Within days of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, AFSC and other religious organizations called on President Truman to ban nuclear weapons completely. Since then, tens of thousands of people have worked with AFSC to halt weapons testing, arms acceleration, and the spread of nuclear technology. 

Large-scale campaigns to prevent nuclear annihilation began in the 1950s—when the Committee for SANE Nuclear Policy (co-founded by AFSC) focused popular energy on a test ban treaty. Anti-nuclear efforts peaked with the No Nukes and Nuclear Freeze movements of the 1970s and 80s. During the mid-70s, AFSC played a key role in teaching nonviolent resistance to the Clamshell Alliance, which stopped the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire, and to the Abalone Alliance in California. The movement brought the nuclear power industry to a near standstill. 

Over time policy makers responded to public pressure about weapons, as well. After millions of people marched for disarmament in New York City in 1982, cities and municipalities passed thousands of local freeze resolutions, and polls showed that 72 percent of Americans supported a nuclear freeze. The Reagan administration responded by beginning disarmament negotiations with Soviet President Gorbachev. However, nine nations still have arsenals totaling approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons, many of them magnitudes more powerful than the original A-bombs. The struggle for a non-nuclear future continues.

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  • Three women in traditional Japanese clothing sitting together
    In 1955, AFSC helped sponsor the journey of the “Hiroshima Maidens,” 25 Japanese women who came to the U.S for medical treatment and to speak about the horrific effects of the atomic bomb.
  • Flyer calling for an end to nuclear bomb testing
    AFSC’s concern for limiting nuclear weapons helped lead to the formation of the Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy, the most active disarmament group of the 1950s and ’60s
  • Two lines of people march, holding large signs calling for nuclear disarmament and social justice
    In 1976, AFSC co-sponsored the Continental Walk for Disarmament and Social Justice. A companion walk in Hawaii mirrored those concerns.
  • Large crowd of people with signs demanding the closure of nuclear weapons production facilities
    In 1974, AFSC staff members Pam Solo and Judy Danielson launched the Rocky Flats Action Group, which organized rallies demanding the closure of a major nuclear weapons production facility near Denver.
  • A protester wearing a gas mask and a hazardous materials suit holds a sign that reads, "No more Holocausts: Chicago mobilization for survival"
    A Rocky Flats demonstrator protests the nuclear plant’s decades of leaks, fires, contamination, and other hazardous practices.
  • Group of protesters march together on a road through tall grass holding signs with messages against nuclear power plant construction
    Almost 2,000 people occupied the construction site of the Seabrook nuclear power plant in April 1977. AFSC staffer Sukie Rice trained the Clamshell Alliance, or “Clams,” in nonviolent direct action. Photo: Lionel Delevingne
  • Circle of protesters with arms wrapped around one another, standing in a field.
    Although the Abalone Alliance was unable to block construction of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, they raised public awareness of its dangers and educated people about building nonviolent movements. Photo: Jessica Collett courtesy FoundSF
  • Group of protesters sanding in a street holding a sign written in both Japanese and English, "Nuclear weapons convention now! Nuclear free world for children."
    The 2015 Peace and the Planet mobilization, co-sponsored by AFSC, filled the streets of New York City, demonstrating ongoing opposition to nuclear arms and energy.