Example of an early pledge card with a number of address changes.

In a few months the number of people who signed the pledge card grew to over 30,000. The following year membership rose to 100,000

The pledge

The PPU’s original pledge - I renounce war and will never support or sanction another - was taken from an Armistice Day sermon given in 1933 in New York by Dr. Fosdick, called The Unknown Soldier. Dr. Fosdick was an army chaplain and his sermon was an apology to the men who had been sent to their deaths in World War One: ‘If I blame anybody…it is men like myself who ought to have known better. We went out to the army and explained to these valiant men what a resplendent future they were preparing for their children by their heroic sacrifices.’ He went on to ‘renounce war because of what it does to our own men’ and ‘what it compels us to do to our enemies’. ‘I renounce war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatred it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracy, for the starvation that strikes after it.’

The Unknown Soldier sermon inspired Dick Sheppard to write a letter to the papers in 1934 which eventually led to the founding of the Peace Pledge Union.

Peace Pledge Union, 1 Peace Passage, London N7 0BT. Tel +44 (0)20 7424 9444   contact     |   where to find us