Over the decades, the Berrigans used many nonviolent, yet active tactics. Their approaches ranged from building nonviolent communities to picketing at the Pentagon. Other strategies involved symbolic protests or damaging military property. No matter the method, the Berrigans challenged institutions that supported warmaking and violence. Opposing injustice and violence often put the Berrigans into contact with those forces.
In the eyes of the law, acts of civil disobedience and other forms of resistance were illegal. For their activism, the Berrigans faced dozens of arrests, felony charges, and long prison sentences. Despite this, the Berrigans remained committed to their faith and peaceful resistance.
Since much of the Berrigans’ activism occurred in the decades after World War II, this section explores the intersections of the Berrigans’ peace activism with some of the most significant events of the late 20th century: the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, and nuclear arms race.