Imperial War Museum explores anti-war movement: Five moments when people fought for peace

Marta Portocarrero, Jessie Thompson

The Imperial War Museum is more accustomed to showing its visitors the history of war than peace, but their latest exhibition is the first in the UK to explore anti-war protests.

People Power: Fighting For Peace traces the anti-war movement from the First World War to the present day. The exhibition includes over 300 recognisable objects, from Paul Nash’s radical and evocative war paintings to banners from Greenham Common.

In the video above, curator Matt Brosnan picks out five unmissable highlights from the show, including the infamous image of Tony Blair taking a selfie amidst the backdrop of an explosion, and original sketches of the nuclear disarmament symbol which has now been adopted more widely as the universal peace symbol.

It also includes rare items such as a handwritten poem by Siegfried Sassoon and a letter from AA Milne where he struggles to reconcile his pacifism with the rise of Nazis in Germany. These are displayed amongst posters, banners, badges, paintings and literature.

Beginning with conscientious objectors refusing to fight in the First World War, the show then charts the personal struggles of anti-war campaigners in the Second World War, anti-nuclear movements in the 1960s, and modern protests against conflicts in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

People Power: Fighting For Peace opens at the Imperial War Museum today and runs until August 28; iwm.org.uk

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