By Ellen Creager

Knight Ridder Newspapers


As the clock ticks down on the Iraq conflict, thousands are calling loudly for peace. But the anti-war movement wasn’t born yesterday. When did it start?

“I think it was the 1980s,” says Elena Smith, 22, of Dearborn, Mich.

“No, it was earlier,” says her friend Chris Smathers, 20, of Riverview, Mich. “I’d say 1966.” Their answers are _ no, wait. You guess.

To find out smart you are about anti-war protests and peace movements, take this quick quiz. Guess before you look at the answer. Then score yourself with the scoring guide below.

A hint. The current Iraq situation may be the first time anti-war forces have mobilized via Internet, but as long as there have been wars, there have been those opposed.

Detroiter Phyllis Miller, 18, guesses that wars have been protested since the 1920s. Her friend Kevin Curtis, 18, is positive it started earlier, “at least in the early 1900s,” the Detroiter says. The reality may surprise you. TEST YOURSELF

1. Sixty thousand college students went on a nationwide strike against war, and 20,000 paraded in New York City against war. What year?

Answer: 1935. The 1930s, not the 1960s, was the first time college students became a strong voice in advocating for peace.

2. What American conflict besides the Vietnam War was so unpopular that a broad section of the public rose up against it?

Answer: Every war has inspired anti-war protest, but the War of 1812, in which young America declared war on Britain and tried to invade Canada, was roundly opposed. Bankers, merchants, ministers, politicians, the press and others rose in loud opposition, and the government had trouble getting anyone to sign up to fight.

3. What conflict inspired the words, “Often the message of protesters is contradicted by history”?

Answer: The current one. President George W. Bush’s spokesman Ari Fleischer said it Feb. 18 while dismissing the importance of massive global protests against U.S. war with Iraq.

4. When did the concept of a “just war” take hold?

Answer: In the 5th century, St. Augustine of Hippo came up with the idea that the defense of a community was OK but violence on one’s own behalf was wrong. The idea has been elaborated on over the centuries to include several criteria, the main one being that war should be a last resort.

5. What famous Greek play has an anti-war theme?

Answer: “Lysistrata,” in which women band together and refuse to have sex with their husbands until the men stop fighting the Peloponnesian War. It was written by Aristophanes 2,413 years ago.

6. In the 17th century a group formed that opposed all war. It still exists. What is it?

Answer: The Society of Friends (Quakers).

7. What happened to those who refused to fight in the American Revolution because of pacifist beliefs?

Answer: They were often fined or had property confiscated. In later wars, men who refused to fight have been imprisoned.

8. What year was the first big anti-war organization founded in the U.S.?

Answer: 1815. The New York Peace Society was born of the strong sentiment against the War of 1812. The movement evolved into the national American Peace Society, and the first International Peace Congress was held in London in 1843.

9. When was the first alternative service law for conscientious objectors passed by Congress?

Answer: 1864.

10. Today’s celebrities are prominent in anti-war efforts. Name at least one famous person from the late 1800s and early 1900s who publicly spoke out against war.

Answer: There were many, but notable are Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, attorney Clarence Darrow, social reformer Jane Addams, Democratic party leader William Jennings Bryan, writer Mark Twain and industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

11. Who was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. involvement in both World War I and World War II?

Answer: Rep. Jeannette Rankin, R-Mont. The first woman to be elected to Congress was a lifelong pacifist.

12. What was the famous slogan of the War Resisters League, founded in 1923?

Answer: “Wars will cease when men refuse to fight.”

13. What year was the first rally against the Vietnam War?

Answer: 1964. Peace accords between the United States, North and South Vietnam and the Communist National Liberation Front in South Vietnam weren’t signed until 1973, and fighting did not stop until 1975.

14. When was war outlawed by 62 nations?

Answer: In the Pact of Paris of 1928, 62 nations, including the United States, signed a pact that outlawed war as a solution to international problems. Obviously, it did not stick.


Count how many answers you got right:

11-14: Good job; you realize everything old is new again. Peace.

6-10: Not bad. You realize some things DID happen before you were born.

0-5: Go away and don’t come back until you have read “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More: The Story of America’s Peace Seekers” by Milton Meltzer (Random House, $5.99).

(c) 2003, Detroit Free Press.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.