Since its foundation in 1958, CND, a non-party-political British organisation advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons, has sought unilateral British initiatives to help start – and subsequently to accelerate – the multilateral process and end the arms race.
The movement was launched by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and Canon John Collins and grew out of the demonstration held outside the government’s Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, Berkshire, at Easter 1956.
CND held annual marches from Aldermaston to London from 1959 to 1963, after the initial march in 1958 which was routed from London to Aldermaston. The number who marched the sixty miles in the Easter pilgrimage increased from 10,000 in 1958 t an estimated 100,000 by 1961.
From 1970 CND has also opposed nuclear power.
CND membership peaked in the early 1980s, during the campaign against the presence of US Pershing and Cruise missiles on British soil (which left in 1991).
Support for CND fell after the end of the Cold War. It had not succeeded in converting the British public to unilateralism and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, British nuclear weapons still have majority support.
CND’s policy of opposing American nuclear bases, however, was – and is – more in tune with public opinion.
The Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was signed on 8 December 1987 between the USA and the USSR, with an agreement to eliminate all ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe that were capable of hitting only European targets, including European Russia.
It reduced the countries’ nuclear arsenals by some 2,000 (4% of the total). The treaty included provisions for each country to inspect the other’s bases.
CND is also part of ”Abolition 2000”, a global network, founded in 1995 and with organised support in 76 countries, to press for the elimination of nuclear weapons altogether.