"The Russell-Einstein peace manifesto – archive"
The week that Albert Einstein died he endorsed with Bertrand Russell a declaration calling, in the name of science and common sense, for the renunciation of war in an age in which nuclear weapons are threatening “the continued existence of mankind.” On Saturday Lord Russell published the text of the declaration, signed also by six other scientists. On the same day he posted letters to Sir Anthony Eden, President Eisenhower, Marshal Bulganin, Mr Chou En-lai, President Coty of France, and Mr St Laurent, the Prime Minister of Canada.
He asked them to consider the declaration and said: “It is my earnest hope that you will give public expression to your opinion as to the problem dealt with in this statement, which is the most serious that has ever confronted the human race.” The declaration concludes with a draft resolution. Lord Russell and his colleagues suggest that it could be adopted by a conference of scientists, summoned to determine impartially and without political prejudice the facts about the consequences of exploding nuclear weapons. The resolution says:
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 realise and to acknowledge publicly that their purposes cannot be furthered by a world war and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters in dispute between them.
The declaration has already been signed by six professors besides Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell. They are Professor P. W. Bridgman of Harvard, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics , Professor L. Infeld of the University of Warsaw; Professor H. J. Muller of the University of Indiana, winner of a Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine, Professor C. F. Powell of Bristol University, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics, Professor J. Rotblat of the University of London; and Professor Hideki Yukawa of the University of Kyoto, Japan, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics. Professor Joliot-Curie, the French nuclear physicist and another Nobel prize-winner, has also agreed to sign but has made two reservations. The more important concerns the suggestion that war should be abolished.
Explaining Professor Joliot-Curie’s reservation, Lord Russell said on Saturday that he thought the professor did not wish to renounce, on behalf of subject peoples, the right to revolt. As Lord Russell understood it, the professor’s view was that many injustices could be remedied only by revolution and that the right to revolt against tyranny must be preserved. Lord Russell made it clear that this was his interpretation of Professor Joliot-Curie’s opinion. It was an opinion that he (Lord Russell) did not share.
Nevertheless all the present signatories and Professor Joliot-Curie as well agree that modern nuclear weapons represent so grave a threat to the survival of the human race that it is now urgent that Governments should formally and in practice abolish warfare.
Explaining the declaration on Saturday, Lord Russell said that it showed that in a nuclear war neither side could hope for victory and that there was a very real danger that the human race would be exterminated by dust and rain from radioactive clouds. It pointed out that neither the Governments nor the public were aware of the true dangers, and that an agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons might be useful but would not provide a solution, since they would undoubtedly be manufactured and used if a war broke out. “The only hope for mankind is the avoidance of war. To call for a way of thinking which shall make such avoidance possible is the purpose of this statement.”
The Manifesto led directly to a conference of scientists, held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia in 1957. The aim was to work towards reducing the danger of armed conflict and seek solutions to global security threats.
1956 – The 7.7 MwAmorgos earthquake shakes the Cyclades island group in the Agean Sea with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The shaking and the destructive tsunami that followed left fifty-three people dead. A damaging M7.2 aftershock occurred minutes after the mainshock.