Cold War: Banning the Bomb Return to the gallery menu
Worksheets Big Question    

What are the key points arising from Case study 3 which every visitor should know about?

By the 1950s both of the superpowers had enough firepower to devastate the world many times over. As a result, many people shared the concerns of anti nuclear campaigners and organisations such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - CND. This organisation emerged in the 1960s from a number of anti nuclear protest groups. Most of them shared the same concerns:

  • The possibility of a nuclear accident
  • The possibility of one side making a mistake and responding to a nuclear attack by the other side which had not happened (there were numerous close calls of this sort during the Cold War)
  • The environmental damage being done by nuclear testing
  • The view that nuclear weapons were immoral.

Almost all ordinary people and politicians agreed that these were important concerns. However, there were major differences on what to do about these. CND generally supported unilateral nuclear disarmament. Many members of the Labour party, like future leader Michael Foot, believed in this policy. The idea was simple - get rid of your nuclear weapons and then the Soviets have no need for theirs.

In Easter 1958 about a thousand CND members went on a protest march to the British government's nuclear research base at Aldermaston in Berkshire. For many years afterwards the Easter march became an annual event. At its height in the 1960s, there were tens of thousands present. CND called for Britain to voluntarily give up its own nuclear weapons and to refuse to allow the USA to have bases with nuclear weapons on British soil. The CND movement grew steadily and spread to Holland, West Germany and Sweden.

Your Task

In this case study you are going to look at sources which cover all of these issues, but will focus on these broad areas:

For more information, link to the following Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4 Source 5

  • The types of people who supported nuclear disarmament campaigns
  • Attitudes towards campaigners
  • The impact of the protesters

At the end of the case study you will have to decide what you will write in your soundtrack for the presentation.

The worksheet will help you to organise your work.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4 Source 5

For more information on the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament visit the following website