Dorothy Detzer was born on this day in 1893 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Detzer, a deceptively demure human battering-ram, served as National Secretary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (1924-47) -- in effect, the chief lobbyist of the organization. She almost singlehandedly sparked a Senate investigation of the munitions industry in 1934, which showed links between the activities of arms manufacturers and bankers, and outbreaks of war. It was, of course, a more innocent time, when a congressman could get away with saying that "the record of facts makes it altogether fair to say that these bankers were in the heart and center of a system that made our going to war inevitable." Detzer's lobbying also resulted in getting a woman (Mt. Holyoke president Mary Woolley) appointed to the U.S. delegation to the Geneva Disarmament Conference (1932).
At a rally in Concord, Massachusetts in 1926, Detzer was accused by a member of the crowd of being a Communist. After denying the charge, she pointedly asked the heckler if he was a nudist. He replied that he was not.
"Prove it!," she demanded, getting the final word.
Detzer died on January 7, 1981 in Monterey, California.
Labels: Peace Activism