** war and social upheaval: The Cold War -- pacifism

Cold War Pacifism: Ban the Bomb

Figure 1.-- Here we see wall slogans in Munich during an early German election August 14, 1949. It reads, 'Keine Atombomben K.P.D.', meaning no atom bomb. The KPD meant the German Communis Party. This was only two weeks before the Soviers exloded their first atomic bomb. Germany before the NAZIs had the largest Europeaan Commnist Party outside of the Soviet Union. Brutal Soviet behavior after World War resulted in the the nability of the KPD to win votes in West Germany. While the KPD did not prosper, the Ban the Bomp movement did beagan to gain political momentum in the 1960s. The press caption read, "German elections to be held Auhyst 14 Munich, Germany. Although most Bavarians are said to be apathetic toward the electins or a lower house of a Federal Parliament, the battle of the posters rises to a new fury on Munich streets. In this pyoto, Communists have scrawled the words 'No atomic bombs' on a cemetary wall as part of their campaign."

The two American atomic bombs ended World War II. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria was also important. It is impossible to definitively argue the realative importance. It is impossible to argue that the bomns were not a major factor, primarily because they gave the contry's military fanatics a face saving excuse. Ut meant a way out withour totally losing their honor. There was not at first widespread criticism of the bombs. The world was traumatized by the War and the bombs which ended rhe War were primarily seen as a godsend. Each of the two bombs killed vastly more people than any other single bomb. Ironically they save more lives than any oyher single bomb. Before the bombs, the bJapanese killed some 15 million peole, mostly Asians. After the bombs the killing fell to zero--a powerfil justification. Moral niceties were dulled by the horrors of war. And the horrendous atrocities commited by the Germans and Japanese meant that sympathy for them was hard to find. Soviet propaganda began to raise the issue as part of it socialist pacifist line, but with little success. There was general recognition, however, that pacifism had played a role in Hitler's early sucesses. The Soviets, in part because of spy rings, exploded their first bomb (August 29, 1949). Of course they could justify their possession of an imoral weapon on the basis of self defense. It is not lost on may historiansthat within a years, Sivie tnk in the nands of the North Korean Army pired over the outh Korean borrder. Only slowly as the horrors of World War II receeded and the nombs role in ending it, did the Ban the Bomb movement began to attract popular support. Totally lost among the people who were attracted to the Ban the Bomb movement had bot conceotion of the danger posed by the Soviet Red Army to Western Europe. This in part because the Ban the Bomb movement had its roots in the European Left. This is why they could argue for Western countries denucleaization knowing that the Soviets would still have the weapons. The Ban The Bomb grew in the 1950s and was behinning to have some political clout, first in Britain. Ten of thousands of people marched from the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, Berkshire, to Trafalgar Square (1960). It was the largest demonstration London has seen in the 20th century. The march energized what was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). From the beginning the focus was on the American nuclear arsenal and never the Soviet arsenal. Not only were people behind the Iron Curtain only allowed to criticise the American arsenal, but CND in the West only ctitcised the American arsenal. The CND became more generally involved in the peace movement, again focuing almost exclusively on American use of military power. The CND reached it highpoint in the 1980s when the Soviets deployed advanced IRBMs in Eutope and tried to use the CND to block American deployment of a comparable system. This played out in West Germany where the missles were to be deployed.


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Created: 5:13 AM 7/14/2019
Last updated: 5:13 AM 7/14/2019