You are here

This section covers a wide range of campaigns against war, weapons and bases. It focuses particularly on protest in the west or countries allied to the west, but some issues such as nuclear testing, nuclear bases or military alliances have prompted opposition in many parts of the world. The campaign to ban landmines had particular importance for countries caught up in local conflicts. Conscientious objection to military service has also been a world-wide issue. Campaigns against specific wars receive some coverage under more general surveys, but for the more specialized literature see Section E.

Bennett, Scott H., Radical Pacifism: The War Resisters League and Gandhian Nonviolence in America, 1915-1963, Syracuse NY, Syracuse University Press, 2003, pp. 312

Includes CO revolts in camps and prisons in World War Two against racial segregation, and role of League members in helping to found the Congress of Racial Equality and its nonviolent direct action strategy. Also covers relations of secular and radical WRL with other pacifist bodies, such as Christian Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Brock, Peter ; Young, Nigel J., Pacifism in the Twentieth Century, Syracuse NY, Syrakuse University Press, 1999, pp. 434

(Revised and updated version of Peter Brock, Twentieth Century Pacifism, 1970, Van Nostrand Reinhold.)
History of opposition to war drawing primarily on US and British experience, but including material on Gandhi and the later Gandhian movement, assessments of the position of conscientious objectors in many parts of the world, and references to transnational organizations, e.g. the War Resisters’ International. Although the focus is on pacifism, the book includes material on the role of pacifists in the nuclear disarmament and anti-Vietnam War movements.

Bussey, Gertrude ; Tims, Margaret, Pioneers for Peace: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 1915-1965, London, WILPF British Section, 1980, pp. 225

History of first 50 years of transnational body campaigning against war and for disarmament, which opposed NATO and nuclear weapons, was active (especially in the US) in resisting the Vietnam War and promotes social justice and reconciliation.

Carter, April, Peace Movements: International Protest and World Politics Since 1945, London, Longman, 1992, pp. 283

Particular focus on European and North American movements against nuclear weapons in the 1950s-60s and 1980s and East European responses in the 1980s. But other nuclear disarmament protests, peace campaigns on other issues and nonviolent initiatives in other parts of the world are indicated more briefly.

Cockburn, Cynthia, Anti-Militarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements, London, Pluto Press, 2012, pp. 320

Feminist peace activist provides her theoretical perspective on cross-national case studies including UK peace movement, War Resisters’ International, anti-militarist campaigns in Spain, Korea and Japan, and the anti-NATO demonstrations in Strasbourg 2009.

Cortright, David, Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 378

Chapters 7 and 8 cover anti-nuclear weapon campaigns, opposition to Vietnam and Iraq wars, resistance in the military and also draft resistance and conscientious objection.

Flessati, Valerie, Pax: The History of a Catholic Peace Society in Britain 1936-1971, Bradford, University of Bradford, PhD Thesis, 1991, , 2 volumespp. 535

Detailed historical study of both Pax and the Catholic element in the British peace movement. Pax from the outset opposed war under modern conditions as contrary to traditional just war teaching, a stance underlined by the development of nuclear weapons. Influenced Catholic thinking about modern war and the decision of the Second Vatican Council to recognize the right to conscientious objection and to call upon states to make provision for it.

Gress, David, Peace and Survival: West Germany, the Peace Movement and European Security, Stanford CA, Hoover Institution Press, 1985, pp. 266

Howorth, Jolyon ; Chilton, Patricia, Defence and Dissent in Contemporary France, London, Croom Helm, 1984, pp. 264

Part 1 covers France’s defence policy since 1945 – including the wars in Indo-China and Algeria, and De Gaulle’s decision (supported by the major political parties) to develop a French nuclear bomb. Part 2 focuses on anti-nuclear critiques and movements in the 1980s, including a military critique of French defence policy by Admiral Sanguinetti and Claude Bourdet on the ‘The rebirth of the peace movement’.

Locke, Elise, Peace People – A History of Peace Activity in New Zealand, Christchurch and Melbourne, Hazard Press, 1992, pp. 335

Chronicles peace activities in New Zealand from Maori time and early colonial settlement to the anti-Vietnam war movement and anti-nuclear campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s. Includes accounts of the direct action protests against French nuclear tests in 1972.

Lok-Wai-Chung, Steve, Peace Movements in South Korea and their Impacts on the Politics of the Korean Peninsula, Journal of Comparative Asian Development, Vol. 10, issue 2, 2011, pp. 253-280

This article covers the continuing and long-term protests against militarism, and for reconciliation with North Korea. It examines in particular protests against deployment of Korean troops overseas and against US military bases in Korea, and initiatives for reconciliation between the two Koreas, and assesses the movement's impact. 

Lombardi, Chris, I Ain’t Marching Anymore: Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America’s Wars, New York and London, The New Press, 2020, pp. 298

A history of resistance to US wars and military policy from the War of Independence to the 21st century, including wars against Native Americans. It also covers mutinies and protests over mistreatment of soldiers, including Jim Crow laws after the Civil War, and abuse of women and gays. The emphasis is on telling stories and assumes knwoledge of US history. 

Meaden, Bernadette, Protesting for Peace, Glasgow, Wild Goose Publications, 1999, pp. 151

Sympathetic coverage of a wide range of campaigns in Britain – Greenham Common, Trident Ploughshares, the arms trade, British troops in Northern Ireland, US bases, the ‘peace tax’, and opposition to the (first) Gulf War.

Molin, Marian, Radical Pacifism in Modern America: Egalitarianism and Protest, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, pp. 255

Nomiya, Under a Global Mask: Family Narratives and Local Memory in a Global Social Movement in Japan, Societies Without Borders, Vol. 4, issue 2, 2010, pp. 117-140

This study of the Japanese branch of the global World Peace Now movement, which organizes synchronized 'waves of protest', examines the motives for taking part in such peace activism. The author focuses especially on personal experiences, family narratives and local collective memory.

Peace, Roger C., A Just and Lasting Peace: The US Peace Movement from the Cold War to Desert Storm, Chicago IL, The Noble Press, 1991, pp. 345

Peace, a writer/activist, documents the growth of the peace and justice movement in the US, with particular focus on the 1980s. Areas covered include anti-nuclear campaigning and campaigns for justice in Latin America. Discusses also debates and controversies within the movement.

Prasad, Devi, War is a Crime Against Humanity: The Story of War Resisters’ International, London, War Resisters' International, 2005, pp. 560

A history of the first 50 plus years of the radical pacifist organization (1921-1973).

Reimann, Kim, Security issues and new transnational peace-related movements in East Asia, the 1990s and 2000s, International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 13, issue 2, 2008, pp. 59-85

Citizen activism on issues of peace and security has historically been limited in East Asia, apart from the opposition to nuclear weapons in Japan. Since the 1990s, however, an increasing number of NGOs and social groups have focused on peace issues at local, national, regional and international levels .This article considers both domestic and international reasons for a rise in peace-related activism and discusses three relatively recent movements in Northeast Asia. 

Taylor, Richard ; Young, Nigel J., Campaigns for Peace: British Peace Movements in the Twentieth Century, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1987, pp. 308

Collection of analytical and descriptive essays spanning period from late 19th century to 1980s, but the main focus is on post-World War Two movement against nuclear weapons. Michael Randle assesses ‘Nonviolent direct action in the 1950s and 1960s’, pp. 131-61.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Pacific Women Speak-Out for Independence and Denuclearisation, Christchurch, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 1998, pp. 80

Indigenous women from Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Belau, Bougainville, East Timor, Ka Pa’aina (Hawaii), the Marshall Islands, Te Ao Maohi (French Polynesia) and West Papua (Irian Jaya) condemn imperialism, war, ‘nuclear imperialism’ (in the form of nuclear tests) and military bases in the hope ‘that when people around the world learn what is happening in the Pacific they will be inspired to stand beside them and to act’. The book is a contribution to the Hague Appeal for Peace, 1999.

Much of the information about peace protest and nonviolent direct action is to be found in movement newsletters or journals, though some of these are transient. Long-running peace periodicals are:

Peace News, London, which has transnational interests but particularly covers Britain; Liberation (1956-1977), WIN Magazine (published until spring 2015) and Fellowship in the USA. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, although primarily a socially concerned journal covering scientific and strategic issues has carried articles on peace campaigns. Peace and Change (published by Sage) is an academic journal which examines peace campaigns and activity.

Conscientious objection to taking part in or supporting war has for a long time been associated in the west with particular religious beliefs. Since the Reformation protestant groups such as the Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonites and Dukhobors have consistently refused military service. In past centuries some emigrated from Europe or Russia to North America to avoid conscription.

In the 20th century, although religious objectors to military service, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, have played a heroic role in resisting enforced military service in dictatorships, and a small but significant Catholic pacifist movement has also developed, there has been a growth of individual conscientious objection based on humanist beliefs. There have also been significant movements based on socialist or anarchist objections to capitalist wars, and major campaigns against participation in wars viewed as imperialist, racist, aggressive, illegal under international law or in any other way unjust. Many western states, especially since the end of the cold war, no longer require general conscription, but reservists or serving soldiers have also sometimes refused to take part in a particular war – as for example in the 1991 Gulf War.

Liberal democratic states have increasingly recognized the right to be a conscientious objector (CO) – and this has been reflected by many intergovernmental bodies, including the UN Human Rights Commission – and gradually extended the definition of conscience beyond religious beliefs. But militant resisters have rejected recognition of the state’s right to demand alternative civilian service, and have committed themselves to total resistance. Open draft resistance has often occurred alongside draft evasion – many young US citizens crossed the border into Canada during the Vietnam War – and desertion from the forces. One important role for organized peace groups, nationally and transnationally, has been to provide legal information, advice and support.

Refusing military service is limited to those of military age and until very recently has been limited to young men, but some have also seen conscientious refusal to pay taxes for war as a relevant form of protest. Moreover, in national campaigns against particular wars, prominent individuals have encouraged defiance of the draft or even desertion by signing subversive manifestoes, or have taken direct action at recruitment offices. Some examples of conscientious objection and draft resistance in SouthAfrica and Israel have been covered in Volume I of this Guide (E.I.1.c.), but a few reference are listed under 2.b. See also Section E for resistance to specific wars, in particular Vietnam.

There is a large literature on pacifism, much of it not directly relevant here. Selective references dealing with pacifist beliefs, with transnational and national organizations and campaigns against conscription, with the experiences of COs and draft resisters, and analyses of the legal position are listed below. We also include a couple of references to just war theory, influential in opposition to many wars, but critical of pure pacifism.

American Friends Service Committee, Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence, Philadelphia PA, American Friends Service Committee, 1955, pp. 71

Manifesto outlining a nonviolent approach to international politics and social change. Influenced the thinking of radical direct actionists in the US and Britain.

Boulding, Elise, Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History, New York, Syracuse University Press, 2000, pp. 347

This collection of essays by the sociologist, Quaker and eminent peace researcher, Elise Boulding, reflects her 50 years of studying family, civic culture, education, the role of women and the nature of a culture of peace. She believes this culture requires the management of differences and a balance between social bonding and autonomy, and often unnoticed examples indicate a potential for the future.      

Ceadel, Martin, Thinking about Peace and War, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 222

A frequently cited analysis and classification of different ways of thinking about war, which examines 5 ‘ideal types’ of ‘militarism’, ‘crusading’, ‘defencism’, ‘pacific-ism’ (representing many ideological and organizational strands within peace movements), and ‘pacifism’.

Chappell, Paul, Soldiers of Peace: How to Wield the Weapon of Nonviolence with Maximum Force, Westport, CT., Prospect Press, 2017, pp. 272

Chappell, an Iraq War veteran, challenges the myths about violence and nonviolence that prevent people from tackling the basic causes of problems in the US and globally.  He discusses the concept of 'peace literacy', the power and dangers of language, and the need to understand nonviolence better.

Chiba, Shin ; Shoenbaum, Thomas, Peace Movements and Pacifism after September 11, Camberley Surrey, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008, pp. 256

This book provides scholarly Japanese and  East Asian perspectives on how the September 11 2001 attack on the US changed the prospects for international peace. Other chapters explore pacifism from religious (Christian and Islamic) perspectives and also in relation to Kant's philosophy. Japan's postwar 'constitutional pacifism', and specific ways to promote peace in the 21st century are also discussed.

Childress, James F., Moral Responsibility in Conflicts: Essays on Nonviolence, War and Conflict, Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1982, pp. 224

Includes chapters on conscientious objection and Reinhold Niebuhr on violent and nonviolent methods.

Hentoff, Nat, The Essays of A.J. Muste, new preface by Jo Ann O. Robinson, New York, Simon and Schuster, 2002, pp. 515

Essays on revolution, nonviolence and pacifism by a key figure on US radical/pacifist left, from 1905 to 1966, commenting in later essays on conscientious objection, opposition to French nuclear tests in Africa, the Civil Rights movement and the opposition to the Vietnam War.

King, Alex, Anti-nuclear protest art that will stop you in your tracks. Never again, Huck, 06/08/2015,

A collection of some of the most iconic artworks from seven decades of anti-nuclear movement aimed at suggesting the rethinking of the idea of living under the shadow on nuclear weapons realised on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Kustermans, Jorg ; Sauer, Tom ; Lootens, Dominiek ; Segaert, Barbara, Pacifism Appeal, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 247

The starting point for this book is the editors’ belief in the need to revive and redefine pacifist thought for the 21st century, on the grounds that just war theory (dominant in recent decades) has proved insufficient, and that rejection of any limits on warfare is obviously undesirable. Pacifism has proved inspirational in the past, so its potential should be explored.

Lipton, Judith ; Barash, David, Strength Through Peace, New York, Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 261

A study of Costa Rica, which explores the relation between its demilitarized status and its safety, independence, and social wellbeing.

Mayer, Peter, The Pacifist Conscience, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1966, pp. 447

Collection of writings on war, pacifism and nonviolence from 500 BC to 1960 AD, but emphasis on more modern figures, such as William Lloyd Garrison, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Simone Weil and Albert Camus. Includes also Martin Buber’s criticism of Gandhi for advocating nonviolent resistance by Jews to Hitler, and Reinhold Niebuhr’s reasons for leaving the (pacifist) Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Merton, ThomasZahn, Gordon C., The Nonviolent Alternative, ed. Zahn, Gordon C., New York, Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1980, pp. 270

Collection of essays by well-know Catholic thinker on war, peace and nonviolence.

Teichman, Jenny, Pacifism and the Just War: A Study in Applied Philosophy, Oxford, Blackwell, 1986, pp. 138

Discussion of pacifist theory and major objections to it from a just war perspective.

Unnithan, T.K.N. ; Singh, Yogendra, Traditions of Nonviolence, New Delhi and London, Arnold-Heinemann, 1973, pp. 317

Examines nonviolent traditions in Hindu, Chinese, Islamic and Judeo-Christian thought.

Walzer, Michael, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1980, pp. 359

Highly regarded interpretation of just war theory. See also his earlier essays on war and disobedience, including an essay on conscientious objection in: Walzer, Michael , Obligations: Essays on Disobedience, War and Citizenship [1970] Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, , 1982, pp. 260

Zinn, Howard, The Bomb, San Francisco, CA, City Lights, 2010, pp. 91

In this work, Zinn looks at the negative consequences of combat at the core moral and ethical issues citizens must face during times of war. He reflects on his youthful experience of combat in WWII, which led him to drop bombs on the French town of Royan. His later recognition of what the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki entailed prompted him to become one of the most committed and passionate advocates of non-violence in the USA.

Ajangiz, Rafa, The European Farewell to Conscription, In Mjøset, Lars ; van Holde, Stephen , The Comparative Study of Conscription in the Armed Forces Oxford, JAI/Elseveer, , 2002, pp. 307-333

Discusses the relative impact of ‘reasons of state’ and ‘social mobilization’ (against conscription) as factors leading to the abandonment of conscription.

Amnesty International, Out of the Margins: The Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe, London, Amnesty International, 1997, pp. 61

Surveys provisions for conscientious objection to military service, and expresses particular concerns in relation to treatment of COs in some countries. Recommends the release of all COs in prison, that all member states of EU and Council of Europe re-examine their legislation regarding conscientious objection, and that the EU include in the criteria for membership the recognition of conscientious objection and provisions for alternative service ‘of non-punitive length’.

Biesemans, Sam, The Right to Conscientious Objection and the European Parliament, Brussels, European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, 1995, pp. 109

Urges incorporation of right to conscientious objection in national constitutions, and the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Blatt, Martin ; Davis, Uri ; Kleinbaum, Paul, Dissent and Ideology in Israel: Resistance to the Draft,1948-1973, London, Ithaca Press for Housmans Bookshop, WRI, Middle East Research Group (MERAG) and Lansbury House Trust Fund, 1975, pp. 194

Accounts by Israeli conscientious objectors of their experience and the reasons for their stance. Editors relate these to a critique of Zionism.

Braithwaite, Constance, Conscientious Objection to Compulsions Under the Law, York, William Sessions, 1995, pp. 421

History of conscientious objection to compliance with various legal provisions involving compulsion of citizens, including taking of oaths, vaccination and religious education. Chapter on ethical and political problems related to conscientious objections takes the form of imaginary dialogue between author and a critic of her thesis.

Brock, Hannah, The Return of Conscription?, War Resisters' International, 18/01/2018,

The author, a full time worker at War Resisters' International with a focus on support for conscientious objectors to military service, discusses whether the previous trend towards the abolition of conscription around the world is being reversed. She notes that it has been reintroduced in Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania and Kuwait (after a short period when it was not in force) and introduced for the first time by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates; in total over 100 states practice, responding with varying degrees of harshness to objectors. Most states impose conscription for men, but both Norway and Sweden (where it h ad been reintroduced) extend it to women. The article discusses the varying regional security situations, which influence states to use conscription and carrying rounds for exemption.

Brock, Peter, These Strange Criminals’: An Anthology of Prison Memoirs by Conscientious Objectors from the Great War to the Cold War, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004, pp. 505

Anthology of prison memoirs by conscientious objectors from World War One to the Cold War. Contributions from Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

Casquette, Jesus, The Sociopolitical Context of Mobilization: The Case of the Anti-Militarist Movement in the Basque Country, Mobilization: An International Quarterly, Vol. 1, issue 2 (Sept), 1996, pp. 203-212

Cinar, Ozgur Heval, Conscientious Objection to Military Service in International Human Rights Law, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 276

An updated overview of the recognition of the right to conscientious objection in international human rights law, with a focus on the UN and Council of Europe.

Cinar, Ozgur Heval ; Usterci, Coskun, Conscientious Objection: Resisting Militarized Society, London, Zed Books, 2009, pp. 272

Collections of essays: Part 1 comprises Turkish experience and viewpoints; Part 2 examines conscientious objection from gender perspectives; Part 3 examines C.O. struggles in different parts of the world and Part 4 looks at conscientious objection and the law.

Conscience and Peace Tax International, Fifth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns, Founding Assembly of Conscience and Peace Tax International: Hondarribia, September 16-19 1994, Hondarribia, Spain, Asamblea de Objecion Fiscal de Navarra, 1994, pp. 111

Text of contributions, workshop reports and summaries of discussions. Conscience and Peace Tax International was established in Brussels as a non-profit association under Belgian law.

Ellner, Andrea ; Robinson, Paul ; Whetham, David, When Soldiers Say No: Selective Conscientious Objection in the Modern Military, Farnham, Ashgate, 2014, pp. 290

Explores theoretical arguments for and against selective objection, together with case studies from US, Britain, Australia, Germany and Israel.

Elster, Ellen ; Sørensen, Majken Jul, Women Conscientious Objectors: An Anthology, London, War Resisters' International, 2010, pp. 156

A collection of essays by and about women COs in USA, Europe, Turkey, Israel, Eritrea, Korea, Paraguay and Colombia.

Translations: Spanish
Flynn, Eileen P., My Country Right or Wrong: Selective Conscientious Objection in the Nuclear Age, Chicago IL, Loyola University Press, 1985, pp. 98

Discusses varieties of conscientious objection, from pacifist objection to all wars, selective objection to particular wars considered unjust and objection to indiscriminate and, most notably, nuclear warfare. Includes a discussion of just war principles.

Horeman, Bart ; Stolwijk, Marc, Refusing to Bear Arms: A World Survey of Conscription and Conscientious Objection to Military Service, Foreword by Devid Prasad, London, War Resisters' International, 1998, pp. 310

The most authoritative country by country survey of the position on conscription and conscientious objection in all member states of the UN, following the same formula in each case and setting out legal possibilities for avoiding military service. Historical overview of the evolution of conscription and conscientious objection appended to many country reports. There are also often additional sections on forced recruitment by non-governmental armed groups. Each report is dated. The online version includes updates, especially 2008, on all the countries (and then candidate countries) in the Council of Europe, see The 2008 update also published separately as: War Resisters' International, Professional soldiers and the right to conscientious objection in the European Union Brussels, Tobias Pfluger MEP, European Parliamentary Group European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), , 2008, pp. 60

Lainer-Vos, Dan, Social Movements and Citizenship: Conscientious Objection in France, the United States and Israel, Mobilization: An International Quarterly, Vol. 11, issue 3 (Oct), 2006, pp. 277-295

Compares movements of objection to the French war in Algeria, the US War in Vietnam and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.

Moskos, Charles C. ; Chambers, John Whiteclay, The New Conscientious Objection: From Sacred to Secular Resistance, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 286

Section 1 suggests ‘the secularization of conscience and modern individ-ualism have been the driving force’ in the rise of conscientious objection. Section 2 looks at the historical record in the USA. Section 3 has articles on France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the former Communist states in Eastern Europe, Israel and South Africa.

Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Conscientious Objection to Military Service, Geneva, United Nations Publications, 2012, pp. 90

also available in Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish (pdf)

Translations: French | Spanish
Pentikainen, Merja, The Right to Refuse Military Orders, Geneva, International Peace Bureau in collaboration with International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, Peace Union of Finland and Finnish Lawyers for Peace and Survival, 1994, pp. 110

Contributions on various forms of refusal – to do military service, to fire at one’s own people, to participate in torture, or to accept orders relating to nuclear weapons – together with summaries of relevant international law.

Quaker Council for European Affairs, Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe, Report for the Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Legal Affairs Committee, Brussels, Quaker Council for European Affairs, 1984, pp. 99

Sets out the legal provision for COs in all the European states at that date. Notes the importance of resolutions in support of making provisions for COs adopted by the Council of Europe in 1967, the UN in 1978 and the European Parliament in 1983.

Quaker Peace and Service, Taxes for Peace Not War: 6th International Conference on Peace Tax Campaigns and War Tax Resistance, London, Quaker Peace and Service, 1997, pp. 51

Assesses the impact of peace tax campaigns in the area of peacemaking and considers their possible future influence.

Rohr, John A., Prophets Without Honor: Public Policy and the Selective Conscientious Objector, Nashville and New York, Abingdon Press, 1971, pp. 191

Examines lack of a constitutional right or political tolerance for selective refusal to take part in particular wars.

Schlissel, Lillian, Conscience in America: A Documentary History of Conscientious Objection in America, 1757-1967, New York, E.P. Dutton, 1968, pp. 444

Documents and statements on conscientious objection, later sections cover COs in two world wars and Vietnam, and case for tax resistance.

Socknat, Thomas, Conscientious Objection in the Context of Canadian Peace Movements, Journal of Mennonite Studies, Vol. 25, 2007, pp. 61-74

War Resisters' International, A Conscientious Objector’s Guide to the International Human Rights Systems, London, War Resisters' International, 2013

A frequently updated overview of international human rights mechanisms available to conscientious objectors, including a wealth of case law (also downloadable as pdf).

Translations: Spanish
War Resisters' International, Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements, London, War Resisters' International, 2015, pp. 192

A practical companion for conscientious objection movements and all those whose work forms part of the continuum of war resistance. It has been written by activists who are campaigning against all kinds of injustice, all over the world. 

Zemlinskaya, Yulia, Cultural Context and Social Movement Outcomes: Conscientious Objectors and Draft Resistance Movement Organizations in Israel, Mobilization: An International Quarterly, Vol. 14, issue 4 (Dec), 2009, pp. 449-466

Comparative analysis of two Israeli organizations supporting conscientious objection and draft resistance during the Second Palestinian Intifada, exploring impact of Israeli culture on tactics and how different tactics of two organizations have different impact in Israel.

See also:

A.J. Muste, Of holy disobedienceIn Hentoff, The Essays of A.J. Muste (D.2.a. Pacifist and Nonviolent Thought), on case for total resistance to conscription as opposed to alternative civilian service.

The previous section D.2.b. provides a broad historical perspective on the role of conscription for military service and of how far the right to refuse to take up arms on conscientious grounds has been recognized by governments around the world, and at an international level. In the second half of the 20th century opposing compulsory military service was a major focus of peace activism in a number of Western European countries (see for example the annotated references in the Italian and Spanish sections at the end of  this bibliography). The international anti-militarist War Resisters' International (WRI) supported individual conscientious objectors (COs) as well as campaigns of draft resistance.  WRI also campaigned, together with other pacifist bodies, for international recognition of the right to conscientious objection. Resolutions in favour of CO rights have been passed by the Council of Europe and by the EU, and also by the UN. 

After the end of the Cold War in the 1990s a total of 22 countries, especially in Europe, abandoned conscription, although it remained a part of national policy in many countries in other parts of the world. So there remained a significant role for peace activists in publicizing and opposing repressive policies of conscription, supporting COs harshly treated by their governments, and campaigning for wider and full recognition of CO rights.   

The rising international tension between Russia and the west in the second decade of the 21st century, particularly since the Ukrainian Euromaidan protests of 2013-14 and the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, led a number of European countries (including ex-Soviet states like the Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania) to revert to a policy of military conscription. The rise in far right nationalistic governments has also promoted glorification of the military and encouraged illiberal policies towards COs in countries like Turkey and Russia, which have never abandoned conscription. 

The treatment of COs by the Turkish government, which has never recognized a right to conscientious objection and penalizes COs in employment and access to pensions and social welfare for life (a form of 'civil death') has been condemned, by the European Court of Human Rights in many rulings since 2006. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regretted in June 2020 the lack of progress in implementing legal recognition of COs, which the Turkish government had promised.

The bitter armed conflicts which have ravaged much of the Middle East and Libya have also intensified arguments for military preparedness, while several countries in the Gulf have introduced (or reintroduced) conscription,  

Some countries have, historically, seen universal military service as a central citizen duty and a means of promoting national unity, and these principles can be extended to calls for forms of compulsory civilian service. Both these principles have been invoked in the move by the French government in 2019 to reintroduce a combined military and civilian form of conscription.  

This section provides a number of references that give more detail on countries reverting to, or introducing, conscription and about recognition of and provision for conscientious objection. It also includes some information about COs in particular countries and about anti-militarist protests. It notes as well the recent extension of conscription to women in Norway and Sweden. 

Blessed are the Peacemakers: Military service in South Korea, The Economist, 09/02/2019, pp. 48-48

This article was prompted by the Supreme Court's ruling in November 2018 that refusing to accept 21-14 months of military service for religious or conscientious reasons would no longer be a crime (overturning its own earlier 2003 ruling). The author notes that the small number of past objectors have usually been Jehovah's Witnesses, and that courts would in future judge the sincerity of pacifist convictions which they might reject, and that, if CO status were accepted, three years alternative service as a prison guard was required.  But recognition of the right to be a CO makes it a more socially acceptable position, and might also help to mitigate the harsh conditions of military service.

Crimea: Conscription Violates International Law, Human Rights Watch, 2019

Highlights how Russian authorities are conscripting men in occupied Crimea to serve in the Russian armed forces, although humanitarian law explicitly forbids Russia to compel Crimean residents to serve in Russian forces.

CO Update, War Resisters' International , 2020

This hundredth issue of CO Update (which brings together a number of news items already published by WRI in June 2020 as separate stories) begins by noting that the annual International Conscientious Objection Day on 15 May 2020 was celebrated round the world mostly by actions online. This issue includes the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement's condemnation of the new draconian bill designed to enforce conscription (referenced above), and the Council of Europe's reiterated appeal to Turkey to recognize conscientious objection (noted in the Introduction).  It also covers court cases to oppose EU financing of Eritrean development projects that employing conscript labour; the Azerbaijan government's parliamentary announcement about a prospective Alternative Service Law (promised to the Council of Europe in 2003 but not delivered); the suspicious death of a Turkish air force conscript; and two opposing bills in the US Congress: to extend draft registration to women, or to end draft registration. 

See also other monthly issues of CO update for detailed news from around the world.

Ukrainian Pacifist Movement: Bill No 3553 of Zelensky's Military Dictatorship should be withdrawn, War Resisters International, 2020

Full statement by the WRI affiliate Ukrainian Pacifist Movement condemning  the bill introducing 'intolerable elements of military dictatorship'. The bill required mandatory military registration for employment and draconian fines and imprisonment for COs and those showing solidarity with them.  It also empowered police to hunt for draftees on the streets and transfer them forcibly to army recruiting centres.

See also: 'The Brutality of Military Commissariats in Ukraine: Reaction of  UN and MPs', Truth Seeker, 23 September 2019

This article explores the practice of arbitrary detention of conscripts in Ukraine.  It includes footage (in Russian) of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement that opposes compulsory military service.

See also: Harding, Luke, 'Ukraine reintroduces conscription to counter threat of pro-Russian separatists', The Guardian, 1 May 2014.

Abromaltis, Adomas, Lithuania: To serve or not to serve in the army, Modern Diplomacy, 18/02/2020,

This article discusses the response of young Lithuanians to their government's 2015 decision to reintroduce compulsory military service of nine months men aged between 19-26. The conscripts are randomly selected each year from all those eligible, defined to include Lithuanians living abroad. The author notes that most try to avoid military service, and may prefer to pay fines or risk imprisonment, which has led to the government looking for new means of enforcing compliance.

Ardemagni, Eleonora, Building New Gulf States Through Conscription, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2018

The author explores the introduction of conscription in the Gulf States through the lens of promoting national identities and instilling a spirit of sacrifice.

See also: Alterman, Jon and Margo Balboni, Citizens in Training:  Conscription and Nation-building in the United Arab Emirates, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) - Middle East Program, 2017, pp. 57.

https:// csis

This report analyzes the broad implications of introducing conscription for the wider society, such as the militarization of nationalism, gendering citizenship and social hierarchy.

Barany, Zoltan, Why Have Three Gulf States Introduced the Draft?, The RUSI Journal, Vol. 16, 2017, pp. 16-26

An analysis of the factors that have led to Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar introducing conscription for their armed forces. Barany argues that conscription is a response to emerging security needs, but is also designed to strengthen the link between state and citizen.

Bock, Pauline, Why the French are Revolting against Emmanuel Macron's National Service Programme, June 2019, New Statesman, 2019

France, which abolished conscription in 1997, reintroduced a new form of universal national service for 16 year olds in 2018, which extended to women as well as men and included forms of social as well as military service.  Bock's article discusses the national debate at a time when the new form of service was being tested by over 2,000 young  volunteers in a pilot programme. The eventual service will be compulsory, with no exceptions recognized, and penalties envisaged included being banned from taking the academic qualification the baccalaureat or a driving  test.

See also: Williamson, Lucy, 'France's Macron brings back National Service', BBC News, 27 June 2018. 

This report stresses that Macron's original plan had been 'softened and broadened' with less focus on military experience and with an emphasis on fostering social cohesion.

Brock, Hannah, The Return of Conscription?, War Resisters' International, 2018

Brock assesses the changing context of her work for War Resisters' International since she began in 2012, when conscription had ended or been suspended in 22 states. She notes how regional fears of Russian aggression have influenced the reintroduction of conscription in former Soviet states (Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania) and in Western Europe, where Sweden had reintroduced it. She also comments on Gulf States introducing or reintroducing conscription (as in Kuwait). The extension of conscription to women in both Norway and Sweden, opposed by some feminists but supported by women politicians, raises wider questions, which Brock considers, about the extent of social diversity in the armed forces. The article is extensively annotated, including references to protests against conscription and against the major military exercise 'Aurora' mounted by neutral Sweden in 2017, which incorporated NATO troops. 

Persson, Alma ; Sundevall, Fia, Conscripting Women: Gender, Solidarity and Military Service in Sweden 1965-2018, Women's History Review, Vol. 28, issue 7, 2019, pp. 1039-1056

This article surveys Swedish debates about gender equality in the military since 1965, when military conscription of women was first proposed, up to the introduction of 'gemder neutral' conscription in 2018. Using a wide range of sources, the authors note that women were assessed against the standard set by men, but that the 'woman soldier' became a solution for staff shortages and the need for particular qualities in particular situations, especially in international missions

Soresen, Martin, Sweden Reinstates Conscription, with an Eye on Russia, New York Times, 02/03/2017,

Report on the decision by Sweden to reintroduce conscription following alleged breaches of its airspace by Russian fighter jets.

See also: 'Sweden Brings Back Military Conscription amid Baltic Tensions' BBC, 2 March 2017.

Toomey, Leigh, The Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Recent Jurisprudence of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 19, issue 4, 2019, pp. 787-810

The article discusses the significance of the UN Working Group Opinion no.40/2018 for securing the right to conscientious objection and freedom of thought internationally.

After 1945 the invention of nuclear weapons created a new peril, dramatized by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which gradually aroused widespread public concern. This concern was exacerbated from the mid-1950s by growing awareness of the dangers to health and the environment caused by the testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere.

But development of atomic and then hydrogen bombs, and later of nuclear missiles, was also a product of the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the deep distrust generated by the Cold War. Once both sides had nuclear weapons, developing strategic doctrines of the necessity of deterrence made opposition to US (or British) weapons more politically sensitive. The fact that the Soviet Union mobilized a worldwide ‘peace campaign’ against nuclear weapons in the early 1950s also meant that in the most frigid period of the cold war western peace protests were almost automatically seen by governments and the media as pro-Soviet. (How far these campaigns, which undoubtedly drew in many non-Communists concerned about the dangers of nuclear war, should be seen as part of the overall peace movement is disputed.)

A strong explicitly nonaligned movement against nuclear weapons, linked in Britain to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), did not therefore develop until 1957/58. The ‘first wave’ of the nuclear disarmament movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s resulted in mass marches and a wide variety of nonviolent direct action protests against nuclear testing sites, nuclear bases and installations and government buildings. In some cases (as in West Germany) protest originated on the organized left, in others popular protest impacted on trade unions and leftist political parties, leading for example to a unilateralist resolution being passed by the British Labour Party Conference in 1960. The debate also spread to the churches and raised the question whether nuclear weapons were compatible with the doctrine of just war. The 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, signed initially by the USA, Soviet Union and Britain, could be interpreted as a success for the movement, and the USA and USSR began to engage more seriously in a series of arms control negotiations.

By the late 1960s many campaigners had turned their energies to opposing the Vietnam War. During the 1970s environmental protests came to the fore, though concern about nuclear energy sometimes linked up with opposition to nuclear weapons. A second mobilization of mass opposition to nuclear weapons was sparked by US proposals to deploy the neutron bomb and by the NATO decision to deploy cruise and Pershing II missiles – Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) – in Western Europe. The campaigns of the 1980s had greater transnational reach, involved many more people than the ‘first wave’ of the movement, and influenced the policy of some local councils and regions. The role of the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) campaign in promoting a dialogue between western peace campaigners and East European and Soviet dissidents also opened up a new dimension.

The use of nonviolent direct action was even more widespread in the 1980s than in the 1950s/60s, and less controversial within the movement. There were, for example, many sit-downs and peace camps at bases. There was also widespread transnational cooperation, for example at the peace camp at the Comiso missile base in Sicily. The legality of nuclear weapons under international law was frequently raised in the courts. Some of the most militant actions, for example at the Greenham Common cruise missile base, are also associated with radical feminism and have been listed under the Feminist Movement (F.5.).

Although the nuclear disarmament movement has in general lost momentum since the break-up of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, the dangers from nuclear weapons and proliferation ensure that campaigning continues. There are still nonviolent direct action demonstrations in Britain, for example at nuclear bases and installations.
There is a large literature on the nuclear disarmament movement. The titles below include assessments from a range of ideological perspectives, but many of them have been chosen because they give some prominence to forms of direct action and civil disobedience.

Glendinning, Chellis, Waking Up In The Nuclear Age: The Book Of Nuclear Therapy, New York, Beech Tree Books, 1987, pp. 235

Argues that the pretence that nuclear weapons do not constitute an actual danger constitutes a “psychic numbing”, and prevents people from taking positive action on either a personal and political level.

Montgomery, AnneLaffin, Arthur, Swords into Plowshares: Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament, San Francisco , Harper and Row/Perennial Library, 1987, pp. 243 pb

This is an account of the origin and early years of the US Plowshares movement launched in 1980 by radical Catholics, and edited by two of the leading figures in this new form of personal ‘witness’ against nuclear weapons. Plowshares took inspiration from the biblical phrase ‘beat your swords into ploughshares’ and physically attacked missiles and associated targets, before publicizing their actions and accepting arrest and often subsequent imprisonment. This book explains their motivation, wider social beliefs, and provides details of early protests.

There is an immense literature on strategic thinking about nuclear weapons since the late 1950s, as theories of deterrence and arms control evolved and as missile deployments and strategic rationales altered over time. The titles selected here focus on moral, political and strategic arguments which influenced campaigners. But a well-regarded survey of official nuclear policies is: Mandelbaum, Michael , The Nuclear Question: The United States and Nuclear Weapons 1946-1976 Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, , 1979, pp. 288

Hibakusha. Survivors Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki, Tokyo, Kōsei Publishing, 1986, pp. 206

First hand account of 25 hibakushas, survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. They include soldiers, doctors, nurses, students, housewives, small children, Koreans brought to Japan for forced labour, and victims who were yet unborn.

Alfven, Hannes, Honest language. Semantics of the nuclear debate, Waging Peace Series, 1986, pp. 1-13

Physicist Hannes Alfven offers a careful examination of the ways language guides the thinking on nuclear deterrence.

Church of England, Board of Social Responsibility, The Church and the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons and Christian Conscience. The Report of the Working Party under the Chairmanship of the Bishop of Salisbury, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1982, pp. 190

Influential report which concluded that Just War principles forbid the use of nuclear weapons, and recommended that the UK should renounce its independent nuclear deterrent, followed by a phased withdrawal from other forms of reliance on nuclear weapons including, ultimately, the presence of US air and submarine bases.

Downing, taylor, 1983: Reagan. Andropov and a World on the Brink, New York, Little Brown, 2018, pp. 400

Downing demonstrates how on 9 November 1983 the USSR put its nuclear  forces on high alert in fear of a pre-emptive US nuclear strike, bringing the world close to nuclear war. (Fortunately the US did not react rapidly.) Whereas in 1962 both sides in the Cuba crisis knew it could trigger nuclear war (and tried frantically to avert it), in 1983 the Reagan Administration had no idea that its renewed Cold War anti-communist rhetoric and military build-up (including  'Star Wars' plans) were seen by Moscow as a rationale and strategy for an attack. A NATO exercise and change in codes were therefore interpreted as a prelude to attack. Downing revealed the main lines of this story in a TV documentary in 2008.

Holroyd, Fred, Thinking about Nuclear Weapons: Analyses and Prescriptions, London, Croom Helm in association with the Open University, 1985, pp. 409

Covers a range of perspectives on nuclear weapons. Includes influential Bundy, McGeorge ; Kennan, George F.; McNamara, Robert S.; Smith, Gerard , Nuclear weapons and the Atlantic Alliance Foreign Affairs, 1982, pp. 753-766 , arguing that NATO should not use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional attack. Also includes section from the Alternative Defence Commission report on ‘The rationale for rejecting nuclear weapons’, as well as an extract from Edward P. Thompson’s 1980 pamphlet Protest and Survive (see below).

Schell, Jonathan, The Abolition, London, Picador in association with Jonathan Cape, 1984, pp. 170

Definition of the nuclear predicament and radical proposals for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

Stein, Walter, Nuclear Weapons and Christian Conscience, [1961], With Foreword by Archbishop Roberts., London, Merlin Press, 1981, pp. 163

Essays by six leading Catholic thinkers on the moral issues raised by nuclear weapons. Had considerable influence in Christian and wider circles. The 1981 edition has a postscript by Anthony Kenny on Counterforce and Countervalue nuclear doctrines.

Thompson, Edward P., Protest and Survive, London, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, 1980, pp. 33

This polemic, whose title was prompted by government civil defence advice ‘Protect and Survive’, provided considerable impetus to the rejuvenated nuclear disarmament movement of the 1980s, and the launch of the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) campaign in which Thompson played a leading role.

Urquhart, Clara, A Matter of Life, [1963], London, Praeger and Jonathan Cape, 1973, pp. 255

A collection of brief essays or speeches by eminent proponents of peace or nonviolence on dangers facing the world and role of civil disobedience. Contributors include Martin Buber, Danilo Dolci, Erich Fromm, Kenneth Kaunda, Jawaharlal Nehru and Albert Schweitzer. There are essays by founding members of the Committee of 100: Bertrand Russell, Michael Scott and Robert Bolt.

US Bishops, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and our Response: The US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on War and Peace in the Nuclear Age, London, CTS/SPCK, 1983, pp. 34

Influential Catholic document. Argues that ‘a justifiable use of force must be both discriminatory and proportionate’ and that ‘certain aspects of both US and Soviet strategies fail both tests’. Urged greater consideration of nonviolent means of resistance whilst upholding the right of governments to conscript (with provision for general or selective objection).

Evangelista, Matthew, Unarmed Forces: The Transnational Movement to End the Cold War, Ithaca NY, Columbia University Press, 1999, pp. 406

Well-documented examination of the role of transnational civil movements in contributing to arms control and the ending of the Cold War. Includes assessment of the Pugwash Conference which brought together scientists from East and West, and also the wider anti-war movement.

Grant, Matthew ; Ziemann, Benjamin, Understanding the imaginary war. Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945–90, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2017, pp. 316

The authors reinterpret the Cold War as an ‘imaginary war’, a conflict that had visions of nuclear devastation as one of its main battlegrounds, and provide and cultural representations of nuclear war. There are chapters and case studies on Western Europe, the USSR, Japan and the USA. Drawing on various strands of intellectual debate and from different media, such as documentary film and debates among physicians, the contributors demonstrate the difficulties in making the unthinkable and unimaginable - nuclear apocalypse - imaginable. The aim is to make nuclear culture relevant to an understanding of the period from 1945 to 1990.

Kaltefleiter, Werner ; Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., Peace Movements in Europe and the United States, London, Croom Helm, 1985, pp. 211

Essays arising out of May 1984 conference at the Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, on peace movements in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, West Germany, France, Italy, Britain and the US. Focus is on the anti-nuclear movements of the 1980s, though some contributors sketch the earlier history of movements in their countries.

Laqueur, Walter ; Hunter, Robert Edwards, European Peace Movements and the Future of the Western Alliance, New Brunswick, Transaction Books in association with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC, 1985, pp. 450

Generally critical contributions on the peace movements of the 1980s in various European countries and their impact on the Western alliance. Includes chapter on the US peace movement of the 1980s.

Nehring, Holger, Politics of Security: British and West German Protest Movements in the Early Cold War 1945-1970, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 368

Discusses cultural and social bases of protest against nuclear weapons, role of nationalism in the movements, and importance of British types of activism for German protest in light of experience in World War Two and the cold war. See also: Nehring, Holger , Demonstrating for “Peace” in the Cold War: The British and West German Easter Marches 1958-64 In Reiss, Matthias , The Street as Stage: Protest Marches and Public Rallies since the Nineteenth Century Oxford, Oxford University Press, , 2007 , chap. 15; Nehring, Holger , National Internationalists: British and West German Protests Against Nuclear Weapons, the Politics of Transnational Communication and the Social Hisotry of the Cold War 1957-1964 Contemporary European History, 2005, pp. 559-582 .

Robinson, Paul, The American Antinuclear Movement, In Oxford Research Encyclopedia, American History, pp. 1-28

This brief history of opposition to nuclear weapons has a global focus, though from a US perspective, and covers the evolution of the movement up to 1991. It starts in 1944 with the opposition of nuclear scientists. The author argues that the movement included an array of tactics, from radical dissent to public protest to opposition within the government, and succeeded in constraining the arms race and helping to make the use of nuclear weapons politically unacceptable.

Rochon, Thomas R., Mobilizing for Peace, Princetown NJ, Princetown University Press, 1988, pp. 232

Wide-ranging analysis of West European anti-missile/nuclear disarmament campaigns 1979-1986, incorporating discussion of social movement theory and the wider political context. Focuses particularly on Britain, the Netherlands, West Germany and France. It includes great deal of information on organizations, campaigns and types of action, as well as many useful sources and references.

Tiel, Max, The Black Man and the Bomb: The interconnection between racism and anti-nuclear protests in South Africa and the United States, Political Culture and National Identities, Vol. Master Degree, Leiden, The Netherlands, Leiden University, 2017

The thesis starts from the political context of the late 1970s when, despite detente, the US was developing its nuclear weapons arsenal, and apartheid South Africa emerged as a nuclear weapons state. Black campaigners against nuclear weapons emerged in both countries, and both suffered from racial discrimination, but the very different political contexts made organized opposition to nuclear policies very much harder in South Africa.  However, in both cases nuclear weapon developments were closely linked to an international context, and both movements also relied heavily on international allies.

Wittner, Lawrence S., The Struggle Against the Bomb, One World or None: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement Through 1953, Vol. 1, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 1993, pp. 456

Covers responses to the Bomb from 1945-1953, including by scientists and churches, but with emphasis on the Soviet-initiated protests under the World Peace Council.

Wittner, Lawrence S., Resisting the Bomb: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement 1954-1970, Vol. 2, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 1997, pp. 641

Extensive and thoroughly researched history of campaigns and governments responses, which includes quite a lot of material on nonviolent direct action.

Wittner, Lawrence S., Towards Nuclear Abolition: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement 1971 to the Present, Vol. 3, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 2003, pp. 657

Traces the development of the movement in the 1970s, the rise of a new activism in the 1980s, the ‘breakthrough’ of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Agreement of 1987, and the end of the Cold War. While noting later more worrying trends, Wittner concludes that ‘This study – like its predecessors – indicates that the nuclear arms control and disarmament measures of the modern era have resulted primarily from the efforts of a worldwide citizens’ campaign, the biggest mass movement in modern history’.

Wittner, Lawrence S., Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 2009, pp. 272

A greatly condensed version of his three volume history (listed individually).

A Cold War cast of thousands. Anti-nuclear activists and protest-action, National Park Service, 19/12/2017,

Discusses the anti-nuclear weapons movements in the late 1950s, for example the Committee for Non-Violent Action, and the shift of focus, from the mid-1960s until the early 1970s to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War by many local and national peace groups in the United States. In the late 1970s and 1980s Europe and the United States experienced a resurgence of concern over nuclear weapons.

Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Atomic Heritage Foundation, 27/07/2017,

Provides a basic account of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the censorship that followed, the setting up of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, the birth of the movement led by the hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) and the perception of them in the United States

Bigelow, Albert, The Voyage of the Golden Rule: An Experiment with Truth, Garden City NY, Doubleday, 1959, pp. 286

Account by former Lieutenant in the US navy of an attempt by four people to sail a ketch into the US nuclear testing zone at Eniwetok in protest against the tests. Defying an injunction, the ketch sailed 5 miles into the zone before being stopped by US navy. Their example inspired a second attempt by Earle and Barbara Reynolds (see Reynolds, The Forbidden Voyage (D.3.c. Studies of Particular Countries, Campaigns or Actions) ).

Bradshaw, Ross ; Gould, Dennis ; Jones, Chris, From Protest to Resistance, (Peace News pamphlet), Nottingham, Mushroom, 1981, pp. 64

Story of the rise of direct action against nuclear weapons in the British context. Includes diary of main protest in the 1957-1966 period, and interviews with those involved.

Braun, Reiner ; Krieger, David ; Kroto, Harold ; Milne, Sally, Joseph Rotblat: Visionary For Peace, Weinheim, Wiley-VCH, 2007, pp. 355

A series of essays on the life of Joseph Rotblat, British physics and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, including his activism for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Breyman, Steven, Why Movements Matter: The West German Peace Movement and U.S, Arms Control Policy, Albany NY, State University of New York Press, 2001, pp. 359

Charts the evolution of the movement from 1979 to deployment of missiles in Germany at the end of 1983, linking accounts of major protests in West Germany to internal political developments and US/USSR negotiations. The final chapter assesses the impact of the movement and its relation to the INF Treaty.

Cairns, Brendan, Stop the Drop, In Burgmann, Verity ; Lee, Jenny , Staining the Wattle Ringwood VIC, McPhee Gribble/Penguin Books, , 1988, pp. 243-253

On the 1980s revived movement against nuclear weapons, in particular Australia’s People for Nuclear Disarmament.

Carter, April, The Sahara Protest Team, In Hare; Blumberg, Liberation without Violence: A Third Party Approach (A. 5. Nonviolent Intervention and Accompaniment), London, Rex Collings, pp. 126-156

On a transnational expedition in 1959-60 attempting to prevent French nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara.

Clements, Kevin, What Happened to the New Zealand Peace Movement? Anti-Nuclear Politics and the Quest for a More Independent Foreign Policy, In in Patman, Robert, Iati Iati and Balazs Kiglics (eds.) New Zealand And The World. Past, Present And Future, New Jersey and London, World Scientific, pp. 221-237

Clements comments on the success of the peace movement in the 1980s in achieving the Nuclear-Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act of 1987, and the later waning of its influence on New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Clements, Kevin P., Back from the Brink: The Creation of a Nuclear Free New Zealand, Wellington NZ and New York, Harper Collins, 1988, pp. 241

Account of significant popular movement in 1970s and 1980s (including local councils declaring themselves nuclear-free) that led to government action to turn New Zealand into a nuclear-free zone and to refuse to allow US warships carrying nuclear weapons to dock in its ports (although it did not remove US monitoring bases).

Deming, Barbara, Earle Reynolds: Stranger in This Country, In Deming, Revolution and Equilibrium (A. 1.a.ii. Theories of Civil Disobedience, Power and Revolution), New York, Grossman, pp. 124-135

On the transnational protests by the ship ‘Everyman III’ which sailed from London to Leningrad to protest against Soviet nuclear tests.

Driver, Christopher, The Disarmers: A Study in Protest, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1964, pp. 256

Account of the emergence of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War and the Committee of 100 in Britain. Describes the main actions and internal debates within the movement.

Fairhall, David, Common Ground: The Story Of Greenham, London, I.B. Tauris , 2006, pp. 224

Story of the march to Greenham Common in August 1981 by a small group of women, ‘Women for Life on Earth’, to demand a public debate on nuclear weapons, in order to keep the nuclear issue under scrutiny, and how it led to the prolonged and renowned women-only camp and blockades at the Greenham Cruise Missile Base in the UK.

See also

Fazzi, Dario, Eleonor Roosvelt And the Anti-Nuclear Movement. The Voice Of Conscience, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 202

Fazzi explores Eleanor Roosevelt’s involvement in the global campaign for nuclear disarmament during the early years of the Cold War. Based on an extensive research, it assesses her overall contribution and shows how she constantly tried to raise awareness of the real hazards of nuclear testing.

Green, Jim, Australia's Anti-Nuclear Movement: a short history, Green Left, issue 30, 26/08/1998,

The article examines the linkage between activists concerned about Australia supplying uranium for US and British nuclear weapon programmes, and its close military alliance with the US, and the environmental groups focusing on the dangers of civilian nuclear energy.  Green argues that resistance to nuclear energy was weak and isolated before the 1970s, but gained significant, nationally coordinated, support in 1976-77, which swung the Labor Party against uranium mining and exports. The movement highlighted the dangers of uranium mining for Aborigines and workers in the mines, as well as the environmental impact; and it opposed Australia's role in the cold war nuclear confrontation (having US bases and allowing US nuclear warships to visit Australian harbours). It also publicized the secret history of the health impact of British nuclear testing in Australian deserts on Aboriginal people. However, the movement lost momentum in the 1980s and failed to prevent the Labor Party, when in government from 1983, abandoning its strong opposition to uranium mining.

Hamel-Green, Michael, Antinuclear campaigning and the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone (Rarotonga) Treaty, 1960-85, Melbourne, Proceedings of the 14th Biennal Labour History Conference, 2015

This paper examines the role and contribution of antinuclear and civil society efforts to establish a regional nuclear free zone in the period up to the signing of the 1985 South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) Rarotonga Treaty. The Treaty negotiated under the auspices of the South Pacific Forum (now Pacific Islands Forum), the regional organization of independent South Pacific island states, Australia and New Zealand. The antinuclear campaigns that led up to and contributed to the negotiation of the Treaty began some 25 years earlier and may be divided into three broad waves.

Harvey, Kyle, American Anti-Nuclear Activism 1975-1990: The Challenge of Peace, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 221

The Introduction examines the dynamics of anti-nuclear activism in the Second Cold War. There is a chapter on mainstream movement building, but the emphasis is on nonviolent approaches and the role of pacifists.

Harvey, Kyle, American Anti-Nuclear Actvism 1975-1990: The Challenge of Peace, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 221

The introduction examinesthe dynamics of anti-nucelar activism in the Second Cold War. There is a chapter on mainstream movement building, but the emphasis is on nonviolent approaches and the role of pacifists.

Harvey, Kyle, Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND), In Hall, Opposition to war: An Encyclopedia Of U.S. Peace And Antiwar Movements (A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements), Santa Barbara, CA, ABC-CLIO, pp. 720-721

Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) began as the Women's Party for Survival (WPS), founded by Helen Caldicott in Boston in 1980. WPS chapters and affiliates soon formed across the United States, with educational programs, lobbying workshops, and demonstrations - the largest held annually on Mother's Day.

Hinton, James, Protests and Visions: Peace Politics in 20th Century Britain, London, Hutchinson Radius, 1989, pp. 248

Covers pacifist and anti-war campaigning in Britain from the ‘imperialist pacifism’ of the Victorian period, through both World Wars to the birth of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the New Left in the 1950s and 1960s. Written from a democratic socialist perspective. Final chapters cover CND’s ‘second wave’ in the 1980s, the Gorbachev initiatives, and the role of the European Nuclear Disarmament campaign seeking to transcend the Cold War divide.

Hudson, Kate, Now More than Ever, London, Vision Paperbacks, Satin Publishers, Sheena Dewan, 2005, pp. 278

Up to date account of British nuclear disarmament movement since the 1950s by chair of CND, giving some weight to direct action.

Jezer, Marty, Where Do We Go From Here? Tactics and Strategies for the Peace Movement, New York, A.J. Muste Institute, 1984, pp. 74

Answers by range of peace activists to questions about the future of the movement, including whether it should focus on the arms race or more broadly on US foreign policy, its relationship to electoral politics, the role of civil disobedience and issues related to feminist separatism.

Katz, Milton, Ban the Bomb: A History of SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, Westport CT, Greenwood Press, 1986, pp. 215

SANE was founded in the US in 1957 to campaign against nuclear tests, but also to draw attention to wider dangers of the arms race. Its emphasis was on public appeals, lobbying in Washington and backing peace candidates in the 1962 primaries, and its support was mainly from intellectuals and some business people; students tended to support more radical groups and nonviolent direct action against tests and bases was carried out by groups like the Committee for Nonviolent Action.

Kim, Christine, The Peace Movement: The Beginning and End of Nuclear Disarmament Campaigning in Vancouver, Hemishperes, Vol. 40, 2017, pp. 57-74

In the last decade of the Cold War, during the 1980s, the Peace Movement in Vancouver, BC, gained an unprecedented amount of traction. However, was short-lived as peace activists dwindled in the 1990s and beyond. In this article Christine Kim explores what were the factors that caused the peace movement in Vancouver to fail and whether its legacy is one that supports the value of political activism as a powerful agent for change. The author interviews students, professors, and activists from the Vancouver Peace Movement of the 1980s in an hour-long radio documentary.

Leadbeater, Maire, Peace, Power & Politics: How New Zealand Became Nuclear Free, Dunedin, Otago University Press, 2013, pp. 344

Maire Leadbeater provides an insider’s view of the last 40 years of New Zealand’s peace movement and the fight for a nuclear free country. She was secretary and then spokeperson for Auckland’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and participated to the anti-nuclear weapons protests in the 1970s and 1980s. 

McCrea, Frances B. ; Markle, Gerald E., Minutes to Midnight: Nuclear Weapons Protest in America 1950s-80s, Newbury Park CA, Sage, 1989, pp. 200

McTaggart, David ; Hunter, Robert, Greenpeace III: The Journey into the Bomb, London, Collins, 1978, pp. 372

Leading Greenpeace activists recount how their boat succeeded in sailing into the French nuclear testing zone near Muroroa Atoll in 1971, forcing the French government to halt one of its planned nuclear tests.

Meyer, David S.Rochon, Thomas, Coalitions and Political Movements: The Lessons of the Nuclear Freeze, Boulder CO, Lynne Rienner, 1997, pp. 277

Examines movement of the early 1980s which mobilized huge numbers in the US to protest against the dangers of nuclear weapons and strategies and demanding a US-Soviet agreement for a freeze on testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons, bombers and missiles. The movement gained some support in Congress, organized a mass lobby in Washington and demonstrated throughout the country in 1983, and engaged in electoral activity. This book examines the successes and failures of the Freeze, and broader implications for other movements. See also: Meyer, David S., A Winter of Discontent: The Nuclear Freeze and American Politics New York, Praeger, , 1990, pp. 320

Mitcalfe, Barry, Boy Roel: Voyage to Nowhere, Auckland N.Z., Alister Taylor, 1972, pp. 154

Diary of events aboard Boy Roel, one of the fleet of four ships, including Greenpeace III, which attempted to sail into French nuclear testing zone near Muroroa Atoll in 1972.

Okamura, Yukinori, The Hiroshima Panels Visualize Violence: Imagination over Life, Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Vol. 2, issue 2, 2019, pp. 518-534

After experiencing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945, Chinese-ink painter Iri Maruki and oil painter Toshi Maruki began their collaboration on the Hiroshima Panels in 1950. During the Allied occupation of Japan when reporting on the atomic bombing was strictly prohibited, the panels made known the hidden nuclear sufferings through a nationwide tour. In 1953, the panels began a ten-year tour of about 20 countries, mainly in East Asia and Europe, and disseminated the Hiroshima stories in the age of the US-Soviet arms race. The Marukis embarked on a new direction in the 1970s, with their emphasis on complex realities of war in which the victim/perpetrator dichotomy was not clear-cut, and explored other forms of violence such as pollution and discrimination.

Reynolds, Earle, The Forbidden Voyage, Westport CT, Greenwood Press, 1975, pp. 281

Earle and Barbara Reynolds lived in Hiroshima, where he was studying effects of atomic radiation, from 1951-1954. In 1958, whilst cruising on their yacht the Phoenix of Hiroshima, they heard about the arrest of Bigelow’s Golden Rule protesting against US testing (see above) and later that year sailed 65 nautical miles inside the Bikini Atoll testing zone.

Robie, David, Eyes of Fire: The Last Voyage of the Rainbow Warrior, [1986], (2nd edn), Philadelphia PA, New Society Publishers, 2005, pp. 180

Account of final voyage of Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior, trying to sail into French nuclear testing area near Mururoa Atoll, before it was blown up by French secret service agents in Auckland Harbour July 1985. See also: Sunday Times Insight Team, Rainbow Warrior: The French Attempt to Sink Greenpeace London, Sunday Times, , 1986, pp. 302

Robson, Bridget Mary, What Part did Nonviolence Play in the British Peace Movement 1979-1985?, Bradford, University of Bradford, MA Dissertation, 1992, pp. 89

Recounts debates surrounding the use of direct action and civil disobedience in anti-nuclear campaigns, noting the influence of New Left politics and feminism and the rise of nonviolence training, affinity groups and peace camps in the 1980s. Demonstrates that direct action was initiated at the grassroots level but in time accepted by CND leadership.

Rochon, Thomas ; Meyer, Davi, Coalitions And Political Movements. The Lessons Of The Nuclear Freeze, Boulder and London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997, pp. 278

Analyses the ‘Nuclear Freeze’ movement, the largest mass movement in the U.S. in the 1980s, that addressed the dangers of the ‘Second Cold War’ between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The book highlights the development of the movement; its social and political impact; and its transformation in the 1990s. 

Saruya, Hiroe, Imagining “World Peace”: The Antinuclear Bomb Movement in Postwar Japan as a Transnational Movement, In Iacobelli, Pedro, Danton Leary, Shinnosuke Takahashi (eds) Transnational Japan as History, New York , Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 187-210

The end of World War II saw the emergence of a new public arena for imagining a “world society” in which nation-states would cooperate to achieve peace, a dramatic change from the previous world of competitive nation states engaging in multiple wars and imperial expansions. But, the author argues, this call for “world peace”—a renewed political imaginary after the failed attempt of the League of Nations and the Kellogg–Briand Pact—was not simply empty political rhetoric or a naive utopia. Its (re-)creation led to vigorous debate that resulted in various transnational political institutions and forms of transnational activism in the aftermath of the war.

Sawyer, Steve, Rainbow Warrior: Nuclear War in the Pacific, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 8, issue 4 (October), 1986, pp. 1325-1336

Examines sinking of Rainbow Warrior, commenting on New Zealand’s reactions and the heightened awareness of the dangers of nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Simpson, Tony, No Bunkers Here: A Successful Nonviolent Action in a Welsh Community, Merthyr Tydfil, Nottingham and Mid-Glamorgan CND and Peace News, 1982, pp. 47

Account of direct action campaign against the building of a nuclear-blast-proof bunker.

Solnit, Rebecca, Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Hidden Wars of the American West, San Francisco CA, Sierra Club Books, 1994, pp. 401

Autobiographical account of radical campaigning activities against nuclear tests in Nevada. Author argues that policy of testing nuclear weapons in the American West is rooted in 19th century attitudes and policies towards native American peoples.

Taylor, Richard, Against the Bomb: The British Peace Movement 1958-1965, Oxford, Clarendon, 1988, pp. 368

Well researched account of the first phase of the nuclear disarmament campaign in Britain, analysed and critiqued from a New Left/Marxist perspective.

TePoel, Dain, Endurance activism: transcontinental walking, the great peace march and the politics of movement culture, Vol. Doctoral Thesis, University of Iowa, 2018, pp. 285

This thesis focuses on the 1986 Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament that lasted nine-month and covered 3,325 miles, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The author coins the term ‘endurance activism’ and explores two central questions: What is the relationship between long-distance walking and the politics of social movements? To what extent does ‘endurance’ shape meanings of the March’s related but twin goals: the building of a “prefigurative” community, and a mass movement capable of attaining media coverage and achieving concrete, or “strategic” political outcomes?

Thompson, Ben, Comiso, London, Merlin Press jointly with END, 1982, pp. 17

Account of transnational direct action against nuclear missile base in Sicily.

Waterston, Elizabeth ; Boulton, Frank, A history of British health professionals working for the abolition of nuclear weapons, Medicine, Conflict and Survival, Vol. 34, issue 4, 2018, pp. 350-359

In 1963 medical and dental professionals in the United States and the United Kingdom played an important role in highlighting the health threat posed by atmospheric nuclear tests. Analysis of the deciduous teeth of American children born during the testing years showed the widespread presence of Strontium-90, a radioactive fission product that accumulates in babies’ teeth. The outrage of parents made fallout a central issue, and so put pressure on the US and UK governments to agree to the Partial Test Ban Treaty.

Williams, Zoe, No more nukes’? Why anti-nuclear protests need an urgent revival, The Guardian, 06/09/2017,

Account of some of the most important nuclear disarmament movements, specifically the Aldermaston march in Easter 1958; the development of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the main activities they led in the 1980s; and the European Nuclear Disarmament Campaign.

The significant movements against nuclear weapons in the west and in other parts of the world which suffered from nuclear testing, or had been drawn into the global network of nuclear bases and alliances, had no direct counterpart in the Soviet bloc in the 1950s and 1960s, where ‘peace activity’ was monopolised by the Communist regime sponsored ‘Peace Committees’, which focused on encouraging resistance to NATO nuclear policies (had their Communist-influenced western counterparts) and presented the Soviet nuclear arsenal and the Warsaw Pact as essentially defensive. By the 1980s, although the official Peace Committees were still prominent in the Soviet bloc, the nonaligned peace movement in the rest of the world was stronger than it had been in the first wave of anti-bomb protest and the European Nuclear Disarmament campaign initiated in 1980 made specific attempts to make links with dissident groups inside Eastern Europe, and other peace activists also promoted links across the East-West divide. The nature of Communist Party rule in the USSR and most of Eastern Europe was also somewhat less oppressive than in the 1950s, which meant that although open dissidents were still liable to harassment and imprisonment the space for protest had grown. Many opponents of some or all aspects of Communist Party rule in the Soviet bloc were primarily interested in internal political change, and greater national autonomy, rather than the dangers of nuclear weapons and were doubtful about western opposition to NATO policies. But there were a few autonomous peace initiatives and protests in both the USSR and Eastern Europe, as well as some conscientious objectors. Although the literature is limited, this autonomous peace activity was an important phenomenon.

Kavan, Jan ; Tomin, Zdena, Voices from Prague: Documents on Czechoslovakia and the Peace Movement, London, Palach Press, 1982, pp. 75

See also: Sormova, Ruth ; Neubarova, Michaela ; Kavan, Jan , Czechoslovakia’s Nonviolent Revolution In Martin, Nonviolent Struggle and Social Defence (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements)London, War Resisters' International, 1991, pp. 36-41

Ramet, Pedro, Church and Peace in the GDR, Problems of Communism, Vol. 35, issue Jul.-Aug, 1984, pp. 44-57

Sandford, John, The Sword and the Ploughshare: Autonomous Peace Initiatives in East Germany, London, Merlin Press jointly with END, 1983, pp. 111

Stead, Jean ; Grunberg, Gabrielle, END Special Report: Moscow Independent Peace Group, London, Merlin Press, 1982, pp. 44

Thompson, Edward P. ; Koszegi, Ferenc, The New Hungarian Peace Movement, London, Merlin Press jointly with END, 1983, pp. 53

Watch, Helsinki, From Below: Independent Peace and Environmental Movements in Eastern Europe and the USSR, New York, Helsinki Watch Report, 1987, pp. 263

The ideological and military conflict between the USA and USSR, with their respective blocs and spheres of influence, shaped much of global politics from the later 1940s until the end of the 1980s. This conflict also largely determined the nature of the nuclear arms race and framed the context in which peace movements could operate in the west, as set out in the introduction to D.3.

The end of the cold war with the dismantling of the Soviet bloc, and subsequent break-up of the USSR itself at the end of 1991, dramatically changed the context for both military policy and prospects for limiting arms.  A change of direction in Soviet policy towards more extensive agreements to reduce the dangers of nuclear confrontation, and greater cooperation with the west, had in fact already been initiated by President Gorbachev from 1985, alongside liberalization of Communist Party rule.  The INF treaty to limit 'intermediate nuclear forces' and to remove Soviet SS20 and US Cruise and Pershing  II missiles, which had been the focus of confrontation in Europe since the early 1980s, was signed in 1987.  The 1991 START I Treaty      between the US and USSR agreed to a reduction in strategic nuclear weapons (warheads and missiles) by both sides. The Warsaw Pact also agreed in 1991 to dissolve itself and Soviet troops and weapons were withdrawn from Eastern Europe. NATO, however, remained and gradually extended membership to East European countries.

The dissolution of the USSR in December 1991, under pressure for independence from some constituent republics, especially Ukraine, Belarus and Russia under Boris Yeltsin, its President in 1991, meant that Gorbachev lost his role as President.  The end of the USSR could have threatened the process of nuclear arms control. One immediate result was that there were 'Soviet' nuclear weapons in four states: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.  However, the Russian government inherited both the international rights and obligations of the USSR, and also the bulk of the nuclear arsenal, and control of the codes authorizing use of nuclear weapons passed to Yeltsin.  The other republics agreed to transfer their nuclear warheads to Russia, and were aided by US funds in carrying out this important process. 

Arms Control and Disarmament: the 1990s and 2000s

Russia continued after 1991 to cooperate in negotiations to reduce nuclear stockpiles: Yeltsin and George H. Bush signed START II in 1993, requiring further cuts by 2003; but despite Senate ratification (often a stumbling block for US adherence to agreements) the treaty became void because Russian ratification depended on US commitment to maintain the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to limit development of missiles designed to shoot down incoming missiles.  US commitment to the ABM Treaty had been breached by Reagan's 'Star Wars' research programme in the 1980s, though the US did not formally abrogate the ABM treaty until 2002 under George W. Bush.  Although START II lapsed, START I did take effect in 1994 and included a process of verification, which remained operative until December 2009, when the treaty expired

In the broader field of arms limitation and disarmament, however, the 1990s were a decade of significant progress, reflecting a general move towards greater international cooperation and an extension of the role of international law.  One major achievement in relation to nuclear weapons was that the goal of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was agreed in 1996, after decades of fruitless negotiations at the UN (although subsequently the US Senate refused to ratify it). The CTBT outlawed not only tests in the atmosphere, which had created harmful radiation round much of the globe in the 1950s and 1960s and been ended by signatories of  the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, but also tests underground and under the oceans.  Moreover, UN treaties on other types of weapon were also achieved. The most important, in terms of limiting destructive potential in war, was the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.  But a conventional arms treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines, agreed in 1997 (see D.6.), not only had global humanitarian significance, but emerged from a political process uniting civil society groups and some governments that created a model for other disarmament initiatives, notably the successful mobilization to achieve the UN Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons passed in 2017 (see below).   

The willingness of both Washington and Moscow to engage in serious nuclear arms limitation decreased in the 2000s. George W. Bush adopted a more hawkish military policy both in relation to Russia and to the Islamic world - reacting to the shock of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre by invading first Afghanistan (where the architects of the attack, Al Qaida, were based) and then Iraq in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein. Vladimir Putin, the new leader of Russia, increasingly sought to re-establish Russian power and prestige, reacted against the extension of NATO and the EU to Eastern Europe and the Baltic Republics, and put pressure on former Soviet republics.      

The US and Russia did agree the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT) in 2002, but the lack of detail in the treaty limited its real significance and it was not linked to verification. Bush further undermined relations with Russia when in 2007 he announced plans to deploy anti-missile defences not only in parts of the US and in the UK, but also in Poland and the Czech Republic. This move was strongly rejected by Moscow and also met with protests from peace movements. The election of President Obama, however, meant that the US Administration acted to maintain a nuclear arms limitation arrangement with Moscow, and as START I lapsed, New START (which also superseded SORT), and which did contain verification provisions, was signed in Prague in 2010.   

The Spread of Nuclear Weapons and the Role of the Non-Proliferation Treaty from 1968 to 2020

Although the US-Soviet confrontation dominated world politics up to 1990, the invention of 'the Bomb' also created the danger that many countries would start to acquire their own atomic and possibly hydrogen bombs as an essential aspect of defence. The danger of nuclear proliferation is an issue spanning the cold war years and the last three decades. 

This danger was highlighted in the 1950s by the fact that Switzerland and Sweden, with long standing policies of neutrality, both started atomic weapons research and came close to adopting a nuclear military stance in the 1950s. US military alliance policy did in fact play a role in limiting the number of nuclear weapon states by promising to retaliate if allies in Europe and Asia suffered a nuclear attack, although this also often meant deploying US nuclear weapons in these allied countries, as in Western Europe and South Korea. However, the UK government decided in the 1940s to develop its own nuclear force - British scientists had been involved in the wartime research into creating the atomic bomb. This US commitment was not enough either to stop France developing its own nuclear 'force de frappe'. 

During the 1960s the interests of the US and Soviet governments coincided with the goals of 'arms control' advocates (seeking to stabilize nuclear deterrence and avoid war by accident or miscalculation) on the key issue of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. This was also the aim of many peace movements.  British CND called for unilateral British nuclear disarmament partly as a means to prevent the spread of the 'Bomb'. Peace activists in Switzerland and Sweden campaigned against their governments developing nuclear weapons. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agreed in 1968, which came into force in 1970, did bind almost all signatories not to develop nuclear weapons. But it also met the interests of established nuclear weapon states by making special provision for them to keep their arsenals, although Article 6 required them to make moves towards reducing them.  Three such states, the US, USSR and UK, signed the treaty in 1968; but its provisions enabled France to join the NPT later as a nuclear weapon state, and China to do so eventually in 1992.

Therefore, by the end of the 1960s it was established that the only countries likely to seek nuclear weapons were either those asserting their own claims to great power status (the UK and France were in part reacting to the ending of their empires), or those embroiled in national conflicts seriously threatening their security. China, after breaking with the USSR in the 1960s, fell into both categories; so did India, which felt threatened by the Chinese Bomb and had fought a war over the Sino-Indian border.  Pakistan, involved in long-term conflict with India (especially over Kashmir), reacted to India's nuclear weapons by developing its own. Israel, at war with its Arab neighbours) secretly created nuclear weapons, whilst denying to the world that it has done so.   

The NPT was regularly reaffirmed at the five yearly NPT Review Conferences in the decades after it was signed, until in 1995 all the parties to the Treaty agreed to extend it indefinitely, linked to provisions to strengthen it further. These provisions were subject to further negotiation at subsequent Review Conferences. The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) has a central role in monitoring the peaceful nuclear energy programmes of all signatories, to check that they do not create and divert fissile material to military purposes. It therefore provides a key means of verifying compliance by all those who adhere to the NPT, although the technical and political complexities of the task can result in actual or alleged failures in detection of breaches by national governments.

At one level the NPT is an unusually successful arms control treaty, with 191 countries adhering to it - three non-signatories are the nuclear weapon states India, Pakistan and Israel. Moreover, many of the signatories have strengthened their commitment to renounce production and deployment of nuclear weapons by joining nuclear weapon free zones, provided for under Article 7 of the NPT. The first such zone was created in Latin America and the Caribbean as early as 1967 in the Tlatelolco treaty. The 1985 Rarotonga Treaty created a nuclear weapon free zone in the South Pacific; and the 1995 Treaty of Bangkok one in Southeast Asia. The 1996 Treaty of  Pelindaba marked a nuclear weapon free zone in Africa - made possible after the nuclear weapon ambitions of the apartheid regime in South Africa were renounced by the new government under Nelson Mandela. Finally five former Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan, combined in a nuclear weapon free zone in Central Asia in the 2006 Treaty of Semipalatinsk.  

Proliferation of the Bomb despite the Treaty

But increasingly the limitations of the Treaty have become more obvious. It does not of course necessarily stop every signatory from cheating, especially if a change of regime inside the country, or alterations in regional or international politics, make acquiring nuclear weapons seem a national priority. Three countries, which at some point joined the NPT, have become the focus of international crises: Iraq, Iran and North Korea.  

Iraq ratified the NPT in 1969, but Israel, convinced the Iraqi government was committed to secretly developing nuclear weapons, bombed Iraq's Osiraq research reactor in June 1981. The Iraqi government then initiated a programme of extensive experimentation in other possible processes of acquiring fissile nuclear materials, which did for some time elude IAEA inspectors.  Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, and the subsequent role of the UN Special Commission on Iraq, in tandem with the IAEA, led to the dismantling of weapons grade production and removal of fissile materials.  Claims by the US and UK governments in 2003 that Saddam Hussein then had the ability to use nuclear weapons were proved in the aftermath of the war on Iraq to be wrong.   

Iran has been a long standing party to the NPT. Its adherence to the treaty was first questioned in 2002-3 by the US, engaged in a political and economic confrontation with Iran since the overthrow of the Shah and the rise of a new Islamist government in 1979. It was clear that Iran was engaged in a uranium enrichment programme which could open the way to developing its own nuclear bombs. The Iranian government asserted its right to engage in enrichment under Article Four of the NPT, which gives all parties the right to research and develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Although the right to enrichment is not specified, it can be argued that it is implied. The US has refused to accept this in relation to Iran.  

US and western concern about Iran has been linked to Iran's role in the Middle East as backer of Shia Muslim political and armed groups, and also as an increasingly major regional power. There is evidence that in negotiations with the EU in 2005 Iran offered to accept restrictions on enrichment, but the EU team did not probe the genuineness of this offer, at least partly because they knew the US would not accept any compromise.  (Gareth Porter, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare) Some commentators believe that Iran has had a policy of using its potential to become a nuclear weapon power to strengthen its strategic position, but that it has not so far wanted to create an actual nuclear force.  Certainly the Iranian government was willing to negotiate with the Obama Administration and the EU to reach the 2015 'Iran deal'. This required intensified IAEA inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities to check agreed limits to enrichment and prevent weapons development, but also offered the important economic incentive of an end to US and UN economic sanctions.  The 2015 agreement was nullified by President Trump in 2018, although the IAEA insisted that Iran had observed the agreed limits.

A more clear cut case of potentially disastrous nuclear proliferation is posed by North Korea.  The draconian and secretive Communist regime initiated by Kim Il Sung in North Korea (that has since his death in 1994 remained under Kim family rule) eventually joined the NPT in December 1985, but refused to reach an agreement with the IAEA on inspection and safeguards.  It later made acceptance of safeguards dependent on the US removing nuclear weapons from South Korea.  President George H. Bush initiated the withdrawal of about 100 nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991, as part of his wider arms limitation strategy. This opened the way to an agreement to denuclearise the Korean peninsula and to North Korea reaching a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. However, in 1992 the US criticized the North Korean missile programme; and North Korea from 1992 to 1994 failed to comply with key IAEA demands for inspection. The US nevertheless reached an agreement with North Korea in 1994 on a three stage process of dismantling the nuclear weapons it had acquired, in return for normalizing diplomatic and economic relations, and help with building two nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes. 

US cooperation with North Korea ended in 2002, when George W. Bush denounced North Korea (along with Iraq and Iran) as part of an axis of evil. After North Korea admitted it was enriching uranium, US support for building two reactors was withdrawn. The North Korean regime then withdrew from the NPT in 2003, declared it had nuclear weapons in 2005 and conducted a nuclear test underground in 2006.  Missile testing began in 2011 and in January 2016 North Korea claimed (debatably) to have tested an H bomb. Since the end of 2011 the government has been headed by Kim Jong Un.          

The NPT: Conflict between Nuclear Weapon States and other Signatories

A central objection to the NPT is that it has not achieved limits either on the size of the nuclear arsenals of nuclear weapon states who are signatories, or on their major investment in upgrading these arsenals, despite Article Six in the original treaty which committed them to take steps towards nuclear disarmament.  Specifically it required them 'to pursue disarmament negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament...' This gap between treaty commitment and military practice has become a source of increasing friction in the 21st century between the great majority of signatories, who have renounced nuclear weapon policies, and the nuclear powers (and US allies who come under the US 'nuclear umbrella'). The political and military conflicts in the Middle East also highlighted the dangers of more states in the region acquiring nuclear weapons. A resolution on a Middle Eastern Nuclear Free Zone, which had long been promoted by Arab states at the UN, was adopted at the 1995 Review Conference and became part of the review process. It has remained an unrealized aspiration.

These tensions came to the fore at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, which failed to reach agreement on a final document because of failure to convene a conference on a Middle Eastern zone free of weapons of mass destruction. as had been agreed in 2010. Many non-nuclear weapon states also stressed the disastrous humanitarian consequences of nuclear war and began to press for total nuclear disarmament at the UN. This led in 2017 to 122 states voting at a special UN conference to pass the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) - the first multilateral nuclear weapons treaty since the CTBT. All the nuclear weapon states boycotted the conference, and the 26 US military allies have also opposed the TPNW.  

The NPT Review Conference due to be held in April-May 2020 was, therefore, widely predicted to be a crisis point for the treaty. The US and its allies had abandoned commitments agreed in 1995, 2000 and 2010 and established a new approach of 'Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament', designed to shift some of the responsibility for progress onto non-nuclear weapons states. As a result of the Covid-19 corona virus global crisis, the conference has been postponed. 

Confrontations between Nuclear Weapon States and Dangers of War

Despite the bold and far reaching goals of the 2017 UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons, the prospects for progress in limiting nuclear weapons are bleak in 2020 - the 75th year since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Mikhail Gorbachev warned in April 2017 that another Cold War between Russia and the West was looming, as NATO troops and armaments were moved to the borders of Russia, for example in Estonia, and relations worsened. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which used its annually adjusted 'doomsday clock' to warn of impending nuclear disaster during the worst periods of the cold war, moved the clock to two and a half minutes to 'midnight' in January 2017, responding in part to renewed North Korean nuclear tests, new tensions between Russia and the west, and the election of President Donald Trump. Since then the Bulletin has moved the clock even nearer to world destruction: from 2 minutes to midnight in 1919, to 100 seconds in January 2020. This is the most pessimistic forecast since the clock was invented in 1947, although the Bulletin now factors in the danger from climate change, so the comparison with the cold war period is not exact.  

One reason for anxiety is the increased military confrontation between the US and Russia.  Both have engaged in major modernization of their nuclear arsenals. President Obama, despite speaking about the ideal of a nuclear weapon free world in 2010, initiated a major ten-year programme to produce new bombers, land-based and submarine-based missiles to carry nuclear warheads. Moreover, the process of nuclear arms control between the US and USSR has been almost totally abandoned under the Presidency of Donald Trump. The US has pulled out of the 1987 INF Treaty limiting, citing cheating by Russia, and refusing to explore possible renegotiation, raising the spectre of new missile deployments in Europe. After the treaty ended in 2019 the US was poised to test several medium-range missiles. 

The Trump Administration seemed, moreover to question its adherence to the CTBT, when it accused Russia of violating the treaty through 'nuclear weapons-related experiments'. Washington also levelled accusations of cheating at China. It is arguable the US itself engages in similar experiments. ('Sub-critical' tests are allowed under the CCTB, but cannot always be distinguished from small explosions which would be in contravention). The New START treaty covering long range missiles is due for renewal in 2021. It is extremely unlikely Trump will renew it if he gains a second term as president, given his antipathy to any treaty signed by Obama, and his drive to increase US military strength.  He has also suggested China should be included, which would seriously complicate negotiations, even if China agreed to talk.  

A second reason for fearing a new nuclear arms race is the rising tension between the US and China.  The Trump Administration's initial focus was on economic pressure on China to stop unfair trade practices. Trade war has since threatened to turn into arms confrontation. Trump has called for China to join in talks on limiting nuclear weapons.  Indeed, whereas in the past the Chinese government has focused primarily on becoming an economic and technological superpower and maintained quite a small nuclear force, it has under Xi Jinping begun to increase and upgrade its nuclear arsenal as well as deploying Chinese naval forces more aggressively.

The possible breakdown of the NPT process discussed above is another reason for disquiet.  It could encourage some ambitious national leaders to consider becoming nuclear weapon states. President Erdogan, for example, has suggested there is a strategic case for Turkey acquiring nuclear weapons.            

Moreover, the prospects of nuclear weapons being used in a military crisis by existing nuclear weapon states have risen in recent years. The most dramatic example was the confrontation between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un in 2018 over North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons and missiles, with both leaders escalating their aggressive rhetoric and military threats and displays of strength. This caused especial concern in the region - Japan for example felt vulnerable to North Korean missiles - but also threatened a global crisis. Diplomatic initiatives by the South Korean government in 2018 (arising out of the Winter Olympics hosted by Seoul) led, however, to improved relations between the two Koreas.  Both Trump and Kim also switched to a more conciliatory mode. They met at an unprecdented nuclear summit in Singapore in June 2018, and also signed a joint agreement on improving relations and working towards denuclearizatiion of the Korean peninsula. Since then Trump has turned his attention elsewhere, but North Korea could well become a flashpoint again.  The UN' Assistant General Secretary for the Middle East briefed the UN Security Council in December 2019 about 13 North Korean missile tests that year (worsening North Korean relations with both South Korea and the US), and about the North Korean government's declaration that talks about denuclearization were 'off the table'.  In 2020, 70 years after the outbreak of the Korean War, North Korean officials were reported making more extreme threats.                                                                                               

India has also engaged in military conflict with two other nuclear weapon states in 2019 and 2020. Conflicting Indian and Pakistani claims to Kashmir have led to several wars between the two states since 1947, and a major guerrilla struggle within Indian-administered Kashmir after 1989. Recent confrontations have been militarily small scale. The first in 2019 occurred after a Pakistan-based group killed 40 members of Indian security forces in Kashmir with a car bomb. The Indian government under Rajendra Modi, the right wing Hindu nationalist BJP leader, retaliated with an air strike against Pakistani territory near the Kashmir border, which prompted a Pakistani airstrike against a target inside Indian-controlled Kashmir. This led in turn to an air battle in which an Indian Wing Commander was shot down over Pakistan and taken prisoner. In a context of fears of serious escalation, both sides decided to end hostilities after the Wing Commander was returned safely to India. However, when the BJP revoked the special status of the Jammu Kashmir region in May 2020 and incorporated it fully into India, the Pakistan government threatened a military response, though it did not then carry out the threat. The fact that both countries have nuclear weapons may impose some caution, but also means a crisis could spiral out of control.  

Secondly, India and China became embroiled in violent (though very low level) confrontation in Ladakh, part of the Sino-Indian border area in the Himalayas, in June 2020, and over20 Indian soldiers died. The border area is not strictly defined, but there has been a build-up of Chinese troops and Chinese forces have been advancing and building fortifications and a radar tower, seizing territory once viewed as Indian. These measures are possibly in response to Indian road improvements in Ladakh, which would enable more rapid military advance to the border. The last deaths on the border had been 45 years earlier, though there had also been a confrontation in the Bhutan area of the border in 2017. As Beijing asserts its military as well as its economic power, and a militantly nationalist government in New Delhi was re-elected in 2019, there is a danger of a cold war between the two.  Indeed, India has been moving closer to the US and signed a 3.5 billion dollar arms deal with Washington in February 2020, and like Washington has begun to boycott some Chinese IT and to limit previously very close economic ties.   

The part of the world where multiple conflicts are intense, and the US is engaged militarily, is the Middle East. Since the US repudiated the 2015 deal with Iran in May 2018, relations between the two have deteriorated rapidly. The US imposed sanctions on Iran's oil industry in November 2018 and in May 2019 deployed an aircraft carrier and bomber force in the area.  The US blamed Iran for attacks in May and June on commercial shipping off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and on two oil tankers near the Straits of Hormuz. In June Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down a US surveillance drone, and in September Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil production and processing facilities. In December 2019 the US blamed an Iranian-backed militia f or a rocket attack on a US base in northern Iraq and responded with air strikes against the militia in Iraq and Syria, and in January a US air strike close to Baghdad airport killed the Iranian General Qassam Soleimani. Iran retaliated with an attack on two US bases in Iraq, but apparently there were no casualties. 

This confrontation also led Iran first to threaten to enrich uranium to a higher level than agreed in the 2015 Deal, and then, in July 2019, to announce that it was doing so. During June and July 2020 there have been a number of explosions at Iranian nuclear plants and military bases. Even if some have been accidental, it is assumed in press reports that Israeli forces have engaged in sabotage designed primarily to slow down Iranian enrichment plans.

Russia is not directly involved in the political, economic and military confrontation between the US and Iran. It is militarily and political committed in Syria, after deciding in 2015 to offer military backing to President Assad. The US, which has supported the original opposition to Assad (before extremist Muslim factions entered the fight) also has military forces in Syria, despite avoiding under Obama major military engagement, even after Assad's forces used chemical weapons. The US has, however, been directly involved in air strikes against the most extreme Islamist faction, ISIS. The Syrian conflict illustrates the potential for the US and Russia to get embroiled in complex conflicts on opposing sides, and the dangers of escalation to direct great power confrontation. Although the US and Russia did set up a telephone line between their Operations Centres in Syria to limit disastrous miscalculation, there were alarming incidents reported in 2017. US General Holmes commented: 'Every day, we are a second or two away from miscalculation between airmen flying on top of each other with advanced weapons, which could lead to escalation'.   

One safeguard against a nuclear war by accident between Russia and the US is the Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 and in force since 2002, which allow reconnaissance flights over each other's territory. Republican Senate hawks have lobbied for US withdrawal, but European allies have urged the Trump administration to adhere to the treaty. Reports in April 2020 suggested the Administration was planning for the US to withdraw before the end of the year.

What Role for Peace Movements?

It is clear that there is now potentially a major role for peace campaigning with a focus on the need to limit the dangers of the present nuclear weapons build-up and abandonment of existing treaties, but also on the longer term goal of reducing or dismantling the nuclear arsenals of existing nuclear weapon states, and preventing further proliferation. The most successful peace activity in recent years has focused on the UN and on strengthening international law in relation to nuclear weapons. This model of campaigning links up long established peace bodies and creates a global network of civil society groups. They then work in conjunction with sympathetic governments to achieve a specific goal. Networking and lobbying is supplemented by public demonstrations to highlight the issues and gain media coverage. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was founded in 2007, played this role in promoting the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted at a special conference of the UN. The 'World Court Project' had earlier (from 1986-96) campaigned to persuade national governments through the UN to request the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the legality, under international law, of using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. The ICJ ruling confirmed that use of nuclear weapons would generally be illegal.  Both these campaigns are discussed in detail in the references under D.5.c.i.  below.

However, given the gap between UN resolutions and international law and the actual behaviour of many nation states, effective peace campaigning needs to challenge national governments and bring about changes in national policy. But even in those nuclear weapon states where such campaigning is politically possible (which it is not in Russia, China or Iran, and least of all in North Korea) major movements (as opposed to some specific targeted campaigns) have failed to develop, despite the dangerous international context. Some of the references under D.5.c.ii. below raise this issue in relation to the US and India . 

There are a number of political reasons that can explain the absence of major peace protest about national policies. One is that campaigning against climate change has in the last few years absorbed the energies of many young people and radicals concerned about the future of the planet. (see Vol.2. C.3.) Another reason is that the rise of far right nationalistic parties and leaders in many parts of the world has become a focus for liberal/left resistance. In the US the election of Donald Trump at the end of 2016 mobilized women in defence of their rights to contraception and abortion and has overlapped with a new global feminist upsurge (see Vol. 2 F.5.)   The 2018 mid-term Congressional elections and the 2020 Presidential election have also become a focus for many on the left to campaign for the Democratic Party. Indeed, defeating Trump and hawkish Republican politicians can be seen as a prerequisite for reducing international tensions and restoring some forms of arms control.

Effective opposition to the British Bomb has often seemed more likely to succeed than in most other nuclear weapon states. The UK is not a super power and it is not threatened by a long term political conflict, so the case for an 'independent deterrent' is particularly weak. Indeed, after the end of the cold war some military figures were prepared to consider whether it would be more efficient to spend the money involved on other aspects of military defence. Moreover in the past the Labour Party has at times adopted the case for unilateral British nuclear disarmament, and Labour MPs have supported the Campaign for Nuclesar Disarmament (CND), which has continued to campaign against production and deployment of nuclear weapons since its foundation in 1958.  However, when the Conservative government decided to upgrade the Trident missile fleet by buying an expensive new generation of US missiles in 2016, Parliament passed the measure. The greatest political threat to the UK Trident force comes from Scottish nationalism and the pressure for Scottish independence, since the Scottish Nationalist Party is opposed to Trident and the Trident base is in Scotland. Nationalist Party attitudes are discussed in references under c.ii.

Finally, the most committed and radical campaigners against nuclear weapons have continued in both the UK and US to undertake forms of nonviolent direct action at plants and bases linked to nuclear weapons. (See the references under D.5.c.iii). The US Plowshares and UK Trident Ploughshares demonstrators embody this resistance, but there are other committed groups maintaining opposition to all aspects of US-UK nuclear strategy and deployment. Although those engaging in civil disobedience appeal to a higher moral and/or religious obligation, campaigners can in court also appeal to international law to strengthen both their political and legal case. 

XIVth Dalai Lama: Peace is more than the absence of war, In: Waging Peace Series, Booklet 28, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1991, pp. 1-9

When receiving of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 1991 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award, the Dalai Lama advocated total nuclear disarmament as a pre-requisite for the goals of demilitarization and the ending of all national forms of military establishment.

Boylan, Jessie, Atomic amnesia: photographs and nuclear memory, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 28, issue 1, 2016, pp. 55-73

Addresses how photography (using photographs taken in the USA and Australia) can illuminate the unimaginable, namely nuclear catastrophe, in order to fuel the imagination in the search for alternatives that lead to a world free of nuclear weapons.

Boyle, Francis ; Rubin, Alfred P. ; Weston, Burns H. ; MacBride, Sean ; Falk, Richard A. ; Hodgkin, Dorothy ; Wilkins, Maurice ; Weiss, Peter, More Than 50,000 Nuclear Weapons, Northampton, MA, Aletheia Press, 1991, pp. 145

The contributors provide an analysis of the illegality of nuclear weapons under international criminal law. 

Braun, Reiner ; Krieger, David, Einstein – Peace Now! Visions and Ideas, Weinheim, Wiley-VCH, 2015, pp. 305

Collects tributes to Einstein as a man of science and Nobel Peace Laureate, and explores Einstein’s vision of peace and scientific responsibility, especially in relation to nuclear science.

Chomsky, Noam ; Polk, Laray, Nuclear War And Environmental Catastrophe, New York, Seven Stories Press, 2013, pp. 175

Noam Chomsky, an internationally renowned linguist, and Laray Polk, an artist and activist, discuss the two major problems humanity is facing: the use of nuclear weapons and climate change.

Daley, Ted, Apocalypse Never. Forging The Path To A Nuclear Weapon-Free World, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London, Rutgers University Press, 2010, pp. 296

Ted Daley argues that maintaining the nuclear double standard by which some countries permit themselves reliance on nuclear weapons, while denying them to others is military unnecessary, morally unjustifiable, and politically unsustainable. He insists on the necessity of considering nuclear abolition as an attainable political goal rather than a utopia.

Falk, Richard ; Krieger, David, The Path To Zero. Dialogues On Nuclear Dangers, Boulder, CO, Paradigms Publishers, 2012, pp. 221

The authors critique the theory of nuclear deterrence, and debate the role of civil society in leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons. They also discuss nuclear weapons from a moral and cultural perspective, and the interconnections between nuclear weapons and militarism, energy, international law, and democracy.

See also Richard Falk and David Krieger (2016) ‘A Dialogue on Nuclear Weapons’ in Peace Review, Vol. 28, issue 3, pp. 280-287, DOI: 10.1080/10402659.2016.1201936.

A dialogue on what steps are necessary to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

Forsyth, Robert, The case against UK Trident, Spokesman, issue 140, 2018

Retired Commander Robert Forsyth, Executive Officer of the Polaris Missile Submarine HMS Repulse in 1970s, makes a compelling case why the UK should dismantle its Trident.

Krieger, David, The Challenge Of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publisher, 2011, pp. 273

The contributors provide historical perspective on nuclear weapons policy; explore the role of international law in furthering the prospects of nuclear weapons abolition; consider the obstacles to nuclear abolition; to achieving a nuclear-weapons-free-world; and consider issues of sovereignty, and general and complete disarmament.

See also: Krieger, David (2003) Hope In A Dark Time, Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, pp. 255.

Includes essays on hope and nuclear weapons abolition by many leading figures, such as Adam Curle, Joseph Rotblat, and Elise Boulding. It also includes an exchange on global citizenship and global democracy.

Krieger, David, Zero. The Case for Nuclear Abolition, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2013, pp. 166

David Krieger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, proposes a counter argument to the widely held belief that nuclear weapons are necessary and provide protection to the countries that possess them. He argues that there is a ‘human responsibility’ to seek the elimination of these weapons.

Krieger, David ; Ikeda, Daisaku, Choose Hope. Your Role In Waging Peace In The Nuclear Age, Santa Monica, CA, Middle Way Press, 2001, pp. 202

A dialogue between two peace philosophers, one American and one Japanese, that provide a balance of Western and Eastern perspectives on the imperative of abolishing nuclear weapons.

Lifton, Robert ; Mitchell, Greg, Hiroshima In America. A Half Century Of Denial, New York, Avon Books, 1995, pp. 427

The authors examine President Truman’s motives for authorizing and then defending the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They also discuss the moral concern of many of the scientists that directed the Manhattan Project, and expose the official attempts by historians and the media to suppress or distort the information about it.

Maguire, Mairead, A nonviolent political agenda for a more humane world, In: Waging Peace Series, Booklet 31, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1992, pp. 10

When receiving the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 1992 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award in June 1992, peace activist, Mairead Maguire’s spoke about the concept of Peace Community and its relevance to opposing weapons of mass destruction.

Mulas, Roberta, Strategies of Disarmament, Civil Society and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Vol. Doctoral Thesis, Rome, LUISS Guido Carli University, 2017, pp. 398

This thesis focuses on the (neglected) role of civil society in both maintaining the existing nuclear weapons system globally and in challenging it. Adopting Antonio Gramsci's theory of civil society, Mulas also draws on critical theoretical approaches to nuclear studies and security to challenge the dominant nuclear discourse. The thesis explores how civil society actors calling for forms of nuclear disarmament can either accept the dominant discourse of deterrence or pose a radical challenge to it. In Gramscian terms the former groups unwittingly act as part of the hegemonic apparatus, the latter constitute a 'counter-hegemonic' opposition.

Rotblat, Joseph ; Ikeda, Daisaku, A Quest For Global Peace: Rotblat And Ikeda on War, Ethics, And The Nuclear Threat, London and New York, I.B. Tauris, 2007, pp. 176

Nobel Peace Prize physicist Joseph Rotblat and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda discuss how the application of 20th-century science and technology requires a 21st-century growth in newfound wisdom. Such wisdom must arise from basic human values that transcend the limitations of knowledge and state sovereignty alone.

Sagan, Carl, Nuclear War: the perspective of a planetary astronomer, In: Waging Peace Series - Booklet 36, 1994, pp. 12

Professor of Astronomy, Carl Sagan discusses the roots of the nuclear arms race in the context of receiving the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 1993 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award. His passionate speech was given at a time when the US and the Soviet Union possessed over 60,000 warheads all together, and calls for a shift from a mentality relying on mutual deterrence and ethnic hatred to one on mutual dependence, which are still very relevant in 2019.

Scarry, Elaine, Thermonuclear Monarchy. Choosing Between Democracy And Doom, New York and London, W. W. Norton, 2014, pp. 582

Social theorist Elaine Scarry recalls the threats to use nuclear weapons by successive US presidents and argues that the power of one leader to obliterate millions people with a nuclear weapon deeply violates the constitutional rights of the citizens in the US. She also argues that it undermines the social contract and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principle of democracy. She explores political and constitutional changes that she believes could make it possible to start dismantling the nuclear arsenals.

Schlosser, Eric, Together we shall save our planet: A Q&A with Beatrice Fihn, The Nation, 08/11/2018,

A wide-ranging interview to Beatrice Fihn, in which she discusses ICAN’s campaign, capitalism and patriarchy as obstacles to denuclearisation, the impact of nuclear testing on child births, the possible connection between nuclear war and climate change.

Tutu, Desmond, God’s Dream, [June 1990], In: Waging Peace Series - Booklet 24, Santa Barbara, CA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1990

Archbishop Tutu discusses the arms race and the concept of world order in light of the Gaia Peace Atlas, a collection published in the year of the U.N. special sessions on disarmament, that provides a study of the prospects for peace and survival into the twenty-first century.

Wallis, Timmon, Disarming The Nuclear Argument, Glasgow, Viewpoints, 2017, pp. 212

Critically explores key arguments for nuclear weapons: as an instrument of security; and as safe, affordable, and legal defensive tools. Wallis also queries the claim by nuclear-weapon states to be seeking multilateral disarmament, and examines the moral dimension of nuclear weapons.

Wilson, Ward, Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons, New York, HMH, 2013, pp. 187

A study that challenges five central arguments that shape nuclear weapons policies: nuclear weapons necessarily shock and awe the opponents, as indicated by Japan at the end of WWII; nuclear deterrence is reliable in times of crisis; destruction wins wars; nuclear weapons have kept peace for more than sixty-five years; and nuclear weapons cannot be eliminated altogether.

Wittner, Lawrence, The power of protest, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 2, issue 7, 2004, pp. 1-6

A reflection on how the anti-nuclear weapons movements worldwide have prevented a nuclear war after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the lessons that can be drawn for the future.

Faslane Peace Camp Needs You!, Peace News, issue 2535-2536, 2011

Notes that the Faslane Peace Camp has existed for 29 years 'on the frontline against Britain's nuclear weapons', has been home to hundreds over the years, and has been a centre for direct action against nuclear weapons.

Banerjee, Sunhankar, How the New Mexico anti-nuclear campaign achieved a major victory, HuffPost, 07/12/2017,

Account of the activism by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, an NGO based in Santa Fe, New Mexico that led President Obama and the Department of Energy to abandon the proposed Nuclear Facility as part of the Chemistry & Metallurgy Research Replacement Project (CMRR) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Holehouse, Matthew, Britain's Role in the New Cold War, New Statesman, Vol. 136, issue 4860, 03/09/1996,

The article discusses the role of the US National Security spy base at Menwith Hill and notes some of the local protesters, including Lindis Percy (arrested hundreds of times for breaking into bases).

See also:

Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), 'Synopses of the work of Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases', Peace News, 13 May 2012

Brief but informative summary of the work of the British group CAAB, founded in 1992. It grew out of decades of scrutiny and campaigning related to the Menwith Hill US National Security Agency base, which has been involved in intelligence gathering and had a key role in the development of the US missile defence system. The history and methods of CAAB, coordinated by Lindis Percy and Melanie Ndzinga, are outlined: tactics have ranged from use of the law to challenge the US military presence to nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience.

Laffin, Arthur, Swords into Plowshares, Volume Two: A Chronology of Plowshares Disarmament Action, 1980-2003, Foreword by Daniel Berrigan., Eugene, OR, WIPF and Stock Publishers, 2010, pp. 110

This is the second volume of the history of the direct action movement launched by radical Catholics in the USA, whose tactics were taken up by Protestants and committed advocates of  disarmament in both the US and Europe. Protests have over the years been directed at a range of ICBMs designed to carry nuclear warheads, Trident submarines, and nuclear weapons plants. This volume, which includes individual accounts and information on trials of protesters, covers actions not only in the US, but in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

Laffin, Arthur, A History of the Plowshares Movement - a talk, Kings Bay Plowshares 7, 2019

Laffin, a Plowshares activist and member of the radical Catholic Worker organization, gave this talk to 100 supporters of the seven protesters on trial that week for entering the Kings Bay naval submarine base in Georgia in 2018 and symbolically damaging weapons systems. They were found guilty of conspiracy, damaging government property and trespassing. The first Plowshares protest in 1980 involved eight Catholics trespassing on the General Electric Nuclear Missile facility in the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and taking  action that became characteristic of later protests: they damaged nuclear warhead cones and poured blood on files, before publicly announcing  their actions and being arrested. Laffin notes that Plowshares (drawing on the biblical injunction 'beat your swords into plowshares') grew out of the Catholic protests at draft offices during the Vietnam War, when draft records were destroyed. The Berrigan brothers took part in both.

See also: Cohen-Joppa, Jack, ‘They Came to Stop a Crime: The Trial of the Kingsbay Plowshares 7’, Peace News, 2636-2637, Dec. 2019-Jan. 2020, p.7.
(Article first published on 10 Nov. 2019, on Beyond Nuclear International:

The article provides brief background on Plowshares and outlines the testimony by defendants during their trial. It also records the jury decision to convict each of the seven on four counts: trespass, destruction of government property, ‘depredation’ of government property on a military installation; and conspiracy to commit these illegal acts.

Lazenby, Peter, Britain: Peace campaigners blockade nuclear bomb factory, Green Left Weekly online, issue 1201, 2018

Campaigners from all over Britain united on October 25, 2018 to blockade the government's nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire, preventing staff from entering the site.

Nepstad, Sharon Erickson, Religion and War Resistance in the Plowshares Movement, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 204

This book examines the development and evolution of the Plowshares movement from a social science perspective, looking at issues such as ‘tactical legitimation’ and sustainability in relation to the US movement, and also analyzing ‘intermittent resistance’ in the German, Dutch and Australian movements, and ‘internal implosion’ in the Swedish movement.  It also  assesses the UK movement.

Tallents, Jane, Nukewatch – a Scottish Perspective, Peace News, issue 2620-2621, 2018, pp. 11-10

Nukewatch focuses on monitoring road convoys carrying nuclear warheads from the Aldermaston Weapons Research Establishment near Reading to missile bases.  The campaign began in the 1980s, and in the 1980s and 1990s Nukewatch also tried to publicize the convoys to the local population by protests along the route. From the 2000s stricter Ministry of Defence controls to ensure secrecy and speed, and Nukewatch’s own concerns about possible acts of terrorism against convoys, led them to limit the information they put on the web.  However, given the growth of social media and publicity about convoys on it, they joined in from 2015, whilst still using information with discretion.

See also article by Jane Tallents ‘Warhead Accidents on our Roads – Who’s Responsible?’, p.10. of the same issue of Peace News.

Vinthagen, Stellan ; Kennick, Justin ; Mason, Kelvin, Tackling Trident, Sparsnas Sweden, Irene Publishing, 2012, pp. 362

On two ‘Academic Conference Blockades’ at Faslane Trident missile base in Scotland in January and June 2007.

Zelter, Angie, Trident on Trial: The Case for People's Disarmament and the Trident v. 3, Edinburgh, Luath Press, 2001, pp. 312 (pb)

Following the 1996 ICJ Advisory Opinion that use or threat to use nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law, Angie Zelter, Ellen Moxley and Lilla Roder embarked on nonviolent direct action at the Trident nuclear base. The local Scottish Sheriff found them not guilty under international law as they were acting as 'world citizens'.  The case was referred to the High Court, which refused to rule on the legality of UK nuclear weapons. The 'Trident Ploughshares' campaign therefore mounted other protests to challenge these weapons. This book is a personal account of the anti-Trident campaign, and includes profiles of other individuals and groups that have become involved in the movement to abolish nuclear weapons and contributions by them.

Zelter, Angie, Trident on Trial: The Case for People's Disarmament and the Trident v. 3, Edinburgh, Luath Press, 2001, pp. 312 (pb)

Following the 1996 ICJ Advisory Opinion that use or threat to use nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law, Angie Zelter, Ellen Moxley and Lilla Roder embarked on nonviolent direct action at the Trident nuclear base. The local Scottish Sheriff found them not guilty under international law as they were acting as 'world citizens'.  The case was referred to the High Court, which refused to rule on the legality of UK nuclear weapons. The 'Trident Ploughshares' campaign therefore mounted other protests to challenge these weapons. This book is a personal account of the anti-Trident campaign, and includes profiles of other individuals and groups that have become involved in the movement to abolish nuclear weapons and contributions by them.

Zelter, Angie, Trident on Trial: The Case of People’s Disarmament, Edinburgh, Luath Press, 2001, pp. 312

Presents the legal case against nuclear weapons and for people’s ‘direct disarmament’ actions against UK Trident missiles, and includes personal accounts by activists in Trident Ploughshares.

Zelter, Angie, Faslane 365: A Year of Anti-Nuclear Blockades, Edinburgh, Luath Press, 2008, pp. 256 (pb)

Zelter, a prominent activist against nuclear weapons and global injustice, charts the 365 days of protest and blockade, drawing on a wide range of groups in Scotland and across the UK, at the UK Trident nuclear weapons base at Faslane, 30 miles from Glasgow. The protest occurred during the period the Westminster parliament voted to re-commission the nuclear submarines. The book includes commentaries on subjects such as the history of Trident, nuclear weapons under international law, and the role of the police.

Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Veterans For Peace, 2017

Campaign by Veterans For Peace (founded in the US in 1985) to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for divestment from corporations manufacturing nuclear weapons, and their endorsement of the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. Their campaigns include: ‘The Golden Rule’ educational project, ‘Disarm Trident’, and ‘Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Back From the Brink: A call to prevent nuclear war, Grassroots movement aiming at preventing nuclear war., 2019

Official website of ‘Back From the Brink’, a grassroots movement that aims to involve local councils and Members of Congress in the U.S. and pressure them to change U.S. nuclear policies. Their demands are:

-       Renounce ‘first use’ option;

-       End the sole presidential authority to launch a nuclear attack;

-       Take U.S. nuclear weapons off ‘hair-trigger’ alert;

-       Cancel U.S. plan to replace its entire nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons;

-       Pursue total abolition.

See also and

Brown, Antje, The Dynamics of Frame-bridging: Exploring the Nuclear Discourse in Scotland, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 26, issue 2, 2017, pp. 194-211

Brown discusses why the devolved Scottish government has opposed both nuclear energy as a power source, and also strongly opposed the UK government's decision to renew the Trident missile (which carries nuclear warheads) for the submarine fleet based at Faslane.  Although there are several factors, such as abundant resources  available for energy, Brown argues that the Scottish government's stance can be best understood by 'considering the underlying (and deliberate) bridging of policy frames that is noticeable between environmental, pacifist and Scottish independence actors'.

Carson, Lisa, Why youth and feminist activism matters: insights from anti-nuclear campaigns in practice, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 30, issue 2, 2018, pp. 261-269

By drawing on the perspective of young activists, it provides insights about the importance of feminist analysis and the vote of young people in building an anti-nuclear movement. It also proposes various strategies for engaging the young.

See also Fernando, Kris and Graham Vaughan (1992) ‘Young New Zealanders’ knowledge and concern about nuclear war’ in Interdisciplinary Peace Research, Vol. 4, issue 2, pp. 31-57. DOI: 10.1080/14781159208412752

Coburn, Jon, How anti-nuclear movements can really make a difference, The Conversation, 10/02/2017,

After giving a brief review of the anti-nuclear weapons movement that developed in the 1980s and the landmark treaties that were signed then, Coburn points to the difficulties campaigners face in the Trump era.

Coburn, Jon, How anti-nuclear movements can really make a difference, The Conversation, 10/02/2017,

Discusses the possible development of the anti-nuclear weapons movement in the US following the election of President Trump.

Hudson, Kate, CND at 60: Britain's Most Enduring Mass Movement, UK, Public Reading Rooms, 2018, pp. 240 (pb)

This book by the General Secretary of CND was published on the 60th anniversary of the launch of CND in February 1958. It covers both the major campaigns within the nuclear disarmament movement of the first three decades, including the Aldermaston marches and Greenham Common. It also charts the evolving role of CND after 1990: becoming prominent in the resistance to Britain's involvement in wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan; and more recently supporting the movement to achieve the UN Treaty to ban all nuclear weapons. CND has also continued to focus on opposing British production and deployment of nuclear weapons, and in particular the government's decision to renew the Trident missile force.

Hudson, Kate, Struggles in the current context. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in dangerous and disturbing times, Struggles in the current context. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in dangerous and disturbing times, issue 120, 2019

This article explores from a Marxist perspective the contributions the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has made over time within a context where the threats the world is facing are increasing. The article concludes by considering the challenges ahead.

Intondi, Vincent, African American Against The Bomb. Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism And The Black Freedom Movement, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 2015, pp. 224

Historian Vincent Intondi describes the long but little-known history of Black Americans in the Nuclear Disarmament Movement from 1945, when some protested against the A- bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to today. He shows how those black activists who fought for nuclear disarmament connected the nuclear issue with the fight for racial equality. Intondi also shows that from early on, blacks in America saw the use of atomic bombs as a racial issue, asking why such enormous resources were being spent building nuclear arms instead of being used to improve impoverished communities.

Orgel, Micheal ; Pearson, Linda ; Johnson, Guy, I’m gonna lay down that Atom Bomb: A Scottish peace initiative focused on the power of money, Peace News, issue 2628-2629, 2019, pp. 7-6

This article describes the ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’ campaign to promote disinvestment in companies that have a role in producing nuclear weapons. Some of these, for example BAE Systems, have factories in Scotland and others have benefited from Scottish funding, including investment by Scottish pensions schemes.  Notes that this investment is inconsistent with opposition of many Scottish MPs and the Scottish government to renewal of Trident, and suggests campaigning tactics.

Sarkar, Jayita, An Indian Anti-Nuclear Movement?, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, 2011

Discusses briefly the potential for a significant movement either against new nuclear power plants, especially in the light of the US 2008 deal to assist India's civilian nuclear energy programme, or against India's nuclear weapons policy. Sarkar notes that a number of lively local protest movements had sprung up against the construction of new nuclear reactors.  There are also a number of groups, backed by 'prominent citizens', opposed to India's possession of nuclear weapons. But Sarkar is sceptical about the likelihood of an effective national campaign against either the energy programme, or the nuclear weapons policy, capable of influencing the government's commitment to both.

Simpson, Erika, Towards a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, Peace Review, Vol. 28, issue 3, 2016, pp. 309-317

Discusses how NATO has come under pressure over the last fifteen years from coalitions of states and nongovernmental organizations to change its nuclear weapons policy. The coalitions discussed are the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Middle Powers Initiative and its article Article VI Forum, the New Agenda Coalition, the Non-Aligned Movement, and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

Vanaik, Achin, Building a nuclear disarmament movement in India, Pakistan and South Asia: some policy perspectives, TNI, 01/05/2006,

The author argues that there are two stages in the process of developing an effective progressive force like the nuclear disarmament movement, whether regionally in South Asia, or globally. In the first phase a movement needs to attack and undermine the popular legitimacy that all governments seek to obtain for their policies. In the second phase, it can practically develop on a very large scale and achieve a critical mass that impacts on actual policy.

Wittner, Laurence, Reviving the nuclear disarmament movement: a practical proposal, Foreign Policy in Focus, 07/12/2017,

Advocates that nuclear disarmament movements develop a strategy to rouse the public from its torpor and shift the agenda of the nuclear powers from nuclear confrontation to a nuclear weapons-free world. He recalls the example set by the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and proposes ways to implement effective strategies today. 

Wittner, Lawrence, Where is the nuclear abolition movement today?, New York, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), 2012

Examines anti-nuclear weapons activist campaigns, as well as public opinion. Wittner also explores some of the obstacles faced by disarmament activists and discusses how the efficacy of their anti-nuclear campaign might be improved.

Nae Place for Nuclear Weapons, Scottish delegation to Nuclear Ban Treaty negotiations, Peace News, issue 2608-2609, 2017, pp. 7-10

This is a detailed day by day account of the activities of the Scottish civil society team at the negotiations in New York from 15 June to 24 June and 29 June to 7 July based on the blog kept by the Scottish delegation. The group received regular briefings and lobbied delegates involved in the negotiations, but also attended external meetings and protests organized by peace activists.

Acheson, Ray ; Castro, Loreta ; Fihn, Beatrice ; Ngayu, Linnet ; Umaña, Carlos, Rebuilding the antinuclear movement, The Nation, 01/06/2018,

Discusses dominant narratives about nuclear weapons as tools of “safety” and “security” and “peace,” and the need to reinforce of a mass social movement against nuclear weapons.  The authors also outline the emergence and core activities of the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

On ICAN see 

Barron, Dan, A Challenge to Trident, Red Pepper, 2015, pp. 30-31

This brief, but informative, article focuses on the campaign by the Marshall Islands to arraign the UK before the International Court of Justice for failure to fulfill its legal and moral obligations under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: to negotiate for nuclear disarmament. Barron notes that the 70,000 inhabitants of the Marshall Islands suffered the effects of 67 US nuclear weapons tests from 1946-58, and as a UN Trust Territory only achieved independence from the US in 1990.

Bolton, Matthew, The Nuclear Taboo and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, E-International Relations, 02/05/2018,

Analysis of how ICAN, by choosing a precise discursive strategy to establish a categorical prohibition, helped to build the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, placing nuclear weapons in the same legal category as other pariah weapons. The article uses Mary Douglas’ landmark theorization of ‘purity’ and ‘danger’ to explore the development of the ‘nuclear taboo’ and ICAN’s creative manipulation of discourses of nuclear pollution.

Bolton, Matthew, The nuclear taboo and the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, Revista de Direito Brasileira (Brazilian Journal of Law), Vol. 22, issue 9, 2019, pp. 318-325

This article explores the development of the ‘nuclear taboo’ and ICAN’s creative manipulation of discourses of nuclear pollution. ICAN placed people who had long been marginalized by nuclear diplomacy – Atomic Bomb survivors, women, indigenous people, civilians, representatives of small states – at the centre of the debate about conversation about nuclear weapons. In doing so, ICAN deconstructed discourses legitimating nuclear weapons, revealing the ambivalence and fear underneath diplomatic euphemism. ICAN also turned the stigma associated with nuclear weapons onto those who defended them.

Borrie, John ; Spies, Michael ; Wan, Wilfred, Obstacles to understanding the emergence and significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 30, issue 2, 2017, pp. 95-119

The article examines accidentally the emergence of the TPNW, including how, and to what degree, efforts to alter states’ framing of nuclear weapons have influenced the treaty’s emergence and negotiation. It also examines the humanitarian perspective on the consequences of nuclear weapons, the activities of ICAN and the role played by transnational institutions like the UN and the Red Cross Movement to highlight lessons and limits on transnational advocacy network models of norm emergence.

Clark, Roger ; Sann, Madeleine, The Case Against The Bomb, Camden, NJ, Rutgers University School of Law, 1996, pp. 354

Elaborates on the case the Marshall Islands, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands jointly brought before the International Court of Justice in Advisory Proceedings on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, as part of the process leading to the 1996 ICJ Advisory Opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

Dewes, Kate ; Green, Robert, The World Court Project: How a citizen network can influence the United Nations, Pacifica Review: Peace Security and Global Change, Vol. 7, issue 2, 1995, pp. 17-37

The authors explain the purpose of this campaign (that brought together peace activists, doctors and lawyers from around the world): to prohibit under international law the use or threat to use nuclear weapons, as the Conventions on Biological and on Chemical Weapons had done for these weapons of mass destruction. The campaign persuaded the UN to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the issue. This article (written before the Court had delivered its decision) focuses on how the umbrella network of NGOs in the World Court Project successfully lobbied governments to gain support at the UN General Assembly, and how it persuaded the ICJ to accept citizens' evidence for the first time.

Gibbons, Rebecca, The humanitarian turn in nuclear disarmament and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 25, issue 1-2, 2018, pp. 11-36

On July 7, 2017, at the UN General Assembly, 122 states voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the culmination of pressure from a global network of states and grassroots activists. This article traces the history of the ban movement from 2005.  It identifies six factors that led to the successful adoption of the treaty: a small group of committed diplomats; an influx of new coalition members; the contribution of civil society; the reframing of the narrative surrounding nuclear weapons; the pursuit of a simple ban treaty; and the context provided by the Barack Obama Administration.

Ginger, Ann, Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal. The Historic Opinion of The World Court And How It Will Be Enforced, New York , The Apex Press, 1998, pp. 561

Discusses the 1996 Advisory Opinion by the International Court of Justice on the illegality of nuclear weapons within the provisions of the UN Charter, by putting it into political and legal context. Includes the full text of the ICJ, as well as the separate opinions and dissents of the individual judges. It also provides an account of how NGOs and governments worked together toward the World Court’s decision.

Intondi, Vincent, 2020 is the year of nuclear disarmament (You heard me right), Instick, 10/01/2020,

Following the rise of tensions between the US and Iran during 2019 and the increased of awareness within the public of the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear attack, this article critically discuss the potential for movements to advocate a ‘No First Use’ policy in the US, and the potential embedded within the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Mayault, Isabelle, Beatrice Fihn, determined anti-nuclear campaigner, LaCroix, 08/03/2018,

Gives Beatrice Finh’s personal account of her experience as ICAN’s Director, the story behind the idea of the international treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons and her activism immediately after its approval at the United Nations.

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – Nobel Lecture

See also Beatrice Fihn’s speech on the occasion of the acceptance of the Nobel Peace Award in 2017: and

Prawitz, Jan ; Leonard, James, A zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East: A political project, Pacifica Review: Peace, Security & Global Change, Vol. 11, issue 3, 1999, pp. 257-271

This paper describes the Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone’s proposal, originally advanced by Iran and Egypt in 1974, as well as the extension of the concept in 1990 to include all weapons of mass destruction.

Ritchie, Nick ; Egeland, Kjøv, The diplomacy of resistance: power, hegemony and nuclear disarmament, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 30, issue 2, 2018, pp. 121-141

This article explores the nexus of power and resistance in global nuclear politics to explain the aims and practices of the humanitarian movement (politically weak  in relation to the nuclear weapon states) that led to the TPNW. It argues that the movement’s coherence and effectiveness was fostered by a coalitional logic that allowed different ‘identities of resistance’ to be steered towards a treaty banning nuclear weapons within the UN’s institutional framework.

Ruff, Tilman, Negotiating the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the role of ICAN, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 30, issue 2, 2018, pp. 233-241

Discusses ICAN’s work, principles and strategies in the context of the ‘stigmatise – prohibit’ approach that was effective for the signing of the TPNW at the UN General Assembly in 2017.

Tannenwald, Nina, The Humanitarian Initiative: A Critical Appreciation, In Sauer, Tom, Jorg Kustermans, Barbara Segaert (eds) Non-Nuclear Peace. Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 115-129

A critical assessment of the campaign on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the gains and limitations of the resulting 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is best seen as a stigmatization rather than a disarmament treaty. While the treaty may strengthen the taboo on using nuclear weapons, the ultimate challenge is to undermine nuclear weapons as a currency of power. The author examines four themes: processes of stigmatization, the democratization of disarmament politics, the advantages and disadvantages of codification, and normative strategies of disarmament more broadly.

Civil Society Engagement in Disarmament Processes The Case for a Nuclear Weapons Ban, New York, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), 2016, pp. 76

This publication focuses on the role of the Japanese hibakusha’s (atomic bomb survivors) experience in advocating for a Treaty that could ban nuclear weapons. It also discusses the impact of nuclear weapons on the environment as well as the human body, and offers arguments that delegitimise nuclear violence.

Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, RUSI, 05/03/2020,

Compilation of historic documents recording the negotiations during the 1960s published by the Royal United Services Institute on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The documents can be found in pdf at the link provided.

The case for unilateral disarmament, Peace News, 02/03/2020,

On 23 January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock (created in 1947) from two minutes to midnight to 100 seconds to midnight, which is the closest that it has ever been to the prospect of human destruction. This article makes the case for Britain unilaterally dismantling its nuclear weapons programme; firstly, from a legal perspective, and secondly, from a practical perspective.

Acheson, Ray, Impacts of the Nuclear Ban: how outlawing nuclear weapons is changing the world, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 30, issue 2, 2018, pp. 243-250

The article discusses how some of the expectations and hopes about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons signed by many non-nuclear weapons states in 2017 at the UN have been fulfilled, what else needs to be done to implement further economic divestment, and alter to the nuclear weapons discourse and policies.

Andersson, Stefan ; Dahlgren, Curt, On Nuclear Weapons: Denuclearization, Demilitarization and Disarmament. Selected Writings Of Richard Falk, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 450

At a time when international law and the law of war are particularly important and warlike rhetoric is creating new fears and heightening current tensions Falk’s message is particularly relevant. In this collection of essays, Falk examines the global threats to all humanity posed by nuclear weapons. He rejects the adequacy of arms control measures as a managerial stopgap to these threats and seeks no less than to move the world back from the nuclear precipice and towards denuclearization.

Baker, John, A first look at a 21st century disarmament movement, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 16/12/2016,

Critically assesses the qualities that a nuclear disarmament movement needs to develop in the current era. By comparing Black Lives Matter, ICAN and the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s, Baker explains why a new anti-nuclear weapons movement should be intersectional, digital and confrontational.

Burford, Lyndon ; Dewes, Kate, New Zealand and Disarmament: Where National and Global Interests Converge, In in Brady AM (ed) Small States and the Changing Global Order. The World of Small States, Volume 6, Cham, Switzerland, Springer, pp. 325-342

New Zealand has built a strong, bipartisan record over several decades for constructive disarmament and arms control policies, which promotes its reputation as a relatively independent, principled international actor. New Zealand’s role as a champion of a rules-based international order, and as a defender of the rights and interests of small states, is also underpinned by its record.

Docherty, Bonnie, A ‘light for all humanity’: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the progress of humanitarian disarmament, Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 30, issue 2, 2018, pp. 163-186

Discusses how the ‘humanitarian’ approach to disarmament served as a catalyst to and model for the negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and describes its purpose and provisions.

Dombey, Norman, The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:Aims. Limitations and Achievements, Available online in New Left Review archives:, New Left Review, issue 52, 0

On the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, New Left Review launched a discussion on the role and significance of the NPT. The physicist and expert on the treaty, Norman Dombey, initiated the debate with this detailed and well annotated historical and political examination of the origins and evolution of the treaty and the difficulties it had faced. The article concludes with his assessment of the role of the NPT in limiting proliferation and questions about its future. 

See also:  Watkins, Susan, ‘The Nuclear Non-Protestation Treaty’, New Left Review,  no. 54, Nov-Dec. 2008 for a much more  critical analysis of the NPT.

Erasto, Tytti, The NPT and the TPNW: Compatible or Conflicting Nuclear Weapons Treaties?, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2019

Erasto notes that the TPNW explicitly mentions the NPT, and argues that the two treaties are clearly legally compatible, despite claims that the TPNW is in conflict with the NPT.  He then assesses in detail political arguments that the TPNW could jeopardise the NPT regime. 

Kimball, Daryl, Addressing the NPT’s Midlife Crisis, Arms Control Today, 2020

In advance of the NPT Review Conference due in April 2020 (since postponed due to Civid-19)  Kimball comments on the dangers to the whole system of arms control and the worsening relations between nuclear weapon states. He suggests an action plan for the NPT conference.

See also: Rauf, Tariq, ‘The NPT at 50: Perish or Survive?’, Arms Control Today, March 2020.

Discusses the division between the view of the NPT held by nuclear weapon states who adhere to the treaty and the view of 160 non-nuclear weapon states who are parties to the NPT, who seek reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.  He also discusses the 1995 resolution on a Middle Eastern nuclear weapon free zone, which has become a significant source of disagreement.

Nielsen, Jenny, The Humanitarian Initiative and the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, In in Doyle, James (ed.) Nuclear Safeguards, Security, and Nonproliferation Achieving Security with Technology and Policy, Burlington and Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 37-58

The ‘humanitarian initiative’ in nonproliferation diplomacy leading to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty — has its origins in a reference in the Final Document of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to the deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. However, Nielsen notes that the international and civil society diplomacy that led to the success of the Ban Treaty have not yet changed the national policies of nuclear weapons states. It remains an open question if any of these states will ever support the Ban Treaty.

Porter, Gareth, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, Charlottesville, VA, Just World Publishing, 2014, pp. 310 (pb)

Detailed analysis by an investigative US reporter of attempts by the George W. Bush Administration and Israel to prove that Iran was developing nuclear weapons.  Porter scrutinizes the evidence cited and throws doubt on much of it.

Potter, William, Disarmament Diplomacy and the Nuclear Ban Treaty, Survival, Vol. 59, issue 4, 2017

Potter has been involved in negotiations relating to Review Conferences of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for many years and was also engaged in the processes leading to the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. From this perspective he discusses how one phrase in the statement of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, opened the way to the diplomatic processes leading to the 2017 Treaty. His article also discusses the probable consequences of the 2017 ‘Ban Treaty’ on the NPT Review Conference scheduled for 2020.

Rietiker, Daniel, Humanization of Arms Control: Paving the Way for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, London and New York, Routledge, 2018, pp. 347

Given that no significant progress has been made in nuclear disarmament for two decades, the author explores an alternative approach to arms control, focusing on the human dimension rather than on States’ security. He also explores the role of civil society in securing other arms control treaties, in particular the positive experiences of the movements against chemical weapons, anti-personnel mines, and cluster munitions, as well as the recent conclusion of the Arms Trade Treaty. He examines whether civil society will be able to replicate the strategies that have been used successfully in the field of anti-personnel mines (Ottawa Convention) and cluster munitions (Oslo Convention) in the nuclear weapons field.

Roche, Douglas, How We Stopped Loving The Bomb. An Insider’s Account Of The World On The Brink Of Banning Nuclear Arms, Toronto, Lorimer , 2011, pp. 205

Former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, Douglas Roche describes the approaches of diplomats, members of NGOs, and individuals who have been working to ban nuclear weapons. This book contains links to global networks, and social movements that work to ban nuclear weapons.

Sauer, Tom ; Reveraert, Mathias, The potential stigmatizing effect of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 25, issue 5-6, 2018, pp. 437-455

Advocates of the TPNW know that it will not automatically lead to a world without nuclear weapons. The treaty’s main goal, the authors argue, is to stimulate a societal and political debate inside the nuclear-armed states and their allies, by strengthening the antinuclear norm and by stigmatising nuclear weapons and their possessors. This article assesses to what extent this process of stigmatisation might take place. It concludes by looking at different stigma-management approaches that could be used by the nuclear-armed states and their allies.

Street, Tim, The politics of British nuclear disarmament, Oxford Research Group, 15/10/2015,

Argues that the post-election debate on replacing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is welcome and necessary, but so far has not dealt with the underlying political meaning of the UK being a nuclear weapon state and what it would mean for it to disarm. This article discusses the politics of Trident in relation to the UK’s military character and its imperial history.

Peace campaigners have also engaged in many activities which do not fall within either the categories of conscientious objection/draft resistance or opposition to nuclear weapons. There have for example been relatively successful campaigns to ban landmines and to achieve a treaty regulating the sale of arms, to prevent sales to repressive regimes or aggressors in wars. Much of this activity involves education and publicity or meetings, petitions and lobbying. But there is also a wide range of direct action, for example resistance to the siting or extension of military bases or firing ranges. A transnational movement against the arms trade includes both publicizing the extent and nature of the trade and regular demonstrations and blockades at arms fairs. In Britain the Campaign Against the Arms Trade publishes details of protests in CAAT News, and Peace News reports on demonstrations. The success of the international Stop the Shipments campaign in halting South Korean tear gas supplies to Bahrain (engaged in repressing internal protest) was celebrated in Peace News No. 2566 (Feb. 2014), pp. 1 and 6.

One important development since the 1990s has been the launching of global campaigns (drawing on a wide range of existing campaigning groups and mainstream NGOs) that enlist support from sympathetic governments to craft a UN treaty. This approach was initiated by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in the 1990s and taken up by those pressing for the Arms Trade Treaty achieved in 2013. It is being used by a new coalition with the aim of banning AWS (autonomous weapon systems): the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Critics of this approach query the usefulness of those treaties that can be achieved (given the military and economic priorities of many states) - a criticism directed especially at the Arms Trade Treaty. The most militarily powerful states (and those engaged in long term conflicts) also tend not to sign conventional arms control treaties. But there is also a case for maintaining a process of extending arms control under UN auspices; and the existence of a treaty can be used by civil society groups and protesters to exert political pressure, and to appeal to international law. 

Archiwal, Ahmadullah, Afghanistan: The Helmand Peace March, Two Years On, International Center on Non-Violent Conflict, 2020

Provides detailed account of the development of an Afghan peace movement after March 26 2018, after dozens of football fans were killed by a Taliban car bomb in Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province. Members of their families launched a protest that included pitching tens and going on hunger strike. Protesters included women, the disabled and the old. The movement also made specific demands for a ceasefire during Ramadan, further ceasefires, creating a political framework acceptable to all Afghan groups, and promoting the ultimate withdrawal of international military forces.   

See also: Abed, Fahim, ‘Afghan peace marchers meet the Taliban and find ‘people just like us’, The New York Times, 10 June 2019.

See also: Hassan, Sharif, ‘After 17 years of war, a peace movement grows in Afghanistan’, The Washington Post, 18 August 2018.

Caldecott, Leonie, At the foot of the mountain: The Shibokusa women of Mount Fuji, In Jones, Keeping the Peace (F.6. War and Women's Resistance), London, The Women's Press, pp. 98-107

Account of prolonged struggle to recover agricultural land occupied by US forces in 1945 and later retained by Japanese armed forces.

Cameron, Maxwell A. ; Lawson, Robert J. ; Tomlin, Brian W., To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 512

This book was published soon after December 1997, when over 120 states (excluding the USA, Russia, China, India and  Pakistan) signed the Ottawa Convention to ban production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines. It provides a wide ranging survey of both the global campaign and the diplomatic moves culminating in  the 'Ottawa process', which, under Canadian government leadership, resulted in the treaty.  There are contributions from leading campaigners, diplomats and academics.

Cockburn, Andrew, Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of High-Tech Assassins, London, Verso, 2015, pp. 336 (pb)

Critical assessment of today's 'military industrial complex' and also the role of drones in the US wars in Afghanistan and in targeting 'terrorists'.  Cockburn documents the technological failings of drones, often unable to distinguish targeted individuals from others nearby, and the 'trigger-happy' attitudes of some soldiers using them.  Both led to numerous mistaken deaths.

See also: Frew, Joanna, 'Drone Wars: the next generation', Peace News , 2618-2619, June-July 2018, p. 4.

Frew summarizes a new report, issued by Drone Wars UK, on development and use of armed drones by a 'second generation' of nine states (including  China, Iran and Turkey) and several non-state actors developing and using armed drones.  (The first group was the US, UK and Israel.)  The report also estimates that a further 11 states would soon be deploying drones, and that China was increasing export of them.  Frew stresses the urgent need for international controls, and queries whether existing controls on exports (already being undermined in the US) were adequate.                                                           

Deming, Barbara, San Francisco to Moscow: Why they walk, In Deming, Revolution and Equilibrium (A. 1.a.ii. Theories of Civil Disobedience, Power and Revolution), New York, Grossman, pp. 51-59

(Article originally published in the Nation 15 July.)

See also: Deming, Barbara , San Francisco to Moscow: Why the Russians let them in In Deming, Revolution and Equilibrium (A. 1.a.ii. Theories of Civil Disobedience, Power and Revolution)New York, Grossman, 1971, pp. 60-72

Faulkner, Frank, Moral Entrepreneurs and the Campaign to Ban Landmines, Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2007, pp. 244

Faulkner argues that the 'bottom up' international campaign, and the cooperation between leading activists and sympathetic government officials, provides a model for a way of achieving arms control. The campaign succeeded in changing policies on anti-personnel mines in 130 countries.

Lyttle, Brad, You Come with Naked Hands: The Story of the San Francisco to Moscow March for Peace, Raymond NH, Greenleaf Books, 1966, pp. 246

Participant’s account of march for disarmament organized by the Committee for Nonviolent Action. After marching across the USA the participants walked in Britain, Belgium and West Germany (they were debarred from entering France). But they were allowed to enter the Soviet bloc to travel through parts of the GDR, Poland and the USSR.

Mack, Daniel ; Wood, Brian, Civil Society and the Drive towards an Arms Trade Treaty, background paper published by UNIDIR, 2012, pp. 1-29

An informative and detailed account of how the proposal for an Arms Trade Treaty to set international standards and controls upon the sale of arms, promoted in the 1990s by NGOs (such as Oxfam and Amnesty International) and by prominent individuals, for example Nobel Peace laureates, gained governmental support. The goal was not to stop all arms exports, but the more limited one of setting international standards for controlling sale of arms to strengthen national rules and to prevent weapons from intensifying conflicts or worsening human rights abuses. The Treaty was agreed at the UN General Assembly in April 2013 by 157 states, including the US under President Obama.    

See also: Campaign Against the Arms Trade, 'Issues - Arms Trade Treaty'

CAAT notes that the Arms Trade Treaty came into force in December 2014 when ratified by 50 states (including the UK), but explains their scepticism about the concept of a 'responsible' arms trade.  CAAT claims the UK approves licenses which contravene the approved guidelines. and it should stop promoting arms sales  A number of other sources sceptical about the Treaty are listed. 

See also: 'Canada, ‘Canada joins the Arms Trade Treaty while still selling arms to Saudi Arabia’, Oxfam, 16 May 2019

Oxfam comments that whilst Canadian eventual accession to the Treaty is a major victory for civil society, the government has not made moves to cancel its $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, despite the Saudi record on human rights (denounced by the Trudeau government) and the Saudi role in the war in Yemen.

See also: Pecquet, Julian, ‘UN Approval of Arms Trade Treaty sets up Obama, Senate Showdown’, The Hill,  2 April 2013

Commentary on the domestic political context of  Obama’s decision to back the Arms Trade Treaty, opposed by 53 Senators and the National Rifle Association.  In the light of domestic opposition the Obama Administration had delayed support for the UN treaty in the run-up to the November 2012 election.  Pecquet also notes that the treaty passed with 154 votes; three countries opposed – North Korea, Syria and Iran – and 23 abstained.

Olabuenaga, Pablo, Why the Arms Trade Treaty Matters - and Why it Matters that the US is Walking Away, Just Security, 08/05/2019,

The author, who was a member of the Mexican government delegation throughout the negotiations for the Treaty, explains the significance of detailed provisions of the Treaty, and its overall importance as a multilateral arms control treaty. He also notes the close links between the Mexican and US delegations during the talks.

Packard, George R., Protest in Tokyo: The Security Treaty Crisis of 1960, Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1966, pp. 423

Includes coverage of petitions, strikes and demonstrations of May-June 1960 with emphasis on role of Zengakuren student organization.

Purssell, Richard ; Goodey, Jan, Smash EDO: The inside story of activists' battle against arms giant, The Ecologist, 20/03/2012,

Detailed account of campaign against the EDO Corporation in Brighton that started in 2004 and included numerous acts of symbolic protest and direct action such  as lock-ons and roof occupations, and resulted in a dramatic trial in March 2010 after protesters broke into the factory and destroyed equipment to 'decommission' the plant (which they believed supplied equipment to the Israeli Air Force) during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 2009. The court allowed eyewitness evidence of the scale of destruction in Gaza in support of the defendants' case that they were lawfully trying  to prevent a war crime, and the jury acquitted them. The campaign was also boosted earlier by the banning of an activist film, which many people then wanted to see, publicity about police infiltration of the activists, and the launching of a judicial review in the High Court by an 86 year old protester of his inclusion on the 'National domestic extremist' database.

Purves, Bill, Living with Landmines: From International Treaty to Reality, Montreal, Black Rose Books, 2001, pp. 208

Purves focuses on a key issue in the campaign to ban landmines: the long term dangers of death and mutilation for tens of thousands of civilians from antipersonnel mines used in battle and left on the ground; and the urgency - stressed by campaigners for the Landmines Treaty - of clearing millions of these mines around the world. The book reports on some progress, but also some major problems.

Quinsaat, Sharon, Movement “Branding” in the Japanese Anti-War Protests, Mobilizing Ideas, 08/03/2016,

Focuses on the moderate non-partisan Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALD), examining its origins and scope and its roots in the humanitarian catastrophes of World War Two, especially Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

See also: McCurry, Justin, ‘New generation of Japanese anti-war protesters challenge Abe’, The Guardian, 16 September 2015.

Reports on the reasons given by young SEALD members for joining the movement.

See also: Takenaka, Kiyoshi, ‘Huge protest in Tokyo rails against PM Abe's security bills’, Reuters, 30 August 2015.

Rawlinson, Roger, Larzac: A Nonviolent Campaign of the 70s in Southern France, York, William Sessions, 1996, pp. 202

Story of the successful ten-year struggle of French farmers in Larzac to protect their land from military encroachment. The Gandhian pacifists at the Community of the Arch, and industrial and professional unions played a role in the struggle. An earlier account is: Rawlinson, Roger , Larzac: A Victory for Nonviolence London, Quaker Peace and Service, , 1983, pp. 43 . See also: Rawlinson, Roger , The battle of Larzac In Hare; Blumberg, Liberation without Violence: A Third Party Approach (A. 5. Nonviolent Intervention and Accompaniment)London, Rex Collings, 1977, pp. 58-72

Rich, Motoko, A Pacifist Japan Starts to Embrace the Military, New York Times, 29/08/2017,

Rich discusses whether public attitudes in Japan to maintaining strict constitutional constraints on use of its military 'Self-Defence Forces' are changing. (The postwar constitution includes a clause to renounce war and Japanese policy has been based on a refusal to fight outside its borders, although it is closely allied to the US.) The article notes the consistent pressure from Conservative Prime Minister Abe to strengthen Japanese military power through increasing the budget, and his role in passing new security laws in 2015 that permitted for the first time Japanese troops to take part in combat overseas. It also notes there was strong popular resistance to the new security laws and that there are regular protests against US bases in Okinawa.

See also: 'Stop War': Thousands protest in Japan over military expansion law change', RT World News, 30 June  2014.

Rossdale, Chris, Resisting Militarism: Direct Action and the Politics of Subversion, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2019, pp. 288

Rossdale has studied a range of British campaigning groups taking radical forms of direct action to resist militarism and the arms trade, including the Campaign against Arms Trade and the broad coalition involved in Stop the Arms Fair. He describes some of their protests over the previous 15 years, such as peace camps, auctioning off a tank outside an arms fair and protesters supergluing themselves to the London offices of Lockheed Martin, and argues for the 'radical and ethical potential of prefigurative direct action'. He also develops a depiction of militarism from the standpoint of those resisting it, and examines the disagreements and debates between protesters, including the interpretation of nonviolence. Chapters cover feminist and queer anti-militarism, and the lack of racial diversity among the protesters.

Scharre, Paul, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, New York, W.W. Norton, 2018, pp. 448

An extensive examination of the possibilities and implications of artificial intelligence applied to the battlefield, from drones to 'killer robots', with varying degrees of autonomous ability to make decisions without human intervention. Scharre interviewed engineers creating new weapons and those in the military who might use them. He disagrees with campaigners seeking  a total ban, which he thinks impossible, arguing instead for ensuring a minimum degree of human involvement in their deployment.  

See also: Trying to Restrain the Robots', The Economist, 19 Sept. 2019, pp. 26-27.

A succinct examination of autonomous weapons and of issues arising, starting with the 'Harop' drone produced by Israeli Aerospace Industries, which can be classed as either a remote-controlled weapon or as an autonomous robot, depending on its software at the time. The article reports briefly on the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of 89 NGOs, and  concludes by noting that in 2017 the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons  (also known as  the Inhumane Weapons Convention, agreed  in 1980) appointed an expert group to examine the implications of autonomous weapons and different approaches to controlling their use. 

Sharkey, Noel, Killer Robots, New Internationalist, 2017, pp. 16-18

Sharkey, Professor of AI and robotics at Sheffield University, Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control  and also spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, sketches in the historical background to the evolution of Autonomous Weapons Systems, and dispels 'five myths about AWS'. He also briefly explains the evolution of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and how it had been keeping the issue 'on the table' at the UN since 2014.

See also: Chan, Melissa, 'Death to the Killer Robots', Guardian Weekly, 19 April 2019, pp. 30-31.

Report on role of Jody Williams and Mary Wareham, two leading activists in the Campaign to Ban Landmines, in promoting the new movement, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which they recognize to be a much harder goal to achieve. Chan notes that Israel is already using advanced autonomous technology, for example to patrol the Gaza border. the US is testing advances in the technology, and Russia wants to create a battalion of killer robots. The campaigners were in Berlin because the German government had indicated concern about the issue, but had not been consistent, so their aim was to put pressure on Germany to act. 

Stavrianakis, Anna, Taking Aim at the Arms Trade: NGOs, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order, London, Zed Books, 2010, pp. 224

The author recognizes the pivotal role of NGOs in documenting and publicizing the suffering caused by the arms trade and its impact on human rights, fuelling conflicts and preventing development, as well as in pressing for international controls on the trade. But she is critical of the liberal ideology which defines NGO activity and justifies their intervention, which she sees as helping to perpetuate the hierarchy of a 'North' and 'South' world order.

Tikiri, Arms Fairs: A great time to show opposition to the death trade, Peace News, issue 2446, 03/03/2002,

Report by French activist on plans to protest at the biannual Eurosatory arms exhibition in Paris 17-20 June, along similar lines to earlier protests in 1998 and 2000.  Plans included a 'witness bearing peace vigil' and more noisy and colourful protests by Collectif Fermons Eurosatory, including nonviolent direct action. British arms trade activists had promised to join in, as they had since 1998. Britain and France, the two main arms exporters in Europe, each hosted regular trade fairs. 

See also: Poulden, David, 'Paris Arms Fair: 50 arrests', Peace News, 2632-3633, Aug.-Sept. 2019, p. 7.

Brief report on die-ins and other nonviolent direct action at Le Bourget airport by the Collectif des Desobeissants to highlight French arms used in the Yemen war.

Tsihsekedi, A., Stop the DSEI Arms Fair Report, rs21, 2019

A member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants gives an account of the varied protests, including  nonviolent direct action, and cultural events, that challenged the Arms Fair which exhibits the most recent range of weapons to thousands of potential buyers every two years in east London. A wide range of groups took part in the week-long resistance to the arms fair - Day 7 focused on borders and migration, noting how the weapons on display helped to displace many people.

Waldman, Sidney R. ; Richards, Susan ; Walker, Charles C., The Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick Projects: an Exchange Analysis, Haverford PA, Center for Nonviolent Conflict Resolution, 1967, pp. 67

‘Exchange analysis’ between organizers of two protests against Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) weapons production, the first a 21 month campaign at Fort Detrick from January 1960, the second planting a tree inside the base.

Walker, Charles C., Culebra: Nonviolent action and the US Navy, In Hare; Blumberg, Liberation without Violence: A Third Party Approach (A. 5. Nonviolent Intervention and Accompaniment), London, Rex Collings, pp. 178-195

Resistance to the use of Puerto Rican island as a US Navy bombing and gunnery range. Recounts direct action by Puerto Ricans and development of transnational action, involving US Quakers, to build chapel on the island.

Wearing, David, Why Britain's Relationship with Saudi Arabia is about to Change, New Statesman, 27/06/2019,

Article following the Court of Appeal judgement that the British government had unlawfully approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite a clear risk that they would be used in Yemen contrary to international humanitarian law. Wearing comments on t he UK's historic support for Saudi Arabia since the 1920s and central role in providing military aircraft and weapons under both Conservative and Labour governments, despite a major fraud scandal under Mrs Thatcher over an arms deal.

See also:: Smith, Andrew, 'Saudi Arms Sales were Illegal Says Court', Peace News, 2632-26 33, Aug.-Sept. 2019, p. 5.

The media coordinator of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) sets out the case against arming Saudi Arabia to fight in Yemen - tends of thousands killed as result of bombing over previous four years and at least 4.7. billion pounds worth of fighter jets, bombs and missiles licensed for sale from the UK. Notes the British government has appealed against the verdict to the Supreme Court.

See also: 'About CAAT: Ending  the Arms Trade',

Sets out aims of campaign and details of organization and provides links  to the UK Court of Appeal ruling and other relevant issues

See also: 'Unions and  NGOs  Block Saudi Arms Ship', Peace News, 2630-2631, June-July 2019, p. 5.

Brief report on direct action by Italian dock workers from the CGiL union and activists from Potere al Popolo and peace groups in Genoa, who prevented generators being loaded onto the Bahri Yanbu, because they could be used in Yemen. The ship had previously been deterred from loading weapons  in France by two court cases launched by human rights groups against the shipment.

Williams, Jody ; Goose, Stephen D. ; Wareham, Mary, Banning Landmines: Disarmament, Citizen Diplomacy and Human Security, Lanham MD, Rowman and Littlefield, 2008, pp. 148 (pb)

The first half of  this book by leading campaigners for the ban is focused on assessing what has been done to implement the Treaty to ban anti-personnel mines. The second half examines the impact of the landmines campaign on issues such as cluster munitions and is ability rights, as well as assessing  the contribution to 'human security'.

See also: Williams, Jody, 'The International Campaign to Ban Landmines - A Model for Disarmament Initiatives?', Nobel Peace Prize 1997. 3 Sept 1999.

Writing almost two years after the Mine Ban Treaty was agreed at Ottawa and signed immediately by over 120 governments, Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work together with ICBL, notes the achievement of NGOs in getting a governmental ban on conventional weapons  in widespread use.  She discusses succinctly aspects of the five year campaign that could become a model for the future. Williams stresses the importance of the post-cold war global context; the loose structure of the ICBL as a coalition of other bodies, which was, nevertheless, able to meet regularly and plan strategy; and the role of face to face meetings in achieving close relationships between NGOs and sympathetic governments.     

See also: 'More Anti-Land Mine Work Ahead, say Nobel Prize Winners', CNN World News, 10 Dec. 1997.

Report quotes Williams on scale of  problem remaining - 'tends of millions of mines in 70 countries...affecting lives on a daily basis' - and notes Cambodia represented at the ceremony by land mine activist who had  lost his legs. CNN also summarizes speech by a former British soldier and ICBL activist on next steps: getting 40 countries to ratify to bring the treaty into effect, pressurizing major non-signatories and cleaning up the landmines on the ground.

Yeo, Andrew, Activists, Alliances and Anti-US Base Protests, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 240

Examines the impact of anti-base movements on politics, and the role of bilateral military alliances influencing results of protest. Findings drawn from interviews with activists, politicians and US base officials in the Philippines, Japan (Okinawa), Ecudaor, Italy and South Korea. See also: Yeo, Andrew , Anti-Base Movements in South Korea: Comparative Perspective on the Asia-Pacific The Asia Pacific Journal, 2010, pp. 39-73

Yeo, Andrew, Activists, Alliances and Anti-US Base Protests, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 240

Examines the impact of anti-base movements on politics, and the role of bilateral military alliances influencing results of protest. Findings drawn from interviews with activists, politicians and US base officials in the Philippines, Japan (Okinawa), Ecudaor, Italy and South Korea. See also: Yeo, Andrew , Anti-Base Movements in South Korea: Comparative Perspective on the Asia-Pacific The Asia Pacific Journal, 2010, pp. 39-73

See also:

Paul Routledge, Terrains of Resistance: Nonviolent Social Movements and the Contestation of Place in India, (A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements), on 1980s resistance in Orissa, India, to Baliapal missile testing range, pp 39-73.