Sunday, May 22, 2005

Einstein on Atomic Bombs

I have found the following words of Albert Einstein in the May issue of the APS News published by the American Physical Society [1]:
To have security against atomic bombs and against the other biological weapons, we have to prevent war, for if we cannot prevent war every nation will use every means that is at their disposal; and in spite of all promises they make, they will do it. At the same time, so long as war is not prevented, all the governments of the nations have to prepare for war, and if you have to prepare for war, then you are in a state where you cannot abolish war. (Spoken at a one-day conference at the Institute for Advanced Study on November 17, 1946.)
These words are cited in an article by Patricia Rife of the Graduate school of Technology and Management at the University of Maryland's University College. She begins the article by writing, "Albert Einstein was morally opposed to war throughout his life, and this ethical stance had deep roots in his childhood education."

After citing the above words of Einstein near the end of the article, Rife concludes her article as follows: "These words still ring true today, 59 years later. Will a new generation hear them and rise to our own social responsibilities? ... like Einstein ...I continue to work for this ethical stance."

It is wonderful that Einstein contributed to the mankind not only by his incomparable scientific accomplishments but also by these and other heavy words on war and atomic bombs. What would Einstein say if he were alive and heard about the movement of changing the Article 9 (the renunciation of war) of the Constitution of Japan?
  1. P. Rife, "Einstein, Ethics and the Atomic Bomb" APS News, Vol. 14, No. 5, p. 8 (2005). (Article based on a talk given at the 2005 APS March Meeting in Los Angeles.)
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