Anti-nuclear working group

Nukes for Beginners: Introduction

Nuclear Weapons

 About this brochure
 For Mother Earth
 A short history of nuclear weapons

About this brochure

The purpose of this brochure is to provide information about nuclear weapons for those interested in the topic. This is only a short introduction and it only includes basic information. It probably doesn't even provide you with everything that you would like to know. In the "further information" part you can find the contact details of some organisations campaigning against nuclear weapons, as well as addresses of some good web pages and recommedations for good books on nuclear weapons. So if you want to get more thorough information that's where you can start.

We hope that this brochure will help you to understand why we are campaigning for a world free from nuclear weapons!

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For Mother Earth

This brochure was written by volunteers working with For Mother Earth, an international campaign for disarmament, ecology and human rights.

Since it was formed in 1991, For Mother Earth has organised many campaigns, peace walks and nonviolent direct actions on issues related to nuclear weapons.
In 1992, The Walk Across America For Mother Earth highlighted the links between the development and testing of nuclear weapons, and the continuing exploitation of indigenous people in the United States. Since 1995 For Mother Earth has been organising nonviolent direct action against the US nuclear weapons at Kleine Brogel airbase in Belgium, as well as at the NATO headquaters in Brussels- particularly around the issue of NATO's illegal nuclear weapons policy.

We also take an active part in the Trident Ploughshares campaign against the British Trident nuclear weapons system, and have made links with many other groups of activists who using nonviolent direct action to prevent the horrors of nuclear war.

For Mother Earth is a member of Abolition 2000 and the International Peace Bureau.

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A short history of nuclear weapons…

16th July 1945: The United States conducts the world's first nuclear weapon test at Alamogordo, New Mexico

6th and 9th August 1945: The United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan

1946-58: The United States tests a total of 66 atomic and hydrogen bombs in the Marshall Islands.

29th August 1949: The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb

March 1950: The World Peace Council releases the Stockholm Appeal calling for an absolute ban on nuclear weapons.

3rd October 1952: Britain carries out its first atomic bomb test.

12th August 1953: The Soviet Union carries out its first hydrogen bomb test.

August 1955: The first World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs is held in Hiroshima.

December 1959: The Antarctic Treaty banning the use of Antarctica for any military purposes, including nuclear weapon tests, is concluded.

13th February 1960: France conducts its first nuclear device test.

16th October 1964: China conducts its first atomic bomb test.

January 1967: The Outer Space Treaty is signed to prohibit placement of nuclear weapons in orbit around Earth or on celestial bodies.

February 1967: Latin American countries sign the Treaty of Tlatelolco prohibiting nuclear weapons on the seabed beyond the 12-mile coastal limit over which nations have sovereignty.

July 1968: The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is signed, prohibiting non-nuclear states from building or acquiring nuclear weapons and obligating nuclear powers to work on arms control and disarmament.

May 1972: Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) concluded and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed, by US and the Soviet Union.

June 1973: The United States and the Soviet Union sign the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War.

18th May 1974: India conducts its first nuclear test underground.

May 1978: The United Nations General Assembly holds its first special session on disarmament.

June 1979: SALT II treaty signed between US and Soviet Union.

July 1980: The South Pacific island group of Palau adopts the world's first nuclear-free constitution.

June 1982: The U.N. General Assembly holds its second special disarmament session. Anti-nuclear citizens' movements spread around the world.

1985: Mordechai Vanunu reveals details of the secret Israeli nuclear programme.

August 1985: The Treaty of Rarotonga is signed, declaring the South Pacific nuclear-free.

December 1987: The United States and the Soviet Union sign the START I treaty on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.

February 1992: A declaration by the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-weapons-free takes effect

March 1992: South African president F.W. de Klerk reveals that his country has dismantled its nuclear weapons.

January 1994: Ukraine signs an agreement with the United States and Russia to give up all the nuclear weapons deployed in the republic by the former Soviet Union.

May 1995: The Non-Proliferation Treaty is extended indefinitely, in large part due to the agreement that a comprehensive test ban treaty would be ready for signature before the end of 1996.

December 1995: The Treaty Bangkok, making Southeast Asia a nuclear-weapon-free-zone, is signed.

April 1996: The Treaty of Pelindaba, making Africa nuclear-weapon-free, is signed.

8th July 1996: The International Court of Justice issues an advisory opinion that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law."

August 1996: The Canberra Commission, a panel of global opinion leaders that was established at the initiative of the Australian government, releases a report recommending specific steps for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

September 1996: The U.N. General Assembly adopts the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty.

May 1998: India and Pakistan carry out underground nuclear tests.

October 1999: The U.S. Senate rejects the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), drawing widespread international condemnation.

April 2000: The Duma, Russia's parliament, ratifies the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

December 2001: The US withdraws from the ABM Treaty.

January 2002: US Nuclear Posture Review makes plans for a new generation of mini-nukes and a possible resumption of nuclear testing.

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Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels (formerly For Mother Earth) is a member of Friends of the Earth International