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Geoffrey Smith
Lifetime Achievement Award of Peace History Society
Awarded October 2015

In 2005, Peace History Society set up the Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented every other year to a PHS member who has contributed outstanding scholarship and exemplary service to peace history. The recipients of the award have been: Charles Chatfield (1934-2015) in 2007: Sandi Cooper in 2009: Lawrence Wittner in 2011 and Berenice Carroll in 2013. The Lifetime Achievement Award Committee in 2015 included Christy Snider (past PHS president: Berry College): Ginger Williams (PHS Treasurer: Winthrop University) and Robert Shaffer (PHS Newsletter Editor: Shippensburg University. 

This year, the Lifetime Achievement Award committee confers the highest distinction of the Peace History Society on Geoffrey S. Smith, Professor Emeritus of History, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. Dr. Smith was born in San Francisco and raised in California. He attended Berkley University in the 1960s, where he got his first protest experience by spending a week holding a sign criticizing the administration during the Free Speech Movement. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1969 and taught at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota for two years before joining the faculty at Queens University.

Interested in security and its misuse by elites, Dr. Smith taught courses on “Conspiracy and Dissent in American History,” U.S. Foreign Relations, Latin American History, the Vietnam War, and American Social and Cultural History. Outside the classroom, he coached the Queens’ University basketball team for over a decade while also participating in Civil Rights protests and antiwar protests during the United States’ involvement in Vietnam.

Dr. Smith has written widely on issues related to peace history, gender and U.S. national security in the Cold War, the relocation of Japanese minorities in the U.S. and Canada during WWII, and American nativism. His 1973 monograph, To Save a Nation: American Extremism, the New Deal and the Coming of World War II, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In this work, Smith argued that the activities of right-win extremists like Father Charles Coughlin and Fritz Kuhn of the German American Bund tainted moderate and responsible non-interventionists prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, thereby making it easier for Franklin D. Roosevelt and his foreign policy advisers to garner support for intervention.

A true servant to the discipline, Dr. Smith is a Lifetime Member of the Peace History Society, has been an active book and article reviewer for the organization’s journal - Peace & Change, served as president of the Peace History Society from 1995-1997, PHS executive Secretary-Treasurer from 1997-2000, and most recently a board member from 2008-2012. Please join me today in thanking Dr. Geoffrey Smith and congratulating him on his tremendous accomplishments.

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