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Last updated:18 June 2015

Aldermaston March and birth of CND

The first atomic bomb was dropped by the USA on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki; the Second World War was over, but a new Atomic Age had begun.

The fear of nuclear warfare gripped Europe in the 1950s and The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was soon formed at a massive public meeting in London in February 1958. As well as campaigning against any military action that may lead to the use of atomic, chemical or biological weapons, CND favour nuclear disarmament of all countries.

The first Aldermaston March was held shortly after the formation of CND, on 4-7 April 1958. People marched for four days from Trafalgar Square, London to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in Berkshire to demonstrate their opposition to nuclear weapons. This march attracted a good deal of attention, and the CND symbol was seen everywhere. From the outset people from all sections of society got involved. After 1958 the marches were held annually from 1959 to 1963 when the International Test Ban Treaty was signed, which partially banned nuclear tests. There were revivals of the march in later years including 1972 and 2004. The Aldermaston Marches, the CND symbol and their slogan ‘Ban the Bomb' became icons and part of the youth culture of the 1960s.

Find out more about the Library's extensive holdings of peace movement material here.