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CND Women's Protest

An anti-nuclear demonstration by women from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at Royal Devonport and on the Tamar Bridge.

News 1983 1 mins Silent

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


This CND demonstration by women at Devonport naval base in Plymouth draws its inspiration from the women of Greenham Common and the peace camp set up from 1981 to protest against the RAF base receiving American cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. Gender is paramount to the argument; mothers want a nuclear-free environment for their children including ridding this base of nuclear-powered submarines operating as part of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NATO responded to the Soviet Union’s deployment of SS-20 medium range missiles in Eastern Europe in 1975 by deploying US Pershing II missiles. By 1981 the UK government had accepted to house US cruise missiles with nuclear warheads which could be guided to hit targets at greater range and presented a new level of smart warfare. The perceived nuclear threat seemed more real than ever and anti-nuclear movements such as CND - which had been set up by among others philosopher Bertrand Russell in the 1950s to face down nuclear testing - renewed its campaign. Better active today than radioactive tomorrow went the slogan. Nuclear-powered subs now await dismantling at the base.