Posted by: helenrobertsbradford | August 9, 2010

Ban the bomb for evermore: 1980s

To continue the story of the European nuclear disarmament movement, we have to jump from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Envelope with anti-nuclear slogan

Envelope stamped with anti-nuclear protest

In the early 1980s, the focus for anti-nuclear protests was frequently in West Germany, where the Cold War and its nuclear arms race made the most visible mark on the landscape and on the lives of its citizens.  Sarah Meyer’s papers provide a snapshot of a British peace activist’s links with the German peace movement, during the years 1983 and 1984.  There are files on the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) convention in Berlin, May 1983; peace marches from Dortmund to Brussels, and Berlin to Geneva, during July, August and September 1983; the Fast for Life in Berlin, August 1983; the Women for Peace demonstrations in Berlin, October 1983 (see Beyond the wall blog post); and Sarah’s travels through Germany in her Rainbow Bus after leaving the alternative peace conference in Sweden in January 1984.  These contain excellent photographs as well as written sources.

Scrapbook by Kuopio Women's Peace Committee

Scrapbook by members of the Women's Peace Committee, Kuopio, Finland

The Peace News photograph collection offers a visual history of nuclear disarmament and anti-militarist campaigns in West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy.  It also reveals how the movement grew out of campaigns against nuclear power and other environmental issues in the late 1970s.  Especially good sets of photographs are available for: the marches and protests organised against the siting of cruise missiles in Comiso, Sicily; the International Non Violent March for Demilitarisation in Brussels, 1983, and in Denmark, 1985; and the campaign against a third runway at Frankfurt airport, known as Startbahn West.

For those of you who can read Italian, the anti-nuclear movement in Comiso is documented by the website Memoria Comiso: La Sicilia contro la guerra.  This is a research project to create a digital archive of documents, photographs and personal testimonies.

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