A Call to Action

“War or Peace with North Korea?”
An Olympics Truce Campaign
February and March 2018

Of all the dangers the reactionary Trump administration poses, the most immediately devastating would be another war with North Korea. Such a war would almost certainly go nuclear, with catastrophic loss of life. President Trump’s bluster and instability, matching that of the North Korean president, pose a constant risk of a tense situation getting completely out of control. The public needs to weigh in on the need for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. Peaceful options exist, and they need to be brought to the forefront of public discussion.

Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD) has joined a large coalition of national peace and justice organizations in calling for a multi-faceted campaign of teach-ins, forums, debates, roundtables, film showings, and political actions—on campus and in the community—to raise consciousness about the danger of war and the options for peace.. We want these events to raise the question “Korea: What Are the Options?”

The fact that the Winter Olympics (February 9-25) and the Paralympics (March 9-16) are to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, offers a unique opportunity to use the ancient tradition of an Olympic Truce to achieve peaceful resolution of the U.S.-North Korean confrontation. Already the occasion of the Olympics has reduced tensions, as North and South Korea have reinstituted dialogue, and planned US-South Korean military exercises are suspended. However, without public awareness and pressure, these steps will become just a short-lived peaceful interlude.


Please visit our Korea/Olympic Campaign page


New Principles of Unity
For the New Historians for Peace
and Democracy, June, 2017

At a meeting on the evening of Friday, January 3, 2003, at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago, historians from more than forty colleges and universities agreed to form a new national network, “Historians Against the War.” A committee was appointed to draft the following statement, which has been circulated for other historians to sign.

We historians call for a halt to the march towards war against Iraq. We are deeply concerned about the needless destruction of human life, the undermining of constitutional government in the U.S., the egregious curtailment of civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad, and the obstruction of world peace for the indefinite future

In April 2017, members of Historians Against the War ratified the following new policy statement that addresses the perilous times we inhabit since Donald Trump’s election. It announces that HAW will focus on integrating our work against the dangers of war abroad with threats to democracy at home by defending civil liberties for all, countering “alternative facts” and triumphalist narratives, and challenging militarism in all its aspects.

Historians Against the War was formed in January 2003 to oppose the Bush Administration’s drive for a pre-emptive, illegal invasion of Iraq. We participated actively in the antiwar movement of the Bush years, and we continued to challenge U.S. foreign policy and extended support for Palestinian human rights in the Obama era. Now, with the ascent of an extreme rightwing administration contemptuous of constitutional norms, we have a new mission: to stand up for peace and diplomacy internationally, and democracy and human rights at home. Our work, as historians against war and for peace and democracy, will have two focuses. First, we see our campuses as key sites for both repression and resistance. We will fight for the right to education, free speech and academic freedom for all members of campus communities, and for the human and civil rights of our students, especially the undocumented, Muslims, people of color, women and LGBTQ people. Second, we will join the organized resistance to Donald Trump’s regime by mobilizing historians, teachers, and historically-minded activists to challenge the permanent campaign of “fake news” and phony history that has driven the right’s ascent. We will defend the discipline of history against attempts to reduce it to simple affirmations of “American greatness,” and document how prior eras of reaction and repression were successfully combatted. We recognize that the Trump/Pence Administration is a threat not only to the people of the United States, but to the people of the world, and we will stand against a new nuclear arms race, more imperial interventions, and collaboration with authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

On this basis, a newly-elected Steering Committee met on June 6, 2017 and voted to change our name to Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD).