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Atomic War or Peace
Seventy years ago, Einstein offered the United States and the international community advice on how to coexist in the shadow of the bomb.

By Albert Einstein

AP
NOVEMBER 1947 ISSUE
SHARE
Albert Einstein, the ranking physicist of our century, now commits himself unequivocally on the crisis which involved the atomic bomb, the United Nations, Russia, and ourselves. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, Dr. Einstein was driven into exile by Hitler. He sought refuge in this country in 1933, became a life member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and an American citizen. His daring formula, E equals mc squared, led to the belief that atomic energy could be unlocked.

(As told to Raymond Swing.)

1.
Since the completion of the first atomic bomb nothing has been accomplished to make the world more safe from war, while much has been done to increase the destructiveness of war. I am not able to speak from any firsthand knowledge about the development of the atomic bomb, since I do not work in this field. But enough has been said by those who do to indicate that the bomb has been made more effective. Certainly the possibility can be envisaged of building a bomb of far greater size, capable of producing destruction over a larger area. It also is credible that an extensive use could be made of radioactivated gases which would spread over a wide region, causing heavy loss of life without damage to buildings.

I do not believe it is necessary to go on beyond these possibilities to contemplate a vast extension of bacteriological warfare. I am skeptical that this form presents dangers comparable with those of atomic warfare. Nor do I take into account a danger of starting a chain reaction of a scope great enough to destroy part or all of this planet. I dismiss this on the ground that if it could happen from a man-made atomic explosion it would already have happened from the action of the cosmic rays which are continually reaching the earth's surface.

Magazine Cover image
View This Story as a PDF
See this story as it appeared in the pages of The Atlantic magazine.

Open
But it is not necessary to imagine the earth being destroyed like a nova by a stellar explosion to understand vividly the growing scope of atomic war and to recognize that unless another war is prevented it is likely to bring destruction on a scale never before held possible and even now hardly conceived, and that little civilization would survive it.


In the first two years of the atomic era another phenomenon is to be noted. The public, having been warned of the horrible nature of atomic warfare, has done nothing about it, and to a large extent has dismissed the warning from its consciousness. A danger that cannot be averted had perhaps better be forgotten; or a danger against which every possible precaution has been taken also had probably better be forgotten. That is, if the United States had dispersed its industries and decentralized its cities, it might be reasonable for people to forget the peril they face.

I should say parenthetically that it is well that this country has not taken these precautions, for to have done so would make atomic war still more probable, since it would convince the rest of the world that we are resigned to it and are preparing for it. But nothing has been done to avert war, while much has been done to make atomic war more horrible; so there is no excuse for ignoring the danger.

I say that nothing has been done to avert war since the completion of the atomic bomb, despite the proposal for supranational control of atomic energy put forward by the United States in the United Nations. This country has made only a conditional proposal, and on conditions which the Soviet Union is now determined not to accept. This makes it possible to blame the failure on the Russians.

But in blaming the Russians the Americans should not ignore the fact that they themselves have not voluntarily renounced the use of the bomb as an ordinary weapon in the time before the achievement of supranational control, or if supranational control is not achieved. Thus they have fed the fear of other countries that they consider the bomb a legitimate part of their arsenal so long as other countries decline to accept their terms for supranational control.

Magazine Cover image
Explore the November 1947 Issue
Check out more from this issue and find your next story to read.

View More
Americans may be convinced of their determination not to launch an aggressive or preventive war. So they may believe it is superfluous to announce publicly that they will not a second time be the first to use the atomic bomb. But this country has been solemnly invited to renounce the use of the bomb—that is, to outlaw it—and has declined to do so unless its terms for supranational control are accepted.

I believe this policy is a mistake. I see a certain military gain from not renouncing the use of the bomb in that this may be deemed to restrain another country from starting a war in which the United States might use it. But what is gained in one way is lost in another. For an understanding over the supranational control of atomic energy has been made more remote. That may be no military drawback so long as the United States has the exclusive use of the bomb. But the moment another country is able to make it in substantial quantities, the United States loses greatly through the absence of an international agreement, because of the vulnerability of its concentrated industries and its highly developed urban life.

In refusing to outlaw the bomb while having the monopoly of it, this country suffers in another respect, in that it fails to return publicly to the ethical standards of warfare formally accepted previous to the last war. It should not be forgotten that the atomic bomb was made in this country as a preventive measure; it was to head off its use by the Germans, if they discovered it. The bombing of civilian centers was initiated by the Germans and adopted by the Japanese. To it the Allies responded in kind—as it turned out, with greater effectiveness—and they were morally justified in doing so. But now, without any provocation, and without the justification of reprisal or retaliation, a refusal to outlaw the use of the bomb save in reprisal is making a political purpose of its possession; this is hardly pardonable.

Video: “Atomic War or Peace”: An Animated Excerpt

I am not saying that the United States should not manufacture and stockpile the bomb, for I believe that it must do so; it must be able to deter another nation from making an atomic attack when it also has the bomb. But deterrence should be the only purpose of the stockpile of bombs. In the same way I believe that the United Nations should have the atomic bomb when it is supplied with its own armed forces and weapons. But it too should have the bomb for the sole purpose of deterring an aggressor or rebellious nations from making an atomic attack. It should not use the atomic bomb on its own initiative any more than the United States or any other power should do so. To keep a stockpile of atomic bombs without promising not to initiate its use is exploiting the possession of bombs for political ends. It may be that the United States hopes in this way to frighten the Soviet Union into accepting supranational control of atomic energy. But the creation of fear only heightens antagonism and increases the danger of war. I am of the opinion that this policy has detracted from the very real virtue in the offer of supranational control of atomic energy.

We have emerged from a war in which we had to accept the degradingly low ethical standards of the enemy. But instead of feeling liberated from his standards, and set free to restore the sanctity of human life and the safety of noncombatants, we are in effect making the low standards of the enemy in the last war our own for the present. Thus we are starting toward another war degraded by our own choice.

It may be that the public is not fully aware that in another war atomic bombs will be available in large quantities. It may measure the dangers in the terms of the three bombs exploded before the end of the last war. The public also may not appreciate that, in relation to the damage inflicted, atomic bombs already have become the most economical form of destruction that can be used on the offensive. In another war the bombs will be plentiful and they will be comparatively cheap. Unless there is a determination not to use them that is stronger than can be noted today among American political and military leaders, and on the part the public itself, atomic warfare will be hard to avoid. Unless Americans come to recognize that they are not stronger in the world because they have the bomb, but weaker because of their vulnerability to atomic attack, they are not likely to conduct their policy at Lake Success or in their relations with Russia in a spirit that furthers the arrival at an understanding.

2.
But I do not suggest that the American failure to outlaw the use of the bomb except in retaliation is the only cause of the absence of an agreement with the Soviet Union over atomic control. The Russians have made it clear that they will do everything in their power to prevent a supranational regime from coming into existence. They not only reject it in the range of atomic energy: they reject it sharply on principle, and thus have spurned in advance any overture to join a limited world government.

Mr. Gromyko has rightly said that the essence of the American atomic proposal is that national sovereignty is not compatible with the atomic era. He declares that the Soviet Union cannot accept this thesis. The reasons he gives are obscure, for they quite obviously are pretexts. But what seems to be true is that the Soviet leaders believe they cannot preserve the social structure of the Soviet state in a supranational regime. The Soviet government is determined to maintain its present social structure, and the leaders of Russia, who hold their great power through the nature of that structure, will spare no effort to prevent a supranational regime from coming into existence, to control atomic energy or anything else.

The Russians may be partly right about the difficulty of retaining their present social structure in a supranational regime, though in time they may be brought to see that this is a far lesser loss than remaining isolated from a world of law. But at present they appear to be guided by their fears, and one must admit that the United States has made ample contributions to these fears, not only as to atomic energy but in many other respects. Indeed this country has conducted its Russian policy as though it were convinced that fear is the greatest of all diplomatic instruments.

That the Russians are striving to prevent the formation of a supranational security system is no reason why the rest of the world should not work to create one. It has been pointed out that the Russians have a way of resisting with all their arts what they do not wish to have happen; but once it happens, they can be flexible and accommodate themselves to it. So it would be well for the United States and other powers not to permit the Russians to veto an attempt to create supranational security. They can proceed with some hope that once the Russians see they cannot prevent such a regime they may join it.

So far the United States has shown no interest in preserving the security of the Soviet Union. It has been interested in its own security, which is characteristic of the competition which marks the conflict for power between sovereign states. But one cannot know in advance what would be the effect on Russian fears if the American people forced their leaders to pursue a policy of substituting law for the present anarchy of international relations. In a world of law, Russian security would be equal to our own, and for the American people to espouse this wholeheartedly, something that should be possible under the workings of democracy, might work a kind of miracle in Russian thinking.

At present the Russians have no evidence to convince them that the American people are not contentedly supporting a policy of military preparedness which they regard as a policy of deliberate intimidation. If they had evidences of a passionate desire by Americans to preserve peace in the one way it can be maintained, by a supranational regime of law, this would upset Russian calculations about the peril to Russian security in current trends of American thought. Not until a genuine, convincing offer is made to the Soviet Union, backed by an aroused American public, will one be entitled to say what the Russian response would be.

It may be that the first response would be to reject the world of law. But if from that moment it began to be clear to the Russians that such a world was coming into existence without them, and that their own security was being increased, their ideas necessarily would change.

I am in favor of inviting the Russians to join a world government authorized to provide security, and if they are unwilling to join, to proceed to establish supranational security without them. Let me admit quickly that I see great peril in such a course. If it is adopted it must be done in a way to make it utterly clear that the new regime is not a combination of power against Russia. It must be a combination that by its composite nature will greatly reduce the chances of war. It will be more diverse in its interests than any single state, thus less likely to resort to aggressive or preventive war. It will be larger, hence stronger than any single nation. It will be geographically much more extensive, and thus more difficult to defeat by military means. It will be dedicated to supranational security, and thus escape the emphasis on national supremacy which is so strong a factor in war.

If a supranational regime is set up without Russia, its service to peace will depend on the skill and sincerity with which it is done. Emphasis should always be apparent on the desire to have Russia take part. It must be clear to Russia, and no less so to the nations comprising the organization, that no penalty is incurred or implied because a nation declines to join. If the Russians do not join at the outset, they must be sure of a welcome when they do decide to join. Those who create the organization must understand that they are building with the final objective of obtaining Russian adherence.

These are abstractions, and it is not easy to outline the specific lines a partial world government must follow to induce the Russians to join. But two conditions are clear to me: the new organization must have no military secrets; and the Russians must be free to have observers at every session of the organization, where its new laws are drafted, discussed, and adopted, and where its policies are decided. That would destroy the great factory of secrecy where so many of the world's suspicions are manufactured.

It may affront the military-minded person to suggest a regime that does not maintain any military secrets. He has been taught to believe that secrets thus divulged would enable a war-minded nation to seek to conquer the earth. (As to the so-called secret of the atomic bomb, I am assuming the Russians will have this through their own efforts within a short time.) I grant there is a risk in not maintaining military secrets. If a sufficient number of nations have pooled their strength they can take this risk, for their security will be greatly increased. And it can be done with greater assurance because of the decrease of fear, suspicion, and distrust that will result. The tensions of the increasing likelihood of war in a world based on sovereignty would be replaced by the relaxation of the growing confidence in peace. In time this might so allure the Russian people that their leaders would mellow in their attitude toward the West.

3.
Membership in a supranational security system should not, in my opinion, be based on any arbitrary democratic standards. The one requirement from all should be that the representatives to supranational organization—assembly and council—must be elected by the people in each member country through a secret ballot. These representatives must represent the people rather than any government—which would enhance the pacific nature of the organization.

To require that other democratic criteria be met is, I believe, inadvisable. Democratic institutions and standards are the result of historic developments to an extent not always appreciated in the lands which enjoy them. Setting arbitrary standards sharpens the ideological differences between the Western and Soviet systems.

But it is not the ideological differences which now are pushing the world in the direction of war. Indeed, if all the Western nations were to adopt socialism, while maintaining their national sovereignty, it is quite likely that the conflict for power between East and West would continue. The passion expressed over the economic systems of the present seems to me quite irrational. Whether the economic life of America should be dominated by relatively few individuals, as it is, or these individuals should be controlled by the state, may be important, but it is not important enough to justify all the feelings that are stirred up over it.

I should wish to see all the nations forming the supranational state pool all their military forces, keeping for themselves only local police. Then I should like to see these forces commingled and distributed as were the regiments of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. There it was appreciated that the men and officers of one region would serve the purposes of empire better by not being stationed exclusively in their own provinces, subject to local and racial pulls.

I should like to see the authority of the supranational regime restricted altogether to the field of security. Whether this would be possible I am not sure. Experience may point to the desirability of adding some authority over economic matters, since under modern conditions these are capable of causing national upsets that have in them the seeds of violent conflict. But I should prefer to see the function of the organization altogether limited to the tasks of security. I also should like to see this regime established through the strengthening of the United Nations, so as not to sacrifice continuity in the search for peace.

I do not hide from myself the great difficulties of establishing a world government, either a beginning without Russia or one with Russia. I am aware of the risks. Since I should not wish it to be permissible for any country that has joined the supranational organization to secede, one of these risks is possible civil war. But I also believe that world government is certain to come in time, and that the question is how much it is to be permitted to cost. It will come, I believe, even if there is another world war, though after such a war, if it is won, it would be world government established by the victor, resting on the victor's military power, and thus to be maintained permanently only through the permanent militarization of the human race.

But I also believe it can come through agreement and through the force of persuasion alone, hence, low cost. But if it is to come in this way it will not be enough to appeal to reason. One strength of the communist system of the East is that it has some of the character of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion. Unless the cause of peace based on law gathers behind it the force and zeal of a religion, it hardly can hope to succeed. Those to whom the moral teaching of the human race is entrusted surely have a great duty and a great opportunity. The atomic scientists, I think, have become convinced that they cannot arouse the American people to the truths of the atomic era by logic alone. There must be added that deep power of emotion which is a basic ingredient of religion. It is to be hoped that not only the churches but the schools, the colleges, and the leading organs of opinion will acquit themselves well of their unique responsibility in this regard.

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist, best known for his mass-energy equivalence formula (E = mc2) and his development of the theory of relativity. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the field.



Atomic War or Peace
Seventy years ago, Einstein offered the United States and the international community advice on how to coexist in the shadow of the bomb.

By Albert Einstein

AP
NOVEMBER 1947 ISSUE
SHARE
Albert Einstein, the ranking physicist of our century, now commits himself unequivocally on the crisis which involved the atomic bomb, the United Nations, Russia, and ourselves. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, Dr. Einstein was driven into exile by Hitler. He sought refuge in this country in 1933, became a life member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and an American citizen. His daring formula, E equals mc squared, led to the belief that atomic energy could be unlocked.

(As told to Raymond Swing.)

1.
Since the completion of the first atomic bomb nothing has been accomplished to make the world more safe from war, while much has been done to increase the destructiveness of war. I am not able to speak from any firsthand knowledge about the development of the atomic bomb, since I do not work in this field. But enough has been said by those who do to indicate that the bomb has been made more effective. Certainly the possibility can be envisaged of building a bomb of far greater size, capable of producing destruction over a larger area. It also is credible that an extensive use could be made of radioactivated gases which would spread over a wide region, causing heavy loss of life without damage to buildings.

I do not believe it is necessary to go on beyond these possibilities to contemplate a vast extension of bacteriological warfare. I am skeptical that this form presents dangers comparable with those of atomic warfare. Nor do I take into account a danger of starting a chain reaction of a scope great enough to destroy part or all of this planet. I dismiss this on the ground that if it could happen from a man-made atomic explosion it would already have happened from the action of the cosmic rays which are continually reaching the earth's surface.

Magazine Cover image
View This Story as a PDF
See this story as it appeared in the pages of The Atlantic magazine.

Open
But it is not necessary to imagine the earth being destroyed like a nova by a stellar explosion to understand vividly the growing scope of atomic war and to recognize that unless another war is prevented it is likely to bring destruction on a scale never before held possible and even now hardly conceived, and that little civilization would survive it.


In the first two years of the atomic era another phenomenon is to be noted. The public, having been warned of the horrible nature of atomic warfare, has done nothing about it, and to a large extent has dismissed the warning from its consciousness. A danger that cannot be averted had perhaps better be forgotten; or a danger against which every possible precaution has been taken also had probably better be forgotten. That is, if the United States had dispersed its industries and decentralized its cities, it might be reasonable for people to forget the peril they face.

I should say parenthetically that it is well that this country has not taken these precautions, for to have done so would make atomic war still more probable, since it would convince the rest of the world that we are resigned to it and are preparing for it. But nothing has been done to avert war, while much has been done to make atomic war more horrible; so there is no excuse for ignoring the danger.

I say that nothing has been done to avert war since the completion of the atomic bomb, despite the proposal for supranational control of atomic energy put forward by the United States in the United Nations. This country has made only a conditional proposal, and on conditions which the Soviet Union is now determined not to accept. This makes it possible to blame the failure on the Russians.

But in blaming the Russians the Americans should not ignore the fact that they themselves have not voluntarily renounced the use of the bomb as an ordinary weapon in the time before the achievement of supranational control, or if supranational control is not achieved. Thus they have fed the fear of other countries that they consider the bomb a legitimate part of their arsenal so long as other countries decline to accept their terms for supranational control.

Magazine Cover image
Explore the November 1947 Issue
Check out more from this issue and find your next story to read.

View More
Americans may be convinced of their determination not to launch an aggressive or preventive war. So they may believe it is superfluous to announce publicly that they will not a second time be the first to use the atomic bomb. But this country has been solemnly invited to renounce the use of the bomb—that is, to outlaw it—and has declined to do so unless its terms for supranational control are accepted.

I believe this policy is a mistake. I see a certain military gain from not renouncing the use of the bomb in that this may be deemed to restrain another country from starting a war in which the United States might use it. But what is gained in one way is lost in another. For an understanding over the supranational control of atomic energy has been made more remote. That may be no military drawback so long as the United States has the exclusive use of the bomb. But the moment another country is able to make it in substantial quantities, the United States loses greatly through the absence of an international agreement, because of the vulnerability of its concentrated industries and its highly developed urban life.

In refusing to outlaw the bomb while having the monopoly of it, this country suffers in another respect, in that it fails to return publicly to the ethical standards of warfare formally accepted previous to the last war. It should not be forgotten that the atomic bomb was made in this country as a preventive measure; it was to head off its use by the Germans, if they discovered it. The bombing of civilian centers was initiated by the Germans and adopted by the Japanese. To it the Allies responded in kind—as it turned out, with greater effectiveness—and they were morally justified in doing so. But now, without any provocation, and without the justification of reprisal or retaliation, a refusal to outlaw the use of the bomb save in reprisal is making a political purpose of its possession; this is hardly pardonable.

Video: “Atomic War or Peace”: An Animated Excerpt

I am not saying that the United States should not manufacture and stockpile the bomb, for I believe that it must do so; it must be able to deter another nation from making an atomic attack when it also has the bomb. But deterrence should be the only purpose of the stockpile of bombs. In the same way I believe that the United Nations should have the atomic bomb when it is supplied with its own armed forces and weapons. But it too should have the bomb for the sole purpose of deterring an aggressor or rebellious nations from making an atomic attack. It should not use the atomic bomb on its own initiative any more than the United States or any other power should do so. To keep a stockpile of atomic bombs without promising not to initiate its use is exploiting the possession of bombs for political ends. It may be that the United States hopes in this way to frighten the Soviet Union into accepting supranational control of atomic energy. But the creation of fear only heightens antagonism and increases the danger of war. I am of the opinion that this policy has detracted from the very real virtue in the offer of supranational control of atomic energy.

We have emerged from a war in which we had to accept the degradingly low ethical standards of the enemy. But instead of feeling liberated from his standards, and set free to restore the sanctity of human life and the safety of noncombatants, we are in effect making the low standards of the enemy in the last war our own for the present. Thus we are starting toward another war degraded by our own choice.

It may be that the public is not fully aware that in another war atomic bombs will be available in large quantities. It may measure the dangers in the terms of the three bombs exploded before the end of the last war. The public also may not appreciate that, in relation to the damage inflicted, atomic bombs already have become the most economical form of destruction that can be used on the offensive. In another war the bombs will be plentiful and they will be comparatively cheap. Unless there is a determination not to use them that is stronger than can be noted today among American political and military leaders, and on the part the public itself, atomic warfare will be hard to avoid. Unless Americans come to recognize that they are not stronger in the world because they have the bomb, but weaker because of their vulnerability to atomic attack, they are not likely to conduct their policy at Lake Success or in their relations with Russia in a spirit that furthers the arrival at an understanding.

2.
But I do not suggest that the American failure to outlaw the use of the bomb except in retaliation is the only cause of the absence of an agreement with the Soviet Union over atomic control. The Russians have made it clear that they will do everything in their power to prevent a supranational regime from coming into existence. They not only reject it in the range of atomic energy: they reject it sharply on principle, and thus have spurned in advance any overture to join a limited world government.

Mr. Gromyko has rightly said that the essence of the American atomic proposal is that national sovereignty is not compatible with the atomic era. He declares that the Soviet Union cannot accept this thesis. The reasons he gives are obscure, for they quite obviously are pretexts. But what seems to be true is that the Soviet leaders believe they cannot preserve the social structure of the Soviet state in a supranational regime. The Soviet government is determined to maintain its present social structure, and the leaders of Russia, who hold their great power through the nature of that structure, will spare no effort to prevent a supranational regime from coming into existence, to control atomic energy or anything else.

The Russians may be partly right about the difficulty of retaining their present social structure in a supranational regime, though in time they may be brought to see that this is a far lesser loss than remaining isolated from a world of law. But at present they appear to be guided by their fears, and one must admit that the United States has made ample contributions to these fears, not only as to atomic energy but in many other respects. Indeed this country has conducted its Russian policy as though it were convinced that fear is the greatest of all diplomatic instruments.

That the Russians are striving to prevent the formation of a supranational security system is no reason why the rest of the world should not work to create one. It has been pointed out that the Russians have a way of resisting with all their arts what they do not wish to have happen; but once it happens, they can be flexible and accommodate themselves to it. So it would be well for the United States and other powers not to permit the Russians to veto an attempt to create supranational security. They can proceed with some hope that once the Russians see they cannot prevent such a regime they may join it.

So far the United States has shown no interest in preserving the security of the Soviet Union. It has been interested in its own security, which is characteristic of the competition which marks the conflict for power between sovereign states. But one cannot know in advance what would be the effect on Russian fears if the American people forced their leaders to pursue a policy of substituting law for the present anarchy of international relations. In a world of law, Russian security would be equal to our own, and for the American people to espouse this wholeheartedly, something that should be possible under the workings of democracy, might work a kind of miracle in Russian thinking.

At present the Russians have no evidence to convince them that the American people are not contentedly supporting a policy of military preparedness which they regard as a policy of deliberate intimidation. If they had evidences of a passionate desire by Americans to preserve peace in the one way it can be maintained, by a supranational regime of law, this would upset Russian calculations about the peril to Russian security in current trends of American thought. Not until a genuine, convincing offer is made to the Soviet Union, backed by an aroused American public, will one be entitled to say what the Russian response would be.

It may be that the first response would be to reject the world of law. But if from that moment it began to be clear to the Russians that such a world was coming into existence without them, and that their own security was being increased, their ideas necessarily would change.

I am in favor of inviting the Russians to join a world government authorized to provide security, and if they are unwilling to join, to proceed to establish supranational security without them. Let me admit quickly that I see great peril in such a course. If it is adopted it must be done in a way to make it utterly clear that the new regime is not a combination of power against Russia. It must be a combination that by its composite nature will greatly reduce the chances of war. It will be more diverse in its interests than any single state, thus less likely to resort to aggressive or preventive war. It will be larger, hence stronger than any single nation. It will be geographically much more extensive, and thus more difficult to defeat by military means. It will be dedicated to supranational security, and thus escape the emphasis on national supremacy which is so strong a factor in war.

If a supranational regime is set up without Russia, its service to peace will depend on the skill and sincerity with which it is done. Emphasis should always be apparent on the desire to have Russia take part. It must be clear to Russia, and no less so to the nations comprising the organization, that no penalty is incurred or implied because a nation declines to join. If the Russians do not join at the outset, they must be sure of a welcome when they do decide to join. Those who create the organization must understand that they are building with the final objective of obtaining Russian adherence.

These are abstractions, and it is not easy to outline the specific lines a partial world government must follow to induce the Russians to join. But two conditions are clear to me: the new organization must have no military secrets; and the Russians must be free to have observers at every session of the organization, where its new laws are drafted, discussed, and adopted, and where its policies are decided. That would destroy the great factory of secrecy where so many of the world's suspicions are manufactured.

It may affront the military-minded person to suggest a regime that does not maintain any military secrets. He has been taught to believe that secrets thus divulged would enable a war-minded nation to seek to conquer the earth. (As to the so-called secret of the atomic bomb, I am assuming the Russians will have this through their own efforts within a short time.) I grant there is a risk in not maintaining military secrets. If a sufficient number of nations have pooled their strength they can take this risk, for their security will be greatly increased. And it can be done with greater assurance because of the decrease of fear, suspicion, and distrust that will result. The tensions of the increasing likelihood of war in a world based on sovereignty would be replaced by the relaxation of the growing confidence in peace. In time this might so allure the Russian people that their leaders would mellow in their attitude toward the West.

3.
Membership in a supranational security system should not, in my opinion, be based on any arbitrary democratic standards. The one requirement from all should be that the representatives to supranational organization—assembly and council—must be elected by the people in each member country through a secret ballot. These representatives must represent the people rather than any government—which would enhance the pacific nature of the organization.

To require that other democratic criteria be met is, I believe, inadvisable. Democratic institutions and standards are the result of historic developments to an extent not always appreciated in the lands which enjoy them. Setting arbitrary standards sharpens the ideological differences between the Western and Soviet systems.

But it is not the ideological differences which now are pushing the world in the direction of war. Indeed, if all the Western nations were to adopt socialism, while maintaining their national sovereignty, it is quite likely that the conflict for power between East and West would continue. The passion expressed over the economic systems of the present seems to me quite irrational. Whether the economic life of America should be dominated by relatively few individuals, as it is, or these individuals should be controlled by the state, may be important, but it is not important enough to justify all the feelings that are stirred up over it.

I should wish to see all the nations forming the supranational state pool all their military forces, keeping for themselves only local police. Then I should like to see these forces commingled and distributed as were the regiments of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. There it was appreciated that the men and officers of one region would serve the purposes of empire better by not being stationed exclusively in their own provinces, subject to local and racial pulls.

I should like to see the authority of the supranational regime restricted altogether to the field of security. Whether this would be possible I am not sure. Experience may point to the desirability of adding some authority over economic matters, since under modern conditions these are capable of causing national upsets that have in them the seeds of violent conflict. But I should prefer to see the function of the organization altogether limited to the tasks of security. I also should like to see this regime established through the strengthening of the United Nations, so as not to sacrifice continuity in the search for peace.

I do not hide from myself the great difficulties of establishing a world government, either a beginning without Russia or one with Russia. I am aware of the risks. Since I should not wish it to be permissible for any country that has joined the supranational organization to secede, one of these risks is possible civil war. But I also believe that world government is certain to come in time, and that the question is how much it is to be permitted to cost. It will come, I believe, even if there is another world war, though after such a war, if it is won, it would be world government established by the victor, resting on the victor's military power, and thus to be maintained permanently only through the permanent militarization of the human race.

But I also believe it can come through agreement and through the force of persuasion alone, hence, low cost. But if it is to come in this way it will not be enough to appeal to reason. One strength of the communist system of the East is that it has some of the character of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion. Unless the cause of peace based on law gathers behind it the force and zeal of a religion, it hardly can hope to succeed. Those to whom the moral teaching of the human race is entrusted surely have a great duty and a great opportunity. The atomic scientists, I think, have become convinced that they cannot arouse the American people to the truths of the atomic era by logic alone. There must be added that deep power of emotion which is a basic ingredient of religion. It is to be hoped that not only the churches but the schools, the colleges, and the leading organs of opinion will acquit themselves well of their unique responsibility in this regard.

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist, best known for his mass-energy equivalence formula (E = mc2) and his development of the theory of relativity. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the field.



原子战争或和平
70年前,爱因斯坦就如何在原子弹的阴影下共存向美国和国际社会提出建议。

作者:阿尔伯特-爱因斯坦

美联社
1947年11月号
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阿尔伯特-爱因斯坦,我们这个世纪最重要的物理学家,现在对涉及原子弹、联合国、俄罗斯和我们自己的危机作出了明确的承诺。爱因斯坦博士是1921年诺贝尔物理学奖得主,被希特勒逼迫流亡。1933年,他在这个国家寻求庇护,成为普林斯顿高级研究所的终身会员,并成为美国公民。他大胆的公式,E等于mc的平方,使人们相信原子能可以被解锁。

(由雷蒙德-斯温讲述)。

1.
自从第一颗原子弹完成后,在使世界更安全地免于战争方面没有取得任何成就,而在增加战争的破坏性方面却做了很多。由于我不在这个领域工作,所以我无法就原子弹的发展谈任何第一手的知识。但是,那些从事这方面工作的人已经说得够多了,表明原子弹已经变得更加有效。当然,我们可以设想制造一种规模大得多的炸弹,能够在更大的区域内产生破坏。同样可信的是,可以广泛地使用放射性活性气体,这些气体将扩散到广大地区,造成严重的生命损失,而不会对建筑物造成损害。

我认为没有必要超越这些可能性来考虑细菌战的大规模扩展。我对这种形式带来的危险是否可以与原子弹战争相提并论持怀疑态度。我也没有考虑到引发连锁反应的危险,其范围大到足以摧毁这个星球的一部分或全部。我不考虑这个问题,因为如果人为的原子爆炸可能发生,那么持续到达地球表面的宇宙射线的作用就已经发生了。

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但是,不需要想象地球像新星一样被恒星爆炸摧毁,就可以生动地理解原子战争日益扩大的范围,并认识到除非防止另一场战争,否则它可能会带来前所未有的、甚至现在都难以想象的破坏,而且几乎没有什么文明可以幸存。


在原子时代的头两年,还有一个现象值得注意。公众在被警告过原子战的可怕性质后,没有采取任何行动,而且在很大程度上从意识中摒弃了这个警告。一个无法避免的危险也许最好被遗忘;或者一个已经采取了一切可能的预防措施的危险也可能最好被遗忘。也就是说,如果美国分散了它的工业,分散了它的城市,人们忘记他们面临的危险可能是合理的。

我想说的是,这个国家没有采取这些预防措施是很好的,因为这样做会使原子战争更加可能发生,因为这将使世界其他国家相信,我们对原子战争心有余悸,并且正在为它做准备。但是,我们没有做任何事情来避免战争,而我们却做了很多事情来使原子战争变得更加可怕;因此,我们没有理由忽视这种危险。

我说,自原子弹完成后,尽管美国在联合国提出了超国家控制原子能的建议,但没有采取任何措施来避免战争。这个国家只提出了一个有条件的建议,而且是在苏联现在坚决不接受的条件下提出的。这使得人们有可能把失败归咎于俄国人。

但是,在指责俄国人的时候,美国人不应该忽视这样一个事实:他们自己在实现超国家控制之前,或者在超国家控制没有实现的情况下,并没有自愿放弃把炸弹作为普通武器使用。因此,他们助长了其他国家的恐惧,即只要其他国家拒绝接受他们的超国家控制条件,他们就认为炸弹是其武库的合法组成部分。

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美国人可能确信他们不发动侵略性或预防性战争的决心。因此,他们可能认为公开宣布他们不会再次成为第一个使用原子弹的国家是多余的。但是,这个国家已经被庄严地邀请放弃使用原子弹--也就是宣布它为非法--并且拒绝这样做,除非它的超国家控制的条件被接受。

我认为这种政策是一个错误。我认为不放弃使用原子弹在军事上有一定的好处,因为这可能被认为是限制另一个国家在美国可能使用原子弹的情况下发动战争。但是,以一种方式获得的东西会在另一种方式中失去。因为对原子能的超国家控制的理解已经变得更加遥远。只要美国拥有原子弹的独家使用权,这可能不是军事上的缺点。但是,一旦另一个国家能够大量制造原子弹,美国就会因为没有国际协议而损失惨重,因为美国集中的工业和高度发达的城市生活很脆弱。

在拥有原子弹垄断权的情况下拒绝宣布其为非法,这个国家在另一个方面也受到了影响,因为它未能公开回归到上次战争前正式接受的战争道德标准。不应忘记,原子弹是作为一种预防措施在这个国家制造的;如果德国人发现了原子弹,它是为了阻止德国人使用它。对民用中心的轰炸是由德国人发起的,被日本人采用。盟国对此作出了回应--事实证明,他们的回应更加有效--他们这样做在道义上是合理的。但现在,在没有任何挑衅的情况下,在没有报复的理由的情况下,拒绝宣布除报复外的炸弹使用为非法,就是将拥有炸弹作为政治目的;这几乎是不可原谅的。

视频。"原子战争或和平"。动画节选

我并不是说美国不应该制造和储存原子弹,因为我认为它必须这样做;它必须能够阻止另一个国家在拥有原子弹时进行原子攻击。但威慑应该是储存炸弹的唯一目的。同样,我认为,当联合国拥有自己的武装部队和武器时,它应该拥有原子弹。但它拥有原子弹的唯一目的也应该是阻止侵略者或叛乱国家进行原子弹攻击。它不应该像美国或任何其他国家那样主动使用原子弹。在不承诺不主动使用原子弹的情况下保留原子弹储备,就是利用拥有原子弹来达到政治目的。美国可能希望通过这种方式来吓唬苏联,使其接受对原子能的超国家控制。但是,制造恐惧只会加剧对立,增加战争的危险。我认为,这种政策减损了对原子能进行超国家控制的提议中非常真实的优点。

我们已经从一场战争中走出来,在这场战争中我们不得不接受敌人低下的道德标准。但是,我们并没有感到从他的标准中解放出来,可以自由地恢复人类生命的神圣性和非战斗人员的安全,而是实际上把敌人在上一场战争中的低标准变成了我们现在的标准。因此,我们开始走向另一场由我们自己选择的堕落的战争。

可能是公众没有充分意识到在另一场战争中会有大量的原子弹。它可能以上次战争结束前爆炸的三颗炸弹来衡量危险。公众也可能不理解,就造成的损害而言,原子弹已经成为可以用于进攻的最经济的破坏形式。在另一场战争中,原子弹将是大量的,它们将是相对便宜的。除非美国政治和军事领导人以及公众本身有一种比今天更强烈的不使用原子弹的决心,否则原子弹战争将很难避免。除非美国人认识到,他们在世界上不是因为拥有原子弹而更强大,而是因为容易受到原子弹攻击而更弱小,否则他们不可能以促进达成谅解的精神来执行他们在成功湖的政策或与俄国的关系。

2.
2.但我并不是说,美国没有宣布除报复外使用原子弹为非法,是没有与苏联就原子控制达成协议的唯一原因。俄国人已经明确表示,他们将尽其所能阻止一个超国家制度的出现。他们不仅在原子能的范围内拒绝它:他们在原则上也拒绝它,因此提前拒绝了加入一个有限的世界政府的任何姿态。

格罗米柯先生正确地指出,美国原子建议的实质是国家主权与原子时代不相容。他宣称,苏联不能接受这一论点。他给出的理由是模糊的,因为它们很明显是借口。但似乎真实的情况是,苏联领导人认为他们无法在一个超国家制度中保存苏联国家的社会结构。苏联政府决心维持其目前的社会结构,而俄罗斯的领导人通过这种结构的性质掌握其巨大的权力,他们将不遗余力地阻止一个超国家政权的出现,以控制原子能或其他任何东西。

俄罗斯人对于在一个超国家制度中保留其现有社会结构的困难可能部分是正确的,尽管随着时间的推移,他们可能会看到,这比保持与法律世界的隔离要小得多。但目前他们似乎被他们的恐惧所引导,而且我们必须承认,美国已经对这些恐惧做出了充分的贡献,不仅是在原子能方面,而且在许多其他方面。事实上,这个国家一直在执行其对俄政策,仿佛它相信恐惧是所有外交工具中最伟大的。

俄国人正在努力阻止超国家安全体系的形成,这并不是世界上其他国家不应该努力建立一个超国家安全体系的理由。有人指出,俄罗斯人有办法用他们所有的艺术来抵制他们不希望发生的事情;但一旦发生,他们可以灵活地适应它。因此,美国和其他大国最好不要允许俄罗斯人否决建立超国家安全的尝试。他们可以带着某种希望继续前进,一旦俄罗斯人看到他们无法阻止这样一个制度,他们可能会加入其中。

到目前为止,美国对维护苏联的安全没有表现出兴趣。它一直对自己的安全感兴趣,这是标志着主权国家之间权力冲突的竞争的特点。但是,人们无法预先知道,如果美国人民迫使他们的领导人奉行以法律取代目前国际关系的无政府状态的政策,会对俄罗斯的恐惧产生什么影响。在一个法律的世界里,俄罗斯的安全将与我们的安全相等,美国人民全心全意地拥护这一点,这在民主的运作下应该是可能的,这可能会在俄罗斯的思维中创造一种奇迹。

目前,俄国人没有任何证据可以使他们相信,美国人民并不满足于支持一项军事准备政策,他们认为这是一项故意恐吓的政策。如果他们有证据表明,美国人热切希望通过一种可以维持和平的方式,即通过超国家的法律制度来维持和平,这将打乱俄罗斯对美国当前思想趋势中对俄罗斯安全的危险的计算。除非向苏联提出一个真正的、令人信服的提议,并得到美国公众的支持,人们才有资格说俄罗斯的反应会是什么。

可能第一个反应是拒绝法律世界。但是,如果从那一刻起,俄国人开始清楚地认识到,这样一个世界在没有他们的情况下也会出现,而且他们自己的安全也会得到加强,他们的想法必然会改变。

我赞成邀请俄国人加入一个被授权提供安全的世界政府,如果他们不愿意加入,就在没有他们的情况下着手建立超国家安全。请允许我迅速承认,我看到了这种做法的巨大危险性。如果它被采纳,它必须以一种方式使人们完全明白,新政权不是一个反对俄罗斯的权力组合。它必须是一个综合性质的组合,它将大大减少战争的机会。它的利益将比任何单一国家更加多样化,因此不太可能诉诸侵略性或预防性战争。它将更大,因此比任何单一国家更强大。它在地理上将更加广泛,因此更难以用军事手段击败。它将致力于超国家的安全,从而摆脱对国家至上的强调,而国家至上是战争中的一个重要因素。

如果在没有俄罗斯的情况下建立一个超国家政权,它对和平的服务将取决于它的技巧和诚意。应该始终强调让俄罗斯参与的愿望。必须向俄罗斯,也向组成该组织的国家表明,不会因为一个国家拒绝加入而产生或暗示任何惩罚。如果俄罗斯人一开始就不加入,那么当他们决定加入的时候,他们必须确信会受到欢迎。创建该组织的人必须明白,他们在建设时的最终目标是获得俄罗斯人的加入。

这些都是抽象的概念,要勾勒出一个部分世界政府必须遵循的具体路线以诱使俄罗斯人加入并不容易。但有两个条件对我来说是明确的:新的组织必须没有军事机密;俄国人必须能够自由地让观察员参加该组织的每一次会议,在那里起草、讨论和通过新的法律,并决定其政策。这将毁掉世界上如此多的猜疑所制造的巨大的保密工厂。

建议建立一个不保留任何军事秘密的政权,可能会冒犯有军事思想的人。他被教导要相信,这样泄露的秘密会使一个有战争意识的国家寻求征服地球。(至于所谓的原子弹的秘密,我认为俄国人会在短时间内通过自己的努力得到这个秘密)。我承认不保守军事秘密是有风险的。如果有足够多的国家集中了它们的力量,它们就可以承担这种风险,因为它们的安全将大大增加。而且,由于恐惧、猜疑和不信任的减少,可以更有把握地做到这一点。在一个以主权为基础的世界中,战争的可能性越来越大,这种紧张将被对和平日益增长的信心的放松所取代。假以时日,这可能会对俄罗斯人民产生巨大的吸引力,以至于他们的领导人对西方的态度会变得温和。

3.
我认为,超国家安全体系的成员资格不应基于任何任意的民主标准。唯一的要求是,超国家组织的代表--大会和理事会--必须由每个成员国的人民通过无记名投票选出。这些代表必须代表人民而不是任何政府--这将增强该组织的和平性质。

我认为,要求满足其他民主标准是不可取的。民主制度和标准是历史发展的结果,其程度在享有它们的土地上并不总是受到重视。制定武断的标准会使西方和苏联制度之间的意识形态差异更加尖锐。

但是,现在把世界推向战争方向的并不是意识形态上的差异。事实上,如果所有西方国家都采用社会主义,同时保持其国家主权,那么东西方之间的权力冲突很可能会继续下去。在我看来,对目前的经济体系所表达的热情是非常不合理的。美国的经济生活是应该像现在这样由相对较少的个人主宰,还是这些个人应该由国家控制,这可能很重要,但这并不重要,不足以证明为此而激起的所有情绪。

我希望看到所有组成超国家的国家集中所有的军事力量,只为自己保留地方警察。然后,我希望看到这些部队像前奥匈帝国的军团那样混合和分配。在那里,人们认识到,一个地区的人员和官员如果不专门驻扎在自己的省份,受制于地方和种族的拉拢,将更好地服务于帝国的目的。

我希望看到超国家制度的权力完全限制在安全领域。这是否可能,我不确定。经验可能表明,在经济问题上增加一些权力是可取的,因为在现代条件下,这些问题能够引起国家的动荡,其中有暴力冲突的种子。但我更愿意看到该组织的职能完全局限于安全任务。我还希望看到通过加强联合国来建立这一制度,以便在寻求和平的过程中不牺牲连续性。

我并不隐瞒建立一个世界政府的巨大困难,无论是没有俄罗斯的开始还是有俄罗斯的开始。我知道这些风险。由于我不希望允许任何加入超国家组织的国家脱离,这些风险之一就是可能的内战。但我也相信,世界政府肯定会及时到来,问题是允许它付出多少代价。我相信,即使有另一场世界大战,它也会到来,尽管在这样的战争之后,如果战争获胜,它将是由胜利者建立的世界政府,依靠的是胜利者的军事力量,因此只有通过人类的永久军事化才能永久维持。

但我也相信,它可以通过协议和说服力来实现,因此,成本很低。但是,如果要通过这种方式来实现,仅仅诉诸于理性是不够的。东方的共产主义制度的一个优势是,它具有宗教的一些特征,并激发了宗教的情感。除非以法律为基础的和平事业在其背后聚集了宗教的力量和热情,否则它很难指望成功。那些被委托对人类进行道德教育的人肯定有一个伟大的责任和一个伟大的机会。我认为,原子科学家们已经确信,他们无法仅凭逻辑来唤起美国人民对原子时代的真理的认识。必须加上情感的深层力量,这是宗教的一个基本要素。希望不仅是教会,而且是学校、学院和主要的舆论机构都能很好地履行它们在这方面的独特责任。

阿尔伯特-爱因斯坦是一位理论物理学家,以他的质能等价公式(E=mc2)和他对相对论的发展而闻名。由于他在该领域的贡献,他被授予1921年诺贝尔物理学奖。
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