do so.
March 7. On this day in 1988, Federal Court rules that a peace group must have the same access to students at high school career days as military recruiters.
On this day in 1983, La Ragnatela (Spider’s Web) Women’s Peace Camp created at Comiso, Sicily, Italy, the first overseas site for U.S. cruise missiles. or is it 8 May?
On this day in 1965, the Anti Apartheid movement held a mass lobby of the House of Commons in London to push for a firm stand against the government of South Africa.
March 9. On this day in 1945 the United States firebombed Tokyo.
March 10. On this day in 1987 the United Nations recognized conscientious objection as a human right. Conscientious objection is defined as a refusal on moral or religious grounds to bear arms in military conflict or to serve in armed forces. This recognition established this right as part of every person’s freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. The U.N. Commission on Human rights also recommended to nations with policies of compulsory military involvement that they “consider introducing various forms of alternative service for conscientious objectors which are compatible with the reasons for conscientious objection, bearing in mind the experience of some States in this respect, and that they refrain from subjecting such persons to imprisonment.” The recognition of conscientious objection, in theory, allows those who see war as wrong and immoral to refuse to participate in it. Realizing this right remains a work in progress. In the United States a member of the military who becomes a conscientious objector must persuade the military to agree. And objection to a particular war is never permitted; one can only object to all wars. But awareness and appreciation of the importance of the right is growing, with monuments around the world built to honor conscientious objectors and a holiday established on May 15th. U.S. President John F. Kennedy stressed the importance of this when he wrote these words to a friend: “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
March 11. On this day in 2004, 191 people were killed by Al-Qaeda bombs in Madrid, Spain. On the morning of March 11th, 2004, Spain experienced the deadliest terrorist or non-war attack in its recent history. 191 people were killed and more than 1,800 were injured when approximately ten bombs exploded on four commuter trains and in three train stations near Madrid. The explosions were caused by hand-made, improvised explosive devices. Initially, the bombs were thought to be the work of the ETA, a Basque separatist group that is classified as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. The group adamantly denied responsibility for the train bombings. Several days following the explosions, the terrorist group Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks via a videotaped message. Many in Spain as well as numerous countries around the world saw the attacks as retaliation for Spain’s participation in the war in Iraq. The attacks also took place just two days before a major Spanish election in which anti-war Socialists, lead by Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez, came to power. Rodriguez ensured that all Spanish troops would be removed from Iraq, with the last of them leaving in May of 2004. In order to remember the victims of this horrific attack, a memorial forest was planted at the El Retiro Park in Madrid, nearby one of the railway stations were the initial explosion occurred. This is a good day on which to try to break a cycle of violence.
March 12. On this day in 1930 Gandhi began the Salt March. Britain’s Salt Act prevented Indians from collecting or selling salt, a mineral that was a staple of their daily diets. Citizens of India had to buy salt directly from the British who not only monopolized the salt industry but also charged a heavy tax. Independence leader Mohandas Gandhi saw defying the salt monopoly as a way for Indians to break British law in a non-violent way. On March 12th, Gandhi departed from Sabarmati with 78 followers and marched to the town of Dandi on the Arabian Sea, where the group would make their own salt from sea water. The march was approximately 241 miles long, and along the way Gandhi gained thousands of followers. Civil disobedience broke out all over India, and more than 60,000 Indians were arrested, including Gandhi himself on May 21st. Mass civil disobedience continued. In January of 1931, Gandhi was released from prison. He met with Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, and agreed to call off the actions in exchange for a negotiating role in a London conference on the future of India. The meeting did not have the outcome that Gandhi had hoped for, but British leaders recognized the powerful influence this man had amongst the Indian people and that he could not be easily thwarted. In fact the nonviolent resistance movement to liberate India continued until the British conceded and India was freed of their occupation in 1947.
March 13. On this day in 1968, clouds of nerve gas drifted outside the United State’s Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, poisoning 6,400 sheep in nearby Skull Valley. The Dugway Proving Grounds was established during the 1940s in order to provide the military with a remote location to conduct weapons testing. Several days prior to the incident, the Army had flown a plane full of nerve gas over the Utah Desert. The plane’s mission was to spray the gas over a remote section of the Utah Desert, a test that was a minor part of the ongoing chemical and biological weapons research at Dugway. The nerve gas being tested was known as VX, a substance three times as toxic as Sarin. In fact, a single drop of VX could kill a human being in approximately 10 minutes. On the day of the test, the nozzle that was used to spray the nerve gas was broken, so as the plane departed the nozzle continued to release the VX. Strong winds carried the gas to Skull Valley where thousands of sheep were grazing. Government officials disagree on the exact number of sheep that died, but it is between 3,500 and 6,400. After the incident, the army assured the public that the death of so many sheep could not possibly have been caused by just a few drops of VX sprayed so far away. This incident outraged many Americans who were extremely frustrated with the Army and its reckless use of weapons of mass destruction.
March 14. On this day in 1879 Albert Einstein was born. Einstein, one of the most creative minds in human history, was born in Württemberg, Germany. He completed much of his education in Switzerland, where he was trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. When he received his diploma in 1901, he was unable to find a teaching position and accepted a position as a technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. He produced much of his famous work during his free time. After World War II, Einstein played a major role in the World Government Movement. He was offered presidency of the State of Israel, but turned that offer down. His most important works are Special Theory of Relativity, Relativity, General Theory of Relativity, Why War?, and My Philosophy. Though Einstein’s scientific contributions helped other scientists create the atomic bomb, he himself had no part in the creation of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, and he later deplored the use of all atomic weapons. However, despite his lifelong pacifist beliefs, he did write to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of a group of scientists who were concerned with America’s lack of action in the area of atomic weapons research, fearing Germany’s acquisition of such a weapon. After World War II, Einstein called for the establishment of a world government that would control nuclear technology and prevent future armed conflict. He also advocated for universal refusal to participate in war. He died in Princeton, New Jersey in 1955.
March 15. On this day in 1970, 78 protesters were arrested during an attempt by Native American activists to occupy Fort Lawton, demanding that the city of Seattle give the unused property back to Native Americans. The movement was started by the group United Indians of All Tribes, organized primarily by Bernie Whitebear. The activists who invaded Fort Lawton, a 1,100-acre army post in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, did so in response to the declining state of Native American reservations and to the opposition and challenges that were faced by Seattle’s growing “urban Indian” population. In the 1950s, the U.S. government had set up relocation programs moving thousands of Indians into various cities, promising them better employment and educational opportunities. By the late sixties, the city of Seattle was somewhat aware of the “problem” of urban Indians, yet Native Americans were still severely misrepresented in Seattle’s politics and frustrated by the city’s unwillingness to negotiate. Whitebear, inspired by movements such as Black Power, decided to organize an assault on Fort Lawton. Here activists confronted the 392nd Military Police Company which was armed with riot gear. The Indians present were “armed” with sandwiches, sleeping bags, and cooking utensils. The Native Americans invaded the base from all sides, but the major confrontation took place near the edge of the base where a 40-soldier platoon arrived at the scene and began dragging people away to jail. In 1973 the military gave the majority of the land, not to Native Americans, but to the city to become Discovery Park.
March 16. On this day in 1921, War Resisters International was founded. This organization is an antimilitarist and pacifist group that has far-reaching global influence with over 80 affiliated groups in 40 countries. Several founders of this organization were involved in resistance to the first World War, such as WRI’s first secretary, Herbert Brown, who served a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Britain for being a conscientious objector. The organization was known as the War Resisters League, or WRL, in the United States where it was officially founded in 1923. WRI, whose headquarters are in London, believes that war is truly a crime against humanity and that all wars, no matter the intent behind them, only serve the political and economic interests of the government. Additionally, all wars lead to mass destruction of the environment, suffering and death of human beings, and ultimately new power structures of further domination and control. The group strives to end war, initiating nonviolent campaigns that involve local groups and individuals in the process of ending war. WRI runs three major programs to achieve its goals: the Nonviolence program, which promotes techniques such as active resistance and non-cooperation, the Right to Refuse to Kill Program, which supports conscientious objectors and monitors military service and recruitment, and finally, the Countering the Militarization of Youth Program, which tries to identify and challenge the ways that the youth of the world are encouraged to accept military values and morals as being glorious, decent, normal, or inevitable.
March 17. On this day in 1968 at the largest Vietnam antiwar march in Britain to date, 25,000 people attempted to storm the American Embassy at Grosvenor Square in London. The event had begun in a relatively peaceful and organized fashion, with about 80,000 people gathered to protest the United States military action in Vietnam and Britain’s support for America’s involvement in the war. The United States embassy was surrounded by hundreds of police. Only actress and anti-war activist Vanessa Redgrave and her three supporters were allowed to enter the embassy to deliver a written protest. On the outside, the crowd was held back from entering the embassy as well, yet they refused to stand down, throwing stones, firecrackers, and smoke bombs at the police officers. Some eyewitnesses claimed that the protesters resorted to violence after “skinheads” started chanting pro-war slogans at them. About four hours later, approximately 300 people had been arrested and 75 people were hospitalized, including about 25 police officers. Lead singer and co-founder of the legendary rock group The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger was one of the protesters in Grosvenor Square on this day, and some believed the events inspired him to write the songs Street Fighting Man and Sympathy for the Devil. There were several Vietnam war protests in the years that followed, but none in London were as large as the one that took place on March 17th . Larger protests followed in the United States, and the last U.S. troops finally left Vietnam in 1973.
March 18. On this day in 1644, the third Anglo-Powhatan war began. The Anglo- Powhatan Wars were a series of three wars that were fought between the Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy and the English settlers of Virginia. For about twelve years following the ending of the second war, there was a period of peace between the Native Americans and the colonists. However, on March 18th 1644, the Powhatan warriors made one final effort to rid their territory of the English settlers once and for all. The Native Americans were led by Chief Opechancanough, their leader and the younger brother to Chief Powhatan who organized the Powhatan Confederacy. Around 500 colonists were killed in the initial attack, but this number was relatively small in comparison to an attack in 1622 that had taken out approximately a third of the population of colonists. Months after this attack, the English captured Opechancanough, who was between 90 and 100 years old at the time, and brought him to Jamestown. Here, he was shot in the back by a soldier who decided to take matters into his own hands. Treaties were later made between the English and Opechancanough’s successor Necotowance. These treaties severely restricted the Powhatan people’s territory, confining them to very small reservations in areas north of the York River. The treaties were intended to and did establish a pattern of removing Native Americans from invading European colonists in order to take over their land and settle it before expanding and moving them again.
March 19. On this day in 2003, the United States, along with coalition forces attacked Iraq. U.S. President George W. Bush said in a televised address that the war was to “disarm Iraq, free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.” Bush and his Republican and Democratic allies often justified the war in Iraq by claiming falsely that Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and that Iraq was allied with al Qaeda — a claim that convinced a majority of the U.S. public that Iraq was connected to the crimes of September 11, 2001. By the most scientifically respected measures available, the war killed 1.4 million Iraqis, saw 4.2 million injured, and 4.5 million people become refugees. The 1.4 million dead was 5% of the population. The invasion included 29,200 air strikes, followed by 3,900 over the next eight years. The U.S. military targeted civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances. It used cluster bombs, white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new kind of napalm in urban areas. Birth defects, cancer rates, and infant mortality soared. Water supplies, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, bridges, and electricity supplies were devastated, and not repaired. For years, the occupying forces encouraged ethnic and sectarian division and violence, resulting in a segregated country and the repression of rights that Iraqis had enjoyed even under Saddam Hussein’s brutal police state. Terrorist groups, including one that took the name ISIS, arose and flourished. This is a good day on which to advocate for reparations to the people of Iraq.
March 20. On this day in 1983, 150,000 individuals, approximately 1% of Australia’s population, participated in anti-nuclear rallies. The Nuclear disarmament movement began in the 1980s in Australia, and it developed unevenly across the country. The organization People for Nuclear Disarmament was founded in 1981, and its formation broadened the movement’s leadership, especially in Victoria, where the group was founded. The group was largely made up of independent socialists and radical academics who began the movement through a peace studies organization. People for Nuclear Disarmament called for the closure of U.S. bases in Australia, and it adopted a policy of opposition to Australia’s military alliance with the United States. Other statewide organizations later emerged with similar structures to PND. Australia has a long history of anti-militarism. During the Vietnam War in 1970, approximately 70,000 people marched in Melbourne and 20,000 in Sydney in opposition to the war. In the 80s, Australians strived to end any contribution of the nation to U.S. nuclear-war fighting capabilities. The March 20th rally of 1983, which took place on the Sunday before Easter, was known as the first “Palm Sunday” rally, and it raised general peace and nuclear disarmament concerns that Australian citizens had. These Palm Sunday rallies continued in Australia throughout the 1980s. Because of the widespread opposition to nuclear expansion that was visible in these demonstrations, the broadening of Australia’s nuclear program was halted
March 21. On this day in 1966, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was designated by the United Nations. This day is observed throughout the world with a series of events and activities that aim to draw people’s attention to the highly negative and damaging consequences of racial discrimination. Additionally, the day serves as a reminder to all people of their obligation to try to combat racial discrimination in all aspects of life as citizens of a complex and dynamic global community that depends on tolerance and the acceptance of other races for our continued survival. This day is also intended to help younger people throughout the world voice their opinions and promote peaceful ways to combat racism and encourage tolerance within their communities, as the UN acknowledges that instilling these values of tolerance and acceptance within today’s youth may be one of the most valuable and effective ways to combat future racial intolerance and discrimination. This day was established six years after what is known as the Sharpeville Massacre. During this tragic event, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful protest against the apartheid laws in South Africa. The UN asked the international community to strengthen its resolve to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination when it proclaimed this day in observance of the massacre in 1966. The UN continues to work to combat all forms of racial intolerance and political violence related to racial tensions.
March 22. On this day in 1980, 30,000 people marched in Washington, D.C., against mandatory draft registration. During the protest, issues of Resistance News, created by the National Resistance Committee, were distributed to demonstrators and participants. The NRC was formed in 1980 to oppose registration to the draft, and the organization was active into the early 1990s. The leaflets of Resistance News dispersed to crowds elaborated on the stance of NRC which was that the organization was open to all forms of draft resistance, whether the reasoning for resisting was based on pacifism, religion, ideology, or any other reasons an individual might have for not believing that they should have to enter the draft. Draft registration in the United States was reinstated under President Carter in 1980 as part of “preparation” for the U.S. to potentially intervene in Afghanistan. During protests across the country on this day and throughout 1980, signs such as “Refuse to Register” or “I will not register” were seen throughout the crowds of thousands who believed it was their right as human beings to refuse draft registration. This is a good day on which to help some draft registration forms into a recycling bin and to recognize that the right to refuse to participate in violent and destructive conflict is a basic right of all human beings, as no one should be forced to be involved in such a cataclysmic event as war.
March 23. On this day in 1984, 1000 peace boats demonstrated against the arrival of the U.S. nuclear submarine, the USS Queenfish in Auckland, New Zealand. These boats were informally known as the Auckland Harbor Peace Squadron. In 1984, New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange put a stop to all nuclear-powered and/or nuclear armed ships from entering or using New Zealand ports or even sailing in New Zealand Waters. The sea, land, and airspace of New Zealand officially became nuclear-free zones and are still this way to this day. Nuclear free zones around the world now include . . .
March 24. On this day in 1999, the United States and NATO began 78 days of bombing Yugoslavia. Fittingly perhaps, this is also International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. The U.S. public has generally been misinformed about the 1999 bombing campaign. . . .
March 25. This is International Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. On this day, we take time to remember the 15 million men, women, and children who were victims of the transatlantic slave trade for over 400 years. This brutal crime will always be considered one of, if not the, darkest episodes in human history. The transatlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in history, as millions of African Americans were forcibly removed from their homes in Africa and relocated to other areas of the world, arriving on cramped slave ships at ports in South America and the Caribbean Islands. From 1501-1830, four Africans crossed the Atlantic for every one European. This migration is still evident today, with very large populations of people of African descent living throughout the Americas. We honor and remember today those who suffered and those who died as a result of the horrific and barbaric slavery system. Slavery was officially abolished in the United States in February of 1865, but defacto slavery and legal racial segregation continued throughout most of the following century, while defacto segregation and racism remain to this day. Various events are held globally on this day including memorial services and vigils for those who died. This day is also a good occasion to educate the public, especially young people, about the effects of racism, slavery, and the transatlantic slave trade. Educational events are held throughout schools, colleges, and universities. In 2015, a memorial was erected at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
March 26. On this day in 1979, the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Agreement was signed. During a ceremony that was held at the White House, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty which was the first peace treaty ever between Israel and an Arab country. During the ceremony, both leaders and U.S. President Jimmy Carter prayed that this treaty would bring real peace to the Middle East and end the violence and fighting that had been ongoing since the late 1940s. Israel and Egypt had been involved in conflict since the Arab-Israeli War, which began directly after Israel was founded. The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was the result of months of difficult negotiations. Under this treaty, both nations agreed to end the violence and conflict and to establish diplomatic relations. Egypt agreed to recognize Israel as a country and Israel agreed to leave the Sinai Peninsula that it had taken from Egypt during a six-day war in 1967. For their achievement in signing this treaty, Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. Many in the Arab world reacted angrily to the peace treaty as they saw it as a betrayal, and Eygpt was suspended from the Arab League. In October of 1981, Muslim extremists assassinated Sadat. Peace efforts between the nations continued without Sadat, but despite the treaty, tensions still run high between these two Middle-Eastern countries.
March 28. On this day in 1979, a nuclear power plant accident occurred at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. A portion of the core melted in the plant’s second reactor. In the months following the accident, the U.S. public staged numerous anti-nuclear demonstrations across the country. The U.S. public was told numerous falsehoods, documented by anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman. First, the public was assured there were no radiation releases. That quickly proved to be false. The public was then told the releases were controlled and done purposely to alleviate pressure on the core. Both those assertions were false. The public was told the releases were “insignificant.” But stack monitors were saturated and unusable, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later told Congress it did not know how much radiation was released at Three Mile Island, or where it went. Official estimates said a uniform dose to all persons in the region was equivalent to a single chest x-ray. But pregnant women are no longer x-rayed because it has long been known a single dose can do catastrophic damage to an embryo or fetus in utero. The public was told there was no need to evacuate anyone from the area. But Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh then evacuated pregnant women and small children. Unfortunately, many were sent to nearby Hershey, which was showered with fallout. The infant death rate tripled in Harrisburg. Door-to-door surveys in the region found substantial increases in cancer, leukemia, birth defects, respiratory problems, hair loss, rashes, lesions and more.
March 29. On this day in 1987 in Nicaragua, Vietnam Veterans for Peace marched from Jinotega and to Wicuili. The veterans involved in the march had been actively monitoring the United States’ attempts to destabilize the country of Nicaragua by providing aid to the terrorist Contras. The Veterans for Peace organization was founded in 1985 by ten U.S. veterans in response to the global nuclear arms race and the U.S. military interventions in various Central American countries. The organization grew to more than 8,000 members by the time the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. When Veterans for Peace was initially formed, it was composed mainly of U.S. Military Veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam war, and the Gulf War. It was also made up of peacetime veterans and non-veterans, but it has grown overseas in recent years and has many active members throughout the United Kingdom. The Veterans for Peace Organization works hard to promote alternatives to war and violence. The organization has opposed and continues to oppose many of the military policies of the U.S., NATO, and Israel, including military actions and threats to Russia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. Today, members of this organization remain actively engaged in campaigns to help bring understanding of the horrific costs of war, and much of their current work focuses on the seemingly-never-ending war on terror. The organization creates projects to support returning veterans, oppose drone warfare, and counter military recruitment efforts in schools.
March 30. On this day in 1970, after years of struggle and a nationwide boycott, the United Farm Workers sign the first table-grape contract with two of California’s largest grape growers.
Some unpredictable day in April is the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending.
April 1. use a fictional event
April 2. On this day in 1917, Jeanette Rankin took her seat in Congress, the only member who would vote against both world wars, and the only member who would vote against WWII.
April 3. On this day in 1948, the Marshall Plan went into effect.
April 4. On this day in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke against the war on Vietnam. On this same day in 1968 he was murdered. This is a good day to celebrate his opposition to racism, militarism, and extreme materialism, and to study what happened. This is also International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
April 5. On this day in 1946, General Douglas MacArthur spoke about the ban on war included as Article 9 of Japan’s new Constitution. Article 9 includes language nearly identical to that of the Kellogg-Briand Pact to which many nations are party. “While all provisions of this proposed new constitution are of importance, and lead individually and collectively to the desired end as expressed at Potsdam,” he said, “I desire especially to mention that provision dealing with the renunciation of war. Such renunciation, while in some respects a logical sequence to the destruction of Japan’s war-making potential, goes yet further in its surrender of the sovereign right of resort to arms in the international sphere. Japan thereby proclaims her faith in a society of nations by just, tolerant and effective rules of universal social and political morality and entrusts its national integrity thereto. The cynic may view such action as demonstrating but a childlike faith in a visionary ideal, but the realist will see in it far deeper significance. He will understand that in the evolution of society it became necessary for man to surrender certain rights. . . . The proposal . . . but recognizes one further step in the evolution of mankind. . . . dependent upon a world leadership which does not lack the moral courage to implement the will of the masses who abhor war. . . . I therefore commend Japan’s proposal for the renunciation of war to the thoughtful consideration of all peoples of the world. It points the way — the only way.”
April 6. On this day in 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were assassinated. The evidence points strongly to the U.S.-backed and U.S.-trained war-maker Paul Kagame — later president of Rwanda — as the guilty party. This is a good day to remember that while wars cannot prevent genocides, they can cause them.
April 7. On this day in 2014, Ecuador ordered the U.S. military out of its country. This is a good day on which to demand foreign base closures.
April 8. On this day in 1898, Paul Robeson was born.
April 9. On this day in 1947, first freedom ride, “Journey of Reconciliation,” was sponsored by CORE and FOR.
April 10. On this day in 1998, the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.
April 11. On this day in 1996, the treaty of Pelindaba was signed in Cairo, making Africa a nuclear-free continent and in theory making the entire southern hemisphere a nuclear-free zone.
April 12. On this day in 1935, 60,000 U.S. students went on strike against war.
April 13. On this day in 1917, the United States restricted civil liberties.
April 14. On this day in 1988, Denmark declares its ports nuclear-free.
April 15. On this day in 1967, 200,000 demonstrated in New York and 80,000 in San Francisco, including the first mass draft card burning. Also on this day in 1984, 250,000 people rallied for nuclear disarmament in Australia.
Tax Day in the United States is a good day to protest military spending. This day is on April 15 unless the 15th is a Friday in which case tax day is the following Monday, or if the 15th is on Saturday or Sunday then tax day is on the following Tuesday.
April 16.This is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in Washington, D.C., through compensated emancipation, just as much of the rest of the world ended slavery — without a civil war. Also on this day in 1971 U.S. veterans burned their medals at the White House to protest the war on Vietnam.
April 17. On this day in 1965, the first march on Washington against the war on Vietnam was held.
April 18. On this day in 1997, “Choose Life” plowshares action at Bofors weapons factory in Karlskoga, exporter of arms to Indonesia.
April 19. On this day in 1775, the American Revolution Begins.
April 20. On this day in 1999, Killings at Littleton, Colorado’s Columbine High School take place, where two teenagers killed 12 fellow students, a teacher and themselves — weapons making town
April 21. On this day in 1989, Chinese Students Begin Protests at Tiananmen Square.
April 22.This is Earth Day, and also the birthday of Immanuel Kant.
April 23. On this day in 1968, students at Columbia seize buildings to protest war research & razing Harlem for new gym.
April 24. On this day in 1915, the Armenian Genocide began.
April 25. On this day in 1974 the Carnation Revolution ended military rule in Portugal.
April 26. On this day in 1986 the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in Ukraine, USSR, caught fire. This is a good day to oppose nuclear energy.
April 27. On this day in 1973 the British acting on behalf of the United States completed the eviction of all residents from Diego Garcia and surrounding islands. This is a good day on which to demand that they be given their islands back.
April 28. On this day in 1977 mothers held their first rally for the disappeared in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also on this day in 1915, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was founded at The Hague.
April 29. On this date in 1975, the last Americans hastily fled Vietnam, finally ending the era of, first French, and then U.S.-occupation. This is a good day to celebrate freedom, independence, and anti-imperialism.
April 30. On this day in 1977, 1,415 people were arrested protesting at a nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire. This is a good day to oppose nuclear power.
May 1. May Day is a traditional day to celebrate rebirth in the Northern hemisphere, and — since the 1886 Haymarket incident in Chicago — a day in much of the world to celebrate labor rights and organizing.
Also on this day in 1954 the inhabitants of what was once paradise woke up to two suns and endless radiation sickness for themselves and descendants because the U.S. government tested a hydrogen bomb.
Also on this day in 1971 massive demonstrations were held against the American War on Vietnam. Also on this day in 2003 President George W. Bush ludicrously declared “mission accomplished!” standing in a flight suit on an aircraft carrier in San Diego Harbor as the destruction of Iraq got underway.
Also on that same day in 2003 the U.S. Navy finally gave in to public protest and stopped bombing the island of Vieques.
Also on this day in 2005, the Sunday Times of London published the Downing Street Minutes which revealed the content of a July 23, 2002, meeting of the cabinet of the British government at 10 Downing Street. They revealed U.S. plans to go to war against Iraq and to lie about the reasons why. This is a good day to educate the world about war lies.
May 2. Also on this day in 1968, Poor People’s Campaign March on Washington, DC.
May 3. Also on this day in 1919, Pete Seeger is born in New York City.
May 4. On this day in 1970, the Ohio National Guard killed four students at Kent State.
May 5. On this day in 2002, over 100,000 Israelis demonstrated against occupation and for a Palestinian state.
May 6. On this day in 1944, Gandhi was released from his last imprisonment.
May 7. On this day in 1915, the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine. Germany had publicly advertised in New York prior to the ship’s departure that it would be subject to attack. The ship was known to be carrying troops and weapons to be used against Germany in World War I. When President Woodrow Wilson used the sinking of the Lusitania as grounds for U.S. entry into the war, his Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned in protest. For nearly a century, the U.S. media and history books claimed not to know whether the Lusitania had been carrying weapons, until the wreck of the ship was found and explored. This is a good day to educate the world about war lies.
Mothers Day is celebrated on different dates around the world. In many places it is the second Sunday in May. This is a good day to read the Mother’s Day Proclamation and rededicate the day to peace.
May 8 — March 8. or is it 8 May? Also on this day in 1983, La Ragnatela (Spider’s Web) Women’s Peace Camp created at Comiso, Sicily, Italy, the first overseas site for U.S. cruise missiles.
May 9. On this day in 1944, the President of El Salvador was nonviolently overthrown. This is a good day to plot nonviolent change.
Also on this day in 1994 the First Assembly of Indigenous Initiative for Peace opened in Mexico City.
May 10. On this day in 1984, the International Court ordered the United States to stop mining ports in Nicaragua.
May 11-15. On these days in 1999, civil society held the largest international peace conference in history on the centenary of the First Hague Peace Conference in The Hague, Netherlands.
May 12. On this day in 1623, English colonists held peace talks with Powhatan leaders and poisoned the wine, killing 200 of them.
May 13. On this day in 1846, the U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico. Also on this day in 1968, a strike by students and workers led to a general strike by 10 million in Paris, France.
May 14. Also on this day in1941, first groups of WWII conscientious objectors (COs) ordered to report to camp at Patapsco, Maryland.
May 15. This is Nakba Day, marking the 1948 expelling of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes, and the destruction of hundreds of towns during the creation of the state of Israel.It is also International Conscientious Objectors’ Day.
Also on this day in 1994, a stone commemorating conscientious objectors worldwide was unveiled in Tavistock Square, London.
Also on this day in 1970, the Jackson State Massacre occurred in the United States.
May 16. This is Protest the Armed Forces Day.
May 17. On this day in 1968, nine people burned draft files in Catonsville, Maryland.
May 18. On this day in 1899 the Hague Peace Conference opened.
May 19. Also on this day in 1932, U.S. Congressman Claude Fuller introduces a resolution requiring all Civil Service employees to “sing, write or recite the words to the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’” by memory.
May 20. Also on this day in 1968, Arlington Street Unitarian-Universalist Church in Boston offers sanctuary to Robert Talmanson and William Chase, both wanted for acts of disobedience to military duty.
May 21. Also on this day in 1971, Members of American Indian Movement (AIM) occupy Naval Air Station near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
May 22. On this day in 1838, began the trail of tears that killed thousands of Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw.
May 23. Also on this day in 1838, General Winfield Scott ordered the forced removal of the Cherokee Indians from the East to the “Indian Nation” (what is now Oklahoma). Approximately one forth of the 10,000 died on this cruel march called “The Trail of Tears”.
May 24. This is International Women’s Day for Disarmament.
May 25. On this day in 1932, the Bonus Army of World War I veterans demonstrated in Washington, D.C., and were assaulted with tear gas by Douglas MacArthur.
May 26. On this day in 1637, in the Mystic Massacre, English colonists launched a night attack on a large Pequot village burning and killing all 600 to 700 residents.
May 27. Also on this day in 1992, National plan of Reforestation for Peace begins, El Salvador.
May 28. Also on this day in 1961, Amnesty International founded.
May 29. On this day in 1968, the Poor Peoples Campaign began.
May 30. Also on this day in 1868, Memorial Day first observed when two women in Columbus, MS, placed flowers on both Confederate and Union graves.
May 31. On this day in 1902, the Treaty of Vereeniging ended the Boer War.
June 1. On this day in 1914, 80 militiamen refused to board a train as reinforcements for a U.S. invasion of Mexico.
June 2. On this day in 1939 a German ship full of desperate Jewish refugees sailed close enough to see the lights of Miami, Florida, but was turned away, as President Franklin Roosevelt had blocked all efforts in Congress to admit Jewish refugees. This is a good day on which to remember that justifications for wars are sometimes concocted only after the wars are over.
June 3. On this day in 1967, Conscientious objection was legally recognized in Belgium.
June 4. On this day in 1982, declaration of international Day for Children as Victims of War.
Also on this day in 1939, during what became known as the “Voyage of the Damned,” the SS St. Louis, carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees from Germany, was turned away from the Florida coast. The ship, which was also denied permission to dock in Cuba, eventually returned to Europe; many of the refugees later died in Nazi concentration camps.
June 5. On this day in 1962, the Port Huron Statement was completed.
June 6. On this day in 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was murdered. This is a good day to study what happened.
June 7. On this day in 1893, in his first act of civil disobedience, Mohandas Gandhi refused to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and was forcibly ejected at Pietermaritzburg.
June 8. On this day in 1966, 270 walk out of graduation ceremonies at NYU to protest the presentation of an honorary degree to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Also on this day in 1967, two-thirds of the graduating class of Brown University turn their backs on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the graduation speaker.
June 9. On this day in 1623, the English negotiate treaty with Potomac River tribes; after a toast symbolizing eternal friendship, Chiskiack chief & 200 followers drop dead from poisoned wine.
June 10. On this day in 1963 President John. F. Kennedy spoke in favor of peace at American University.
June 11. On this day in 1880 Jeannette Rankin was born.
June 12. On this day in 1982 one million people demonstrated against nuclear weapons in New York. This is a good day to oppose nuclear weapons.
June 13. On this day in 1971, the Pentagon Papers excerpted in the New York Times, give details of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from the end of World War II to 1968.
June 14. On this day in 1945 the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the compulsory flag salute for school children.
June 15. On this day in 1917, and May 16, 1918, Espionage and Sedition Acts.
June 16. On this day in 1976, the Soweto massacre occurred , 700 children killed for refusing to learn Afrikaans.
June 17. This is International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
June 18. On this day in 1979, the SALT II agreement to limit long-range missiles and bombers was signed by Presidents Carter and Brezhnev.
June 19. This is Juneteenth, marking the day in 1865 when previously enslaved people in Texas learned that they were free.
June 20. This is World Refugee Day.
June 21. On this day in 1749, Father Le Loutre’s War began.
June 22. On this day in 1987, 8,000 peace protesters form 10-mile human chain around U.S. air base, Okinawa, Japan.
June 23. This is United Nations Public Service Day.
June 24. On this day in 1948, president Truman signs the Selective Service Act, creating a registration for all men from ages 18-25.
June 25. On this day in 1918 Eugene V. Debs was arrested for speaking against war. Also on this day in 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed and in 1950 the Korean War begun. Also on this day the battle of Little Bighorn began.
June 26. This is United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
June 27. On this day in 1869 Emma Goldman was born.
Also on this day in 1954, the CIA violently overthrew the government of Guatemala. This is a good day on which to advocate for the abolition of the CIA and of secret agencies.
June 28. On this day in 1914 World War I began and in 2009 a U.S.-backed coup overthrew the government of Honduras. This is a good day to work for the combination of the peace movement with the immigrants (refugees) rights movement.
June 29. On this day in 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court rules that the death penalty — as then employed by the states — is unconstitutional.
June 30. On this day in 1971, first GIs, Fort Hood 3, refuse to be sent to Vietnam (1966) The 29th Amendment to the US Constitution, lowering the voting age to 18 in all elections, was ratified.
July 1. On this day in 1656, first Quakers arrive in America, having come to what will be Boston.
Also on this day in 1917, 8000 anti-war marchers demonstrate in Boston.
July 2. On this day in 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
July 3. On this day in 1859, John Brown arrived in Harper’s Ferry. Also July 3, 1932, Jooss’s Antiwar Dance The Green Table Premieres.
July 4. This is Independence From the United States Day. This is a good day for protest of local U.S. military bases around the world.
July 5. On this day in 2015, in referendum initiated by the Syriza-ANEL government
in Greece, popular vote of 62% called for rejecting an austerity program organized by the Troika (a tripartite committee formed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (EC, ECB and IMF); nevertheless later in July the Syriza government accepted an even more austere version of the troika program.
Also on this day Sojourner Truth and Anne Frank born are born.
July 6. On this day in 1965, students try to block troop trains in Berkeley, CA.
July 7. On this day in 1979, 2,000 Native American activists and anti-nuclear demonstrators march through the Black Hills (South Dakota) to protest the development of uranium mines in sacred lands.
July 8. On this day in 2014, Israel began a 51-day genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.
July 9. On this day in 1955, Einstein, Russell and 7 other scientists warn that choice is between war and human survival.
July 10. On this day in 1987, Greenpeace flagship, The Rainbow Warrior, bombed in New Zealand by French government.
July 11. World Population Day, sponsored by the United Nations to focus attention on population issues.
July 12. On this day in 1817 Henry David Thoreau was born. This is a good day to be civilly disobedient.
July 13. On this day in 1863, Anti-draft riots in NYC, against the implementation of the first wartime draft of U.S. civilian.
July 14. On this day in 1789, the French revolution begun.
July 15. On this day in 1834, the Spanish Inquisition, begun in 1478, is ended.
July 16. On this day in 1945, “Fat Boy,” the first experimental atomic bomb, exploded in Alamogordo, NM.
Also on this day in 1983, in anti-nuclear protest, 10,000 form human chain linking U.S. & Soviet embassies, London, England.
July 17. On this day in 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted establishing the International Criminal Court. This is a good day on which to push for Western powers to be made subject to its jurisdiction and for that jurisdiction to include the supreme crime of war.
July 18. This is Nelson Mandela International Day.
July 19. On this day in 1881, surrender of Sitting Bull & 186 followers, crossing the Canadian border into US; Army breaks its amnesty promise & jails him at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory.
July 20. On this day in 1874, general Custer & first official exploring expedition enters Black Hills with 110 wagons & 1,000 men, in direct violation of treaty of 1868 that barred whites from sacred hills.
July 21. On this day in 1972, George Carlin charged with disorderly conduct & profanity after performing his famous “7 Words” routine at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
July 22. On this day in 1756, Friendly Association for Peace was founded, Philadelphia.
July 23. On this day in 1846 Henry David Thoreau went to jail for refusing to pay his war taxes. Also on this day in 2002, the cabinet of the British government held a meeting at 10 Downing Street, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. They revealed U.S. plans to go to war against Iraq and to lie about the reasons why. This is a good day to educate the world about war taxes and war lies.
July 24. On this day in 1893, Ammon Hennacy was born.
July 25. On this day in 1947, the National Security Act of 1947 is passed by Congress, uniting the armed forces under control of the National Military Establishment, called the Department of Defense.
July 26. On this day in 1948, President Truman ends segregation in the Armed Forces.
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July 28. On this day in 1932, Bonus March happened.
July 29. On this day in 1923 No More War rallies were held in 23 countries.
July 30. This is International Day of Friendship. This is a good day to make or reconnect with a distant friend.
July 31. On this day in 1914 Jean Jaurès was assassinated.
August 1. On this day in 1914, as World War I begins, Harry Hodgkin, a British Quaker and Friedrich Siegmund-Schulte, a German Lutheran pastor, attending a conference in Germany, pledged to continue sowing the “seeds of peace and love, no matter what the future might bring,” germinating the idea of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
August 2. On this day in 1931, Albert Einstein urges all scientists to refuse military work.
August 3. On this day in 1882, congress passes the first law to restrict immigration in the United States.
August 4. On this day in 1912, the United States invaded in Nicaragua.
August 5. On this day in 1963, the U.S., USSR, and Great Britain signed a treaty banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere.
August 6. On this day in 1945, the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing some 140,000 men, women, and children. President Truman went on the radio to justify this as revenge and lie that Hiroshima was a military base rather than a city. This is a very good day to oppose nuclear weapons.
August 7. On this day in 1904, Ralph Bunche born, the first African-American to hold a key position at the State Department, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the 1948 Arab-Israeli truce.
August 8. On this day in 1883, at the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, President Chester Arthur meets with Shoshoni Chief Washaki, becoming the first president to officially visit a Native American tribe.
August 9. On this day in 1945, the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing some 65,000 men, women, and children.
Also on this day in 1974, U.S. President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. U.S. warmaking was considerably scaled back for years to follow. This is a good day to work for an equal rule of law for all and governments accountable to people.
August 10. On this date in 1964, the U.S. Congress and President enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in response to the fraudulent Tonkin Gulf incident in which the Vietnamese allegedly committed an act of aggression against the U.S. ships that were attacking the coast of Vietnam. In reality, the attack did not occur. This is an appropriate day to educate the world about war lies.
August 11. On this day in 1965, riots broke out in the Watts district of Los Angles. — SWAT – militarized police
August 12. On this day in 1995, thousands demonstrate in Philadelphia in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal, on death row since 1982, in the largest anti-death penalty rally in the U.S.
August 13. On this day in 1964, Britain last used the death penalty.
August 14. On this day in 1947, India achieved independence from British rule without a war.
August 15. On this date in 1973, the U.S. conceded defeat and stopped killing Vietnamese, ending a war that had faced the military opposition of the Vietnamese and the activist opposition of much of the U.S. public and the world.
August 16. On this date in 1980, the Solidarity movement was organized in Poland that would go on to nonviolently overturn the government. This is a good day to tell someone to stop saying “resort to violence” and start saying “resort to nonviolence.”
August 17. On this date in 1862, the Dakota War of 1862 began.
August 18. On this date in 1941, almost 4 months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: “The President had said he would wage war but not declare it.” In addition, “Everything was to be done to force an incident.” This is a good date on which to discuss the impossibility of a good war.
August 19. On this day in 1953, the CIA overthrew Iran’s democracy. This is a good day on which to contemplate the disastrous and never-ending consequences — whether unforeseen or deemed unimportant — that predictably result from violent injustice.
August 20. On this day in 1968, a Soviet invasion was met with nonviolent resistance in Czechoslovakia.
August 21. On this day in 1983, Aquino assassinated in the Philippines; hundreds of thousands demonstrate against Marcos.
August 22. On this day in 1934, Smedley Butler was asked to lead a coup against the U.S. government.
August 23. On this day in 1989, A million join hands in a 400 mile chain of resistance to USSR, Baltic states.
August 24. On this day in 1967, Abbie Hoffman & Jerry Rubin throw 300 one-dollar bills from balcony onto floor of New York Stock Exchange, to disrupt business as usual.
August 25. On this day in 1990, UN Security Council declares embargo against Iraq.
August 26. On this day in 1920, U.S. women gained the right to vote.
August 27. This is Kellogg-Briand Day. On this day in 1928, in what was the biggest news story of the year, the major nations of the world gathered in Paris, France, to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact banning all war. The treaty remains on the books today. The day is increasingly being recognized and celebrated as a holiday.
August 28. On this day in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech at the march on Washington.
August 29. This is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests.
August 30. On this day in 1963, “Hot line” telephone link established between Kremlin & White House.
August 31. On this day in 1941, 2000 attend “World Unity or World Destruction” rally, London.
September 1. On this day in 1924 the Dawes Plan went into effect, a financial rescue of Germany that might have prevented the rise of Nazism if begun sooner and made larger or more generous. The Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I had sought to punish the entire nation of Germany, not just the war makers, leading keen observers to predict World War II. That later war was ended with aid to Germany rather than financial punishment, but World War I was followed by the demand that Germany pay through the nose. By 1923 Germany had defaulted on its war debt payments, leading French and Belgian troops to occupy the Ruhr River Valley. The inhabitants engaged in nonviolent resistance to the occupation, effectively shutting industries down. The League of Nations asked American Charles Dawes to chair a committee to solve the crisis. The resulting plan pulled the troops out of the Ruhr, reduced the debt payments, and loaned Germany money from U.S. banks. Dawes was awarded the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize and served as U.S. Vice President from 1925-1929. The Young Plan further reduced Germany’s payments in 1929, but was too little too late to undo the growth of bitter resentment and thirst for revenge. Among those opposing the Young Plan was Adolf Hitler. The Dawes plan, for better or worse, bound European economies to that of the United States. Germany finally paid off its World War I debt in the year 2010. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops remain permanently stationed in Germany.
September 2. On this day in 1945, World War II ended with the Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay. On July 13th, Japan had sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender. On July 18th, after meeting with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, U.S. President Harry Truman wrote in his diary of Stalin mentioning the telegram, and added, “Believe Japs will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland.” That was a reference to the Manhattan Project that created nuclear bombs. Truman had been told for months of Japan’s interest in surrendering if it could keep its emperor. Truman’s advisor James Byrnes told him that dropping nuclear bombs on Japan would allow the U.S. to “dictate the terms of ending the war.” Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was “most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in.” Truman ordered the bombings on August 6th and 9th, and the Russians attacked in Manchuria on August 9th. The Soviets overpowered the Japanese, while the U.S. continued non-nuclear bombing. Experts called the United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that by November or December, “Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” General Dwight Eisenhower had expressed a similar view prior to the bombings. Japan kept its emperor.
September 3. On this day in 1783, the Peace of Paris was made as Britain acknowledged U.S. independence. The governing of the colonies that became the United States shifted from a wealthy white male elite loyal to Britain to a wealthy white male elite loyal to the United States. Popular rebellions by farmers and workers and enslaved people did not lessen after the revolution. The gradual development of rights for the population proceeded to generally keep pace, sometimes outpace a bit, and often lag behind the same development in countries such as Canada that never fought a war against Britain. The Peace of Paris was bad news for Native Americans, as Britain had restricted Western expansion, which now opened up rapidly. It was also bad news for everyone enslaved in the new nation of the United States. Slavery would be abolished in the British Empire considerably earlier than in the United States, and in most places without another war. The taste for war and expansion was, in fact, so alive in the newly formed nation, that in 1812 Congressional talk of how Canadians would welcome a U.S. takeover as liberation led to the War of 1812, which got the new capital city of Washington burned. The Canadians, it turned out, had no more interest in being occupied than would the Cubans, or the Filipinos, or the Hawaiians, or the Guatemalans, or the Vietnamese, or the Iraqis, or the Afghans or the people in so many countries over so many years where U.S. imperial troops have taken on the role of the British redcoats.
September 4. On this day in 1953 Garry Davis established a World Government. He had been a U.S. citizen, a Broadway star, and a bomber in World War II. “Ever since my first mission over Brandenburg,” he later wrote, “I had felt pangs of conscience. How many men, women and children had I murdered?” In 1948 Garry Davis renounced his U.S. passport to become a world citizen. Five years later he created a World Government which signed up nearly a million citizens and issued passports that were often recognized by nations. “The World Passport is a joke, Davis said, “but so are all the other passports. Theirs are a joke on us and ours is a joke on the system.” Davis camped out in front of the United Nations in Paris, disrupted meetings, led rallies, and generated extensive media coverage. Denied entrance to Germany or return to France, he camped on the border. Davis objected to the UN as an alliance of nations designed to use war to end war — a hopeless contradiction. Many years have only seemed to strengthen his case. Do we need to overcome nations to end wars? Many nations don’t make war. Few make it often. Can we create a global government without global scale corruption within it? Perhaps we can begin by encouraging each other to think like Davis when we use words like “we.” Even peace activists use “we” to mean war makers when they say “We secretly bombed Somalia.” What if we were to use “we” to mean “humanity” or more than humanity?
September 5. On this day in 1981, Greenham Peace Camp was established by the Welsh organization “Women for Life on Earth” in Greenham Common, Berkshire, England. Thirty-six women who had walked from Cardiff to oppose the stationing of 96 nuclear cruise missiles delivered a letter to a base commander at RAF Greenham Common Airbase and then chained themselves to the base fence. They established a women’s peace camp outside the base, which they often entered in protest. The camp lasted 19 years until the year 2000, although the missiles were removed and flown back to the United States in 1991-92. The camp did not just eliminate missiles, but also impacted global understanding of nuclear war and weaponry. In December of 1982, 30,000 women joined hands around the base. On April 1, 1983, some 70,000 protesters formed a 23-kilometer human chain from the camp to an ordnance factory, and in December 1983 some 50,000 women encircled the base, cut the fence, and in many cases were arrested. More than a dozen similar camps were modeled on the example of the Greenham Peace Camp, and many others through the years have looked back to this example. Journalists from all over the world for years reported on the camp and the message it promoted. The campers lived without electricity, telephones, or running water, but also without the failure to resist nuclear weapons. Nuclear convoys were blocked and nuclear war practices disrupted. The treaty between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. that removed the missiles echoed the campers in professing itself “conscious that nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences for all mankind.”
September 6. On this day in 1860 Jane Addams was born. She would receive the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize as one of that minority of Nobel Peace Prize winners over the years who actually met the qualifications laid out in Alfred Nobel’s will. Addams worked in many fields toward the creation of a society capable of living without war. In 1898 Addams joined the Anti-Imperialist League to oppose the U.S. war on the Philippines. When World War I began, she led international efforts to try to resolve and end it. She presided over the International Congress of Women in The Hague in 1915. And when the United States entered the war she spoke out publicly against the war in the face of vicious accusations of treason. She was the first leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919 and of its predecessor organization in 1915. Jane Addams was part of the movement in the 1920s that made war illegal through the Kellogg-Briand Pact. She helped found the ACLU and the NAACP, helped win women’s suffrage, helped reduce child labor, and created the profession of social worker, which she viewed as a means of learning from immigrants and building democracy, not as participation in charity. She created Hull House in Chicago, started a kindergarten, educated adults, supported labor organizing, and opened the first playground in Chicago. Jane Addams authored a dozen books and hundreds of articles. She opposed the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and predicted that it would lead to a German war of revenge.
September 7. On this day in 1910, the Newfoundland Fisheries case was settled by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. That court, located in the Hague, resolved a long and bitter dispute between the United States and Great Britain. The example of two heavily militarized and war-prone nations submitting to the rule of an international body and peacefully settling their dispute was widely seen as an encouraging example for the world, and remains such to this day, despite the outbreak four years later of World War I. Within weeks of the settlement, a number of nations submitted cases for arbitration to the Permanent Court, including a dispute between the United States and Venezuela. The actual settlement of the Newfoundland Fisheries case gave both the United States and Britain some of what they had wanted. It allowed Britain to create reasonable regulations for fishing in the waters of Newfoundland, but gave the power to determine what was reasonable to an impartial authority. Would the United States and Great Britain have gone to war in the absence of this arbitration? Likely not, at least not right away, and not over the question of fishing. But had one or both nations desired war for other reasons, fishing rights might have served as a justification. Less than a century earlier, in 1812, somewhat similar disputes had served to justify a U.S. invasion of Canada in the War of 1812. Just over a century later, in 2015, disputes over trade agreements in Eastern Europe were leading to talk of war from the Russian and U.S. governments.
September 8. On this day in 1920, Mohandas Gandhi launched his first non-cooperation campaign. He had followed the Irish campaign for home rule in the 1880s which included a rent strike. He had studied the Russian mass strike of 1905. He had drawn inspiration from numerous sources and created a Passive Resistance Association in India in 1906 to resist new discriminatory laws against Indians. Back in his native, British-occupied India in 1920, on this day, Gandhi won approval by the Indian National Congress for a campaign of nonviolent noncooperation with British rule. This meant boycotting schools and courts. It meant making clothes and boycotting foreign cloth. It meant resignations from office, refusal to support the occupation, and civil disobedience. The effort took many years and advanced by stages, with Gandhi calling it off when people used violence, and with Gandhi spending years in prison. The movement advanced new ways of thinking and living. It engaged in the constructive program of creating self-sufficiency. It engaged in the obstructive program of resisting British operations. It engaged in efforts to unite Muslims with Hindus. Resistance to a salt tax took the form of a march to the sea and the illegal manufacture of salt, as well as attempts to enter an existing salt works, which included brave protesters stepping forward to be violently beaten back. By 1930 civil resistance was everywhere in India. Prison became a mark of honor rather than shame. The people of India were transformed. In 1947 India won independence, but only at the cost of splitting Hindu India from Muslim Pakistan.
September 9. On this day in 1828 Leo Tolstoy was born. His books include War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy saw a contradiction between opposing murder and accepting war. He framed his concern in terms of Christianity. In his book The Kingdom of God Is Within You, he wrote: “Everyone in our Christian society knows, either by tradition or by revelation or by the voice of conscience, that murder is one of the most fearful crimes a man can commit, as the Gospel tells us, and that the sin of murder cannot be limited to certain persons, that is, murder cannot be a sin for some and not a sin for others. Everyone knows that if murder is a sin, it is always a sin, whoever are the victims murdered, just like the sin of adultery, theft, or any other. At the same time from their childhood up men see that murder is not only permitted, but even sanctioned by the blessing of those whom they are accustomed to regard as their divinely appointed spiritual guides, and see their secular leaders with calm assurance organizing murder, proud to wear murderous arms, and demanding of others in the name of the laws of the country, and even of God, that they should take part in murder. Men see that there is some inconsistency here, but not being able to analyze it, involuntarily assume that this apparent inconsistency is only the result of their ignorance. The very grossness and obviousness of the inconsistency confirms them in this conviction.”
September 10. On this day in 1785 the King of Prussia Frederick the Great signed the first post-independence treaty with the United States. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce promised peace but also addressed how the two nations were to relate if one or both were at war, or even if they fought each other, including proper treatment of prisoners and civilians — standards that would forbid most of what war consists of today. “And all women & children,” it reads, “scholars of every faculty, cultivators of the earth, artizans, manufacturers and fishermen unarmed and inhabiting unfortified towns, villages or places, & in general all others whose occupations are for the common subsistence & benefit of mankind, shall be allowed to continue their respective employments, & shall not be molested in their persons, nor shall their houses or goods be burnt, or otherwise destroyed, nor their fields wasted by the armed force of the enemy, into whose power, by the events of war, they may happen to fall; but if any thing is necessary to be taken from them for the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable price.” The treaty was also the first U.S. free trade agreement, although 1,000 pages too short to resemble a modern free-trade agreement. It was not written by or for or about corporations. It included nothing to protect large companies against small ones. It established no corporate tribunals with the power to overturn national laws. It included no prohibitions on national restrictions on business activities.
September 11. On this day in 1900, Gandhi launched Satyagraha in Johannesburg. Also on this day in 1973 the United States backed a coup that overthrew the government of Chile. And on this day in 2001 terrorists attacked in the United States using hijacked airplanes. This is a good day to oppose violence and nationalism and revenge. On this day in 2015, tens of thousands of people in Chile demonstrated on the 42nd anniversary of the coup that put the brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet in power and overthrew the elected president Salvador Allende. The crowd marched to a cemetery and paid tribute to the victims of Pinochet. Lorena Pizarro, leader of a relatives’ rights group, said “Forty years on, we are still demanding truth and justice. We won’t rest until we find out what happened to our loved ones who were arrested and went missing never to return.” Pinochet was indicted in Spain but died in 2006 without being brought to trial. U.S. President Richard Nixon, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and others involved in overthrowing Allende have also never faced trial, although Kissinger, like Pinochet, has been indicted in Spain. The United States provided guidance, weaponry, equipment, and financing for the violent 1973 coup, during which Allende killed himself. Chile’s democracy was destroyed, and Pinochet remained in power until 1988. Some sense of what happened on September 11, 1973, is provided by the 1982 film Missing starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. It tells the story of U.S. journalist Charles Horman who disappeared that day.
September 12. On this day in 1998, the Cuban Five were arrested. Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González were from Cuba and were arrested in Miami, Florida, charged, tried, and convicted in a U.S. court for conspiracy to commit espionage. They denied being spies for the Cuban government, which in fact they were. But no one disputes that they were in Miami for the purpose of infiltrating, not the U.S. government, but Cuban American groups whose purpose was to commit espionage and murder in Cuba. The five had been sent on that mission following several terrorist bombings in Havana planned by former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles, who lived then and for many years to come in Miami without facing any criminal prosecution. The Cuban government gave the FBI 175 pages on Carriles’s role in the 1997 bombings in Havana, but the FBI did not act against Carriles. Rather, it used the information to uncover the Cuban Five. After their arrest they spent 17 months in solitary, and their lawyers were denied access to the prosecution’s evidence. Human rights groups questioned the fairness of the Cuban Five’s trial, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the sentences but later reinstated them. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the case, even as the five became a global cause and national heroes in Cuba. The U.S. government freed one of the five in 2011, one in 2013, and the other three in 2014 as part of a new diplomatic opening toward somewhat normalized relations with Cuba.
September 13. On this day in 2001, two days after planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush made public a letter to Congress saying “Our first priority is to respond swiftly and surely,” and asking for $20 billion. Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguezes’ son Greg was one of the World Trade Center victims. They published this statement: “Our son Greg is among the many missing from the World Trade Center attack. Since we first heard the news, we have shared moments of grief, comfort, hope, despair, fond memories with his wife, the two families, our friends and neighbors, his loving colleagues at Cantor Fitzgerald/ESpeed, and all the grieving families that daily meet at the Pierre Hotel. We see our hurt and anger reflected among everybody we meet. We cannot pay attention to the daily flow of news about this disaster. But we read enough of the news to sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands, dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us. It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son’s death. Not in our son’s name. Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world. But let us not as a nation add to the inhumanity of our times.”
September 14. On this day in 2013, the United States agreed to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons in cooperation with Russia, rather than launching missiles into Syria. Public pressure had been instrumental in preventing the missile attacks. Although those attacks were presented as a last resort, as soon as they were blocked all sorts of other possibilities were openly acknowledged. This is a good day on which to refute the nonsensical claim that wars can never be stopped. In 2015, former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari revealed that in 2012 Russia had proposed a process of peace settlement between the Syrian government and its opponents that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down. But, according to Ahtisaari, the United States was so confident that Assad would soon be violently overthrown that it rejected the proposal. That was prior to the pretended urgency to launch missiles in 2013. When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry publicly suggested that Syria could avoid a war by handing over its chemical weapons and Russia called his bluff, his staff explained he hadn’t meant it. By the next day, however, with Congress rejecting war, Kerry was claiming to have meant his remark quite seriously and to believe the process had a good chance of succeeding, as of course it did. Sadly, no new effort was made for peace beyond the removal of chemical weapons, and the United States went on inching its way into the war with weapons, training camps, and drones. None of that should obscure the fact that peace was possible.
September 15. On this day in 2001, Congresswoman Barbara Lee cast the only vote against giving U.S. presidents a pass to wage the wars that would prove such disasters for years to come. She said, in part, “I rise today really with a very heavy heart, one that is filled with sorrow for the families and the loved ones who were killed and injured this week. Only the most foolish and the most callous would not understand the grief that has really gripped our people and millions across the world. . . . Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet, I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. This is a very complex and complicated matter. Now this resolution will pass, although we all know that the President can wage a war even without it. However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let’s step back for a moment. Let’s just pause, just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control. Now I have agonized over this vote. But I came to grips with it today, and I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful, yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.”
September 16. Beginning on this day in 1982 a Lebanese Christian force called the Phalangists, coordinated and aided by the Israeli military, massacred some 2,000 to 3,000 unarmed Palestinian refugees in the Sabra neighborhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. The Israeli Army surrounded the area, sent in the Phalangist forces, communicated with them by walkie-talkie and oversaw the mass-murder. An Israeli commission of inquiry later found so-called Defense Minister Ariel Sharon to be personally responsible. He was forced to step down, but was not prosecuted for any crime. In fact, he revived his career and became prime minister. Sharon’s first similar crime came when he was a young major in 1953 and he destroyed many houses in the Jordanian village of Qibya, where he was responsible for the massacre of 69 civilians. He called his autobiography Warrior. When he died in 2014 he was widely and oddly honored in the media as a man of peace. Ellen Siegel, a Jewish American nurse, recounted the massacre, in which she saw an Israel bulldozer digging a mass grave: “They lined us up against a bullet-ridden wall, and they had their rifles ready. And we really thought this is—I mean, it was a firing squad. Suddenly, an Israeli soldier comes running down the street and halts it. I suppose the idea of gunning down foreign health workers was something that was not very appealing to the Israelis. But the fact that they could see this and stop it shows that there was—there was some communication.”
September 17. This is Constitution Day. On this day in 1787 the U.S. Constitution was adopted and had not yet been violated. That would come. Many powers given to Congress, including the power to make war, are now routinely usurped by presidents. Chief author of the Constitution James Madison remarked that “in no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture to heterogeneous powers, the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man; not such as nature may offer as the prodigy of many centuries, but such as may be expected in the ordinary successions of magistracy. War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it. In war, the public treasures are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. In war, the honours and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed. It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honourable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.”
September 18. On this day in 1924 Mohandas Gandhi began a 21-day fast in a Muslim home, for Muslim-Hindu unity. Riots were taking place in the Northwest Frontier Province of India that would later become Pakistan. Over 150 Hindus and Sikhs had been killed, and the rest of those populations fled for their lives. Gandhi undertook a 21-day fast. It was one of at least 17 such fasts he would undertake, including two in 1947 and 1948 for same cause, still unfulfilled, of Muslim-Hindu unity. Some of Gandhi’s fasts achieved significant results, as have many other fasts before and since. Gandhi also thought of them as a sort of training. “There is nothing so powerful as fasting and prayer,” he said, “that would give us the requisite discipline, spirit of self-sacrifice, humility and resoluteness of will without which there can be no real progress.” Gandhi also said, “A hartal,” meaning a strike or work stoppage, “brought about voluntarily and without pressure is a powerful means of showing popular disapproval, but fasting is even more so. When people fast in a religious spirit and thus demonstrate their grief before God, it receives a certain response. Hardest hearts are impressed by it. Fasting is regarded by all religions as a great discipline. Those who voluntarily fast become gentle and purified by it. A pure fast is a very powerful prayer. It is no small thing for lakhs of people,” meaning hundreds of thousands, “voluntarily to abstain from food and such a fast is a Satyagrahi fast. It ennobles individuals and nations.”
September 19. On this day in 2013 leaders of WOZA, which stands for Women of Zimbabwe Arise, were arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe, while celebrating the International Day of Peace. WOZA is a civic movement in Zimbabwe which was formed in 2003 by Jenni Williams to encourage women to stand up for their rights and freedoms. In 2006, WOZA decided to also form MOZA or Men of Zimbabwe Arise, which has since then organized men to work nonviolently for human rights. Members of WOZA have been arrested many times for peacefully demonstrating, including at annual Valentine’s Day protests that advance the power of love as preferable to the love of power. Zimbabweans had participated in presidential and parliamentary elections in July 2013. Amnesty International observed high levels of repression prior to the elections. Robert Mugabe, who had been winning dubious elections since 1980, was re-elected president for a five year term, and his party regained majority control of Parliament. In 2012 and 2013, nearly every significant civil society organization in Zimbabwe, including WOZA, had their offices raided, or leadership arrested, or both. Twentieth-century thinking might advise WOZA to resort to violence. But studies have found that, in fact, nonviolent campaigns against cruel governments are over twice as likely to succeed, and those successes are usually much longer lasting. If Western governments can keep their noses out of it, and not use courageous nonviolent activists as tools for installing a Pentagon-friendly president, and if people of good will from around the world can support WOZA and MOZA, Zimbabwe may have a freer future.
September 20. On this day in 1838, the world’s first nonviolent organization, the New England Non-Resistance Society, was founded in Boston, Massachusetts. Its work would influence Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Gandhi. It was formed in part by radicals upset with the timidity of the American Peace Society which refused to oppose all violence. The new group’s Constitution and Declaration of Sentiments, drafted primarily by William Lloyd Garrison, stated, in part: “We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human government… Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind… We register our testimony, not only against all war — whether offensive or defensive, but all preparations for war, against every naval ship, every arsenal, every fortification; against the militia system and a standing army; against all military chieftains and soldiers; against all monuments commemorative of victory over a foreign foe, all trophies won in battle, all celebrations in honor of military or naval exploits; against all appropriations for the defense of a nation by force and arms on the part of any legislative body; against every edict of government requiring of its subjects military service. Hence, we deem it unlawful to bear arms or to hold a military office… ” The New England Non-Resistance Society actively campaigned for change, including feminism and the abolition of slavery. Members disturbed church meetings to protest inaction on slavery. Members as well as their leaders often faced the violence of angry mobs, but always they refused to return the injury. The Society attributed to this nonresistance the fact that none of its members were ever killed.
September 21. This is the International Day of Peace. Also on this day in 1943, the U.S. Senate passed by a vote of 73 to 1 the Fulbright Resolution expressing commitment to a post-war international organization. The resulting United Nations, along with other international institutions created at the end of World War II, has of course had a very mixed record in terms of advancing peace. Also on this day in 1963 the War Resisters League organized the first U.S. demonstration against the war on Vietnam. The movement that grew from there eventually played a major role in ending that war and in turning the U.S. public against war to such an extent that war mongers in Washington began to refer to public resistance to war as a disease, the Vietnam Syndrome. Also on this day in 1976 Orlando Letelier, a leading opponent of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet, was killed, on Pinochet’s order, along with his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. — the work of a former CIA operative. The International Day of Peace was first celebrated in 1982, and is recognized by many nations and organizations with events all over the world every September 21st, including day-long pauses in wars that reveal how easy it would be to have year-long or forever-long pauses in wars. On this day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. This is a good day on which to work for permanent peace and to remember the victims of war.
September 22. On this day in 1961 the Peace Corps Act was signed by President John Kennedy after having been passed by Congress the previous day. The Peace Corps thus created is described in that act as working “to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.” Between 1961 and 2015, nearly 220,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and have served in 140 countries. Typically, Peace Corps workers help with economic or environmental or educational needs, not with peace negotiations or by serving as human shields. But neither are they typically part of plans for war or government overthrow as is often the case with the CIA, USAID, NED, or U.S. personnel working for other acronymed government agencies abroad. How hard, how respectfully, how wisely Peace Corps volunteers work varies with the volunteers. At the very least they show the world unarmed U.S. citizens and themselves acquire a view of part of the outside world — an enlightening experience that perhaps accounts for the presence of many Peace Corps veterans among peace activists. The concepts of peace tourism and citizen diplomacy as means toward reducing the risks of wars have been taken up by peace studies programs and by numerous non-governmental organizations that sponsor foreign exchanges, either in reality or via computer screen.
September 23. On this day in 1973 the United Farm Workers adopted a Constitution including a commitment to nonviolence. Some 350 delegates had gathered in Fresno, California, to approve a Constitution and elect a board and officers for this newly chartered labor union. The event was a celebration of having overcome great odds, and much violence, to form this union of farm workers used to poor wages and intimidation. They’d faced arrests, beatings, and killings, as well as government indifference and hostility, and competition from a larger union. Cesar Chavez had begun the organizing a decade earlier. He popularized the slogan “Yes, we can!” or “Si’ se puede!” He inspired young people to become organizers, many of whom are still at it. They or their students organized many of the great social justice campaigns of the late 20th century. The UFW vastly improved the working conditions of farm workers in California and around the country, and pioneered numerous tactics that have been used with great success ever since, including most famously the boycott. Half the people in the United States stopped eating grapes until the people who picked the grapes were allowed to form a union. The UFW developed the technique of targeting a corporation or politician from numerous angles at once. The farm workers used fasting, human billboards, street theater, civic participation, coalition building, and voter outreach. The UFW recruited candidates, got them elected, and then did sit-ins in their offices until they kept their commitments – a very different approach from making oneself a follower of a candidate.
September 24. On this day in 1963 the U.S. Senate ratified the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, also known as the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty because it banned nuclear explosions above ground or underwater, but not underground. The treaty aimed to and did reduce nuclear fallout in the planet’s atmosphere, which was being created by nuclear weapons testing, particularly by the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. The United States had rendered a number of islands in the Marshall Islands uninhabitable and caused high rates of cancer and birth defects among the inhabitants. The treaty was ratified in the fall of 1963 also by the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. The Soviet Union had proposed a test ban combined with disarmament of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons. It found agreement from the other two on the test ban alone. The U.S. and U.K. wanted on-site inspections for a ban on underground testing, but the Soviets did not. So, the treaty left underground testing out of the ban. In June President John Kennedy, speaking at American University, had announced that the United States would immediately cease nuclear tests in the atmosphere as long as others did, while pursuing a treaty. “The conclusion of such a treaty, so near and yet so far,” said Kennedy months before its conclusion, “would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms.”
September 25. On this day in 1959 U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev met. This was considered a remarkable warming of Cold War relations and created an atmosphere of hope and excitement for a future without nuclear war. Prior to a two-day visit with Eisenhower at Camp David and at Eisenhower’s farm in Gettysburg, Khrushchev and his family toured the United States. They visited New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Des Moines. In L.A., Khrushchev was extremely disappointed when the police told him it would not be safe for him to visit Disneyland. Khrushchev, who lived from 1894 to 1971, came to power after the death of Josef Stalin in 1953. He denounced what he called the “excesses” of Stalinism and said he sought “peaceful co-existence” with the United States. Eisenhower claimed to want the same thing. Both leaders said the meeting was productive and that they believed “the question of general disarmament is the most important one facing the world today.” Khrushchev assured his colleagues he could work with Eisenhower, and invited him to visit the Soviet Union in 1960. But in May, the Soviet Union shot down a U-2 spy plane, and Eisenhower lied about it, not realizing the Soviets had captured the pilot. The Cold War was back on. A U.S. radar operator for the top-secret U-2 had defected six months earlier and reportedly told the Russians everything he knew, but he was welcomed back by the U.S. government. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald. The Cuban Missile Crisis was yet to come.
September 26. This is the UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Also on this day in 1924 the League of Nations first endorsed the Declaration of Rights of the Child, later developed into the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The United States is the world’s leading opponent of the elimination of nuclear weapons, and the world’s sole holdout on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which 196 nations are party. Of course, some parties to the treaty violate it, but the United States is so intent on behaviors that would violate it, that the U.S. Senate refuses to ratify it. The common excuse for this is to mumble something about the rights of the parents or the family. But in the United States, children under 18 can be put in prison for life without parole. U.S. laws allow children as young as 12 to be put to work in agriculture for long hours under dangerous conditions. One-third of U.S. states allow corporal punishment in schools. The U.S. military openly recruits children into pre-military programs. The U.S. president has murdered children with drone strikes and checked their names off a kill list. All of these policies, some of them backed by very profitable industries, would violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child were the United States to join it. If children had rights, they’d have rights to decent schools, protection from guns, and a healthy and sustainable environment. Those would be crazy things for the U.S. Senate to commit to.
September 27. On this day in 1923, in a peace-making victory for the League of Nations, Italy pulled out of Corfu. The victory was decidedly a partial one. The League of Nations, which existed from 1920 to 1946, and which the United States refused to join, was young and was being tested. Corfu is a Greek island, and the dispute there grew out of another partial victory. A League of Nations commission headed by an Italian named Enrico Tellini settled a border dispute between Greece and Albania in a manner that failed to satisfy the Greeks. Tellini, two aides, and an interpreter were murdered, and Italy blamed Greece. Italy bombarded and invaded Corfu, killing two dozen refugees in the process. Italy, Greece, Albania, Serbia, and Turkey began preparing for war. Greece appealed to the League of Nations, but Italy refused to cooperate and threatened to withdraw from the League. France favored keeping the League out of it, because France had invaded part of Germany and didn’t want any precedent set. The League’s Conference of Ambassadors announced terms to settle the dispute that were very favorable to Italy, including a large payment of funds by Greece to Italy. The two sides complied, and Italy withdrew from Corfu. As wider war did not break out, this was a success. As the more aggressive nation largely got its way, this was a failure. No peaceworkers were sent in, no sanctions, no court prosecutions, no international condemnations or boycotts, no multi-party negotiations. Many solutions did not exist yet, but a step had been taken.
September 28. This is St. Augustine’s Feast Day, a good time to consider what’s wrong with the idea of a “just war.” Augustine, born in the year 354, tried to merge a religion opposed to killing and violence with organized mass-murder and extreme violence, thus launching the just-war field of sophistry, which is still selling books today. A just war is supposed to be defensive or philanthropic or at least retributive, and the suffering supposedly being halted or avenged is supposed to be much greater than the suffering that will be inflicted by the war. In reality, war inflicts more suffering than anything else. A just war is supposed to be predictable and to have a high probability of success. In reality, the only thing easy to predict is failure. It is supposed to be a last resort after all peaceful alternatives have failed. In reality there are always peaceful alternatives to attacking foreign nations, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and so on. During a so-called just war, only fighters are supposed to be targeted. In reality, most victims in wars since World War II have been civilians. Killing of civilians is supposed to be “proportionate” to the military value of an attack, but that’s not an empirical standard anyone can be held to. In 2014, a Pax Christi group stated: “CRUSADES, INQUISITION, SLAVERY, TORTURE, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, WAR: Over many centuries, Church leaders and theologians justified each of these evils as consistent with the will of God. Only one of them retains that position in official Church teaching today.”
September 29. On this day in 1795, Immanuel Kant published Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch. The philosopher listed things he believed would be needed for peace on earth, including: “No treaty of peace shall be held valid in which there is tacitly reserved matter for a future war,” and “No independent states, large or small, shall come under the dominion of another state by inheritance, exchange, purchase, or donation,” as well as “No state shall, during war, permit such acts of hostility which would make mutual confidence in the subsequent peace impossible: such are the employment of assassins, … and incitement to treason in the opposing state.” Kant also included a ban on national debts. Other items on his list of steps to get rid of war came close to simply stating, “There shall be no more war,” such as this one: “No state shall interfere with the Constitution or government of another state,” or this one which gets to the heart of it: “Standing armies shall in time be abolished.” Kant opened up a much needed conversation but may have done more harm than good, as he announced that the natural state of men (whatever that means) is war, that peace is something artificial dependent on the peacefulness of others (so don’t abolish your armies too quickly). He also claimed representative governments would bring peace, including to non-European “savages” whom he fantasized as eternally at war.
September 30. On this day in 1946, the U.S.-led Nuremberg trials found 22 Germans guilty of, for the most part, crimes that the United States had and would continue to engage in itself. The ban on war in the Kellogg-Briand Pact was transformed into a ban on aggressive war, with the victors deciding that only the losers had been aggressive. Dozens of aggressive U.S. wars since have seen no prosecutions. Meanwhile, the U.S. military hired sixteen hundred former Nazi scientists and doctors, including some of Adolf Hitler’s closest collaborators, men responsible for murder, slavery, and human experimentation, including men convicted of war crimes. Some of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg had already been working for the U.S. in either Germany or the U.S. prior to the trials. Some were protected from their past by the U.S. government for years, as they lived and worked in Boston Harbor, Long Island, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, and elsewhere, or were flown by the U.S. government to Argentina to protect them from prosecution. Former Nazi spies, most of them former S.S., were hired by the U.S. in post-war Germany to spy on — and torture — Soviets. Former Nazi rocket scientists began developing the intercontinental ballistic missile. Former Nazi engineers who’d designed Hitler’s bunker, designed underground fortresses for the U.S. government in the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Mountains. Former Nazis developed the U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs, and were put in charge of a new agency called NASA. Former Nazi liars drafted classified intelligence briefs falsely hyping the Soviet menace — the justification for all this evil.
October 1. On this day in 1990, the United States backed an invasion of Rwanda by a Ugandan army led by U.S.-trained killers. The U.S. supported their attack on Rwanda for three-and-a-half years. This is a good day to remember that while wars cannot prevent genocides, they can cause them. When you oppose war these days you’ll very quickly hear two words: “Hitler” and “Rwanda.” Because Rwanda faced a crisis in need of police, the argument goes, Libya or Syria or Iraq must be bombed. But Rwanda faced a crisis created by militarism, not a crisis in need of militarism. U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali maintained that “the genocide in Rwanda was one hundred percent the responsibility of the Americans!” Why? Well, the United States backed an invasion of Rwanda on October 1, 1990. Africa Watch (later called Human Rights Watch/Africa) exaggerated and denounced human rights violations by Rwanda, not the war. People not killed fled the invaders, creating a refugee crisis, ruined agriculture, and wrecked economy. The U.S. and the West armed the warmakers and applied additional pressure through the World Bank, IMF, and USAID. Hostility increased between Hutus and Tutsis. In April 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed, almost certainly by U.S.-backed war-maker and Rwandan president-to-be Paul Kagame. The chaotic and not simply one-sided genocide followed that killing. At that point, peaceworkers, aid, diplomacy, apology, or legal prosecutions might have helped. Bombs would not have. The U.S. sat back until Kagame seized power. He would take the war into Congo, where 6 million would die.
October 2. This is International Day of Non-Violence and the day on which Mohandas Gandhi was born in 1869.
October 3. On this day in 1967 the first draft-card turn-in was held by over 1,500 men opposing the U.S. war on Vietnam.
October 4. Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.
October 5. On this day in 1923, Birthday of activist Philip Berrigan.
Also on this day in 1979, 2,000 activists demonstrate against development of uranium mines in Black Hills, South Dakota.
October 6. On this day in 1683, the first German Quakers arrived in Philadelphia on the Concord at the invitation of William Penn.
October 7. On this day in 2001 the United States attacked Afghanistan and began possibly the longest lasting war in U.S. history. This is a good day on which to remember that wars are far more easily prevented than ended.
Also on this day in 1984, 20,000 march against Marcos dictatorship, Manila, Philippines.
October 8. This is the date on the oldest manuscript of Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum est.”
October 9. On this day in 1944 the Dumbarton Oaks Proposal for a postwar peace organization was published.
October 10. On this day in 1990, the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States lied to the U.S. Congress, as coached by the Hill and Knowlton public relations company, that Iraqi soldiers had taken babies out of incubators and left the babies to die. This fiction was used by President George H.W. Bush and members of Congress to justify the first Gulf War. Also on this day in 1991 Women in Black began regular Wednesday vigils against war in Belgrade, Serbia. Also on this day in 2002 Congress authorized President George W. Bush to attack Iraq.
The second Monday in October is Columbus Day, the day the native peoples of the Americas discovered European genocide. This is a good day on which to study history.
October 11. On this day in 1882, Eleanor Roosevelt, drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was born.
October 12. On this day in 1921, the League of Nations achieved its first major peaceful settlement, of the Upper Silesia dispute.
October 13. On this day in 1812, the second wave of U.S. militiamen suddenly remember their “home defense” oath and refused to cross the Niagara river to join the Battle of Queenston Heights. Also on this day in 1922, the United States sent its first representative to the League of Nations, Grace Abbott. Also on this day in 1954 Mordechai Vanunu was born.
October 14. On this day in 1644, William Penn as born.
October 15. On this day in 1969, 2 million people participated in the first moratorium against the war on Vietnam.
October 16. On this day in 1934, the Peace Pledge Union was founded in Britain.
October 17. On this day in 1905, the Czar of Russia conceded many of the demands of a nonviolent resistance movement in Russia. This is a good day to study and practice nonviolence.
October 18. On this day in 1907, the Hague Conventions on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Rules of War were signed.
October 19. On this day in 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested at the Atlanta sit-in at Rich’s Bar.
October 20. On this day in 1917, Alice Paul began a seven-month jail sentence for nonviolently protesting for suffrage.
October 21. On this day in 1837, The U.S. Army wins the Seminole wars in the Florida Everglades by inviting Osceola to a “peace conference”, then jailing him.
Also on this day in 1967, 100,000 march on Pentagon to end Vietnam War, 700 arrested.
October 22. On this day in 1934, the First International Voluntary Service Corps left Europe for India.
October 23. On this day in 1951, four U.S. pacifists distributed literature to Russian solders behind the Iron Curtain.
October 24. This is United Nations Day. This is a good day to push for democratization of the United Nations.
October 25. On this day in 1983, the U.S. Marines attacked the massive threatening leviathan of Grenada.
October 26. On this day in 1905, Norway nonviolently won its independence from Sweden in the Treaty of Karlstadt.
October 27. On this day in 1941, two months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gave a speech in which he falsely claimed that two U.S. ships attacked by German submarines had been innocent of engagement in the war, falsely claimed to have in his possession a Nazi map planning the conquering and division of South America, and falsely claimed to have a Nazi document that planned the elimination of all religion from the earth. This is a good day to study the impossibility of a good war. Also on this day in 1967 Phil Berrigan poured his blood on draft files.
October 28. On this day in 1466, Desiderius Erasmus was born. Also on this day in 1962 Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to de-escalate the Cuban missile crisis. This is a good day on which to remember that talking is preferable to bombing, especially with nuclear bombs.
October 29. On this day in 1983, at Greenham Common in Berkshire, England, 187 women were arrested for cutting two miles of base fence.
October 30. On this day in 1943, Russia and China agreed to a postwar international organization in the Moscow Declaration.
October 31. On this day in 1914, the Women’s Peace Party, the first formal feminist peace organization, was founded at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
November 1. On this day in 1961 the Women Strike for Peace demonstration in the United States was the largest women’s peace action to date.
Australia abolishes peace-time compulsory military training. (1929)
November 2. On this day in 1982 a nuclear freeze referendum in eight U.S. states won the support of 25 percent of U.S. voters.
November 3. On this day in 1950 the UN Uniting for Peace Resolution was passed by the UN General Assembly at Flushing Meadows, NY.
November 4. On this day in 1946 UNESCO was established. Also on this day in 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected U.S. president after secretly and treasonously using George H.W. Bush and William Casey to persuade Iran not to release U.S. hostages while Jimmy Carter was still president.
November 5. On this day in 1855 Eugene V. Debs was born. Also on this day in 1968 Richard Nixon was elected U.S. president after secretly and treasonously sending Anna Chennault to sabotage Vietnam peace talks, campaigning on a nonexistent secret plan for peace, and actually planning to continue the war, as he did once elected. This is a good day to think about who our real leaders are.
November 6. This is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
November 7. On this day in 1949 Costa Rica’s Constitution prohibited a national army. Costa Rica, now using entirely renewable energy, is home to the Interamerican Human Rights Court and the UN University of Peace.
November 8. On this day in 1897 Dorothy Day was born.
November 9. On this day in 1989 the Berlin Wall began to be demolished, symbolizing the ending of the Cold War. This is a good day to remember how fast change can come and how available peace is.
November 10. On this day in 1936 the world’s first peace corps International Voluntary Service for Peace (IVSP) arrived in Bombay led by Pierre Cérésole.
November 11. This is Armistice Day. At 11:00 on this 11th day of the 11th month World War I ended in 1918 — a scheduled end to the war, with the killing and dying pointlessly continuing right up to that moment. This is a good day to ring bells and work for peace.
November 12. On this day in 1921 was “that inspired moment” at the Washington Naval Conference when Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes offered to scrap US battleships. Also on this 1984 the United Nations passed the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace.
November 13. On this day in 1891 the International Peace Bureau was founded in Rome by Fredrik Bajer. Also on this day in 1956 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of buses in Montgomery and throughout Alabama was unconstitutional. Also on this day in 1974 U.S. anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood was killed.
November 14. On this day in 1944 Marie-Marthe Dortel-Claudot proposed the idea of Pax Christi.
November 15. On this day in 1920 the first permanent parliament of the world, the League of Nations Assembly met in Geneva.
Six Jesuit priests murdered by Salvadoran military (1989)
November 17. On this day in 1989 the Velvet Revolution, the peaceful liberation of Czechoslovakia, began with a student march.
November 18. On this day in 1935 the first international sanctions against war went into effect against the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.
November 19. On this day in 1915 Joe Hill was executed but never died. Also on this day in 1948 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was founded.
November 20. On this day in 1815 the Peace Treaty of Paris ended the Napoleonic Wars.
November 21. On this day in 1990 the Cold War ended with the Paris Charter of a New Europe between the U.S., USSR, Europe, and Canada.
November 22. On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was murdered. This is a good day on which to study what happened and perform a related play.
November 24. On this day in 1961 the UN prohibited nuclear weapons.
November 25. This day is the International Day of Protest Against Violence to Women. Also on this day in 1910, Carnegie established the Endowment for International Peace.
November 26. On this day in 1830 Dr. Mary Walker was born.
November 27. On this day in 1945 CARE was founded to feed hungry survivors of World War II.
November 28. On this day in 1950 the Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and South-East Asia was established.
November 29. This is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
November 30. On this day in 1999, a wide coalition of activists nonviolently shut down the WTO meetings in Seattle, Washington. This is a good day for coalition building.
The fourth Thursday in November is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, violating the separation of church and state in order to retell genocide as benevolence.
International Peace Bureau launched, Berne, Switzerland. (1891)
December 2. On this day in 1914 Karl Liebknecht cast the only vote against war in the German parliament.
December 3. On this day in 1997 the treaty banning land mines was signed. This is a good day on which to demand that the remaining few holdout countries sign it.
December 4. Henry Ford’s Peace Ship Oscar II left Hoboken for Europe 1915 to try to stop World War.
December 5. M.L. King’s “Day of Days” Montgomery Bus Boycott began 1955.
December 6. Britain gave Transvaal self-government 1906 in national nonviolent act, after failure of force
December 7. On this day in 1682 the Great Law banned war in Pennsylvania. Also on this day in 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor just as Roosevelt’s cabinet expected.
December 8. On this day in 1941 Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin cast the only vote against U.S. entry into World War II.
Solidarity leader Lech Walesa elected President of Poland. (1990)
December 10. This is Human Rights Day.
December 11. On this day in 1946 UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund was founded.
December 12. On this day in 1982 at Greenham Common in Berkshire, England, 30,000 women chose to “embrace the base,” encircling nine miles “countering violence with love.”
December 13. On this day in 1903 Ella Baker was born.
December 14. On this day in 1910 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was established “to hasten the abolition of international war, that foulest blot on civilization.”
December 15. This is Bill of Rights Day, the day in 1791 on which the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified. This is a good day to attempt to make real, and to expand and update, some of those rights.
December 16. On this day in 1966 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was signed.
December 17. On this day in 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia launched the Arab Spring. This is a good day to organize nonviolent resistance to injustice.
Slavery abolished by 13th amendment. (1865) after other nations and DC did it without a war
December 19. On this day in 1940 singer and song writer Phil Ochs was born.
December 20. This is International Human Solidarity Day, as well as the day in 1989 that the United States attacked Panama.
December 21. On this day in 1940, two weeks shy of a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, China’s Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau’s dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed. This is a good day to consider that wars between two armed parties, like the Tango, take two.
December 22. On this day in 1847, Congressman Abraham Lincoln challenged President James Polk to provide evidence that Mexico had actually attacked the United States, rather than the other way around. Polk never did, but he had indeed launched a war and stolen half of Mexico, incorporating it into the United States.
December 23. On this day in 1947 President Truman pardoned 1,523 of 15,805 World War II draft resisters.
Costa Rica withdraws from League of Nations to protest US Monroe Doctrine. (1924)
December 25. This is Christmas, traditionally a holiday of peace for Christians. On this day in 1776, George Washington led a surprise night crossing of the Delaware River and pre-dawn raid on unarmed hung-over-from-Christmas troops still in their underwear — a founding act of violence for the new nation. Also on this day in 1875 Jessie Wallace Hughan, founder of the War Resisters League, was born. Also on this day in 1914, soldiers on both sides of the trenches of World War I took part in a Christmas Truce. This is a good day to work for peace on earth.
December 26. On this day in 1872 Norman Angell was born.
December 27. On this day in 1993 Belgrade Women in Black held a New Year protest.
December 28. On this day in 1991 the Philippines ordered the United States out of its country. This is a good day on which to demand the closure of foreign bases.
December 29. On this day in 1890 in the Wounded Knee Massacre, the U.S. military killed 130-250 Sioux men, women, and children. This is a good day on which to marvel at how nations like Germany and Japan memorialize their worst history but the United States ignores its bloody origins and traditions. Also on this day in 1996 a Guatemalan Peace Agreement brokered by the UN ended 36 years of war.
Tuskeegee Institute reported that 1952 was the first year in 71 years of record keeping that no one was lynched in the United States. (1952)
new year’s resolutions time
Please send additions and corrections to this calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for additions of items to this calendar goes to: Darlene Coffman, David McReynolds, Richard Kane, Phil Runkel, Jill Greer, Jim Gould, Bob Stuart, Alaina Huxtable. And to this resource which we recommend: http://www.sanantoniopeace.center/peace-and-justice-history/