Recent articles

Even Churchill Thought Hiroshima Was Unnecessary

25 Jun 2024


On 6 August 1945, the US destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima with an atomic bomb. Three days later, Nagasaki was wiped out.

The two nuclear bombs killed over 100,000 men, women and children.

It was said that using the Bomb was the only way to avoid a long, drawn-out land invasion of Japan costing tens of thousands of lives.

This was not true. In mid-1945, there were two other possible ways of ending the war quickly, without using the Bomb or invading Japan.

Churchill and Hiroshima: a new Peace News briefing

01 Jun 2024

Comment by PN staff

Order your copies now!

We are now 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 which could end the Pacific War, especially if combined.

In September 1944, Churchill pleaded with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to declare war on Japan because this alone ‘might be decisive’ in gaining a Japanese surrender.

PN's future: join the conversation!

01 Jun 2024

Feature by PN staff

An invitation to submit your ideas

Peace News is in a period of change. We’re dreaming big ambitious dreams as to how PN can make a bigger contribution to the peace movement and to other nonviolent grassroots movements for social change. That might still be as a radical media project; it might conceivably be something even better.

If you have a wild idea, a sensible idea, a cheap-to-put-into-practice idea, or a would-need-a-billionaire-to-fund-it idea, please do add your thoughts to the mix – for consideration by the Peace News board and staff – by 30 June.

Diary: 'My nemesis'

01 Jun 2024

Comment by Cath

'We're becoming a social hub'

Gardening brings out the aggressor in me – I root out bindweed and thistles with a focus and single-minded determination lacking in all other parts of my life.

The simple judgement call of getting rid of things we don’t want (in that place) is easy to repeat.

I rest my decision-making brain and follow the roots beyond the vegetable beds, gaining more pleasure the more root I get out, shouting out to other humans when I pull out particularly deep or long roots.

What else

01 Jun 2024

Comment by Rebecca Elson-Watkins

General election? I'll see you on the doorsteps ...

Well, it wasn’t a May election. Given that I’m writing this on 20 May, I can say this with some certainty!

Another six weeks of this end-stage-capitalism, this dystopian nightmare that Britain has become under the Tories.

We have patients in hospital corridors. We have people drowning in the Channel. We have profoundly disabled people being told they are ‘fit for work’. We have little kids, barely more than babies, dying in mould-infested flats that are not fit to house sewer rats. Councils are on their knees. There is a crisis in the care sector.

Poynted remarks

01 Jun 2024

Comment by Claire Poyner

Reduce, reuse, recycle?

Look, I realise that recycling won’t save the world and all.

Personally, I usually (nearly always) put stuff that can be recycled in the recycling bins even though we have to go to the effort of taking them 100 metres or so to the communal bins on our estate (rather than the doorstep collection enjoyed by people not living on a social housing estate).

I add random plastic bags to the supermarket bags to be collected by the grocery delivery people.

I take dead batteries to a local Tesco which has a collection bin.

Heddwch ar Waith

01 Jun 2024

Feature by Sam Bannon

Creating an ambitious new peace network

In mid 2023, Cymdeithas y Cymod (CyC, the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Cymru) and CND Cymru (CND C, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Cymru), worked in partnership with other leading peace organisations to create Heddwch ar Waith (HarW), Peace Action Wales, a campaign network. The project received funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust last summer.

Obituary: Anne Randle: 7 August 1941 - 30 October 2023

01 Jun 2024

Comment by Mo Moseley

Long-time peace campaigner who helped George Blake escape from Wormwood Scrubs

Anne Randle was one of the four people who, in 1966, helped Soviet spy George Blake escape from Wormwood Scrubs prison and flee to Russia.

As a young woman, Anne Parr was active in the Committee of 100 which organised mass civil disobedience against nuclear weapons, starting in February 1961. This is where she met Michael Randle, the man who became her partner and husband for 61 years and the father of her two children, Sean and Gavin.

Michael also helped Blake to escape, along with Sean Bourke and Pat Pottle.

Obituary: Sarah Guthrie: 5 September 1942 - 14 July 2023

01 Jun 2024

Comment by Joanna Guthrie

Cartoonist and peace campaigner with a keen sense of the absurd

My mum Sarah Guthrie was born in Lancashire to Neville Evans, an oil broker, and his wife, Barbara (née Bruce). At 17, she dropped out of school in South West London and went to study at the Alliance Française in Paris. She returned to London to work at Harper’s Bazaar magazine and then at an early listings magazine.

In 1966, with two colleagues at the magazine, she set up London’s first lunchtime theatre – ‘Theatrescope Original Lunch Hour Plays’ – which is where she met my dad, Brian, who she married in 1969.

Demilitarising France

01 Jun 2024

Feature by Marc Morgan , Alain Refalo

An interview with a leading figure in the French peace movement

MM: ‘Alain, in your book Démilitariser la France (Demilitarising France), you indicate that France is the fifth most militarised country in the world. Can you outline some particularly significant elements of this militarisation?

The EU gets even more bellicose

01 Jun 2024

Feature by Rob Fairmichael

A view from the island of Ireland

‘Bellicosity’ is perhaps an old-fashioned word, and comes from the Latin word for war or warlike, ‘bellum’, and perhaps ‘warlike’ is more prosaic English. But, whatever word you prefer, the European Union (EU) is gearing up for a fight with Russia, and unspecified others, along with supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The mind boggles.

The EU, along with its NATO allies, the US and UK, and Russia are all nuclear-armed. It is crazy to continue to push forward with confrontation and a new cold war arms race which no one can win.

What to do? The 2024 general election

01 Jun 2024

Feature by PN staff

Responses from different parts of the activist movements

Someone pointed out that the last British general election held in July was in 1945, which sent us scrambling for the archives. On 15 June 1945, the PN editorial responded to the calling of the election by noticing that there were two strands within British pacifism: those ‘who seek to work in the political sphere’ of party politics and those who ‘believe that their proper activity as pacifists lies outside the political sphere altogether’. (PN 470)

Lord Walney’s anti-democratic threats

01 Jun 2024

Feature by Milan Rai

More threats to squash protest – from a former Labour MP

The day before the UK general election was called, the government advisor on political violence and disruption published a 294-page report on Protecting our Democracy from Coercion.

The main theme of the report by lord Walney (John Woodcock) was the need for the government, the courts, the crown prosecution service and the police to crack down harder on ‘extreme protest movements’ such as Palestine Action, Just Stop Oil (JSO) and the organisers of the recent Gaza ‘Ceasefire Now’ marches in Central London.

From a Gaza encampment

01 Jun 2024

Feature by PN, Anonymous

Pro-Palestine activists in Scotland have taken a stand outside Holyrood

Over 15 Gaza solidarity camps (or ‘encampments’) have sprung up around the UK, following the example of those at more than 140 universities in the US which have often been met with police violence and mass arrests. Here in the UK, after occupations of two Bristol university buildings were forced to end in late March and early April (because of the threat of legal action), students began an encampment on 1 May. The focus, as elsewhere, is on getting institutions to break ties with companies supplying Israel’s military machine.

Arms factories now ‘prohibited places’

01 Jun 2024

Feature by Netpol

The government is trying to intimidate anti-militarists into ending their campaigns

The sudden appearance of a ‘National Security Act 2023’ warning sign outside the Bristol offices of Israeli-owned arms manufacturer Elbit was a reminder to campaigners that as well as expanding public order laws, the government has also introduced sweeping changes to espionage laws that cover places where protests regularly take place.