Hiroshima 75: Campaigning for Peace, from the CND Cymru Archives

August 6th 2020 marks seventy five years since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Many thousands of people were killed instantly, and many thousands more were injured; the long term effects of radiation exposure included cancer and leukaemia, and the threat of nuclear annihilation has overshadowed international affairs for generations since.

Hiroshima Peace Garden, Japan

CND Cymru and WCIA, alongside people in Wales and worldwide are marking this poignant anniversary by joining many events online, such as CND’s ‘Peace Wave’ Commemoration. We also pay tribute to those in Wales and worldwide who, over the last 75 years, have campaigned vociferously for an end to nuclear weapons – with the launch of over 40 years of newly digitised CND Cymru Archives, through WCIA’s Wales for Peace heritage programme.

Wales’ main Hiroshima Remembrance event – planned for this week’s National Eisteddfod in Tregaron – fell victim to the many COVID event cancellations over this summer. However, citizens in Wales and world wide can still raise our voices to call on governments to act – and listen to the powerful testimony of nuclear survivors, many of whom are at the heart of commemoration events in Japan this week.

SIPRI – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Jill Evans, CND Cymru Chair

There can be no better way of honouring the memory of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, than vowing never to use these horrific weapons again.

Jill Evans, ex-MEP and Chair of CND Cymru

CND Cymru and Wales’ Peace Heritage

CND Cymru works for international peace and disarmament, and a world in which the vast resources now devoted to militarism are redirected to the real needs of the community and the environment.

The horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have galvanised peace movements from 1945 to today to campaign tirelessly for prohibition of nuclear weapons. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was established in 1957, with a grassroots movement spearheaded by local branches; and from 1958, Aberystwyth and Cardiff (alongside many other Welsh communities) evolved into the Welsh National Council of CND. In 1981, CND Cymru became a national organisation in its own right, leading campaigns such as the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and the 1982 Bridgend Nuclear Bunker Campaign.

CND Cymru feature, ‘Heddwch’ magazine Summer 2005

The next generation of UK nuclear weapons would cost over £200 billion. CND Cymru has never been clearer that the UK should abandon Trident, and instead ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty was adopted by the UN in 2017, and to date has been ratified by forty states. Only ten more states need to ratify the treaty before it comes into force.

Anti-Nuclear cover artworks from the Archives

Jill Evans, Chair of CND Cymru, said: “As we adjust to living with Covid-19, we have an opportunity to reassess our future and our priorities. By remembering the awful impact of the use of nuclear weapons, the world could resolve that they will never again be used and that the money spent on their manufacture and maintenance could instead be invested in health, education, welfare, jobs and combating climate change.”

Archiving Four Decades of Activism

Ahead of Hiroshima 75 this August, over the COVID lockdown volunteers Craig and Tom Owen have been supporting CND Cymru to digitise their archive materials – amounting to many thousands of pages – including the iconic and colourful ‘Heddwch’ Magazine, from 1985 to today.

CND Secretary Jill Gough,
photographed for ‘Women War & Peace’
by Lee Karen Stow

Heddwch Magazine – along with ‘Campaign Wales’ and ‘Heddwch Action News’ – have been edited through the years by CND Cymru National Secretary Jill Gough, from Glynarthen in Ceredigion. WCIA previously spotlighted Jill’s enormous contribution to Wales’ peace movements as part of our 2018 ‘Women War & Peace’ exhibition with leading photo journalist Lee Karen Stow, now permanently displayed in the Temple of Peace in Cathays Park, Cardiff.

We are sure you’ll agree, on reading through the vast amount of material Jill has produced over the decades, that the archive is a very fitting tribute to a remarkable life’s work!

CND Cymru’s archive collections have been made publicly accessible through People’s Collection Wales, building on WCIA’s longstanding relationship with the National Library of Wales through the 2014-19 Wales for Peace project. You can explore the collections, and Wales’ rich peace heritage of the last 4 decades, in more detail below.

Call for Volunteers – Can you help with next steps?

WCIA are seeking digital volunteers from September onwards to assist in cataloguing the article listings for all of the CND Archive materials on People’s Collection Wales. These tasks can be done remotely; and would suit volunteers who are confident with basic online tools (for which training will be given). If you would like to contribute towards making the CND Cymru Archives ever more accessible for future generations of students and researchers, please email walesforpeace@wcia.org.uk.