Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Clayton Koppes


Korean War, American, Politics


Very little has been written on the peace movement during the Korean war. Historian Joseph Conlin assessed the period and concluded that "when hostilities with North Korean troops commenced in 1950, the American antiwar movement stood at its nadir." Lawrence Wittner's fine book Rebels Against War is devoted to the American peace movement from 1941 to 1960. Yet out of this book's 300- odd pages, less than three concern the movement during the Korean war- and most of this discussion is focused on those elements in the movement which supported the war. This is typical of the major secondary sources on the American peace movement.

It is certainly true that the Korean war met with surprisingly little public resistance, especially initially. Republicans joined Democrats in applauding Truman's decision to intervene. More surprisingly, a number of traditionally pacifist individuals, organizations and periodicals endorsed the war, including some that had not supported World War Two. Prominent in this category were Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party, Dwight MacDonald and the Progressive.

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