Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement

By Lawrence S. Wittner | Go to book overview

8
Disarmament triumphant,
1985–1992

Under enormous pressure from the antinuclear movement, a dramatic turnabout in public policy occurred from 1985 to 1992. Before that, of course, there had been important shifts in government programs. But the rise to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 provided the final ingredient necessary for major advances in nuclear disarmament. Deeply influenced by the antinuclear movement, Gorbachev waged an unremitting campaign against nuclear weapons and nuclear war that, eventually, convinced reagan to join him in breaking with the Old thinking and routing their conservative foes. Moreover, even after the departure of reagan and Gorbachev from power, the collapse of communist regimes, and the end of the cold war, the movement constituted a significant force in world politicsl—strong enough to foster new and important disarmament measures.


The movement Continues, 1985–1988

Although the antinuclear movement in non-communist Europe declined somewhat after the great upsurge of the early 1980s, it remained a formidable force in the latter part of the decade. In late 1988, the Dutch IKV still maintained 300 active local branches, while the British 300 CND had 70,000 national members and perhaps another 130,000 local members. Demonstrations, though smaller than a few years before, remained impressive. As late as 1987, antinuclear rallies in Britain and west Germany each drew 100,000 participants. Moreover, other kinds of activism were widespread. In norway, no to nuclear weapons published two newspapers, protested the presence of nuclear weapons in local waters and harbors, assailed plans for SDI, and continued to promote a nordic nuclear-free zone. The antinuclear campaign could also count on strong support from mainstream political parties, especially those of a social democratic persuasion. In Britain, the Labour Party gamely carried its support of Britain's

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Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Stanford Nuclear Age Series vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations Used xiii
  • Confronting the Bomb xv
  • 1: The Secret Struggle 1
  • 2: The Rise of Popular Protest, 1945–1953 9
  • 3: Government Response, 1945–1953 29
  • 4: Movement Renaissance, 1954–1958 52
  • 5: Victories and Retreats, 1958–1970 82
  • 6: A Third Wave, 1971–1980 113
  • 7: Peace Begins to Break Out, 1981–1985 141
  • 8: Disarmament Triumphant, 1985–1992 177
  • 9: Waning Movement, Reviving Arms Race, 1993-Present 205
  • Conclusion: Reflections on the Past and the Future 221
  • Index 227
  • Stanford Nuclear Age Series 255
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