Posted by: helenrobertsbradford | February 5, 2010

Masters of war

Foulness Island

Sketch of route onto Foulness Island, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, 1960

For the Direct Action Committee (and to a lesser extent, the Committee of 100), the sites of nuclear weapons research, manufacture and storage were emblematic of the unilateralist cause.  Their existence was at the root of the nuclear arms race and their eradication an overarching goal.

For this reason these sites were the main focus for marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience.  For this reason, the first Aldermaston March in 1958 was routed from London to Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.  CND, which took over the organisation of the march from 1959, reversed the route.  The focus of the march shifted to the centre of political power.

Action at military and industrial sites reveals itself in the archives in the form of maps and sketch drawings, and in leaflets, correspondence and reports documenting DAC’s campaign to organise opposition amongst workers within the nuclear weapons industry.  The picket at Aldermaston in summer 1958 prefigured the creation of peace camps at Greenham Common and Molesworth in the 1980s.

Holy Loch leaflet

From a leaflet publicising the march to Holy Loch Polaris submarine base, 1961

Aldermaston leaflet

Leaflet issued as DAC ended its picket of Aldermaston AWRE, September 1958

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