Fellowship of Reconciliation

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Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), a religious‐pacifist organization, was founded in England (1914). An American branch was established in November 1915 in Garden City, Long Island, by men and women who belonged to mainstream faiths as well as to pacifist faiths like the Quakers.

In World War I, FOR led by Gilbert A. Beaver, Edward W. Evans, and Charles J. Rhoades, assisted conscientious objectors (COs). Afterward, it became the intellectual arm of the religious peace movement. Its popular journal, The World Tomorrow (renamed Fellowship, 1935), embodied radical Christian‐motivated ideas. Membership averaged 6,000.

During the 1920s and 1930s, FOR helped establish the Committee on Militarism in Education to oppose compulsory ROTC; it supported the Outlawry of War campaign culminating in the Kellogg‐Briand Pact (1928), and cosponsored a peace mission to Nicaragua.

In the late 1930s, FOR cooperated with other peace groups in establishing the Emergency Peace Campaign, calling for strict neutrality, lower tariffs, and international organization contingent on justice. Membership increased to 10,000 during World War II as FOR aided COs, sent supplies to war relief camps in Europe, and sought release of Japanese Americans from relocation camps.

In the early years of the Cold War, membership dropped to an all‐time low of 2,000; but in the 1950s, the Fellowship promoted a nationwide campaign against nuclear weapons testing and gained adherents.

During the Vietnam War, led by David McReynolds, Allen Brick, Ron Young, Ray Gould, and Reverend William Sloane Coffin, FOR reached nearly 23,000 members, participated in numerous antiwar demonstrations, conducted draft‐counseling centers, and established social service schools in South Vietnamese cities. Conflict within the national council erupted when executive secretary Al Hassler urged support for the Buddhist pacifists' “Third Force” solution, while others called for immediate unilateral U.S. troop withdrawal.

After Vietnam, FOR investigated events in Nicaragua between the Sandinistas and contras, and joined the Nuclear Freeze Campaign of the 1980s. Prior to the Persian Gulf War, the Fellowship led a peace mission with medical supplies to refugees in Jordan and Iraq. In the mid‐1990s, it instituted a Civilian Casualty Fund to aid Bosnian Muslims. FOR membership in 1998 was about 8,000—the majority from the Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish faiths.
[See also Conscientious Objection; Japanese‐American Internment Cases; Pacifism.]


Lawrence S. Witter , Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1933–1983, 2nd ed., 1984.
Charles F. Howlett , John Nevin Sayre and the American Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 114 (July1990), pp. 399–422.
Charles F. Howlett , The American Fellowship of Reconciliation, South of the Mountains, 37 (January–March 1993), pp. 3–14.

Charles F. Howlett