Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Antiwar and Radical History Project – Pacific Northwest
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Demonstration at the Selective Service Center in Seattle, 1968, to protest the draft and the indictment of Dr. Benjamin Spock, convicted of advocating draft refusal. (Courtesy of Fred Lonidier's Draft Resistance-Seattle photo collection. Copyright (c) Fred Lonidier.)

Seattle General Strike Project

Visit our sister project with oral histories, documents, essays, videos, and slide shows about the Seattle General Strike of 1919.

Northwest Antiwar Activism: A Brief History

by Jessie Kindig

United States history has been marked by a series of wars, foreign policy excursions, and military interventions into other countries. Any history of social and political movements in America must engage with the various ways that people questioned, protested, and dealt with these wars. Sometimes, as during the Vietnam War, protest exploded with tremendous force; in other times, there seemed to be a public consensus supportive of the war, as during World War II. But the fact of war produces many complexities, and so even in the absence of a recognizable antiwar movement, Americans in wartime dealt with restricted civil liberties, racially targeted sections of the population, and the tension of being asked to fight and sacrifice for a war that sometimes didn't seem worth the cost.

The Pacific Northwest, home to a vast array of military installations as well as the nation's premier aircraft and shipbuilding industries, felt keenly the effects of war, and its residents often questioned, marched, and demonstrated their opposition to wartime's many faces.

This five-part illustrated history, written by Jessie Kindig, provides an overview of regional and national antiwar experiences. Each brief chapter introduces related essays, photo and document collections.