Even in its first year, Friends Journal remembered the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ten years earlier. As might be expected, there was a lot written about the Vietnam War and opposition to it during the 1970s, mostly from the perspective of protesters.
August 27, 1955
“The Terror of History” (excerpt), an unsigned Friends Journal editorial
In this country the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima was perhaps best commemorated by the somber mood in which the public has looked back upon events of that fateful August 6, 1945. The arrival of the Hiroshima Maidens this spring, surrounded by a wave of genuine and active sympathy, had the accusing effect of an embassy from the terror of history itself. Their brave and naturally amiable conduct, far from soothing our psychological pains, accentuated them, and none of us was left in the state of complacent spectatorship. Such sensations came to us in part because the future is ever present in our minds. Norman Cousins, the courageous initiator of the Maidens’ visit, writes from Hiroshima in the Saturday Review of August 6 that the Japanese also are aware that the I945 bomb “was like a pea-shooter alongside the new hydrogen weapons.” This knowledge they share with us and all mankind, and its emotional essence may yet prove to be more constructive than fear usually is apt to be.
December 1, 1970
“I Keep Thinking About a Young Policeman” (excerpt), by Frances Evans Layer
I joined a demonstration at the post office the morning of April 15. Cars were coming by with people who were mailing their tax returns. We tossed our leaflets in the cars or handed them to people. The leaflets stressed that more than two-thirds of our federal taxes go for war.
One woman accepted a leaflet. When she saw what it was, she thrust it back at me angrily. “I have a son in Vietnam,” she screamed. “Keep your leaflet!” I dropped back; the force of her rage made me feel ill. Oh, how peaceworkers wish the mothers of sons in Vietnam would understand we are not against their sons. We honor and sympathize with them. What we oppose is the war system. We feel their sons are the victims of this barbarous system. Can we never communicate our concern and sympathy for the sons in Vietnam?
Since I am timid, why do I take part in demonstrations? Well, I talk about being for peace—and must one not act and witness, as well as talk? A. J. Muste said you have to speak with your whole being. We say we love our children and our grandchildren, but what does that mean unless we try to build a better world for them—a world without war, racism, poverty, injustice?
Poem, August 1995