Royal Navy museum launches ‘pro nuclear’ exhibition causing outrage
Many anti-nuclear campaigners are up in arms over the plans of the Royal Navy National museum to launch a large new exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK’s 1st sub patrols, deeming it to be a propaganda offensive.
The exhibition will include things like nuclear warhead nose cones, cold war cultural objects like posters for the famous film ‘The hunt for red October’ and even firing triggers for old Polaris nuclear missiles. The exhibition will open o the 15th June at the Royal Navy submarine museum in Gosport, Hampshire.
The exhibition has been said by its organisers to “outline the need for a permanent sea based deterrent but it will not shy away from debate on the matter” referencing documents that describe the exhibition and what is the thinking behind it. This will come at a time when there are divisions in society about the UKs possession of nuclear weapons and possible plans to replace the ageing current Trident system.
The General secretary for the CND (campaign for nuclear disarmament) Kate Hudson, is not happy about the exhibition , saying “at a time when our defence budget is very stretched and equipment does not have the required funding it is not good to find the MOD sponsored museum is undertaking an expensive ‘propaganda offensive’ courtesy of the British taxpayer.
In the words of the exhibition producers “it will highlight the need for a permanent sea based deterrent” . This is a highly argued political viewpoint and most definitely does not align well with the published charitable objectives of the NMRN. We will ask the museum to think carefully about how it plans to mark this big anniversary.
The exhibition will cost around £60k which has been raised using private means, according to a museum spokesperson. The museum is a public organisation that is directly paid for by the MOD and it is also in receipt of lottery funding.
On display will also be items the museum has currently like a radar mast from a nuclear submarine. The exhibition will also give a close view into what life is like on board a nuclear submarine via items that are taken on many Polaris patrols like specific books on operations. There will also be exhibits from oppositionists of nuclear submarines like the artist and cartoonist Darren Cullen.
In speaking to the press, Cullen said that the museum had got two posters from him, one depicting subs as suicide bombers and the other with the text “Trident: the final solution to all problems” which Cullen had posted on to bus stops in 2015 to protest against a defence exhibition in London at the time. He was not aware that these same posters would then end up in an RN museum exhibition.
Cullen said, “Museums are an important record of the peaks and troughs of human civilisation,” he said. “I hope this exhibition is housed deep enough to survive the Royal Navy’s plan to destroy civilisation entirely if Britain loses a war.
“Nuclear bombs are essentially suicide bombs – it is impossible to use them without also the operators dying. They are an expression of a genocidal and suicidal, not to mention very expensive, form of national insanity.”
The director general of the NMRN Prof Dominic Tweddle, states that the new exhibition would be a very objective analysis of the nuclear deterrent that patrols create, and it has the story of RN submarines and men at its heart. He also stated that “we cannot ignore protest” but it has been government policy to have a nuclear deterrent and this exhibition will reflect the views of both sides of the argument.