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Giving Peace a Chance: from the League of Nations to Greenham Common  

Monday 14 January to Wednesday 17 April 2019 in LSE Library Gallery.

How was world peace sought in the 20th century? On the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the League of Nations, this exhibition explores some of the collections of LSE Library and the Women’s Library at LSE that help answer that question. It includes international organisations such as the League of Nations established as part of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War and whose principle mission was to maintain peace.

The exhibition has been curated in partnership with David Stevenson (LSE International History), who explores the foundation of the League of Nations, the Abyssinian Crisis and the Peace Ballot, the League of Nations at Work, and ends with the foundation of the United Nations (UN). 

peace exhibition poster

In addition to the League of Nations and UN, Katrina Gass and Helen Kay, current members of the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) tell the history of this organisation, founded in 1915 to make known the causes of war and work for permanent peace.

A group photo of the British delegation at the 2nd International Conference held by WILPF, Zurich 1919
British delegation at the 2nd international conference held by WILPF, Zurich, 1919.

Also included is the work of peace activist Pat Arrowsmith, who co-founded the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The CND began life in 1957 and still exists today to campaign for nuclear disarmament worldwide.  

A CND protester march
March from London to Aldermaston, 1960s, British Peace Committee.

Finally, the exhibition displays some items from the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, set up at RAF Greenham in the 1980s to protest against cruise missiles. This extensive collection, held within the Women’s Library at LSE, contains the papers of various activists involved in the peace camps, including original bolt cutters used to cut the wire fences at Greenham.

A collage of 4 CND protest badges
A collection of badges from the archives of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Daniel Payne, a curator at LSE Library said:

LSE Library has so many great collections on peace in the 20th century; from the work of international governmental organisations such as the League of Nations, to activists such as Pat Arrowsmith and the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. The exhibition is a small space and it’s been difficult to squeeze them all in, but it offers a good snapshot of some of these unique collections, which are open for all to use. Having Professor David Stevenson (LSE International History) to curate and explore the rich history of the League of Nations and the United Nations has been a fantastic partnership, and our events programme is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about some of the collections on display.

Opening times and visiting

Tours are available on request – get in touch to arrange these.

From 14 January to 17 April:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am – 7pm

  • Saturday and Sunday: 11am – 6pm

Events and related activities

22 January – Are We Asking the Right Questions? Reframing Peace and Security (listen to the podcast of this event)

18 February – League of Nations and the Beginnings of Global Governance 

6 March – "These Dangerous Women": a film screening

13 March – LSE, Internationalism, and Peace 1914 – 1945

10 April – Greenham Women Everywhere

View a list of all upcoming LSE Library events.


GCSE and A Level History resources

Source based resources for GCSE History, adaptable for A level History, on immediate aftermath of the First World War and peace are free to download:

Find us

LSE Library, 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD

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For further information, contact the team marking your email for the attention of Daniel Payne.