Soon after learning that he had won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry , Pauling made what would be his last visit to Albert Einstein. The great physicist
was happy to see Pauling and especially pleased that his younger friend was using
the media attention spurred by his Nobel to speak out against the persecution of Oppenheimer.
They talked about the new H bombs, about their regrets that the Emergency Committee
of Atomic Scientists had ceased to function, and about their dismay at US defense
policies. "I made one great mistake in my life," Einstein told Pauling, "when I signed
the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made." His only
excuse, he said, was his concern that the Germans were doing the same thing. He then
repeated a story he had heard, about an incident centuries earlier in which a Swedish
leader had told his son, "You would be astonished to know with how little wisdom the
world is governed." That, they agreed, was still very much the case.
Einstein died five months later. But his work for peace and disarmament continued,
through Pauling and through other leaders of what was becoming an international movement.
Chief among them was Bertrand Russell, the renowned British philosopher and mathematician, who led the anti-Bomb efforts
in Europe. In July 1955 Russell released a resolution against nuclear war signed by
himself, Albert Einstein -- it was the last public document Einstein put his name
to before his death -- and eight other prominent scientists. Pauling added his own
name to what would become known as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto. ". . . if many
H-bombs are used there will be universal death -- sudden only for a minority, but
for the majority a slow torture," the Manifesto read in part. "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."