Public Tenacity: Give Peace a Dance


In 1983, a new push from Seattle peace activists emerged in order to resolve geopolitical tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. 

Towards the beginning of the Cold War, citizens were urged from the government to construct shelters as a protective method against the threat of nuclear war. This can be labeled as one of the “responsibilities of American life in the atomic age.”[1]

However, there was a decline of faith in these backyard bunkers within the 80s, as many desired to remain safe by preventing the war instead. In a year like 1983 when Ronald Reagan announced his "Star Wars" missile defense initiative and the Soviet Union shot down the civilian airliner KAL007, many Seattle residents responded accordingly. 

Yet most of the city's other peace initiatives of 1983 did not last, fading away as the dangers seemed to not be imminent. Fortunately, the Give Peace a Dance event is the major exception to this pattern, which demonstrated a long-lasting power through 1990. 


Stephanie Sells