'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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Born
+ Percy W. Bridgman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Williams_Bridgman
+ Albert Einstein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein
+ Leopold Infeld: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_Infeld
+ Frederic Joliot-Curie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Joliot-Curie
+ Herman J. Muller: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Joseph_Muller
+ Linus Pauling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Pauling
+ Cecil F. Powell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._F._Powell
+ Joseph Rotblat: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Rotblat
+ Bertrand Russell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell
+ Hideki Yukawa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideki_Yukawa
Bertrand Russell - "Press Conference on Nuclear Weapons" - (Caxton Hall, London, 9 July 1955)
'The mission of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is to bring scientific insight and reason to bear on namely, the catastrophic threat posed to humanity by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. It was in recognition of it mission to “diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms” that Pugwash and its co-founder, Sir Joseph Rotblat, were awarded the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. Drawing its inspiration from the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955, which urged leaders of the world to “think in a new way”: to renounce nuclear weapons, to “remember their humanity” and to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” Through meetings and projects that bring together scientists, experts, and policy makers, Pugwash focuses on those problems that lie at the intersection of science and world affairs. Pugwash’s main goals remain to seek the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, to reduce the risk of war especially in areas where weapons of mass destruction are present and may be used, and to discuss new scientific and technological developments that may bring more instability and heighten the risk of conflicts. Pugwash objectives also include the reduction and strict control of conventional weaponry with the general goal in mind of eliminating war and other forms of armed conflict. The Pugwash agenda also may include other critical issues at the intersection of science and society, including climate change, environmental deterioration, and resource scarcity and unequal access, which are deplorable in themselves and which give rise to resentment, hostility, and violence throughout the world. These objectives of Pugwash are pursued through debate, discussion, and collaborative analysis – in an atmosphere of impartiality and mutual respect – in periodic general conferences, in specialized workshops and study groups, and through special projects carried out by small teams or individuals on well-defined topics. The resulting ideas and proposals are communicated to decision-makers and the general public through Pugwash website and publications, open letters to heads of government from the Pugwash leadership, press conferences, and – above all – from the personal interactions of individual Pugwash participants with political leaders and opinion makers.'
+ The Russell-Einstein Manifesto (9 July 1955):