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War and Peace: The Dilemmas of the 21st Century
Nuclear warfare has been a controversial topic for decades. Since the first nuclear bombs were detonated in 1945, on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there have been many debates on whether or not nuclear weapons should be used, and how peace can be brought to the world.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has been in opposition to the idea of using nuclear weaponry since 1957. As a beneficial for our General Studies course – since the matter is expected to be a topic of discussion in our end of year exams – we were invited to Lancaster to learn about the effects and morals of nuclear warfare, and the suggestions of conflict resolution CND have devised as an alternative to war, as spoken about by Bruce Kent, the vice-president of the organisation. Bruce is well-known for his work for CND. He decided to join CND in 1960, after serving as an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, before later becoming a priest and chair of the charity War on Want.
The conference started with a quiz, where we were asked questions about nuclear warfare to see how much we knew about the case already. About eight countries in the world admit to using nuclear weapons, including the US, UK, Israel, and China, with the UK spending over £100 billion on them. We were also shown a film written by a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, showing the disaster and long term effects that the bomb caused. Although the film was animated, it was still horrific to be able to visualise how the citizens suffered, and perished. The effects of the atomic bombing could have a long term effect on the environment: atmospheric pollution leading to nuclear winter that could last for centuries, maybe even millennia, after the initial attack.
The end of the meeting consisted of answering a series of questions regarding nuclear warfare, and it was encouraging that many whom attended had changed their opinions on the matter. We were also given ten beans to represent the country’s budget, to demonstrate what the money spent on nuclear weapons could be spent on instead, which could prove to be more beneficial.
The trip has not only helped us understand the concepts and opinions relating to the use of nuclear warfare, but also helped us to realise our own views on the topic, and the extreme effects that nuclear weapons have on the world. However, we also realise that the issue of nuclear warfare is not one that can be simply sorted. As a global matter, the world would have to work together to solve it, and therefore bring about peace. Even now, with so many people against nuclear weaponry, other countries are now potentially developing nuclear weapons; Iran has recently been in the news for this exact reason. We can only hope for now that CND continue their work, and succeed.