Alfred Hassler

Alfred Hassler (1910–1991) was an anti-war author and activist during World War II and the Vietnam War. He worked with the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR USA), a peace and social justice organization, from 1942 to 1974.

Alfred Hassler
DiedJune 5, 1991(1991-06-05) (aged 80–81)
Good Samaritan Hospital
Suffern, New York, U.S.
EducationBrooklyn Polytechnic Institute
Columbia University
Occupation(s)author and anti-war activist

Early life and educationEdit

Hassler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1910. He grew up in New York and was educated at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. He studied night classes in journalism at Columbia University.


Hassler worked as a journalist at The Leader-Observer in Queens and then American Baptist Publications in Philadelphia. In 1942, Hassler became the editor of a pacifist journal called Fellowship published by FOR USA. He was imprisoned for his stance as a conscientious objector during World War II. While imprisoned, he wrote a book, Diary of a Self-Made Convict. He authored several anti-war books and articles and co-authored the 1957 advocacy comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, published by FOR USA.

In 1958, Hassler became executive secretary of FOR USA.[1] Hassler led FOR USA delegations to Vietnam in 1965 and 1967, which led to his collaboration and friendship of Thích Nhất Hạnh.[2] In 1969, Hassler founded the Dai Dong Project, which linked war, environmental issues and poverty, and he became the president of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace. In his 1970 book Saigon, U.S.A.,[3] Hassler supported the Vietnamese Buddhists, arguing they could form a nonviolent "Third Force" for peace independent of both the Saigon and Hanoi governments.[2]

Hassler retired from his position with FOR USA in 1974, and with his wife Dorothy founded a retirement community in southern Spain, Almeria. In the 1980s, he returned to New York.


Hassler died of cancer on June 5, 1991, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York, at the age of 81.[4]

In popular cultureEdit

In 2013, Hassler, along with Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong, became the subject of a comic book and animated feature documentary film entitled The Secret of The 5 Powers.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Alfred HASLER". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Mary Hershberger, Traveling to Vietnam: American Peace Activists and the War. Syracuse University Press, 1998. ISBN 081560517X, (p. 21, 157)
  3. ^ Hassler, Alfred (1970). Saigon, U.S.A. New York, NY: R. W. Baron.
  4. ^ Marvine Howe (June 9, 1991). "Alfred Hassler, Lifelong Pacifist And Environmentalist, Dies at 81". The New York Times
  5. ^ "Peace is the Way Films". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Sperry, Rod Meade (May 2013), "3 Heroes, 5 Powers", Shambhala Sun, 21 (5): 68–73