American League for Peace and Democracy

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The American League Against War and Fascism was a Comintern[1] affiliate organization formed in 1933 by CPUSA and pacifists united by their concern as Nazism and Fascism rose in Europe. It published "The FIGHT against War and Fascism" broadsheet.

Henry F. Ward, a Methodist minister and chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union, became chairman of the League. Communist publications were widely distributed throughout churches. It was a major campaign by the CPUSA to infiltrate the churches and enlist church members into the League.

Reverend Hermann F. Reissig of the League stated that church members had the duty 'neither to commend nor to vindicate religious beliefs or organizations. Our function is to use religious forces in the defense of the masses of people."

The executive committee which did actually planning was known as the National Bureau. On 9 August 1935 the Bureau issued a plan targeting trade unions and religious groups for special attention. Roman Catholics were the first target. The plans targeted the International Association of Catholic Alumni, League of Catholic Men, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Association for International Peace, and various Catholic women's groups. Jewish religious, cultural, fraternal and Zionist groups also were listed as targets. Among Protestants, attention was to be given to the YMCA ministerial associations, local parishes, and adherents of the Lutheran and Reformed faiths, 'because of their German traditions and friendships.' "

By 1935 the League claimed membership of 3,291,906 Americans, which rose and to 7,836,691 by the outbreak of the European war in 1939. There were actual number of dues paying members was about 20,000. The League claimed 241 affiliated groups, eighty of them being in New York City.

In 1937 it became the American League for Peace and Democracy. Helen Silvermaster was associated with this group.[2]

The League dissolved after the signing of the Hitler-Stalin pact in 1939. Its communist elements then influenced the founding of the American Peace Mobilization front.

See also


  1. Revised Reds, Time, September 4, 1939
  2. Nathan Silvermaster Group, Investigation reports, FBI

External links