Monthly Archives: September 2016

Arts in the Archives

Starting next week we will be posting images from our upcoming online exhibition titled ‘Arts in the Archives’ on our Facebook page.

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

The online exhibition, set to go live in December, will draw on material from the Archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University, focusing specifically on music, theatre and the visual arts. It will also highlight a number of pieces of artwork that tie in with the history of the University and the development of its Archive and manuscript collections.

The exhibition will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city over the coming months, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Along with the online exhibition, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon in early December inviting visitors to view a range of arts related material from the manuscript and printed collections. More details are to follow!

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

To tie in with the themes of British Art Show 8, the Level 4 Gallery in the Hartley Library will be hosting an exhibition titled ‘Archive Senses’, opening on 6 October. Further details will be posted on the Level 4 Gallery blog.

To follow us on Facebook and view images from the upcoming online exhibition visit:
https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

To view our other online exhibitions and for details of our upcoming events visit:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/exhibitions/index.page

For more information on British Art Show 8 visit:
http://britishartshow8.com/

For more information on Arts at the University of Southampton visit:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/uni-life/arts.page

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Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PPNN)

This Monday 26th September is the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The goal of eliminating nuclear weapons has been pursued for as long as they have been in existence; the very first resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946 called for “…the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.

The vision of a world safe from nuclear proliferation inspired the work of the Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PPNN); an international initiative co-founded in March 1987 by Ben Sanders (based in New York) and John Simpson, Director of the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies (MCIS) at the University of Southampton. The records of the PPNN are now held by the University’s Special Collections department in collection MS424; they represent a unique and rich resource for students concerned with both the history and theory of nuclear non-proliferation.

In the first year of its operation the PPNN was funded through a grant from the University of Southampton as well as through charitable donations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in the USA and the Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trust in the UK. Many other organizations supported the work of the PPNN over the ensuing years as it sought to promote nuclear non-proliferation through three distinct activities. The first of these involved reporting on the evolving non-proliferation situation through a range of publications including: quarterly ‘Newsbriefs’ from March 1988 until 2001; Briefing Books: Volume 1 – The Evolution of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime and Volume 2 – Treaties, Agreements and Other Relevant Documents (published in several editions over the years); annual Issue Reviews; as well as a series of Occasional Papers and Studies. These publications were disseminated to a wide international audience of academic researchers, non-governmental groups, civil servants, parliamentarians and the press in order to reinforce awareness of the global non-proliferation situation.

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/1: Newsbrief No. 1 (March 1988)

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/1: Newsbrief No. 1 (March 1988)

The second activity of the PPNN took the form of a series of biennial meetings held from June 1987 onwards for a Core Group of experts. Academics from a range of backgrounds in nations both East and West and North and South met to discuss the non-proliferation situation. These meetings were often attended by staff of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Photograph of the members of Core Group 12 at the A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan, 1992

Photograph of the members of Core Group 12 at the A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan, 1992

The third objective of the PPNN involved briefing the diplomatic community as part of the review process for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force in 1970.

The three main objectives of this Treaty are: preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons technology; promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and working towards nuclear and general disarmament. The NPT comes under review every five years, was indefinitely extended in 1995 and is regarded as the centerpiece of the international non-proliferation regime. Indeed, the PPNN was established in the spring of 1987 with the following remit: “The specific aim of the Programme is therefore to assist in ensuring that the NPT Review Conference in 1990 and Extension Conference in 1995 have successful outcomes.” [MS424 A3079/2/1/2/2].

Since the dawn of the atomic age in July 1945, when the USA exploded the world’s first atomic weapon, it may appear that an inevitable march towards ever greater nuclear weapons proliferation has taken place over the decades. Since that time, nine other countries have developed their own nuclear weapons capabilities and made their first test explosions in the years as follows: USSR/Russia (1949); the UK (1952); France (1960); China (1964); India (1974); Pakistan (1998) and North Korea (2006). Israel has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity concerning its nuclear weapons programme but had probably developed its own capability by the mid-late 1960s. South Africa acknowledged in the early 1990s that it had developed a nuclear weapons capability around 1979, but then subsequently dismantled its own programme.

The NPT could, therefore, be judged pessimistically as having failed to prevent the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons since 1970; given that India, Pakistan and North Korea have since emerged as nuclear powers. But prior to the NPT’s arrival many experts assumed that the number of nuclear weapons states would increase by orders of magnitude as the technical know-how of nuclear weapons technology proliferated throughout the world. As many as twenty other countries that were actively planning or considering their own nuclear arsenals either chose not to pursue them or were thwarted in their clandestine attempts to do so; in part due to restrictions imposed by the NPT, military intervention and other mechanisms of the international community. The aims of the NPT (and by extension the PPNN) in preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons must, therefore, be judged as a relative success.

According to Article VI of the Treaty: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. Although the number of nuclear weapons in the world peaked during the middle years of the 1980s at approximately 70,000, there still exist in excess of 15,000 nuclear weapons at various stages of readiness. Total nuclear or general disarmament has, therefore, failed to materialise after many decades and the NNWS (Non-Nuclear Weapons States) have criticised this state of affairs as a kind of continuing ‘nuclear apartheid’ between the nuclear ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Indeed, it was the perceived lack of progress by the NWS (Nuclear Weapons States) in moving towards nuclear disarmament which prevented a substantive Final Declaration from being reached at the NPT review conference held in 1990, which also concluded Phase I of the PPNN’s activities.

Phase II began in 1991 and continued the PPNN’s work until the NPT Review and Extension conference of 1995, which was successful insofar as it was agreed to extend the NPT indefinitely, 25 years after its entry into force. Success in 1995 was reached in part through a general agreement amongst states to move towards a treaty banning all nuclear test explosions, adopted by the UN the following year. 2016 therefore marks twenty years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 10th September 1996 and since this time only India and Pakistan (in 1998) and North Korea (on several instances from 2006 onwards) are known to have conducted nuclear test explosions.

MS424 A3079/1/3/18/14: draft resolution introduced to the UN General Assembly in October 1995 and calling for a ban on nuclear testing

MS424 A3079/1/3/18/14: draft resolution introduced to the UN General Assembly in October 1995 and calling for a ban on nuclear testing

Paradoxically, it was after the success of the NPT’s indefinite extension in 1995 that the charitable funding the PPNN had come to rely on began to decline.

Phase III ran from 1996 until the NPT Review Conference in 2000 and expanded the PPNN’s remit to focus on “…ways through which the ultimate goal of the NPT might be achieved: the total elimination of nuclear weapons.” [MS424 A3079/2/1/9/1]. The 2000 NPT Review Conference culminated with an agreement amongst the NWS to de-target their nuclear missiles, pointing them away from each other’s territory, marking a departure from the open hostilities of the Cold War. In April 2000 the PPNN launched the Mountbatten Centre International Missile Forum (MCIMF) which sought to ‘assist, promote and advance the current international efforts to develop norms and legal instruments for combating missile proliferation’ [A3079/2/1/10/1].

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/2: Newsbrief No. 53 – the final issue of the PPNN Newsbrief

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/2: Newsbrief No. 53 – the final issue of the PPNN Newsbrief

Given all these developments, in which the PPNN played a small but worthy role, the story of the non-proliferation movement has been one of incremental and relative success: from the limited proliferation to new states of the weapons themselves since 1970; the overall reduction in their numbers from the 1980s; the decline of weapons-testing since the 1990s; and the reduced role that nuclear weapons now play in the defence strategies of the NWS due to reduced Cold War enmities.

All of these successes, however, seem somehow overshadowed by the failure of the world to move towards complete nuclear disarmament as envisioned in those lofty commitments of the UN General Assembly’s first resolution back in 1946 and echoed a generation later by the NPT in 1970. Why has total nuclear disarmament failed to materialise?

The answer can be found in the complicated tension between the awful and inhumane destructive power of nuclear weapons and the perceived right of a nation to possess them as an ultimate deterrent against aggression, which was encapsulated twenty years ago on 8th July 1996 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion: “…the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law; However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.” Twenty years later the deterrent debate rages on without resolution; posing the most serious barrier to total nuclear disarmament.

Special Collections also holds the collection MS 355 Papers of Milton Leitenberg, relating to nuclear non-proliferation.

The dawn of the tank

“It was like hell in a rough sea made of shell holes,” so recorded Lieutenant Basil Henriques of his tank advance at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Somme, on 15 September 1916. It was on this day that tanks were used for the first time in an en masse attack.

While it was not the case that no fighting vehicles existed at the outbreak of war in 1914, the need for a new fighting vehicle soon became apparent: the ditches separating the forces in the Western Front proved an insurmountable barrier creating stalemate. The light armoured vehicles in existence could not cope with the terrain of the Western Front. The development of a new fighting vehicle that might cross such terrain, breaching the trenches, was at the instigation of Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Swinton. The inspiration came from farming vehicles using caterpillar tracks and early designs were based around Holt tractors.

Battle of Flers-Courcelette. A Brigadier and his staff outside Tank 17 of D Company, which was used as his Headquarters. Near Flers, 21st September 1916. © IWM (Q 2487)

Battle of Flers-Courcelette. A Brigadier and his staff outside Tank 17 of D Company, which was used as his Headquarters. Near Flers, 21st September 1916. © IWM (Q 2487)

Called Mark 1, the first tanks were built in two types: the “Male” with two Hotchkiss 6-pounder guns and 4 machine guns and the “Female” carrying 5 machine guns. Their best top speed was 4 miles per hour, but this was rarely achieved on the battlefield and infantry often moved faster. The tanks were crewed by an officer, 3 drivers and 4 gunners in internal conditions of heat, noise and exhaust from engine and violent movements of the tank that were appalling. Early models also proved to be mechanically very unreliable and vulnerable to shellfire. Yet despite any shortcomings, the initial appearance of the tank caused alarm to the German forces.

Portrait of Lieutenant Basil Henriques MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

Portrait of Lieutenant Basil Henriques MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

Sir Basil Henriques (MS 132) was a 26-year old lieutenant in 1916. Initially gazetted into the Royal East Kent Regiment or the Buffs, Henriques was selected for the new unit of the Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps (renamed the Tank Corps from 1917) and was thus part of the development of the Corps from its inception. During the first part of 1916, Henriques was stationed at Lord Iveagh’s estate in Elvedon, Norfolk, where he trained with and early tank nicknamed “Mother”. He noted that “no mother has ever enjoyed playing with her child as we all did with her. The ‛training’ was one huge game, and we used to look for trees to knock down, and had one or two craters about a hundred yards in width which we would show off to various ‛brass hats’ who came to look at us.” [MS 132 AJ 195/3/9]

On arrival in France the deficiencies of this training soon became apparent. The tank crew had no experience of working with the infantry, with whom they were to fight at the Somme, had never driven the tanks with the flaps closed nor used the periscope and had only driven with a clear view ahead over perfectly even ground. The tank moved fairly well on good ground, but difficulties arose when it needed to turn as it had to halt, making it a target, and gears often jammed in the process.

Although part of a section of three tanks, Basil Henriques and his tank crew were ultimately to proceed on their own to the British front line on 15 September after the other two tanks broke down. Henriques’ tank arrived at the front line ahead of the infantry advance scheduled for 6.20am. After waiting a short time, Henriques, as he recounts, decided to advance forward, encountering a blistering attack from the German lines, wounding himself and his crew:

“As we approached the Germans they let fire at us with might and main. At first no damage was done and we retaliated, killing about 20. Then the smash against my flap in front caused splinters to come in, and the blood to pour down my face. Another minute and my driver got the same. Then our prism glass broke to pieces; then another smash – and I think it must have been a bomb, right in my face. The next one wounded my driver so badly that he had to stop. By this time I could see nothing at all.…” [MS 132 AJ 195/3/9]

While the surprise and, in some cases effect, of the tanks helped the attack at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, they did not prove the decisive factor. They helped break into an enemy position but did not break through the enemy lines. Nevertheless, the potential of the tank as a weapon was recognised and with the action of 15 September 1916 a new era of warfare was begun.

Basil and Rose Henriques on their wedding day MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

Basil and Rose Henriques on their wedding day MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

A memento from the battle, one of the glass shards that injured Henriques, and which he then had set in stone in a ring for his wife, will be on show at the Tank Museum in Dorset as part of an exhibition marking the centenary of the tank.

Turbulent times for PMs

This week parliament returns after the summer recess with a new Prime Minister taking charge of the UK at one of the most turbulent times in recent political history. We take the opportunity to look at the challenges facing two former PMs whose papers are held by Special Collections…

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), became a national hero after successes against the French in the Peninsular War, 1808–14, and the Waterloo campaign, 1815. While he is best remembered for his military service, the Duke had a parallel political career. Starting as aide de camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1787, he sat in both the Irish and UK Parliaments, 1790–7 and 1806–9 respectively, and was Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1807-9.

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington writing the despatches after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815: Illustrated London News, 20 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington writing the despatches after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815: Illustrated London News, 20 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

His ability to manage the politics of the war was a crucial element in the success of his command in the wars against Napoleon and in the occupation of France, 1815–18. The Duke returned to Britain and politics, taking a seat in Lord Liverpool’s Cabinet in 1818 as Master General of the Ordnance. However, in post-war politics he was characterised as a reactionary, and his reputation waxed and waned through the debates on Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform.

Wellington became Prime Minister in 1828. One of his first achievements was overseeing Catholic emancipation, the most significant measure of which was the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 which permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the parliament at Westminster. Wellington had been converted to the cause when he came to realise the role emancipation could play in ending the conflict which had arisen from the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland in 1801. However, there was strong opposition to the bill which was seen as a threat to both the Protestant constitution and the supremacy of the Church of England. Lord Winchilsea, a popular hero of Protestant constitutionalists, was one of those hostile to the bill and his criticism of Wellington led to a duel between the two men which took place in Battersea Park in March 1829. They both deliberately missed each other in firing, and honour was satisfied.

In a letter dated 22 March 1829, Jeremy Bentham remonstrates with Wellington for fighting the duel:

Ill-advised man! Think of the confusion, in which the whole fabric of government would have been thrown had you been killed or had the trial of you for the murder of another man been substituted in the House of Lords to the passing of the emancipation Bill!
[MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1004/17]

By 1830 the need for parliamentary reform was gaining broad support. The current system was recognised as neither representative nor balanced, with many urban areas underrepresented and qualifications for voting limited. When the issue was raised in Parliament on 2 November, Wellington took a strong stance against reform, defending the existing system and refusing to support expansion of the political franchise. His anti-reform position led a high degree of personal and political unpopularity.

The same year saw the Swing Riots, centred in many areas on the economic difficulties of agricultural labourers, with machine-breaking and rural unrest. The fictitious Captain Swing also expressed general discontent with the Wellington government and lack of progress with the popular cause of reform. The Wellington papers contain a series of letters attributed to Swing in which the Duke is threaten, including the following, dated 4 November 1830:

Sir, Your base vile conduct to and treatment of your fellow subjects, your determination to turn a deaf ear to their remonstrances, has made you an object of popular vengeance and of popular hatred.

Take my advice, act openly and nobly as becomes a Briton: reform that vile nest of corruption which is bred in Downing Street, destroy those vultures that prey on the public liver or beware! I say beware! Beware! Beware!
[MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1159/93]

Later that month, on 15 November 1830, Wellington was forced to resign after he was defeated in a motion of no confidence. He was replaced by Earl Grey, leading a Whig government, and continued to fight reform in opposition before finally consenting to the Great Reform Bill in 1832.

Illustration of the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House: Illustrated London News, 27 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Illustration of the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House: Illustrated London News, 27 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Wellington briefly returned to the role of Prime Minister in 1834 while waiting for Peel to return from the Continent, after which he held the positions of Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. Much of his later political career was spent leading the Conservative peers in the House of Lords, and he sat in Peel’s Cabinet of 1841–6 as a minister without portfolio. He was Commander-in-Chief of the army for the third time from 1842 until his death: on earlier occasions conflict with his political duties brought his tenure of office to an abrupt conclusion. Nonetheless he remained popular in the mind of the nation. His death in 1852 was marked by unprecedented scenes of public mourning and, as befitted his status as a national hero, Wellington was given a state funeral.

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston
The renown of Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), rests on his service in high political office: he was Foreign Secretary, 1830–4, 1835–41 and 1846–51; Home Secretary, 1852–5; and Prime Minister, 1855–8, 1859–65. These posts he held in Whig/Liberal governments. He had formerly served in Tory administrations, as a junior minister — a Lord of the Admiralty in 1807–9 and Secretary at War, 1809–28, joining Wellington’s cabinet for an uneasy five months in the last year, departing with Huskisson after disagreements with Wellington on foreign affairs and parliamentary reform. The Duke had said little to Palmerston at the end, reporting later that ‘he did not choose to fire great guns at sparrows.’ While Palmerston’s commitment to service can be seen in terms of national rather than party interest, he became increasingly reliant on Liberal support, especially during his time as Prime Minister.

Illustration of Lord Palmerston making the Ministerial Statement on Dano-German Affairs in the House of Commons: Illustrated London News, 2 July 1864 [quarto per A]

Illustration of Lord Palmerston making the Ministerial Statement on Dano-German Affairs in the House of Commons: Illustrated London News, 2 July 1864 [quarto per A]

Palmerston was serving as Home Secretary when the Crimean War broke out in March 1854. As such, he had limited control over British policy during the lead up to the war. In a memorandum, date 20 January 1855, he writes of the “present lamentable condition of our army in the Crimea” and places the blame directly on those in authority. [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/1/96] Palmerston’s view that poor administration was to blame for the current state of the war was widely shared. Shortly after Parliament passed a bill to investigate the conduct of the war, Lord Aberdeen was compelled to resign as Prime Minister. Despite Queen Victoria’s reservations, Palmerston was generally seen as the best man for the job and was invited to form a government on 4 February 1855.

Palmerston was over 70 when he finally became Prime Minister, a position he was to hold almost continuously from 1855 until his death in October 1865. On his accession to the premiership, the resolution of the Crimean conflict was a pressing concern. Palmerston took a hard line on the war with the aim of permanently reducing the Russian threat to Europe. Following the surrender of Sebastopolin in September 1855, Russia came to terms and the war ended in the spring of 1856 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March.

During the remainder of his first term in office Palmerston oversaw British responses to Second Opium War in China, beginning in 1856 when Chinese authorities’ seized a British-registered ship engaged in piracy, and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The following year, an assassination attempt on Napoleon III by Italian republican Felice Orsini led Palmerston to introduce a Conspiracy Bill, making it a felony to conspire in Britain to murder someone outside the jurisdiction. The bill was defeated on its second reading and Palmerston was forced to resign in February 1858. However, Lord Derby’s subsequent minority government was short lived and resigned after only one year. In reply to a letter from Disraeli asking him to join a Conservative led administration, Palmerston writes:

I am very much obliged to you for the kind and friendly terms of your letter, and if I say in answer that many reasons which it is unnecessary to go into would prevent me from entering into such an arrangement as that which you suggest might be possible, I trust it is needless for me to assure you that no want of personal good feeling towards Lord Derby or yourself, or towards any others members of your government, could form a part of those reasons.
[MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/DI/140]

Palmerston formed a Liberal government the following month, returning to power in June 1859. His second terms saw his support for Italian unification during the period 1859-61 and commitment to British neutrality during the course of the American Civil War, despite his personal sympathies lying with the secessionist Southern Confederacy. While he was strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade, he had a fraught relationship with the United States throughout his career and felt that successful Southern secession was in Britain’s best interests. In a letter to Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Secretary of State for War, dated 30 December [1862], he writes of the likelihood of an attempted invasion of Canada by the Northern States:

I cannot say that I believe there is much real danger of an American invasion of Canada. They are making no progress towards the subjugation of the South, and if they were to gain some decisive victories, and compel the south to sign a treaty, they would be compelled to occupy the country with troops, in order to prevent rebellion from again raising its head. At the same time, the language of the Washington government is so insolent and menacing, and their demands so unreasonable, that they may at any moment render it impossible for us to avoid war any longer.
[MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/LE/167]

Having served fifteen years as Foreign Secretary, foreign policy continued to be Palmerston’s main strength during his time as Prime Minister. However, in terms of domestic policy, he oversaw the passage of important legislation, including reform of the divorce laws in 1857, the Companies Acts of 1858 and 1862, Offences against the Person Act of 1861, and the Poor Law Act of 1865.

Lord Palmerston as an elder statesman, West Front, Broadlands: an albumen print probably from the 1850s [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/17]

Lord Palmerston as an elder statesman, West Front, Broadlands: an albumen print probably from the 1850s [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/17]

Three months after winning another general election in July 1865, Palmerston died on 18 October, aged 80. He was the fourth person not of royalty to be granted a state funeral, after Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington.