Posted by: helenrobertsbradford | October 8, 2009

March to Aldermaston

The first Aldermaston March in 1958 is viewed as a landmark in the history of the peace movement in Britain and of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The march was filmed by a collective of volunteers who called themselves the Film and Television Committee for Nuclear Disarmament.  Narrated by Richard Burton, the film is available to view on the Screen Online website hosted by the British Film Institute.

I am now well into Phase 2 of the project, which concentrates on the archives of various nonviolent direct action groups from the 1950s and 1960s, and the personal papers of some of the movement’s leading activists, including Hugh Brock and Michael Randle.

Leaflet issued by Committee of 100

Leaflet issued by Committee of 100

The 1958 Aldermaston March was organised on the initiative, not of CND, but of the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War (DAC).  DAC played an important, but less well known, role as the radical wing of the early nuclear disarmament movement.  Its roots stretch back to the Peace Pledge Union’s 1949 conference, Steps To Peace, which set up several study groups, including a Non Violence Commission interested in applying Gandhian methods to political protest in Britain.

One of the aims of PaxCat is to raise awareness of the resources available at Bradford for researching the history of DAC, its predecessors Operation Gandhi, the Non Violent Resistance Group, the 1957 Committee and the Emergency Committee for Direct Action Against Nuclear War, sister bodies such as the American Committee for Non Violent Action, and DAC’s successor the Committee of 100.

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