Organizing for Peace: Neutrality, the Test Ban, and the Freeze

Organizing for Peace: Neutrality, the Test Ban, and the Freeze

Organizing for Peace: Neutrality, the Test Ban, and the Freeze

Organizing for Peace: Neutrality, the Test Ban, and the Freeze

Synopsis

Organizing for Peace skillfully compares and analyzes the three major campaigns of the peace movement in the United States since World War I - the Emergency Peace Campaign (1936-1937), the Atomic Test Ban Campaign (1957-1963), and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign (1979-1986). Kleidman shows how the campaigns organizational dynamics shaped their rise, course, fall, and impact both on public policy and on the peace movement itself. But as Kleidman points out, the three groups failed despite widespread mobilization and intense activism. Combining careful historical research with insights from contemporary social movement theory, this book sheds new light on the campaigns and the peace movement, as well as on key aspects of social movement organizations, cycles, and trends. Particularly valuable for policy and analysis is Kleidman's framework of organizational tensions. Social scientists and historians, particularly students and scholars of social movements and peace movements, will value the policy implications and analytical rigor of this book.

Excerpt

Throughout the twentieth century, the American peace movement has sustained major cycles of public attention and support, with the peaks taking the form of campaigns initiated by established peace leaders and organizations and focusing on limited but critical goals. in 1936 the leaders of the two major wings of the movement, pacifist and liberal-internationalist, joined amid growing international tensions to launch the Emergency Peace Campaign (EPC) in support of United States neutrality. the epc, working with labor and other organized constituencies, held hundreds of meetings in cities and on college campuses around the nation, sponsored national radio addresses by prominent figures, and lobbied Congress with some effect. the epc ended after two years when the sponsoring coalition split. With war approaching, most liberal-internationalists abandoned neutrality and embraced collective security with the Allies. Pacifists who continued to promote neutrality found themselves, to their distress, on the same side of a still strong but declining cause as right-wing isolationists.

In 1957 the atomic test ban campaign pulled the peace movement out of its Cold War, McCarthy-era doldrums. Reports of the spread of radioactivity from atmospheric tests had raised public fears; the decline of McCarthyism and the end of the Korean War had created some political space. the leaders of the established peace groups, in coalition, created two new organizations to spearhead an anti-testing campaign. One was sane, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. For six years sane led public protest against testing and the nuclear arms race. This campaign helped produce the 1963 limited test ban treaty, which banned atmospheric testing but permitted underground testing. Although this treaty did not end the arms race, it calmed pub-

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