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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Nuclear Debate Pamphlets

 Pamphlets from both pro- and anti-nuclear organizations published during the 1980 period of rising tensions and the decline of déténte. See also the Euromissiles Crisis and the related collections of the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, cover of Moscow Independent Peace Group)

  • 1979

    A Dialogue With The Soviets: Nuclear Weapons, Disarmament and Nuclear Energy

    Report from American Friends Service Committee describing the organization's late September/early October 1979 visit to the Soviet Union. Details topics of discussion, which included the current status of Cuba, the SALT treaty, the role of NATO in disarmament, and the numerous issues surrounding nuclear energy. Aimed at promoting positive discourse and the importance of a candid exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, in opposition to further militarization.

  • 1980

    Protect and Survive

    British government booklet aimed at the general public describing "how to make your home and your family as safe as possible under nuclear attack."

  • 1980

    Missile Madness: The New Weapons Systems and How They Threaten Your Life

    Socialist Workers Party pamphlet arguing that the current nuclear arms threat is much more serious than in the past due to the development of new cruise missiles. It calls for people to stand up against the missiles and recognize nuclear weapons as a class issue integrated with the wider Socialist Workers Party platform.

  • 1980

    No Cruise Missiles, No SS20's: European Nuclear Disarmament

    Pamphlet from the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation arguing for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in Europe. Argues that by becoming nuclear-free Europe will prevent further proliferation and development of nuclear weapons.

  • 1980

    Protest and Survive

    Pamphlet from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation arguing for a nuclear-free Europe. Describes the potentially destructive effects of nuclear weapons. Promotes skepticism towards official government statements regarding weapons on both sides and the idea that the strategy of deterrence at its core will only lead to more usable weapons and eventually their actual use. Provides a document endorsing a European nuclear free zone for readers to sign.

  • 1980

    Nuclear Weapons

    British government pamphlet describing the general features and effects of nuclear weapons. Intended for home defense planners, it includes detailed scientific information about the destructive forces of nuclear blasts, the dangers to human health, and the construction of effective shelters.

  • 1981

    Domestic Nuclear Shelters: Advice on domestic shelters providing protection against nuclear explosions, A Home Office Guide

    British government booklet describing the effects of potential nuclear fallout. It also provides detailed instructions on how to construct four different types of domestic shelters in preparation for an attack.

  • 1981

    The Effects and Control of Radiation

    British government pamphlet intended to calm public fears about radiation and the nuclear energy industry. Describes sources of radiation in the United Kingdom and biological effects of exposure, arguing that health risks are minor and the industry is safe.

  • 1982


    Pamphlet from European Nuclear Disarmament promoting a resistance campaign against the placement of 464 cruise missiles in the town of Comiso, on the southern coast of Sicily. Aimed at creating an effective protest, author Ben Thompson details the political and social background of the region, the anti-missile campaign that already exists, local opposition, and directions on how to get to Comiso to take part in any future protests. See also Thompson's unpublished description of the protest, "Diary of a Hunger Strike."

  • 1982

    Civil Defence: The Cruellest Confidence Trick

    Pamphlet from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which explores the British government's civil defense plans in case of a nuclear attack, concluding that the only true defense against nuclear weapons is to make sure they no longer exist.

  • 1982

    Beyond the Cold War

    Lecture by EP Thompson before the Worcester City Guildhall seeking to define the Cold War in a contemporary context. Thompson argues that the standard dichotomous definitions of the past have become improper and the Cold War is now best defined as a developed habit supported by the material interests of each side, most importantly military and political actors. He describes the Cold War as a method for leaders to easily access the ideological regulation and social discipline needed to ensure their positions. Therefore, Thompson argues, since these leaders have a direct interest in its continuance, people, and not states, must bring about any significant change in the Cold War.

  • 1982

    The New Hungarian Peace Movement

    Pamphlet from European Nuclear Disarmament containing two articles by Hungarian activist Ferenc Koszegi detailing the rise of independent peace groups within Hungary. Koszegi describes the make-up of the groups (mostly ages 14-20 and in secondary schools, along with religious groups) and problems for their growth and effectiveness, including the potential co-option by the existing state peace council and outside manipulation. He argues that the groups should increase communication networks and open dialogue with the west in order to survive and prosper. The pamphlet also contains the transcript of a speech delivered by E.P. Thompson to an independent peace group in Budapest advocating for such peace groups and the transcending of Cold War rhetoric for the purpose of nuclear disarmament.

  • 1982

    The Nuclear North Atlantic

    Speeches from a European Nuclear Disarmament Conference in Glasgow with an introduction from EP Thompson on the strategic importance of the North Atlantic Ocean in NATO and the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons programs. Contains a speech from Olafur Grimsson, future President of Iceland, on the importance of links between countries, such as Norway, Denmark, and Greenland, in opposing the stationing or launching of missiles from the region. Calls for turning the North Atlantic Ocean into a nuclear free zone. Followed by a speech from activist Angus McCormack protesting the expansion of Stornoway Airport in Scotland, and the assumed militarization of the region that would ensue. Describes the creation of Keep NATO Out, the local group that opposed expansion plans, and its dealings with the Ministry of Defense/NATO.

  • 1982

    Moscow Independent Peace Group

    Pamphlet from European Nuclear Disarmament with two first-hand accounts of a Scandinavian women’s peace march through Moscow that visited with an independent Soviet peace group. Includes details on the process and END’s internal debate on how to interact with the emerging movement, along with publications of the peace group itself, Western journalistic sources, official documents, and photographs.

  • 1982

    Target North-West: Civil Defence & Nuclear War in Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside, and Cheshire

    Pamphlet by the Richardson Institute for Peace and Conflict Research detailing the effects and aftermath of a nuclear war on Northwest England. Describes emergency defense plans for the post-attack government.

  • November, 1982

    Diary of a Hunger Strike

    Activist Ben Thompson describes his participation in a 1982 protest against the placement of cruise missiles at the United States Air Base in Comiso, Italy. Thompson describes the day-to-day events of the protest and hunger strike, including meetings with Italian politicians and the press. This unpublished narrative was written for circulation among Thompson's friends. See also his related pamphlet, the END Special Report "Comiso."

  • 1983

    Turkey: Peace on Trial

    Pamphlet from European Nuclear Disarmament detailing the trial of members of the Turkish Peace Association (TPA). Describes the goals of TPA, its arrested members, and the denial of basic rights during the trial. Contains personal accounts of the peace campaign environment in Istanbul and of the trial itself, including published courtroom speeches and the background of the trial.

  • 1983

    Disarmament: Who's Against?

    Soviet military pamphlet discussing what it sees as the two different approaches to nuclear and conventional arms limitation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Argues that while the Soviet Union works for constructive talks, the U.S. obstructs agreements and uses propaganda rhetoric to disguise its true aggression. Translated for publication from the Russian text, "Razoruzhenie, kto protiv?"

  • 1983

    Keep Space Weapon Free

    Pamphlet by the Soviet Novosti Press Agency arguing against the deployment of anti-satellite weapons into outer space.

  • 1984

    Arms Freeze: Who Is For and Who Is Against

    Pamphlet by the Soviet Novosti Press Agency arguing for the U.S. government to accept a mutual proposal to freeze American and Soviet nuclear arms production. Argues that this would lead to an improved political atmosphere and nuclear arms reductions in the future. Translated for publication from the Russian text, "Zamorazhivanie, kto za i kto protiv."