Advertisement

Embattled Cooperation(s): Peaceful Atoms, Pacifist Physicists, and Partisans of Peace in the Early Cold War (1947–1957)

  • Stefano SalviaEmail author
Article
  • 6 Downloads

Abstract

The famous nuclear physicist Bruno Pontecorvo, who defected to the USSR in 1950, was affiliated to the internationalist network called “Partisans of Peace,” founded in 1949. Later renamed the World Peace Council, it was an organization of pacifist scientists, intellectuals, and artists like Frédéric Joliot-Curie and Pablo Picasso that was similar to the Pugwash movement, but part of the Comintern (later Cominform). As noted by Albert Einstein, the Partisans of Peace were “pacifist” in a very particular sense: they strongly criticized Western nuclear policies, but they justified the Soviet atomic programme as inevitable response to them. At the same time, physicists who joined the 1955 Russell–Einstein Manifesto like Joseph Rotblat and Norbert Wiener, or the 1957 Göttingen Declaration like Otto Hahn and Max Born, were suspicious about the 1955 “Atoms for Peace” program, sponsored by the United States to balance the Soviet influence in Europe as well as in non-aligned countries. I will discuss these different—and partially overlapping—scientific-cooperation networks built in the name of “peace” during the hottest years of the Cold War, when peace itself had become an ideological weapon in the hands of a militarized science.

Keywords

Atoms Cold War cooperation partisans peace physicists 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I want to thank Christian Forstner (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main), coordinator of the Workgroup History of Physics of the German Physical Society, for giving me the opportunity to work on Cold War science issues by dealing with Bruno Pontecorvo’s intellectual and political biography. Thanks also to Götz Neuneck (IFSH – Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik an der Universität Hamburg) for his stimulating remarks on “Track-II Diplomacy” in relation to Pugwash and Niels Bohr’s critical attitude. I am very grateful indeed to Cathy Eaton, Cyrus Eaton’s granddaughter, for publishing my presentation on the Thinkers’ Lodge Histories website (https://www.thinkerslodgehistories.com/embattled-cooperation-atoms-pacifists-and-peace-partisans.html). It was a great honor.

References

  1. 1.
    Report on the Communist “Peace” Offensive: A Campaign to Disarm and Defeat the United States (Washington, DC: Committee on Un-American Activities, 1951), https://archive.org/details/reportoncommunis00unit.
  2. 2.
    Stefano Salvia, “From Russia with Love: Die Pontecorvo-Affäre,” in Physik im Kalten Krieg: Beiträge zur Physikgeschichte während des Ost-West-Konflikts, ed. Christian Forstner and Dieter Hoffmann, 149–61 (Berlin: Springer, 2013).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Milorad Popov, “The World Council of Peace,” in World Communism: A Handbook, 1918–1965, ed. Witold S. Sworakowski (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1973), 488; Philip Deer, “The Dove Files East: Whitehall, Warsaw and the 1950 World Peace Congress,” Australian Journal of Politics and History 48, no. 4 (2002), 449–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mikhail Suslov, “The Defense of Peace and the Struggle Against the Warmongers,” in Working Class Unity for Peace (New York: New Century Publishers, 1950), ch. 3, https://www.marxists.org/archive/suslov/1949/11/x01.htm.
  5. 5.
    Communist “Peace” Offensive (ref. 1), 113.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Simone Turchetti, The Pontecorvo Affair: A Cold War Defection ands Nuclear Physics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    John Desmond Bernal, “Letter,” New Statesman 36 (1948): 238–39, reprinted in Andrew Brown, J. D. Bernal: The Sage of Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 325.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See Terry Klefstad, “Shostakovich and the Peace Conference,” Music and Politics 6, no. 2 (2012), https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mp/9460447.0006.201/–shostakovich-and-the-peace-conference?rgn=main;view=fulltext, on Schostakovich’s controversial participation to the 1949 Waldorf Conference in New York as Soviet delegate.
  9. 9.
    Albert Einstein, “F. Wroclaw Conference 1948—Einstein on Peace,” Vassar College Library Archives, Poughkeepsie, NY, #87–45, http://alberteinstein.info/vufind1/Record/EAR000065599.
  10. 10.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Atoms for Peace,” draft speech, memoranda, and related documents, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS, https://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/atoms_for_peace.html.
  11. 11.
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech, 470th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, December 8, 1953, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) historical archive, https://www.iaea.org/about/history/atoms-for-peace-speech.
  12. 12.
    “Press Wire, Chronology of Soviet Bloc Reaction to Eisenhower’s U.N. Speech, December 14, 1953,” Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS, https://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/atoms_for_peace/Binder15.pdf.
  13. 13.
    David Fischer, History of the International Atomic Energy Agency: The First Forty Years (Vienna: IAEA, 1997), http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1032_web.pdf.
  14. 14.
    David Albright and Kimberly Kramer, “Civil HEU Watch: Tracking Inventories of Civil Highly Enriched Uranium,” in Global Stocks of Nuclear Explosive Materials (International Institute for Science and International Security, February 2005), http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/civil_heu_watch2005.pdf.
  15. 15.
    Bertrand Russell, The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell, vol. 2, The Public Years 1914–1970, ed. Nicholas Griffin (London: Routledge, 2001), 486–87; Albert Einstein, Einstein on Peace, ed. Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), 623–31.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    The Russell–Einstein Manifesto, July 9, 1955, para. 17–18, http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto.
  17. 17.
    Pierre Biquard, Frédéric Joliot-Curie: The Man and His Theories, trans. Geoffrey Strachen (New York: Eriksson, 1966), 112.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bertrand Russell, letter to Albert Einstein, February 11, 1955, in Russell, Selected Letters (ref. 15), 489.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Henry A. Turner, The Two Germanies Since 1945: East and West (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); Gerhard Wettig, Chruschtschows Berlin-Krise 1958 bis 1963. Drohpolitik und Mauerbau (München: Oldenbourg, 2006); Christian Adler, Die Berlin-Krisen 1948 und 1961 (Norderstedt, 2007); Nicholas A. Lewkowicz, The German Question and the Origins of the Cold War (Milan: IPOC, 2008); Matthias Uhl, Krieg um Berlin? Die sowjetische Militär- und Sicherheitspolitik in der zweiten Berlin-Krise 1958 bis 1962 (München: Oldenbourg, 2008); Daniel F. Harrington, Berlin on the Brink: The Blockade, the Airlift, and the Early Cold War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2012).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dennis M. Giangreco and Robert E. Griffin, Airbridge to Berlin: The Berlin Crisis of 1948, Its Origins and Aftermath (New York: Presidio, 1988), 54.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Deutscher Friedensrat (German Peace Council, from 1954 Friedensrat der DDR, Peace Council of the GDR), “Deutschland muss ein Land des Friedens werden (1952 Weltfriedensrat in Berlin),” Deutsche Fotothek, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Fotothek_df_roe-neg_0006328_003_Weltfriedensrat_in_Berlin.jpg.
  22. 22.
    Frank Nägler, ed., Die Bundeswehr 1955 bis 2005. Rückblenden - Einsichten – Perspektiven (München: Oldenbourg, 2007), 122; Frank Pauli, Wehrmachtsoffiziere in der Bundeswehr – Das kriegsgediente Offizierskorps der Bundeswehr und die Innere Führung 1955 bis 1970 (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2010), 145; Wolfram Wette, Militarismus in Deutschland. Geschichte einer kriegerischen Kultur (Frankfurt am Main: Fisher Taschenbuch, 2011), 221; Henry Leide, NS-Verbrecher und Staatssicherheit, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 2011), 50.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bertrand Russell, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, vol. 3. 1944–1969 (New York: Bantam, 1969), 94–95.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Horst Kant, Otto Hahn and the Declarations of Mainau and Göttingen, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Preprint 203 (2002), 23.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nancy Thorndike Greenspan, “Max Born and the Peace Movement,” Physics World 18, no. 4 (2005): 37–38.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sandra Ionno Butcher, “The Origins of the Russell–Einstein Manifesto,” Pugwash History Series 1 (May 2005), 18–22, https://pugwashconferences.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2005_history_origins_of_manifesto3.pdf.
  27. 27.
    Text of the Göttinger Erklärung (April 12, 1957), Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/54319.html; http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/54320.html.
  28. 28.
    Werner Heisenberg, “Auseinandersetzungen in Politik und Wissenschaft (1956 bis 1957),” in Der Teil und das Ganze: Gespräche im Umkreis der Atomphysik, 296–311 (München: Piper, 1969); Otto Hahn, Mein Leben – Die Erinnerungen des großen Atomforschers und Humanisten. Erweiterte Neuausgabe (München: Piper, 1986), 228–236; Elisabeth Kraus, “Atomwaffen für die Bundeswehr?,” Physik Journal 6, no. 4 (2007), 37; Robert Lorenz, “Die ‘Göttinger Erklärung’ von 1957. Gelehrtenprotest in der Ära Adenauer,” in Johanna Klatt, Robert Lorenz (Hg.). Manifeste. Geschichte und Gegenwart des politischen Appells (Bielefeld: transcript, 2011), 199–227.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    M. Allen Gibson, Beautiful Upon the Mountain: A Portrait of Cyrus Eaton (Hantsport, NS: Lancelot Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Marcus Gleisser, The World of Cyrus Eaton (1966; Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2005).Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wittner, The Struggle Against the Bomb, vol. 1, One World or None: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement Through 1953 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 33.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Butcher, “The Origins of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto” (ref. 26), 22–24.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Joseph Rotblat, “The Early Days of Pugwash,” Physics Today 54, no. 6 (2001), 50–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    John R. Lenz, “Pugwash and Russell’s Legacy,” The Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly, 89 (1996), 18–24.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Joseph Rotblat, Pugwash: A History of the Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Bratislava: Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 1967).Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Joseph Rotblat, Scientists in the Quest for Peace: A History of the Pugwash Conferences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Joseph Rotblat, “Fifty Pugwash Conferences: A Tribute to Eugene Rabinowitch,” Address to the Fiftieth Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Cambridge, UK, August 8, 2000, https://pugwash.org/history/additional-resources.
  38. 38.
    Reiner Braun, Robert Hinde, David Krieger, Harold Kroto, and Sally Milne, eds., Joseph Rotblat: Visionary for Peace (Weinheim: Wiley, 2007).Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Stefan Rozental, ed., Niels Bohr: His Life and Work as Seen by His Friends and Colleagues (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1967).Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Niels Bohr, “Open Letter to the United Nations,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 6, no. 7 (1950): 213–17, on 219, http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/Deterrence/BohrUN.shtml/.
  41. 41.
    Niels Bohr, “Open Letter to the United Nations,” in Niels Bohr: A Centenary Volume, ed. Anthony P. French and Peter J. Kennedy, 288–96 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Butcher, “Origins” (ref. 26), 15–16.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Margaret Gowing, “Niels Bohr and Nuclear Weapons,” in French and Kennedy, Niels Bohr (ref. 41), 277.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civilisations and Forms of KnowledgeUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

Personalised recommendations