Nuclear weapons

1 April 2024News in Brief

On 5 February, Nuclear Information Service published a 16-page briefing on Devonport nuclear dockyard in Plymouth, England.

Devonport is responsible for maintaining the UK’s nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines. It also manages out-of-service submarines and their radioactive fuel waste.

1 April 2024News

'Come back to write another day’

On 13 March, Dr Ray Towey of Catholic Peace Action once again used blessed charcoal to mark the ministry of defence (MoD) in Central London.

He wrote: ‘Trident is Genocide’ and ‘Choose Life Not Terror’ and also drew a cross. Ray was arrested and then de-arrested. ‘Go away and come back to write another day,’ said one of the police officers.

Catholic Peace Action has carried out this ‘Lenten witness’ almost every year since 7 March 1984.

A month earlier, on Ash Wednesday…

1 April 2024News in Brief

A German court has sentenced US Catholic Worker Susan Crane, 78, to over seven months in prison. Susan refused to pay €2,500 in fines imposed for a series of actions at Büchel air force base, south-east of Cologne, where US nuclear bombs are stored.

The Nuclear Resister reports that the sentence was imposed on 18 January after Susan had appealed all the way to the European court of human rights (they refused her case on a technicality).

Susan has been ordered to report…

1 April 2024News

Order your copies this May!

In May, we will be taking orders for a new four-page A5 PN briefing setting out the facts about Churchill’s belief in 1944 and early 1945 that a Japanese surrender could be gained without an atomic bomb being dropped and without the Allies having to invade Japan (PN 2667). 

Churchill believed by July 1945 that there were two diplomatic tools with a very good chance of ending the Pacific War, especially if combined. 

In September 1944, Churchill had pleaded with the…

1 April 2024Feature

Part of a recent online talk for PN by a longtime US peace activist 

“This is a really demanding and frightening subject that we’re dealing with.

Let me begin by saying that [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and [Dmitry] Medvedev [deputy chair of Russia’s security council] have been drawing from the US playbook from the beginning of the Ukraine War with their nuclear threats. 

They’re basically, as Noam Chomsky put it, moving to ensure that those who might come to protect those that Russia is determined to attack are at least limited in what…

7 March 2024Resource

The arguments today about Hiroshima and Nagasaki miss the most important facts about Allied decision-making in mid-1945. Britain's wartime leader, Winston Churchill, believed - in mid-1945 - that the Second World War could be ended without the use of the atomic bomb.

At the urging of US and British military commanders, Churchill lobbied the US president, Harry Truman, to try other methods which he thought could end the Pacific War. The nuclear terror attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

7 March 2024Resource

Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, almost every US president has threatened or prepared to initiate nuclear war. Leading US peace campaigner Dr Joseph Gerson explains how the US uses nuclear weapons to preserve its global empire, making more than 20 threats of nuclear attack during the Cold War – against Russia, China, Vietnam, and countries in the Middle East.

US nuclear threats continued under US presidents George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton, and George W Bush and…

1 February 2024News

Ten-year cost of UK nukes leaps 62%

Last year, there was a 62 percent jump in planned spending by the defence nuclear organisation (DNO) over the next 10 years on equipment related to British nuclear weapons. That’s according a government national audit office (NAO) report published in December, comparing 10-year spending plans published in 2022 and 2023.

The DNO is responsible for most British nuclear weapons equipment acquisition, including the development of new ‘Dreadnought’ submarines to replace Trident.

1 December 2023News in Brief

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is trying to block the planned deployment of new US nuclear weapons at USAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, England.

CND is using planning law to challenge related development works at Lakenheath on the grounds that the ministry of defence (MoD) and West Suffolk council have not assessed the environmental impact of a planned 144-bed dormitory or the possible effects of stationing nuclear weapons at the airbase.

More info, plus resources for CND…

1 October 2023Review

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023; 138pp; £37.50  

Concise, accessible and well-referenced, this is a wonderful book about a protest I wasn’t previously aware of.

Vincent J Intondi, professor of history at Montgomery College in Maryland, USA, sets the scene: surrounded by ‘advisors who believed nuclear war was a reasonable option to deal with adversaries’ in the early 1980s newly-elected US president Ronald Reagan massively increased both military spending and his warmongering rhetoric.

In response, the anti-nuclear movement,…

1 October 2023News

Four-day gathering in Bristol

In August, Bristol CND and XR Peace Bristol organised their fourth four-day Peace Gathering in the Peace Glade in Castle Park, Bristol, with over 20 talks, workshops and discussions – and die-ins to mark the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945.

Included in the Gathering was part of an International Fast to Commemorate Hiroshima-Nagasaki.

Fasters in Bristol included Matthias Engelke from Germany (a Lutheran pastor who has vowed…

1 October 2023News in Brief

In August, there were over 20 arrests at Volkel airbase in the southern Netherlands, home to 15 US nuclear bombs.

On 8 August, 10 climate activists and peace activists were arrested after climbing over the fence and protesting on the runway.

On 9 August, 15 protestors were arrested after picking up pink spades with the intention of digging under the fence, to create a more accessible route to protest inside the base.

The arrested, all released the same day, came from…

1 October 2023News

Nationwide day of action as evidence grows that US priming Lakenheath for new guided nukes

A Citizens Weapons Inspection (CWI) team from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) gathered outside USAF Lakenheath on 23 September, with the aim of searching the base for nuclear weapons.

This followed growing evidence that the US air force is priming Lakenheath for the deployment of the new B61-12 guided nuclear bomb as part of a mass upgrade of US nuclear infrastructure in Europe.

The inspection was part of a nationwide day of action against US nuclear weapons in…

1 October 2023News

Bahamas signs anti-nuke treaty

On 19 September, the Bahamas officially signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), sending a signal of support, and Sri Lanka officially acceded to the treaty, meaning that it agreed to be bound by the TPNW, a much more serious step. (Usually countries ‘sign’ first and then ‘ratify’, but some countries skip the signing and go straight to the commitment level in one step: ‘accession’.)

This means that 97 states have now signed, ratified or acceded to the 2017…

1 August 2023Feature

Churchill believed there were two non-atomic ways of bringing about a Japanese surrender

The Hollywood blockbuster, Oppenheimer, is having a massive opening weekend as I write these words.

The central event of the film is the ‘Trinity’ test on 16 July 1945, when scientists set off the world’s first nuclear bomb.

One of the less well-known effects of the test was its shattering impact on the wartime British prime minister. Winston Churchill was told about Trinity while he was attending the Potsdam conference in Germany with US president Harry Truman and…