Peace Rally at the University of California, Berkeley, April 19 1940.
From the photographer's notes: "An estimated million students in the U.S. participated in the 1940 annual Peace Strike…at the University of California about 10% of the student body gathered outside Sather Gate to hear students and speakers."
The war in Europe began on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland prompting France and Great Britain to declare war on Germany. Nine days before this rally, Hitler’s armies had invaded Denmark and Norway. The debate over whether the U.S. should enter the war ended with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The photographer was Rondal Partridge, a member of the Farm Securities Administration project (FSA) established in 1935 with the mission to document America during the Great Depression. Headed by Roy Stryker, the FSA included such luminary photographers as Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Marion Post Wolcott, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and Arthur Rothstein.