Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement Narrative  
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Russell/Einstein
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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."

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Audio Clip  Audio: A Quantitative Description of the Fearsome Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons. July 10, 1960. (3:55) Transcript and More Information

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Audio Clip  Audio: Oppenheimer Declared a Security Threat, 1971. (0:27) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: "The Russell-Einstein Manifesto." July 9, 1955. 
See Also: "Russell's Work for Peace." March 5, 1970. 

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Picture
Bertrand Russell and Linus Pauling, London England. 1953.


Page 118
Notes by Linus Pauling re: a meeting with Albert Einstein. November 16, 1954.

"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....And so they hope that perhaps war may be allowed to continue provided modern weapons are prohibited. This hope is illusionary."

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