For over 50 years, Peace Action has challenged the extreme militarism of U.S. foreign policy, and worked to create a new foreign policy that is based on peaceful support for human rights and democracy. For a more detailed history, see the history of the National Peace Action organization, written by Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History emeritus, SUNY/Albany.
Peace Action originated with the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (better known as SANE) in 1957. Through the late 50s and into the early 60s, SANE brought together influential people to propose a change in the country’s nuclear testing policy. In 1958 and 1963 due to public outcry and the participation of SANE members, the US and Soviet Union agreed to ban portions of nuclear testing. After the successful treaty campaigns, SANE mobilized to oppose the US involvement in Vietnam and then later in support of SALT II.
In 1979, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign was formed with the help of defense and disarmament researcher Randy Forsberg in order to unite peace groups around a single goal. By 1982 Freeze had been able to assemble nearly a million protesters in support of disarmament and an end to weapons testing. Freeze was later instrumental in pushing for the INF Treaty of 1987 and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1992.
Peace Action (1993-present)
After the successful treaty campaign of 1992, the movements of SANE and FREEZE joined forces under the single entity Peace Action. Since 1993, Peace Action has worked tirelessly to end the militarization of the United States and its economy. From the national Peace Action movement numerous state and regional chapters were created to mobilize local activists and leaders – one of the most important being Peace Action New York State. Through Peace Action New York State, Peace Action National has been able to utilize the enormous resources the population of New York offers.