Little Bits of History

No Nukes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 9, 2014
Russell-Einstein Manifesto

Russell-Einstein Manifesto

July 9, 1955: The Russell-Einstein Manifesto is released in London. Bertrand Russell read the warning during a press conference. The signatories included eleven intellectuals and scientists, including Albert Einstein who signed on April 18 – just days before his death. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945 in a desert in New Mexico. On August 6, the US dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima and on August 9, Fat Boy was exploded over Nagasaki. At least 100,000 civilians were killed immediately with these two bombs. On August 18, 1945, the Glasgow Forward published the first known comment on atomic warfare delivered by Russell. After Hiroshima, Joseph Rotblat left the Manhattan Project, the only scientist to leave on moral grounds.

Russell and Rotblat worked to curb nuclear proliferation over the years. The two men collaborated with Einstein and other great thinkers of the day to compose what has come to be known as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto. This work called for a conference where scientists could meet and discuss the dangers to humanity and our survival issues in regards to weapons of mass destruction which in 1955 included only nuclear weapons. The conference was to be politically neutral and inclusive for all people and governments. Cyrus S Eaton offered to sponsor the first conference which was held in his home town – Pugwash, Nova Scotia. The first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs was held in July 1957.

Jawaharlal Nehru had been the first to offer hosting a conference with the location in India. The Suez Crisis postponed the event. Aristotle Onassis offered to finance a meeting in Monaco but was rejected. Eaton, a close friend of Russell’s, also offered and his was accepted. The eleven men who signed the manifesto were: Max Born, Percy Bridgman, Albert Einstein, Leopold Infeld, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Hermann Muller, Linus Pauling, Cecil Powell, Joseph Rotblat, Bertrand Russell, and Hideki Yukawa. Ten of these men are Nobel Laureates, the exception being Infeld.

The Pugwash Conferences bring together scholars and public figures seeking to reduce global conflict and find solutions to global threats. Rotblat and the Pugwash Conference were joint winners of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts toward nuclear disarmament. During the first conference in 1957, 22 scientists met at Thinkers’ Lodge. Members came from around the world. Their main objective remains the elimination of weapons of mass destruction which now include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The Secretary-General of the group was Rotblat from 1957 -1973 (he died in 2005 at the age of 96). Today, Paola Cotta-Ramusino holds that post. Russell was the first President, a post created in 1967. Today, Jayantha Dhanapala holds the job.

I am bringing the warning pronounced by the signatories to the notice of all the powerful Governments of the world in the earnest hope that they may agree to allow their citizens to survive.

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.

Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country. – all from Bertrand Russell

Also on this day: Good Lovin’ – In 1995, The Grateful Dead perform together for the last time.
Up in Smoke – In 1878, a patent was granted for the making of a corncob pipe.
Ape Man – In 1922, Johnny Weissmuller breaks the minute barrier for the 100 meter freestyle.
The Great Train Wreck of 1918 – In 1918, two trains collided near Nashville, Tennessee.

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