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Anti-Vietnam War Movement

Archive collections at the Modern Records Centre can be used to research British attitudes towards the Vietnam War and opposition to the involvement of the United States. Some of the most relevant collections are summarised in the following sections: 'Individuals', 'Political and Pressure Groups', 'Trade Unions' and 'Other archives'. The collection names are linked to catalogue summaries of the collection concerned, whilst the links under the collection names are to the catalogue descriptions of records specifically relating to Vietnam.

Other items can be identified by searching for keywords in our online catalogue or through our 'ready-made' catalogue search for the Vietnam War. Information about archives relating to other peace movements is included in our online guide to pacifist history.


Publications collected by Chris Arthur, 1961-1980 (711)

Chris Arthur lectured in philosophy at Sussex University, and was involved with the International Group during the 1960s.

Includes copies of 'The Week', Jan 1964-Sep 1967, Mar 1968. 'The Week' was a journal produced by the International Group but supported by a wider section of the left (including Bertrand Russell, Lawrence Daly, Peggy Duff, Ralph Miliband, E.P. Thompson and Raymond Williams) - it included regular coverage of pressure group campaigns, including those relating to the anti-Vietnam War movements, and contains articles on the establishment of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, set up by activists around the International Group in 1966. The collection also contains several VSC publications.

Papers of Jack Askins: Anti-Vietnam War Movement, 1964-1977 (MSS.189/V)

Jack Askins was secretary of the North-West Regional Council for Peace in Vietnam, and was joint secretary of the National Council.

His papers include minutes, correspondence, etc., re the British Council for Peace in Vietnam / British Campaign for Peace in Vietnam, and North-West Regional Council for Peace in Vietnam; pamphlets, leaflets, circulars, etc. produced by various anti-war organisations, including the British Vietnam Committee and Vietnam Solidarity Campaign.

Papers of Lawrence Daly (1924-2009), trade union leader and socialist (MSS.302)

Lawrence Daly was General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers between 1968-1984. During 1966-8 he served on the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation's International War Crimes Tribunal. In 1967 he visited North Vietnam under the auspices of the Tribunal.

The collection includes notes and a file of papers relating to his work as a member of the International War Crimes Tribunal (principally re Vietnam but also referring to Bolivia and Czechoslovakia); correspondence, press statements and cuttings, and ephemeral publications; and photographs, report, notes, etc., re Lawrence Daly's visit to Vietnam and Cambodia on behalf of the International War Crimes Tribunal in 1967.

Papers of Clive Jenkins (1926-1999), trade union leader (MSS.79)

Clive Jenkins became general secretary of ASSET in 1961, joint general secretary of the newly-formed Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs (ASTMS) in 1968 and general secretary in 1970. Between 1988 and 1989 he was joint general secretary of Manufacturing, Science, Finance (MSF), the union formed by the amalgamation of ASTMS and TASS.

Includes file re anti-war protests and Jenkins' visit as part of a trade union delegation to North Vietnam (1970) [MSS.79/6/CJ/3/32a-b]. The file contains correspondence, notes made during the visit, press cuttings (including articles by Jenkins), Vietnamese news transmissions, and photographs of weapons, civilian casualties and working life.

Papers of Bob Purdie (b.1940), socialist and trade unionist (MSS.149)

Bob Purdie (1940-) was an active member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) on Clydebank. He was a member of the Young Socialists and the Socialist Labour League in the early 1960s, but from 1966 to 1976 was a member of the International Marxist Group. A Central Committee member, 1967-74, he worked for a while as full-time London organiser. He became organiser of the Anti-Internment League, 1972-3, and was a journalist with the 'Red Weekly', 1973-4.

Includes notes for articles or speeches re Vietnam, c1968; and publications produced by the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign and other anti-war organisations.

Papers of Margaret Stanton (1918-2012), political campaigner (854) 

Margaret Stanton was a prolific political campaigner and left-wing activist, and held a number of branch positions in the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs. She was also involved with Save the NHS, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, CND and other bodies campaigning on international and peace issues.

Includes files relating to Birmingham Council for Peace in Vietnam, 1965-1969, and various publications [854/2/3/1-13]

Papers of Dr Amicia Young (later Amicia Holland) (MSS.79)

Dr Young was a prominent member of the Association of Scientific Workers (ASW). She was an active member of the Central London branch, official historian of the union and apparently editor of its journal 'Scientific Worker'. She was also active as a campaigner for disarmament and generally as a publicist and writer.

Includes correspondence, etc., re the British Council for Peace in Vietnam, 1965-1968 [MSS.79/ASW/6/3/1-77].

Political and Pressure Groups:

Records of the International Marxist Group (IMG) (MSS.128)

The IMG was a British Trotskyist group which emerged in the mid 1960s from work around the journal 'The Week'.

Includes file re the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, 1968-1971 [MSS.128/15]

Records of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace

This organisation was founded in 1963 as a coalition of movements whose aims were "to promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts, human rights and civil liberties, liberation from colonial regimes, [and] economic equality between developing and developed countries." Its records include a substantial series on Vietnam, Indo-China and south-east Asia, 1966-1981.

Records of the World Federation of Scientific Workers (MSS.270)

The World Federation of Scientific Workers was founded in July 1946, and has enjoyed the active participation of a number of eminent scientists. It aims to deal with all issues involving the social responsibility of scientific workers (laboratory researchers, academics in both the natural and human sciences, as well as engineers). Priority issues include: science and society, science policy, disarmament, science and ethics, and scientific law. For a substantial period of its existence it has been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Includes files re anti-Vietnam War campaigns of WFSW, fundraising appeals for scientific equipment for North Vietnam, and a WFSW delegation to North Vietnam in 1970-1; and file of correspondence with US scientists who had served on the JASON Committee, asking them to justify their membership, 1973.

Coverage and comment on the Vietnam War can be found in British and United States newspapers and journals published during the 1960s-1970s. Collections at the Modern Records Centre include various runs of left-wing newspapers from this period, particularly those produced by Trotskyist organisations. These include editions of 'Militant', 'Red Mole', 'Labour Worker' / 'Socialist Worker' and 'Spartacist'.

Trade Unions:

Records of the National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants / National Society of Operative Printers, Graphical and Media Personnel (NATSOPA) (MSS.39)

Includes files of correspondence and reports re visit to Vietnam by NATSOPA officials and NATSOPA donations to the British Hospital for Vietnam, 1971 - 1977 [MSS.39/NAT/3/27/50-51], and correspondence and reports re Vietnamese refugees and war in Cambodia, 1979 [MSS.39/NAT/3/27/52].

Records of the National Union of Students (MSS.280)

Prior written permission to consult the archive of the NUS is required. Researchers should contact the Centre for further details.

Includes files regarding students' peace campaigns etc., 1971-1975 [MSS.280/21/1], and correspondence re Vietnam Demonstration on 27 October 1968 [MSS.280/21/4].

Records of the Trades Union Congress (MSS.292)

The Trades Union Congress is a voluntary association of trade unions which was formed in Manchester in 1868. It forms the largest pressure group in the United Kingdom and works to improve the rights and conditions of working people.

The TUC archive includes a series of subject files relating to Vietnam during the 1960s-1970s.

Other Archives:

'Miscellaneous Series' of documents (MSS.21)

Includes various broadsheets, leaflets and other items of ephemera relating to the anti-Vietnam War movement.