People Power - Fighting For Peace

Imperial War Museum explores the anti-war movement

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Photo: © Edward Barber - Rally in Hyde Park (1980) 

Imperial War Museum London may not be the first place that springs to mind when considering the peace-movement, but a ground breaking exhibition at the museum in 2017, its centenary year, will explore the history of the anti-war movement from its birth, catalysed by the First World War, looking at the power of demonstration through the Cold War to present day protests.

Curator Matt Brosnan explains “This exhibition is the first of its kind and displays a number of fascinating items which have never been exhibited before. In IWM’s Centenary year, this major exhibition continues our mission to explore war and conflict from multiple perspectives – highlighting the peace movement and its important role in British history.” 

The exhibition breaks down into four parts, beginning with the experiences of conscientious objectors of the First World War, moving on to the increased profile of pacifism in the run up to the Second World War, followed by the Cold War period and nuclear threat, before finishing with the current climate including Iraq, Afghanistan and Balkan Wars.

As well as photos, artworks and music, the three hundred items in the exhibition include artefacts such as Gerald Holtom's original sketches of the Nuclear Disarmament symbol (CND). The symbol became widely synonymous as an emblem for peace and one of the most recognisable pieces of visual iconography of the 1960s and later 20th Century. As the movement won support from iconic cultural figures, perhaps most famously, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the familiar badge seeped into the popular culture.

People Power - Fighting For Peace will run from 23 March - 28 August 2017 at Imperial War Museum London.

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