Date with history: What we Greenham Common women achieved

A small protest at a US airbase in Berkshire on September 5 1981 soon became a successful international campaign against nuclear missiles, writes Rebecca Johnson.

The World Today
3 minute READ

On September 5, 1981, a small group of mainly Welsh women chained themselves to the main gate of the United States airbase at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire. They had walked 100 miles from Cardiff with their ‘Women for Life on Earth’ banners in the Suffragette colours of green, purple and white.

In public meetings en route they spoke of more than 50,000 nuclear weapons in the US and Soviet arsenals and criticized NATO’s recent decision to place American nuclear-armed cruise missiles into Greenham and other European bases in response to the deployment of Soviet SS20 missiles. The women called for televised discussions with government ministers to find sensible ways to prevent nuclear war, stop nuclear escalation and work towards East-West nuclear disarmament.

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