British officer served with Royal Observer Corps in GB, 1939-1941; served with 12 Group HQ RAF Fighter Command in GB, 1941-1945; Head of English Programmes, Rangoon Radio, Burma, 1945-1946; founding member Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1954, Chairman, 1979-81, Vice-President, 1981-1992; Labour MP for Putney, 1964-1979; Minister for the Arts, 1974-1976; created Life Peer, 1986
REEL 1: Background in Enfield and Margate, GB, 1908-1940: family; education; memories of First World War; employment; attitude to Spanish Civil War; political beliefs and reason for joining Labour Party; attitude to taking part in war; story of joining Royal Observer Corps at Maidstone, Kent, 1939. Aspects of period with Royal Observer Corps in GB, 1939-1941: description of daily routine and duties; role with Royal Observer Corps during Battle of Britain, 1940; attitude to defensive role of Royal Observer Corps; question of Second World War being last war fought with gallantry and nobility; attitude of RAF to bombing civilians at start of war; posted to RAF Kinton Lindsey, 1941. Aspects of period with 12 Group HQ RAF Fighter Command in GB, 1941-1945: description of work with aircraft control and role in training US Eagle Squadron. REEL 2 Continues: further description of training Eagle Squadron; description of role working with radar and night fighters; opinion of contribution of WAAFs; story of writing play based on own flying experiences; attitude to defensive nature of war service; skills required for working in radar control; psychological importance of radar during war; story of being posted to Burma, 1945; nature of work supporting Labour candidate in 1945 General Election; story of voyage to Burma; reaction among officers and other ranks aboard ship to news of Labour victory in Election; arrived in Bombay, 8/1945; reaction to dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima; story of airman. Aspects of period as Head of English Programmes on Rangoon Radio, Burma, 1945-1950: attitude to living conditions in Calcutta; description of work as Head of English Programmes on Rangoon Radio; further comments on Labour victory in General Election; amusing story of Christmas Day, 1945. REEL 3 Continues: story of friendship with Burmese independence leader Aung San; description of murder of Aung San; returned to GB; question of possible MI5 involvement in career. Recollections of period as civilian activist with CND and Labour politician in GB, 1954-1992: story of organising anti-H Bomb campaign in Mitcham, Surrey, 1954 and formation of CND, 1958; description of role in organisation of first Aldermaston march; reason for march; attitude of public and police to marchers; question of peaceful protests and behaviour of marchers; reason for growth and decline in support for marches; attitude to use of violence and direct action; opinion of Labour Party's stance on unilateralism in early 1960s; reaction to change of position over anti-nuclear issue by Nye Bevan; question of public opinion over anti-nuclear issue; story of being elected as Labour MP for Putney, 1964. REEL 4 Continues: story of formation of CND and leaders; memory of first meeting in Canon Collins room; problem of personality clashes in CND; attitude to civil disobedience; story of nearly being arrested; question of working through Labour Party to achieve aims; reason for divisions within CND; opinion of Pat Arrowsmith; reaction to abandonment of unilateralism by Labour Party; influence of arms industry; question of job substitution; problem of fluctuating membership numbers in CND: role of pressure groups; attitude of media to CND; question of balancing political and artistic careers; further comments on Nye Bevan. REEL 5 Continues: reaction of unilateralists to change of position by Nye Bevan; attitude of Labour Party to Vietnam War; attitude to role as President of Britain -Vietnam Association; attitude of Labour Party to Falklands War, 1982; question of speaking against the war in the House of Lords; story of controversy following remark about sinking of Belgrano; opinion of Falklands War; question of CND activity during Falklands War; attitude to Gulf crisis and use of sanctions; description of CND anti-Gulf War activities and attitude to co-operation with Committee to Stop War in the Gulf; opinion of effectiveness of CND following breakup of Soviet Union and support from other Lords. REEL 6 Continues: served as Chairman of CND, 1979-1981: role and responsibilities as Chairman; story of being elevated to peerage and appointment as Vice-President of CND, 1981; role of Vice-President; question of maintaining pressure over anti-nuclear issue in House of Lords; attitude of public opinion to Trident and Labour Partty's policy; opinion of Labour Party's stance on disarmament; reason for decline in support for CND in late 1970s; influence of CND in Europe; role of women in CND: reason for increase in support for CND in 1980s; role in abolition of Civil Defence Corps in London and other areas; importance of education about effects of nuclear war; question of replacing words 'nuclear defence' with 'nuclear deterrent'; opinion of role of Bruce Kent with CND: attitude to religious and moral dimensions of CND; reaction to stance of Joan Ruddock during Gulf War; opinion of Vic Williams; opinion of Marjorie Thompson as successor to Bruce Kent. REEL 7 Continues: effect of Chernobyl accident on public opinion and support for CND: question of linkage between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy; opinion of Mikhael Gorbachev and reforms; attitude to Commonwealth of Independent States; reaction to end of Cold War; question of good relations between Gorbachev and Western conservative governments; role of CND in reforms in Soviet Union; relations between CND and communist regimes; changing attitudes to Trident; question of British nuclear disarmament; problem of environmental dangers; opinion of need for world government; need to combat nuclear proliferation; activities as public speaker; question of privileged position in House of Lords; attitude to single issue stance of CND: opinion of effectiveness of CND since formation in 1958. REEL 8 Continues: pacifist beliefs; attitude to connection between CND and Campaign Against the Arms Trade; opinion of political awareness of contemporary youth; effects of Green movement on CND; question of CND forming political party; story of formation of Tribune group and absorption of Victory for Socialism group in 1950s; role in Tribune group and peace aims; comments on pamphlet 'In Pursuit of Peace'. REEL 9 Continues: opinion of various members of peace movement; description of Labour Action for Peace and activities; question of changing nature of peace movement and attitude to nuclear weapons since 1950s; further comments on abolition of Civil Defence Corps; opinion of effectiveness of CND in countering deterrence concept; question of civilian victims in modern warfare; role of CND in countering growth of arms trade; attitude to CND remaining a single issue organisation; attitude to connection between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons; reaction of peace movement to end of Cold War and problem of readjustment; question of representative nature of CND; opinion of Committee 100 and direct action; question of politicians leading public opinion. REEL 10 Continues: attitude to prospects for world peace and nuclear disarmament; role of House of Lord in debating issue of nuclear disarmament and war.
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