Make love, not war

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Make love, not war (German: Mach Liebe, nicht Krieg ) was created around 1967 as a slogan by hippies and an anti- Vietnam war movement in protest against the Cold War and the Vietnam War . The slogan became known through the publicly effective performances, the so-called Bed-Ins by the artists Yoko Ono and John Lennon . The saying was then marketed in fashion and was available as a button and printed t-shirts.


In the Greek comedy Lysistrata , the topic of making love instead of war is already addressed. Theoretically, Wilhelm Reich contributed to the idea of free love with his analysis of what he called forced sexual morality and his writings on the sexual revolution .

The American social critic George Alexander Legman (1917–1999) claimed the invention of the phrase itself , as he reported in 1963 during a lecture at Ohio University . In the musical Hair , the German scriptwriter has the protagonist in the German version, in view of his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War, say, analogous to the motto: " Fuck instead of bombs ".

In 1967, then California Governor Ronald Reagan responded by saying, “These people [protesters] are shouting make love not was . They look like they can neither ”. At the time, Reagan's statement was seen as a provocation by supporters of the movement.

In 1996 the motto was used by the hardcore techno producer 3 Steps Ahead in his song Gabbers Unite , which is directed against hostility within the gabber scene . In 2007, the slogan was changed to Make Love, Not Warcraft, used by South Park to draw attention to the online addiction of the game World of Warcraft .

The motto Make Love, Not War appears again and again as a motto of various campaigns around the world and can be found in merchandise objects, painting and photography, poetry and body art. Here, the concept of love is sometimes detached from the sexual “making love” and is transferred to the concept of love for one's neighbor, although this does not correspond to the actual meaning of the term “to make love”. Conversely, the concept of war is not infrequently extended to other forms of violence and oppression. Today, the presumably British street artist Banksy in particular repeatedly makes this juxtaposition of love and war / violence the theme of his works by combining the military with symbols of love, hope and innocence.



A similar movement is Breasts Not Bombs , a demonstration initiated in July and September 2005 in Berkeley and Washington, DC by the New York-born American action artist Sherry Glaser against the violence used by the Bush administration in Iraq and against violence in general. This demonstration also found an Internet counterpart in which committed people can participate by uploading pictures of themselves in bare form.

What is special and the main component of the action lies in the demonstrators' appearances, sometimes completely bare. Because of the not-too-extensive response, the campaign had only limited publicity and remained somewhat controversial.


  • Hiltrud Dammann: Marie Cardinals: "Les mots pour le dire" , Volume 81 of Studia Romanica, Verlag C. Winter, 1994, page 139ff, ISBN 382530017X
  • Journal for Sexual Research , Volume 13, Verlag F. Enke, 2000

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Youtube BED PEACE starring John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  2. ^ Rauch, Tanja: Wilhelm Reich / Make Love - not War. The orgasm as a panacea ., Facts, Issue 13, 1997, pp. 108-110.
  3. Dudar, H., "Love and death (and dirt): G. Legman's second thoughts," Village Voice, 1984, pp. 41-43. [1]
  4. Google book search