The Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955 establish the first Pugwash Conference, held in
“Crossing the nuclear threshold, even with a low-yield weapon, would erase the 60-year old taboo against the use of nuclear weapons and make their use by others more likely. If the victim is a non-nuclear-weapon state, such action would destroy, or at the very least severely undermine, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, with disastrous consequences for
–Open Letter to US Congress by Nuclear Physicists, February 1, 2007
Almost fifty years have passed since the first Pugwash Conference took place in
The Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955 establish the first Pugwash Conference held in July of 1957. The conferences continue into the present day. â€œPugwashites,â€ active members of the Pugwash movement, take the form of both an international community of practicing scientists and as students with established chapters on university campuses. The core group of scientists who worked on the Manifesto realized the enormous ramifications of accelerated nuclear testing and the stockpiling of such arsenals. They understood that the furtherance of such developments by a few select super states would eventually result in nuclear competitiveness beyond the reach of international negotiation. Their united outspoken stance stimulated political consciousness and it helped establish the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The NPT, which went into effect in 1970, states that nuclear countries must work toward the reduction of nuclear arsenals. The rationale of the treaty is clear: those who have nuclear weapons must take steps toward total disarmament. This process insures the eventual eradication of nuclear weapons, halts further developments, and reduces the incentives for non-nuclear countries to gain such weapons.
Similar to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto half a century ago, a group of scientists of the American Physical Society have taken an urgent stance against the possible use of nuclear weapons against
It is a pre-emptive policy, according to the physicistsâ€™ letter to Congress, that would propel us across â€œ… the nuclear threshold …[and] would erase the 60-year-old taboo against the use of nuclear weapons and make their use by others more likely.â€
In 2005, Joseph Rotblat, a signatory of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto and the central figure of the Pugwash Conferences wrote:
â€œThe worst setback [for non-proliferation] came in 2000, with the election of George W. Bush as President of the
Laray Polk is a political writer and activist who lives in
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