The Emergency Peace Campaign was initiated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in late 1935 to rally peace, religious, labor, African-American, and student groups to halt the United States' impending involvement in the war in Europe and to promote world peace. This high- profile organization announced its start on a nationwide radio broadcast featuring Eleanor Roosevelt and the leader of the British Labor Party, George Landsbury.
Charles P. Taft, II served as honorary chairman of the "Neutrality Campaign," which focused on the need for neutrality legislation and the costs of neutrality in the event of a major war abroad. With Admiral Richard E. Byrd as honorary chairman, the "No-Foreign-War Crusade" called for limiting the use of the military to defending U.S. territory rather than protecting commercial interests abroad. The Campaign organized public meetings throughout the country which featured well-known speakers, including British peace leaders along with ministers, educators, and peace leaders from across the United States. The organization also had an active Youth Section.
The Emergency Peace Campaign was planned originally as a two-year campaign; after joint meetings with the National Peace Conference, the Emergency Peace Campaign ceased at the end of 1937, giving the National Peace Conference stronger administrative powers to formulate and promote a definite peace program.
The material in this collection includes minutes, reports of field workers and peace caravans, correspondence, financial records, pledges of abstinence from war, publications, clippings, local peace council materials, and files of five of the Campaign's twenty area offices (Kansas City, New York City, St. Louis, Chicago, and Michigan). The Emergency Peace Campaign collection is valuable for studying the isolationist attitudes and efforts preceding World War II.