Against the Bomb

The British Peace Movement 1958-1965
Taylor, Richard
Date published: 
January 1988

The nuclear disarmament movement of the late '50s and early '60s was one of the largest and arguably one of the most significant, extra-parliamentary movements ever seen in modern Britain. A whole new style and conception of politics was born through this first anti-nuclear movement, and the subsequent radicalism of the '60s and '70s has its roots here. The movement was extraordinarily diverse and rich in its constituencies of support and complex in its ideological make-up. Thus anarchists, communists, and Trotskyists rubbed shoulders with Christians, liberals, members of the L abour party, and 'ordinary apolitical people', most of whom found in the movement a means by which they could articulate their growing fear and anxiety about the seemingly inexorable arms race, and the horror of nuclear war. Dr Taylor analyses the perceptions of these groups in detail and explains how and why they differed. This is the first comprehensive study of the movement to make use of a wide range of contemporary material, and the first to present in detail the previously unrecorded views and analyses of more than twenty of the leading figures of the movement some twenty-five years on. Although he provides a wealth of historical detail, Dr Taylor's approach is primarily political and analytical, and his examination of this first mass movement of its kind will be relevant to all those concerned about nuclear proliferation, as well as to courses in politics, sociology, modern history and peace studies.