Peace and Anti-War Movements

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The MML holds a wealth of resources that tell stories of struggles for disarmament and anti- militarism in Britain and across the world. They show how, through the course of the twentieth century, war and fascism have been opposed collectively, sometimes with success and sometimes not. They demonstrate the links between fascism as the ultimate expression of capitalism, and militarism as a necessary component of this. MML holds archives of various peace movements and anti war protests. Special collections on this theme include:

Bernal Peace collection
John Desmond Bernal (1901-1971) was a groundbreaking medical scientist, socialist and world- wide peace campaigner. This collection includes his political papers, plus documents and other items from people and organisations involved in peace and anti-war campaigning, such as:

  • Pensioners for Peace
  • The Lenin Peace Prize
  • Manchester Anti-Nuclear Group, Reading Council For Peace and other local peace campaigns
  • The World Peace Council
  • Pugwash  Conferences on Science and World Affairs conferences, which address the impact of war on humanity and how to prevent it.
  • Artists Against The H Bomb – a campaign led by artist and critic John Berger
  • Teachers Committee For Nuclear Disarmament 
  • Scrapbooks of 1980s press cuttings from the Morning Star relating to various issues including the international peace movement, disarmament, US military presence in the UK, and the international arms trade.

It also contains numerous pamphlets covering subjects such as the nuclear threat, the potential impact of nuclear war, and disarmament campaigns.

Vietnam war

MML holds many items and documents relating to the US war in Vietnam and the global protest movement against it. These include photographs of the war (one entitled “The Vietnamese people's struggle against the U.S. imperialist aggressors"), of international solidarity protests, and of Lao people’s liberation army and post-war reconstruction.

Gertrude Elias collection 

This contains material on art exhibitions organized by Elias, including Medical Aid for Vietnam's Exhibitions and Sales of Work, 1972 – 1983 (aka Artists for Vietnam).

Abhimanyu (Manu) Manchanda collection
This collection includes photographs of demonstrations by the Indian Workers' Association in opposition to the Vietnam War, as well as other glolbal issues such as apartheid in South Africa and the Ian Smith regime in Rhodesia.

In 2015, MML staged an exhibition on Socialist opposition to World War One, showcasing many items from the collections relating to peace and anti-war campaigns. 

MML also holds many stunning posters from various peace initiatives, including the international campaign against the US war in Vietnam.

Poster showing Richard Nixon on a B-52D bomber above a map of Cambodia Vietnam Laos

Title Text: 
Nixon's Peace

World Parliament of Peoples for Peace poster 1980

Title Text: 
World Parliament of Peoples for Peace 1980

The global campaign against nuclear weapons is aligned with the peace movement, and MML holds many items relating to organisations such as CND, including posters, leaflets, songbooks, and former CND Chair Joan Ruddock's personal scrapbook. Periodicals include CND's Sanity magazine, Trade Union CND news, and bulletins of groups such as Youth Against the Bomb and Women for Life on Earth. 

There are numerous pamphlets on the anti-war theme to be found amongst MML's collections. This one by the famous suffragette and socialist Sylvia Pankhurst dates from 1922 and discusses the causes of war in the twentieth century. Over 100 years later, The Truth About the Oil War seems as relevant as ever. 

Truth about the Oil War

Title Text: 
Truth about the Oil War

"Whoever owns the oil in peace-time; in wartime the oil will be seized by those armies and navies which control the road to it and the territory where it lies." Sylvia Pankhurst