Reprint: The real problem is in the hearts of men, by Albert Einstein, No Date.
Revision as of Dec 17, 2017 2:24:27 AM, created by 184.108.40.206
pletely than did Hitler, for the forces behind them will be more compelling. Before the raid on Hiroshima, leading physicists urged the War Department not to use the bomb against defenseless women and children. The war could have been won without it. The decision was made in consideration of possible future loss of American lives-and now we have to consider possible loss in future atomic bombings of millions of lives. The American decision may have been a fatal error, for men accustom themselves to thinking a weapon which was used once can be used again. Had we shown other nations the test explosion at Alamogordo, New Mexico, we could have used it as an education for new ideas. It would have been an impressive and favorable moment to make considered proposals for world order to end war. Our renunciation of this weapon as too terrible to use would have carried great weight in negotiations and made convincing our sincerity in asking other nations for a binding partnership to develop these newly unleashed powers for good. The old type of thinking can raise a thousand objections of "realism" against this simplicity. But such thought ignores the psychological realities. All men fear atomic war. All men hope for benefits from these new powers. Between the realities of man's true desires and the realities of man's danger, what are the obsolete "realities" of protocol and military protection? During the war many persons fell out of the habit of doing their own thinking, for many had to do simply what they were told to do. Today lack of interest would be a great error, for there is much the average man can do about this danger. This nation held a great debate concerning the menace of the Axis, and again today we need a great chain reaction of awareness and communication. Current proposals should be discussed in the light of the basic facts, in every newspaper, in schools, churches, in town meetings, in private conversations, and neighbor to neighbor. Merely reading about the bomb promotes feeling in the heart. Not even scientists completely understand atomic energy, for each man's knowledge is incomplete. Few men have ever seen the bomb. But all men if told a few facts can understand that this bomb and the danger of war is a very real thing, and not something far away. It directly concerns every person in the civilized world. We cannot leave it to generals, Senators, and diplomats to work out a solution over a period of generations. Perhaps five years from now several nations will have made bombs and it will be too late to avoid disaster. Ignoring the realities of faith, good-will and honesty in seeking a solution, we place too much faith in legalism, treaties, and mechanisms. We must begin through the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission to work for binding agreement, but America's decision will not be made over a table in the United Nations. Our representatives in New York, in Paris, or in Moscow depend ultimately on decisions made in the village square. To the village square we must carry the facts of atomic energy. From there must come America's voice. This belief of physicists promoted our formation of the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, with headquarters at Princeton, N.J., to make possible a great national campaign for education on these issues, through the National Committee on Atomic Information. Detailed planning for world security will be easier when negotiators are assured of public understanding of our dilemmas. Then our American proposals will be not merely documents about machinery, the dull, dry statements of a government to other governments, but the embodiment of a message to humanity from a nation to human beings. Science has brought forth this danger, but the real problem is in the minds and hearts of men. We will not change the hearts of other men by mechanisms, but by changing our hearts and speaking bravely. We must be generous in giving to the world the knowledge we have of the forces of nature, after establishing safeguards against abuse. We must be not merely willing but actively eager to submit ourselves to binding authority necessary for world security. We must realize we cannot simultaneously plan for war and peace. When we are clear in heart and mind-only then shall we find courage to surmount the fear which haunts the world.