The first public protests came very quickly as the magnitude of what dropping the atomic bombs did/could mean began to sink in.
Another threshold in human brutality had been crossed. While at the beginning of the Second World War, the bombing of civilians was regarded as barbaric, as the war continued all sides abandoned previous restraints. It ended with the instant incineration in Nagasaki of 70,000 people with a further 70,000 dying later.

   PPU leaflet issued    October 1945

The PPU issues the first, widely distributed leaflet against the atomic bomb in Britain, just a few weeks after the announcement of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. It organises a mass rally, 'Against the Bomb' in early 1949, and the first mass anti-nuclear weapons demonstration in Trafalgar Square in 1950.
In 1949, at its Steps to Peace conference, a number of study groups were set up. The brief of one group was to examine the philosophical and practical application, in the British context, of nonviolent principles.
From these discussions emerged 'Operation Gandhi' whose objectives would be:
1. Withdrawal of American armed forces at present in Britain.
2. Stopping the manufacture of atomic weapons in Britain.
3. Withdrawal from NATO.
4. Disbanding British armed forces.

Trafalgar Sq demonstration

Operation Gandhi changed into the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and organized the first modest march to Aldermaston. The Easter 1958 march, however, was a popular success - between 5000 and 10,000 people took part. In the following years the newly formed Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament took over the organising of the march which now travelled in the opposite direction - from Aldermaston to London.
This also marked the divergence of the more radical, extra-parliamentary/direct action politics of DAC and the more 'respectable' constitutional/legal orientation of CND.

CND demonstration in Trafalgar Sq, London (Lord Home was Foreign Secretary at the time)

DAC was the forerunner of the now widespread direct action movement. Its nonviolent protests and sit-downs at the Ministry of War and missile bases in the late 50's and 60's continue today, for example at the Trident submarine base in Faslane.

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