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The History of the CND


Scottish CND was formed shortly after the formation of CND in London in 1958. Protests were made about atmospheric testing and the growing threat of nuclear annihilation. There was strong support from members of the Labour Party and from communists, from Local Authorities and Trade Unions.

In May 1959 a march in Glasgow attracted 4,000. The establishment of the US Polaris submarine base in Holy Loch in the Clyde in 1961 was met with large demonstrations. After 1968 when the British Polaris base was set up at Faslane near Helensburgh, it too became a focus for protest.

The announcement by President Regan in 1983 of "Star Wars" - the first version of National Missile Defence (see Anti-Ballistic Systems) together with the arrival of Cruise at Greenham led to a mass "die-in" in George Square in Glasgow and a march of 20,000. CND, although principally an anti-bomb movement has also been a leader in the anti-war peace movement. In 1982 it opposed the Falklands War, in 1995 the war in the Balkans and in 1998 the Gulf War.

In each of these conflicts there was, of course, the possibility of hostilities spreading with the threat of nuclear weapons being used.

For information about British CND see A brief history of CND


On August 6th 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan. Three days later on August 9th, another bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

Personalities: From the start CND had the support of the world-renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell, famous physicist Albert Einstein, Cannon Collins

Organisation giving support: Many local authorities, the Communist Party of Great Britain, Labour Party Branches, Trade Unions

The support of The Labour Party and Trade Union branches fell away after Michael Kinnock arrived, that Labour failed to win the election of 1992? because of its support for CND.

In the 1980s Cruise Missile Bases were set up in Britain by the United States. They were nuclear-armed aircraft designed to fly close to the land surface and so escape Russian radar and rockets. This was seen by many as increasing the risk of war and support for CND revived. There were large scale demonstrations.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union CND membership again declined, despite the Gulf War in 1990. Since then the Balkans War, the Afghan War, the Kashmir dispute and oppression of the Palestinians, together with the threatened resumption of the Iraq War and the declarations by the US of its preparedness to act without UN resolution, in so doing to use nuclear weapons and its aim to obtain military dominance of the world, has led to disquiet and renewed interest in CND. For the last year CND has worked in coalition with other groups opposed to war. Recently these efforts have facilitated the largest demonstrations in British history.

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