Froze and Reversed the Nuclear Arms Race?

I have been doing a lot of research on the Freeze Movement, and this is a nice balanced overview of the movement. Some critics claim a huge victory because of the movement, others feel the aims were watered down once freeze legislation hit capitol hill. Either way, it is an interesting and important history to consider.

This piece was first posted on the Politics Outdoors blog on June 12, 2012 on the thirty year anniversary of the 1982 March for Disarmament, the largest political demonstration in American History.

David S. Meyer who writes the Politics Outdoors blog also was the author of two books about the Nuclear Freeze Movement: A Winter of Discontent: The Nuclear Freeze and American Politics, and Coalitions and Political Movements: The Lessons of the Nuclear Freeze.

Politics Outdoors

Thirty years ago today, one million people marched in the streets of New York City to protest the nuclear arms race in general and the policies of Ronald Reagan in particular.  Organized around a “nuclear freeze” proposal, the demonstration was a watershed for a movement that seemed to come out of nowhere, not just in the United States, but throughout what was then called Western Europe.

Of course, movements have deeper roots.  Relatively small groups of people have been protesting against nuclear weapons since the idea of nuclear bombs first appeared.  On occasion, they’re able to spread their concerns beyond the few to a larger public.  Such was the case in 1982, when Europeans rallied against new intermediate range missiles planned for West Europe, and when Americans protested against the extraordinary military build-up/ spend-up of Ronald Reagan’s first term in office.

The freeze proposal, imagined by Randall Forsberg as…

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