If the militarily most powerful and least threatened states need nuclear weapons for their security, how can one deny such security to countries that are truly insecure? The present nuclear policy is a recipe for proliferation. It is a policy for disaster.
Let me remind you that nuclear disarmament is not just an ardent desire of the people, as expressed in many resolutions of the United Nations. It is a legal commitment by the five official nuclear states, entered into when they signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
At a time when science plays such a powerful role in the life of society, when the destiny of the whole of mankind may hinge on the results of scientific research, it is incumbent on all scientists to be fully conscious of that role, and conduct themselves accordingly.
All nuclear weapon states should now recognize that this is so, and declare - in Treaty form - that they will never be the first to use nuclear weapons. This would open the way to the gradual, mutual reduction of nuclear arsenals, down to zero.
But the nuclear powers still cling tenaciously to their weapons.
My worry is that other advances in science may result in other means of
mass destruction, maybe more readily available even than nuclear weapons.
Genetic engineering is quite a possible area, because of these dreadful
developments that are taking place there.
The cold war is over, but cold war thinking survives.
My short-term vision is the abolition of nuclear weapons. My long-term vision is the abolition of war.
Above all remember your humanity.
So I ask the nuclear powers to abandon the out-of-date thinking of the Cold War period and take a fresh look. Above all, I appeal to them to bear in mind the long-term threat that nuclear weapons pose to humankind and to begin action towards their elimination.
I saw science as being in harmony with humanity.
But the first the general public learned about the discovery was the news of the destruction of Hiroshima by the atom bomb. A splendid achievement of science and technology had turned malign. Science became identified with death and destruction.
The decision to use the atom bomb on Japanese cities, and the consequent buildup of enormous nuclear arsenals, was made by governments, on the basis of political and military perceptions.
I appeal to my fellow scientists to remember their responsibility to humanity.
The present basic philosophy is nuclear deterrence.
From my earliest days I had a passion for science.
Indeed, the whole human species is endangered, by nuclear weapons or by other means of wholesale destruction which further advances in science are likely to produce.
Alice Stewart [is] a much underestimated scientist who has been an indomitable challenger of the establishment and a thorn in the flesh of the nuclear industry.
I did not imagine that the second half of my life would be spent on efforts to avert a mortal danger to humanity created by science.
But scientists on both sides of the iron curtain played a very significant role in maintaining the momentum of the nuclear arms race throughout the four decades of the Cold War.
The most terrifying moment in my life was October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I did not know all the facts - we have learned only recently how close we were to war - but I knew enough to make me tremble.
The chief task was to stop the arms race before it brought utter disaster. However, after the collapse of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, any rationale for having nuclear weapons disappeared.
Technology is driving us together. In many ways we are becoming like one family. With the global threats resulting from science and technology, the whole of humankind now needs protection. We have to extend our loyalty to the whole of the human race.
I have to bring to your notice a terrifying reality: with the development of nuclear weapons Man has acquired, for the first time in history, the technical means to destroy the whole of civilization in a single act.
This is the reality of nuclear weapons: they may trigger a world war; a war which, unlike previous ones, destroys all of civilization.
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