On 23 December 1954 Bertrand Russell delivered a BBC radio broadcast entitled 'Man’s Peril' [audio 1. below]. It was one of his best known essays and undoubtedly the most celebrated of his many broadcasts for the BBC. Drawing on the expert testimony of scientists and military strategists, he painted a grim picture of the material and human destruction likely to be wrought by nuclear warfare. Yet the gloom and foreboding of his rhetoric was punctuated by a guarded optimism that 'Man’s Peril' could somehow be averted.
Not long before his eighty-sixth birthday in 1958, when most old people are content to sit in comfortable chairs and perhaps take quiet walks, Bertrand Russell launched a movement that would eventually send thousands of marchers into the streets of Britain.