From Margin to Mainstream: American Peace Movements, 1950s - 1970s


  • Natalie Atkin



America, Peace Movements, 1950s-1970s, Vietnam Era, Post-World War Two, Social History


This article explores recent histories of the post-World War II American peace movement. Divided into three sections, it considers the movement immediately following World War Two to the early 1960s, the Vietnam-era movement, and the movement from the end of Vietnam to 1980. The first period includes literature on various peace groups such as the War Resisters League and campaigns against nuclear testing. The scholarship on the Vietnam period is the largest. Topics include women in the antiwar movement, protest in different parts of the United States, the role of the media, and draft resistance among a host of other areas. The post-Vietnam era is the shortest; it focuses on the peace movement's redirection to nuclear disarmament. This article maintains that the American peace movement underwent a transformation, moving from the political margins to the social and political mainstream, increasing its visibility and influence.