John Desmond Bernal (1901-1971) was one of the most eminent scientists of the twentieth century whose research had a ground-breaking impact across the medical humanities, from x-ray crystallography research, to the impact of war on human life. He was a passionate socialist and visionary of the beneficial role of science in society and a driving force in world-wide peace campaigning.
The aerial bombardment of Spanish towns by German and Italian planes during the Spanish Civil War prompted the co-ordination of an unprecedented mass-evacuation of refugee children. 4,000 arrived in Britain in 1937. Deprived of support from the British government, the children were cared for in ‘colonies’ across the UK supported entirely by volunteers in the local community.
In 2017 the Russian Revolution Centenary Committee brought together labour movement, heritage and cultural organisations with the aim of informing debate about the Revolution’s continuing relevance to politics and society today.
The First World War accentuated the divisions between the left and right in the labour movement. The militancy of labour's rank and file continued unabated, whilst the exigencies of war gave labour's leaders the chance to become fully enmeshed within the State itself. The gulf between the two widened to such an extent that it was difficult for both to co-exist within the same organisations.
The Marx Memorial Library holds a unique set of contemporary newspapers documenting this story and shedding new light on social and political attitudes and broader debate about workers' rights, trade unions, crime and punishment.
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