American Peace Crusade (APC)

American Peace Crusade (APC)


* Anti-war group in the 1950s
* Protested American involvement in Korean War
* Was designated as a Communist front organization in 1951
* Disestablished in 1956

The American Peace Crusade (APC) was founded by the Communist Party in 1951 to follow and promote the Communist Party line during the Korean War, when APC served as the U.S. branch of the World Peace Council. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson denounced the APC as a Communist front organization.

To make its case that America’s involvement in the Korean War (1950-53) was immoral and unjust, the APC distributed widely Howard Fast’s Korean Lullaby, a fourteen-page pamphlet containing three passionately anti-war poems written by Fast, a member of the Communist party. In one of the poems, Fast gave voice to the thoughts of a young Jewish American soldier who likened his own role in Korea to that of a Nazi storm trooper of the World War II era: “I was brave, and asked no questions, and never asked to know what I, a Jew and kin to those six million whom Hitler slew, was doing here, in this strange land [Korea], making a desert and a graveyard of this sunny place where people lived and worked — and never asked what good dead children did in freedom’s struggle.” Vietnam War poet W. D. Ehrhart writes of the pamphlet: “…[Fast] argues that the war is really being fought by Western capitalists to fuel the economy and stave off depression, and he puts ‘free world’ in quotes to make sure we get his point.” This was precisely the APC perspective on the War.

Other notable Communist members of the APC were folk singer Pete Seeger, civil rights activist W.E.B. Dubois, and actor Paul Robeson.

The American Peace Crusade was associated with American Veterans for Peace (AVP), which was founded in June 1951 to oppose American participation in the Korean War, support improved relations with the Soviet Union, and promote a leftist social agenda. The APC also worked closely with the National Council of American Soviet Friendship (NCASF), a Communist front composed mostly of professionals who were sympathetic to Soviet socialism and consistently supported American disarmament movements.

At one time, APC had active chapters in numerous cities including Chicago, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, and San Diego.

The American Peace Crusade was disestablished in 1956.

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