Born out of resistance to World War I, AFSC has spent a century challenging the impulse toward militarism and violence. From the Peace Caravans of the 1920s to our current Humanize, Not Militarize art and activism project, we have promoted the vision that peace is achievable only by cooperation and caring for the needs of all humanity.

Through two world wars and many regional conflicts, AFSC has argued for dialogue and diplomacy and exposed the human and financial costs of resorting to military force. Our influential 1955 work, “Speak Truth to Power,” identified many of the roots of conflict—poverty, colonialism, and injustice—and laid out clear alternatives to the mass violence used for centuries to resolve international disputes. We have continued to build on that understanding, exposing the ways that militaristic attitudes affect policing, schools, prisons, and other aspects of community life.

As we approach our second century, we are committed, more than ever, to the vision of a nonviolent, secure, and sustainable world, rooted in love and equality.

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  • Cover of a publication by AFSC with a photo of a boy talking to a man and the quotation "Daddy--Must I be cannon-fodder when I grow up?"
    Between the two world wars, AFSC promoted a nonviolent response to world events.
  • Young man stands next to a car while another man sits in the car. The car has a banner on the side for supporting the 1932 disarmament conference.
    From the 1920s to the ‘40s, AFSC trained thousands of young men and women to travel across the country in Peace Caravans speaking door-to-door, in community settings, and on their own radio programs.
  • Photograph of a billboard that reads "Never again! Save sons and dollars."
    As war encroached in 1938, AFSC’s emergency peace campaign included billboards such as this one in Santa Ana, California. It turned WWI jingoism on its head and presciently warned “Never again!”
  • Group of young adults sits and stands together on a lawn, under a tree, with a building in the background.
    In the shadow of the Cold War, AFSC sponsored Institutes for International Relations that brought young people together to hear about the “political, economic, social, and religious aspects of peace.”
  • Cover of a publication by AFSC titled "speak truth to power."
    This 1955 publication was the fourth in a series by AFSC exploring alternatives to war. It asserted, “Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys…” and added a new phrase to the popular lexicon.
  • Cover of a film featuring a photograph of a group of people talking with one another.
    AFSC’s “Speak Truth to Power” inspired a 1962 film about the threat of nuclear war, featuring Hollywood luminaries such as John Raitt and James Whitmore.
  • Group of people seated on the sidewalk, heads bowed in prayer, while one woman stands, holding a sign that reads "Quaker Meeting for Worship for peace in Vietnam."
    During the Vietnam War, we used silent worship as one form of protest against militarism.
  • People examine a bar graph and pie chart displayed on the lawn in front of a state government building.
    In 1986, our giant graphics on the lawn of the Vermont State House revealed that 54 cents out of every tax dollar went to the military.
  • Group of people hold large banners displaying the cost of the Iraq War.
    During the Iraq War, we commissioned economists to calculate the social trade-offs for the $720 million spent each day on the war.
  • Group of people hold a large banner displaying the percentage of the U.S. discretionary budget spent on the military.
    We continue to illuminate the startling percentage of the federal discretionary budget allocated to the military.
  • Group of young adults stand in front of government buildings.
    Participants in the “If I Had Trillion Dollars” video festival raised concerns with their Representatives about the impact of military spending on their lives.
  • Man holds a banner that reads "To stop governing under the influence."
    During the 2016 presidential campaign, we have asked candidates if they will continue to let excessive corporate influence expand our country’s military machine.
  • Poster displays the word "De-militarize."
    Our Humanize, Not Militarize campaign uses poster art and video to address the ways in which the culture of militarism affects every aspect of our lives.