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The Russell-Einstein

 Copyright © 1998- 2005 Nuclear  Age Peace Foundation

The  Russell-Einstein Manifesto

Issued in London,  9 July 1955
In the tragic  situation which confronts humanity, we feel that scientists should  assemble in conference to appraise the perils that have arisen as  a result of the development of weapons of mass destruction, and  to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the appended draft.
We are speaking  on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent,  or creed, but as human beings, members of the species Man, whose  continued existence is in doubt. The world is full of conflicts;  and, overshadowing all minor conflicts, the titanic struggle between  Communism and anti-Communism.
Almost everybody  who is politically conscious has strong feelings about one or more  of these issues; but we want you, if you can, to set aside such  feelings and consider yourselves only as members of a biological  species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance  none of us can desire.
We shall try  to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than  to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood,  there is hope that they may collectively avert it.
We have to learn  to think in a new way. We have to learn to ask ourselves, not what  steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we  prefer, for there no longer are such steps; the question we have  to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military  contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all parties?
The general  public, and even many men in positions of authority, have not realized  what would be involved in a war with nuclear bombs. The general  public still thinks in terms of the obliteration of cities. It is  understood that the new bombs are more powerful than the old, and  that, while one A-bomb could obliterate Hiroshima, one H-bomb could  obliterate the largest cities, such as London, New York, and Moscow.
No doubt in  an H-bomb war great cities would be obliterated. But this is one  of the minor disasters that would have to be faced. If everybody  in London, New York, and Moscow were exterminated, the world might,  in the course of a few centuries, recover from the blow. But we  now know, especially since the Bikini test, that nuclear bombs can  gradually spread destruction over a very much wider area than had  been supposed.
It is stated  on very good authority that a bomb can now be manufactured which  will be 2,500 times as powerful as that which destroyed Hiroshima.  Such a bomb, if exploded near the ground or under water, sends radio-active  particles into the upper air. They sink gradually and reach the  surface of the earth in the form of a deadly dust or rain. It was  this dust which infected the Japanese fishermen and their catch  of fish.
No one knows  how widely such lethal radio-active particles might be diffused,  but the best authorities are unanimous in saying that a war with  H-bombs might possibly put an end to the human race. It is feared  that if many H-bombs are used there will be universal death, sudden  only for a minority, but for the majority a slow torture of disease  and disintegration.
Many warnings  have been uttered by eminent men of science and by authorities in  military strategy. None of them will say that the worst results  are certain. What they do say is that these results are possible,  and no one can be sure that they will not be realized. We have not  yet found that the views of experts on this question depend in any  degree upon their politics or prejudices. They depend only, so far  as our researches have revealed, upon the extent of the particular  expert's knowledge. We have found that the men who know most are  the most gloomy.
Here, then,  is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable:  Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce  war? People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult  to abolish war.
The abolition  of war will demand distasteful limitations of national sovereignty.  But what perhaps impedes understanding of the situation more than  anything else is that the term "mankind" feels vague and  abstract. People scarcely realize in imagination that the danger  is to themselves and their children and their grandchildren, and  not only to a dimly apprehended humanity. They can scarcely bring  themselves to grasp that they, individually, and those whom they  love are in imminent danger of perishing agonizingly. And so they  hope that perhaps war may be allowed to continue provided modern  weapons are prohibited.
This hope is  illusory. Whatever agreements not to use H-bombs had been reached  in time of peace, they would no longer be considered binding in  time of war, and both sides would set to work to manufacture H-bombs  as soon as war broke out, for, if one side manufactured the bombs  and the other did not, the side that manufactured them would inevitably  be victorious.
Although an  agreement to renounce nuclear weapons as part of a general reduction  of armaments would not afford an ultimate solution, it would serve  certain important purposes. First: any agreement between East and  West is to the good in so far as it tends to diminish tension. Second:  the abolition of thermo-nuclear weapons, if each side believed that  the other had carried it out sincerely, would lessen the fear of  a sudden attack in the style of Pearl Harbour, which at present  keeps both sides in a state of nervous apprehension. We should,  therefore, welcome such an agreement though only as a first step.
Most of us are  not neutral in feeling, but, as human beings, we have to remember  that, if the issues between East and West are to be decided in any  manner that can give any possible satisfaction to anybody, whether  Communist or anti-Communist, whether Asian or European or American,  whether White or Black, then these issues must not be decided by  war. We should wish this to be understood, both in the East and  in the West.
There lies before  us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and  wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget  our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: Remember  your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies  open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the  risk of universal death.
We invite  this Congress, and through it the scientists of
the world and the general public, to subscribe to
the following resolution:
"In view  of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly  be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence  of mankind, we urge the Governments of the world to realize, and  to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered  by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful  means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them."
Max Born, Perry  W. Bridgman, Albert Einstein, Leopold Infeld, Frédéric  Joliot-Curie, Herman J. Muller, Linus Pauling, Cecil F. Powell, Joseph Rotblat,  Bertrand Russell, Hideki Yukawa

 Copyright © 1998- 2005 Nuclear  Age Peace Foundation

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