This list of peace activists includes people who have proactively advocated diplomatic, philosophical, and non-military resolution of major territorial or ideological disputes through nonviolent means and methods. Peace activists usually work with others in the overall anti-war and peace movements to focus the world's attention on what they perceive to be the irrationality of violent conflicts, decisions, and actions. They thus initiate and facilitate wide public dialogues intended to nonviolently alter long-standing societal agreements directly relating to, and held in place by, the various violent, habitual, and historically fearful thought-processes residing at the core of these conflicts, with the intention of peacefully ending the conflicts themselves.
These experiences, particularly witnessing the aftermath of the Nagasaki bombing, turned Ferlinghetti into a lifelong pacifist and anti-war activist.
The turning point in Ferlinghetti's life came in late September 1945 as he walked the streets of Nagasaki, Japan, six weeks after an atomic bomb was dropped on the city by his country's government. ... Among the 40,000 Japanese who were incinerated on the day of August 9 was one who was drinking tea at the time. ... Ferlinghetti picked up that person's teacup; it had flesh and bone fused into it. The cup has now sat on the mantelpiece of his home for 75-and-a-half years. ... In all his prodigiously creative works, he never missed the opportunity to chastise the absurdity of materialism, the obscenity of war and the soullessness of profit-driven destruction.