American League Against War and Fascism

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The American League Against War and Fascism was an organization formed in 1933 by the Communist Party USA and pacifists united by their concern as Nazism and Fascism rose in Europe. In 1937 the name of the group was changed to the American League for Peace and Democracy. Rev. Dr. Harry F. Ward headed the organization.

Organizational history[edit]


The American League Against War and Fascism, though it attempted to attract as broad a following as possible and included members of the Roosevelt administration, was based primarily in the working class and its leadership was largely socialist and communist. By 1937, its Communist Party members boasted that 30 percent of the entire organized labor movement was represented in the League, and labor delegates occupied 413 of the 1416 seats at the national convention. Afro-Americans were also well represented in both the leadership and rank-and-file delegates.[citation needed]

1937 name change[edit]

In 1937 the organization changed its name to the American League for Peace and Democracy. Helen Silvermaster was associated with this group.[1]


The League dissolved after the 1939 signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty between Josef Stalin's Soviet Union and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany that ended the CPUSA's anti-Hitler activity until the 1941 Nazi invasion of the USSR, discouraged its non-communist members.[2] Its communist elements then influenced the founding of the American Peace Mobilization front to lobby against American help for the Allies, particular the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in their struggle against Hitler in the opening years of World War II.


Leaders included Rev. Harry F. Ward.

Members included Elizabeth Bentley (later Soviet spy, later FBI informant).[3]


The League produced a monthly broadsheet entitled FIGHT Against War and Fascism,[4] published in New York City under the editorship of Liston M. Oak.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nathan Silvermaster Group, Investigation reports, FBI
  2. ^ Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995, pgs. 10-11
  3. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley". Vassar Encyclopedia. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  4. ^ "The Fight Against War And Fascism". NYU Libraries. New York University. Retrieved 26 September 2021. This is a complete archive.
  5. ^ "Liston Oak dies; leftist editor". The New York Times. Vol. CXIX, no. 40924. The New York Times Company. February 9, 1970. p. 39. Retrieved 26 September 2021.

External links[edit]