Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement Narrative  
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Egghead Millionaires
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Pauling’s resolute stand made him an even greater hero within the peace movement. At a rally in New York two weeks after his final SISS appearance, more than 2,000 people turned out to hear him; hundreds more had to be turned away. His ordeal with the Senate ended up a triumph, in a way, but Pauling was also deeply angered by the experience -- an anger that he translated into a series of libel suits against media that continued to attack him as a Communist dupe. He launched five libel suits during the year after his SISS appearance, and stopped only when US law was changed in ways that made it very difficult for public figures to claim libel.

Through it all, Pauling seemed to grow increasingly thin-skinned, less able to accept even casual references to him as "a semi-prominent American loudmouth," as one newspaper put it in a phrase that spurred a half-million-dollar Pauling lawsuit. Turning away from the media, Pauling started criticizing a group he called "egghead millionaires," researchers who parlayed their talents into fortunes working for the defense industry making bigger and better weapons. To Pauling, the egghead millionaires were ultimate symbols of the betrayal and corruption of the sciences. It all seemed to divert him from his major work against nuclear weapons. Pauling, at the peak of his renown as a peace activist, seemed to be growing increasingly cranky, litigious, and impolitic -- a loose cannon as much as a moral leader.

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Video Clip  Video: Hope for the Future. 1960. (0:53) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to Malcolm C. McKenna. October 19, 1961. 
See Also: "Dr. Linus Pauling Wins Libel Suit." August 1962. 
See Also: "Courts Take New Look at Libel Law." April 24, 1966. 

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Page 1
"Rare Courage." October 12, 1960.


Page 1
Letter from Linus Pauling to Fred Okrand. April 28, 1960.

"There’s no doubt that we have in this country a very powerful group of people, 'defense contractors,' so-called, who are profiting greatly from the military activities, and who will oppose international agreements that lead to a decrease in the military budget."

Linus Pauling
November 2, 1960
Home | Search | All Documents and Media | Linus Pauling Day-By-Day