The Greenham Women protest the deployment of cruise missiles in England

GREENHAM WOMEN AGAINST CRUISE [:] CRUISE THREATENS PEACE AND BREAKS THE LAW [:] 9th Nov ’83 take President Reagan to Court in the USA. NP, ND, but England, ca. Oct. 1983.
Poster printed in black, blue and red, 23 ½”h x 16 ½”w at sheet edge. Excellent condition.

A rare 1983 persuasive map by the English anti-nuclear group Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles, highlighting the deployment of American ground-launched cruise missiles around Great Britain.

In 1979 the Carter Administration agreed with its NATO allies to deploy several dozen ground-launched cruise missiles to the RAF air bases at Greenham Common and Molesworth, Great Britain, This was part of a broader effort to modernize NATO’s nuclear capabilities, as a counter to the Soviet deployment of intermediate range nuclear weapons in Warsaw Pact countries. The cruise missiles were eventually deployed under the Reagan Administration, in November 1983, and were the cause of much protest. Beyond the usual objections to nuclear weapons, Britons were concerned about such weapons based on their soil but not under operational control of their government.

“Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles was organized in 1983 by a group of women who were part of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. The Greenham peace camps were a grassroots anti-nuclear movement in Great Britain. Several activists at Greenham organized Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles, which sought to use the U.S. legal system to challenge the right of the U.S. government to deploy nuclear missiles on foreign soil. A suit was filed in U.S. federal court on their behalf by the Center for Constitutional Rights (New York, New York): “Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles, et al. against Ronald Reagan, et al.” A Superior Court judge in New York ruled that the case was political and could not be heard, and an appellate court upheld that decision. Although the suit was unsuccessful, the Greenham women, led by Gwyn Kirk, used the lawsuit to make the American public aware of growing objections in the international community to the ongoing escalation of the nuclear arms race. A group of Greenham women traveled around the United States speaking out about these issues.” (Swarthmore College, “Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles Collected Records, 1983-1989,” accessed on line April 2020)

This map is essentially a call to action, announcing a plan to place protesters at each of the 102 American bases in Great Britain on November 9, 1983, the same day the aforementioned lawsuit was filed. Vividly colored in black, blue and red, it uses small numbered circles to indicate the bases and huge flags to emphasize the American presence in the country. The overall impression is that Great Britain has surrendered its sovereignty to the United States.

Ultimately, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987 by Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan, banned land-based missiles with ranges of 500-5500 kilometers, including the cruise missiles deployed to England.

OCLC 1042241762 (NYPL) and 1222775637 (British Library), as of July 2021.