The pervasive impact of the nuclear arms race is still debated, decades into the nuclear age. But scholarship has focused mainly on questions of development, deployment and diplomacy of nuclear arsenals and has neglected how the nuclear arms race nurtured the identity, economy, culture and politics of societies; and, most importantly the role played by concerned citizens to avert a nuclear disaster. The contours and implications of anti-nuclear mobilisation has been fairly well researched for key western European countries over the past decade. Developments in Southern Europe, however, have not yet been substantially studied.
The key objective of this exhibition is to shed light on anti-nuclear and anti-militarist Peace protests in Southern European countries during the late 1970s and the 1980s. The focus will be on Greece, Italy and Spain. During the nuclear crisis, people in Southern Europe like in the rest of the continent sought to re-evaluate their own past, present, and future. The societal response to arms deployment was an expression of rapid sociocultural and technological changes that started in the 1960s and continued with the transformations of the 1970s and 1980s. As activists united to oppose the dire nuclear threat, they engaged and responded to core concerns of safety, peace, democratic participation, mobilisation for disarmament and vitality of citizen engagement. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) acts as a reminder of the existential threat that nuclear weapons still pose to humanity and the value in harnessing the power of the people.