Year XXVI, 1984, Number 1 - Page 76

 

 

ALBERT EINSTEIN
 
 
Federalism has by now a long history and a rich cultural tradition. But this tradition is largely ignored, for it does not fit into the conceptual grid of the prevalent culture, based on the unconscious acceptance of national sovereignty, and hence of war, as inescapable traits of historical reality. That is why some federalist authors are now entirely forgotten, while others are remembered only for the part of their work which has nothing to do with federalism.
This section of The Federalist intends to reassert the value of this tradition, submitting to the attention of the readership short selections of the works of forgotten federalist authors or of forgotten federalist works of well-known personalities of the world of culture of the past.
We begin with one of the latter, and a great one: Albert Einstein. Einstein was an indefatigable combatant for peace. He was always keenly aware that peace and national sovereignty are two incompatible terms, and that a struggle for peace cannot succeed without a radical cultural change. In a telegram sent on May 23, 1946 to several hundred prominent Americans, appealing for contributions on behalf of the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, he wrote: «The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe».
The world has not taken up his warning. His words have remained unheard by politicians as well as by intellectuals and by the majority of common people.
It is to the credit of O. Nathan and H. Norden to have patiently put together and presented a collection of Einstein’s writings, bearing witness to his activity in the cause of peace [1]. In his introduction, after having recalled the great scientist’s constant pacifist commitment, Otto Nathan writes:
«Einstein was by nature an internationalist; he disliked, to the extreme, nationalism and chauvinism, the excesses of which he held responsible for many evils in the world. He deplored the existence of political frontiers and their insidious and divisive impact upon mankind. As a scientist he was engaged in work which, more than anything else, is necessarily international despite the many efforts – sharply criticized by Einstein – toward scientific secrecy in the last two decades. Einstein hoped for intensification of cultural and scientific relations among the countries of the world when he advocated in 1914 a United Europe and when he welcomed in 1919 the establishment of the League of Nations and, in 1945, the United Nations. But his belief in the desirability of a world organization had been inspired even more by another consideration: Einstein had long since realized that the maintenance of international peace required the partial relinquishment of national sovereignty in favour of an international organization which would possess the administrative and judicial institutions necessary for the peaceful settlement of international conflicts and which alone would be entitled to maintain a military force; he hoped that the Covenant of the League of Nations and, later, the Charter of the United Nations would, in time, be so modified that an organization capable of maintaining world peace would emerge. Einstein’s insistence on the need for an appropriate world organisation gained momentum with the increase in the striking power of modern weapons. The production of the atomic bomb and its use over Japanese cities in 1945 made Einstein less tolerant than ever of token gestures toward peace. He had never believed that disarmament by small stages was a practicable policy against war, a policy which would ever lead to total disarmament and peace; he was convinced that a nation could not arm and disarm at the same time. He felt this even more strongly when, after 1945, the possibility of nuclear war threatened the annihilation of the human race. It was during those years of the post-war period that he became actively engaged in the movements for world government. He did not conceive of world government as an institution supplanting the primary functions of existing national governments; rather, he thought of an organization which would have circumscribed authority only in matters directly relating to the preservation of peace: any infringement upon the sovereign power of member nations would be limited by the world organization’s obligations in the cause of international security. Einstein would have been the last to advocate the establishment of a huge power complex in excess of specific and immediate needs. He supported the establishment of a centralized, supranational body for the sole purpose of guaranteeing international security; otherwise, he was a strong advocate of decentralization.» [2]
With the aim of offering our readers an approach to Einstein’s thought, we have chosen some particularly significant pages, which highlight the themes of the causes of war, of peace as organization and of the path towards peace.  
 
* * * 
 
About causes and cure of wars.
 
 Dear Mr. Freud:
The proposal of the League of Nations and its International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation at Paris that I should invite a person, to be chosen by myself, to a frank exchange of views on any problem that I might select affords me a very welcome opportunity of conferring with you upon a question which, as things now are, seems the most insistent of all the problems civilization has to face. This is the problem: Is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war? It is common knowledge that, with the advance of modern science, this issue has come to mean a matter of life and death for civilization as we know it; nevertheless, for all the zeal displayed, every attempt at its solution has ended in a lamentable breakdown. I believe, moreover, that those whose duty it is to tackle the problem professionally and practically are growing only too aware of their impotence to deal with it, and have now a very lively desire to learn the views of men who, absorbed in the pursuit of science, can see world problems in the perspective distance lends. As for me, the normal objective of my thought affords no insight into the dark places of human will and feeling. Thus, in the inquiry now proposed, I can do little more than to seek to clarify the question at issue and, clearing the ground of the more obvious solutions, enable you to bring the light of your far-reaching knowledge of man’s instinctive life to bear upon the problems. There are certain psychological obstacles whose existence a layman in the mental sciences may dimly surmise but whose interrelations and vagaries he is incompetent to fathom; you, I am convinced, will be able to suggest educative methods, lying more or less outside the scope of politics, which will eliminate these obstacles.
As one immune from nationalist bias, I personally see a simple way of dealing with the superficial (i.e., administrative) aspect of the problem: the setting up, by international consent, of a legislative and judicial body to settle every conflict arising between nations. Each nation would undertake to abide by the orders issued by this legislative body, to invoke its decision in every dispute, to accept its judgments unreservedly and to carry out every measure the tribunal deems necessary for the execution of its decrees. But here, at the outset, I come up against a difficulty; a tribunal is a human institution which, in proportion as the power at its disposal is inadequate to enforce its verdicts, is all the more prone to suffer these to be deflected by extrajudicial pressure. This is a fact with which we have to reckon; law and might inevitably go hand in hand, and juridical decision approach more nearly the ideal justice demanded by the community (in whose name and interests these verdicts are pronounced) insofar as the community has effective power to compel respect of its juridical ideal. But at present we are far from possessing any supranational organization competent to render verdicts of incontestable authority and enforce absolute submission to the execution of ·its verdicts. Thus I am led to my first axiom: The quest of international security involves the unconditional surrender by every nation, in a certain measure, of its liberty of action – its sovereignty that is to say – and it is clear beyond all doubt that no other road can lead to such security.
The ill success, despite their obvious sincerity, of all the efforts made during the last decade to reach this goal leaves us no room to doubt that strong psychological factors are at work which paralyze these efforts. Some of these factors are not far to seek. The craving for power which characterizes the governing class in every nation is hostile to any limitation of the national sovereignty. This political power hunger is often supported by the activities of another group, whose aspirations are on purely mercenary, economic lines. I have especially in mind that small but determined group active in every nation, composed of individuals who, indifferent to social considerations and restraints, regard warfare, the manufacture and sale of arms, simply as an occasion to advance their personal interests and enlarge their personal authority.
But recognition of this obvious fact is merely the first step toward an appreciation of the actual state of affairs. Another question follows hard upon it: How is it possible for this small clique to bend the will of the majority, who stand to lose and suffer by a state of war, to the service of their ambitions? (In speaking of the majority I do not exclude soldiers of every rank who have chosen war as their profession, in the belief that they are serving to defend the highest interests of their race, and that attack is often the best method of defence) An obvious answer to this question would seem to be that the minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and makes its tool of them.
Yet even this answer does not provide a complete solution. Another question arises from it: How is it that these devices succeed so well in rousing men to such wild enthusiasm, even to sacrifice their lives? Only one answer is possible. Because man has within him a lust for hatred and destruction. In normal times this passion exists in a latent state, it emerges only in unusual circumstances; but it is a comparatively easy task to call it into play and raise it to the power of a collective psychosis. Here lies, perhaps, the crux of all the complex factors we are considering, an enigma that only the expert in the lore of human instincts can resolve.
And so we come to our last question. Is it possible to control man’s mental evolution so as to make him proof against the psychosis of hate and destructiveness? Here I am thinking by no means only of the so-called uncultured masses. Experience proves that it is rather the so-called «intelligentsia» that is most apt to yield to these disastrous collective suggestions, since the intellectual has no direct contact with life in the raw but encounters it in its easiest, synthetic form – upon the printed page.
To conclude: I have so far been speaking only of wars between nations; what are known as international conflicts. But I am well aware that the aggressive instinct operates under other forms and in other circumstances. (I am thinking of civil wars, for instance, due in earlier days to religious zeal, but nowadays to social factors; or, again, the persecution of racial minorities.) But my insistence on what is the most typical, most cruel and extravagant form of conflict between man and man was deliberate, for here we have the best occasion of discovering ways and means to render all armed conflicts impossible.
I know that in your writings we may find answers, explicit or implied, to all the issues of this urgent and absorbing problem. But it would be of the greatest service to us all were you to present the problem of world peace in the light of your most recent discoveries, for such a presentation well might blaze the trail for new and fruitful modes of action.
Yours very sincerely,  
A. Einstein [3]
  
Peace as organization. 
 
The first atomic bomb destroyed more than the city of Hiroshima. It also exploded our inherited, outdated political ideas.
A few days before the force of nature was tried out for the first time in history, the San Francisco Charter was ratified in Washington. The dream of a League of Nations, after twenty-six years, was accepted by the Senate.
How long will the United Nations Charter endure? With luck, a generation? A century? There is no one who does not hope for at least that much luck – for the Charter, for himself, for his work and for his children’s children. But is it enough to have peace by luck? Peace by law is what the peoples of the world, beginning with ourselves, can have if they want it. And now is the time to get it.
Everyone knows that the Charter is only a beginning. It does not guarantee peace. Yet the hopeful and passionate words of Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco created one very real danger: that millions of Americans will relax and believe that by ratification a machinery has been set up to prevent another war.
We think it our duty to warn the American people that this is not so. The Charter is a tragic illusion unless we are ready to take the further steps necessary to organize peace. Coming East from San Francisco, President Truman said in Kansas City: «It will be just as easy for nations to get along in a republic of the world as it is for you to get along in the republic of the United States. Now when Kansas and Colorado have a quarrel over water in the Arkansas River they don’t call out the National Guard in each state and go to war over it. They bring a suit in the Supreme Court of the United States and abide by the decision. There isn’t a reason in the world why we cannot do that internationally».
These words were historic words, pointing our road to a future far beyond San Francisco.
For thousands of years men have learned that wherever there is government by law there can be peace, and where there is no law and no government human conflicts have been sure. The San Francisco Charter, by maintaining the absolute sovereignties of the rival nation-states, thus preventing the creation of superior law in world relations, resembles the Articles of Confederation of the thirteen original American republics. We know that this confederation did not work. No league system ever attempted in human history could prevent conflict between its members. We must aim at a Federal Constitution of the world, a working worldwide legal order, if we hope to prevent an atomic war.
It happens that at this anxious moment of our history a small book has been published, a very important book, which expresses clearly and simply what so many of us have been thinking. That book is The Anatomy of Peace by Emery Reves. We urge American men and women to read this book, to think about its conclusions, to discuss it with neighbours and friends privately and publicly. A few weeks ago these ideas seemed important but perhaps reachable in the future. In the new reality of atomic warfare they are of immediate, urgent necessity, unless civilization is determined on suicide.
In his last address, which he did not live to speak, Franklin Roosevelt wrote words which were his political testament: «We are faced with the pre-eminent fact that if civilization is to survive we must cultivate the science of human relationship – the ability of peoples of all kinds to live together and work together in the same world, at peace». We have learned, and paid an awful price to learn, that living and working together can be done in one way only – under law. There is no truer and simpler idea in the world today. Unless it prevails, and unless by common struggle we are capable of new ways of thinking, mankind is doomed. [4] 
 
*** 
 
[...] There can be no doubt that world law is bound to come soon, whether by coercion or by peaceful agreement. No other effective defence exists against the modern methods of mass destruction. Should man misuse science and engineering in the service of selfish passion, our civilization is doomed. The nation-state is no longer capable of adequately protecting its citizens; – to increase the military strength of a nation no longer guarantees its security.
The present condition of international anarchy, which forces mankind to live under the constant threat of sudden annihilation, has led to a dangerous atomic armaments race. The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists is conscious of its serious responsibility to advise the citizens of this country, and of every other country, that nations can no longer think in terms of military power or technical superiority. What one group of men has discovered, other groups of men who pursue knowledge intelligently and patiently will also find out. There are no scientific secrets. Neither can there be any effective defence against aggression on a purely national basis.
The release of atomic energy has created a new world in which old ways of thinking, that include old diplomatic conventions and balance-of-power politics, have become utterly meaningless. Mankind must give up war in the atomic era. What is at stake is the life or death of humanity.
The only military force which can bring security to the world is a supranational police force, based on world law. To this end we must direct our energies.  
 
The path towards peace. [5] 
 
We are caught in a situation in which every citizen of every country, his children, and his life’s work are threatened by the terrible insecurity which reigns in our World today. The progress of technological development has not increased the stability and the welfare of humanity. Because of our inability to solve the problem of international organization, it has actually contributed to the dangers which threaten peace and the very existence of mankind.
The delegates of fifty-five governments, meeting in the Second General Assembly of the United Nations, undoubtedly will be aware of the fact that during the last two years – since the victory over the Axis powers – no appreciable progress has been made either toward the prevention of war or toward agreement in specific fields such as control of atomic energy and economic cooperation in the reconstruction of war-devastated areas.
The United Nations cannot be blamed for these failures. No international organization can be stronger than the constitutional powers given it, or than its component parts want it to be. As a matter of fact, the United Nations is an extremely important and useful institution provided the peoples and governments of the world realize that it is merely a transitional system toward the final goal, which is the establishment of a supranational authority vested with sufficient legislative and executive powers to keep the peace. The present impasse lies in the fact that there is no sufficient, reliable supranational authority. Thus the responsible leaders of all governments are obliged to act on the assumption of eventual war. Every step motivated by that assumption contributes to the general fear and distrust and hastens the final catastrophe. However strong national armaments may be, they do not create military security for any nation, nor do they guarantee the maintenance of peace.
There can never be complete agreement on international control and the administration of atomic energy, or on general disarmament, until there is a modification of the traditional concept of national sovereignty. For, as long as atomic energy and armaments are considered a vital part of national security, no nation will give more than lip service to international treaties. Security is indivisible. It can be reached only when necessary guarantees of law and enforcement obtain everywhere, so that military security is no longer the problem of any single state. There is no compromise possible between preparation for war, on the one hand, and preparation of a world society based on law and order on the other.
Every citizen must make up his mind. If he accepts the premise of war, he must reconcile himself to the maintenance of troops in strategic areas like Austria and Korea; to the sending of troops to Greece and Bulgaria; to the accumulation of stockpiles of uranium by whatever means; to universal military training; to the progressive limitation of civil liberties. Above all, he must endure the consequences of military secrecy, which is one of the worst scourges of our time and one of the greatest obstacles to cultural betterment.
If, on the other hand, every citizen realized that the only guarantee for security and peace in this atomic age is the constant development of a supranational government, then he will do everything in his power to strengthen the United Nations. It seems to me that every reasonable and responsible citizen in the world must know where his choice lies.
Yet the world at large finds itself in a vicious circle since the United Nations powers seem to be incapable of making up their minds on this score. The Eastern and Western blocs each attempt frantically to strengthen their respective power position. Universal military training, Russian troops in Eastern Europe, United States control over the Pacific islands, even the stiffening colonial policies of the Netherlands, Great Britain and France, atomic and military secrecy – are all part of the old familiar jockeying for position.
The time has come for the United Nations to strengthen its moral authority by bold decision. First, the authority of the General Assembly must be increased so that the Security Council as well as all other bodies of the United Nations will be subordinated to it. As long as there is a conflict of authority between the Assembly and the Security Council, the effectiveness of the whole institution will remain necessarily impaired.
Second, the method of representation at the United Nations should be considerably modified. The present method of selection by government appointment does not leave any real freedom to the appointee. Furthermore, selection by governments cannot give the peoples of the world the feeling of being fairly and proportionally represented. The moral authority of the United Nations would be considerably enhanced if the delegates were elected directly by the people. Were they responsible to an electorate, they would have much more freedom to follow their consciences. Thus we could hope for more statesmen and fewer diplomats.
Third, the General Assembly should remain in session throughout the critical period of transition. By staying constantly on the job, the Assembly could fulfil two major tasks: first, it could take the initiative toward the establishment of a supranational order; second, it could take quick and effective steps in all those danger areas (such as currently exist on the Greek border) where peace is threatened.
The Assembly, in view of these high tasks, should not delegate its powers to the Security Council, especially while that body is paralyzed by the shortcomings of the veto provisions. As the only body competent to take the initiative boldly and resolutely, the United Nations must act with utmost speed to create the necessary conditions for international security by laying the foundations for a real world government.
Of course there will be opposition. However, it is by no means certain that the USSR – which is often represented as the main antagonist to the idea of world government – would maintain its opposition if an equitable offer providing for real security were made. Even assuming that Russia is now opposed to the idea of world government, once she becomes convinced that world government is nonetheless in the making her whole attitude may change. She may then insist on only the necessary guarantees of equality before the law so as to avoid finding herself in perennial minority as in the present Security Council.
Nevertheless, we must assume that, despite all efforts, Russia and her allies may still find it advisable to stay out of such a world government. In that case – and only after all efforts have been made in utmost sincerity to obtain the co-operation of Russia and her allies – the other countries would have to proceed alone. It is of the utmost importance that this partial world government be very strong, comprising at least two thirds of the major industrial and economic areas of the world. Such strength in itself would make it possible for the partial world government to abandon military secrecy and all the other practices born of insecurity.
Such a partial world government should make it clear from the beginning that its doors remain wide open to any non-member – particularly Russia – for participation on the basis of complete equality. In my opinion, the partial world government should accept the presence of observers from non-member governments at all its meetings and constitutional conventions.
In order to achieve the final aim – which is one world, and not two hostile worlds – such a partial world government must never act as an alliance against the rest of the world. The only real step toward world government is world government itself.
In a world government the ideological differences between the various component parts are of no grave consequence. I am convinced that the present difficulties between the United States and the USSR are not due primarily to ideological differences. Of course, these ideological differences are a contributing element to an already serious tension. But I am convinced that even if the United States and Russia were both capitalist countries – or Communist, or monarchist, for that matter – their rivalries, conflicting interests, and jealousies would result in strains similar to those existing between the two countries today.
The United Nations now, and world government eventually, must serve one single goal – the guarantee of the security, tranquillity and the welfare of all mankind. [6] 
 
*** 
 
We meet today, as intellectuals and scholars of many nationalities, with a deep and historic responsibility placed upon us. We have every reason to be grateful to our French and Polish colleagues whose initiative has assembled us here for a momentous objective: to use the influence of wise men in promoting peace and security throughout the world. This is the age-old problem with which Plato, as one of the first, struggled so hard: to apply reason and prudence to the solution of man’s problems instead of yielding to atavistic instincts and passions.
By painful experience we have learned that rational thinking does not suffice to solve the problems of our social life. Penetrating research and keen scientific work have often had tragic implications for mankind. On the one hand, they produced inventions which liberated man from exhausting physical labour, making his life easier and richer; but on the other hand, they introduced a grave restlessness into his life, making him a slave to his technological environment, and – most catastrophic of all – creating the means for his own mass destruction. This is indeed a tragedy of overwhelming poignancy!
However poignant the tragedy is, it is perhaps even more tragic that, while mankind has produced many scholars so extremely successful in the field of science and technology, we have been so inefficient in finding adequate solutions to the many political conflicts and economic tensions which beset us. No doubt, the antagonism of economic interests within and among nations is largely responsible for the dangerous and threatening situation in the world today. Man has not succeeded in developing political and economic forms of organization which would guarantee the peaceful co-existence of the nations of the world. He has not succeeded in building the kind of system which would eliminate
the possibility of war and banish forever the murderous instruments of mass destruction.
We scientists, whose tragic destiny it has been to help make the methods of annihilation ever more gruesome and more effective, must consider it our solemn and transcendent duty to do all in our power in preventing these weapons from being used for the brutal purpose for which they were invented. What task could possibly be more important to us? What social aim could be closer to our hearts? That is why this congress has such a vital mission. We are gathered here to take counsel with each other. We must build spiritual and scientific bridges linking the nations of the world. We must overcome the horrible obstacles of national frontiers.
In the smaller units of society man has made some progress toward minimizing sovereignty with its antisocial implications.    
This is true, for example, of life within cities and, to a certain  degree, even of life within individual states. In such communities  tradition and education have had a moderating influence and have  brought about tolerable relations among the people living within those confines. But in relations among nations complete anarchy still prevails. I do not believe that we have made any real progress in this area during the last few thousand years. All too frequently conflicts among nations are still decided by resort to brute force, by war. The unlimited desire for ever greater power seeks aggressive outlets wherever and whenever a physical possibility offers itself.
Throughout the ages this state of anarchy in international affairs has inflicted indescribable suffering and destruction upon mankind; again and again it has impeded the progress of men, their souls and their well-being. At given times it has almost annihilated whole areas.
However, the desire of nations to be ever prepared for war has still other repercussions upon the lives of men. The power of every state over its citizens has grown steadily during the last few hundred years – no less in countries where the power of the state has been exercised wisely than in those where it has been used for brutal tyranny. The function of the state to maintain peaceful and orderly relations among its citizens has become increasingly complex and extensive largely because of the concentration and centralization of modern industry. In order to protect its citizens from aggression a modern state requires a formidable, expanding military establishment. In addition, the state considers it necessary to educate its citizens for the possibility of war, an “education” that not only corrupts the soul and spirit of the young, but also adversely affects the mentality of adults. No country can avoid this corruption altogether. It pervades the citizenry even in countries which do not harbour outspoken aggressive tendencies. The state has thus become a modern idol whose suggestive power few men are able to escape.
Education for war, however, is a delusion. The technological developments of the last few years have created a completely new military situation. Horrible weapons have been invented, capable of destroying in a few seconds huge masses of human beings and tremendous areas. Since science has not yet found protection from these weapons, the modern state is no longer in a position to prepare adequately for the safety of its citizens.
How, then, shall we be saved?
Mankind can gain protection against the danger of unimaginable destruction and wanton annihilation only if a supranational organization has alone the authority to produce or possess these weapons. It is unthinkable, however, that, under existing conditions, nations would hand over such authority to a supranational organization, unless the organization had the legal right and duty to solve the kind of conflicts which in the past have led to war. Under such a system the function of individual states would be to concentrate more or less upon internal affairs; and in their relations with one another they would deal only with issues and problems which are in no way conducive to endangering international security.
Unfortunately, there are no indications that governments yet realize that the situation in which mankind finds itself makes the adoption of revolutionary measures a compelling necessity. Our situation is not comparable to anything in the past. It is impossible, therefore, to apply methods and measures which, in an earlier age, might have been sufficient. We must revolutionize our thinking, revolutionize our actions and must have the courage to revolutionize relations among the nations of the world. The clichés of yesterday will no longer do today, and will, no doubt, be hopelessly out of date tomorrow. To bring this home to men all over the world is the most important and most fateful social task intellectuals have ever had to shoulder. Will they have enough courage to overcome their own national ties to the extent that is necessary to induce the peoples of the world to change their deep-rooted national traditions in a most radical fashion?
A tremendous effort is indispensable. If it fails now, the supranational organization will be built later, but then it will have to be built upon the ruins of a large part of the world. Let us hope that the abolition of the existing international anarchy will not need to be brought about by a self-inflicted world catastrophe, the dimensions of which none of us can possibly imagine. The time is terribly short. We must act now if we are to act at all. [7] 
 
*** 
 
I am grateful to you, Mrs. Roosevelt, for the opportunity to express my convictions on this most important political question.
The belief that it is possible to achieve security through armaments on a national scale is, in the present state of military technology, a disastrous illusion. In the United States, this illusion has been strengthened by the fact that this country was the first to succeed in producing an atomic bomb. This is why people tended to believe that this country would be able to achieve permanent and decisive military superiority which, it was hoped, would deter any potential enemy and thus bring about the security, so intensely sought by us as well as by the rest of the world. The maxim we have followed these last five years has been, in short, security through superior force, whatever the cost.
This technological as well as psychological orientation in military policy has had its inevitable consequences. Every action related to foreign policy is governed by one single consideration: How should we act in order to achieve the utmost superiority over the enemy in the event of war? The answer has been: Outside the United States, we must establish military bases at every possible, strategically important point of the globe as well as arm and strengthen economically our potential allies. And inside the United States, tremendous financial power is being concentrated in the hands of the military; youth is being militarized; and the loyalty of citizens, particularly civil servants, is carefully supervised by a police force growing more powerful every day. People of independent political thought are harassed. The public is subtly indoctrinated by the radio, the press, the schools. Under the pressure of military secrecy, the range of public information is increasingly restricted.
The arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, initiated originally as a preventive measure, assumes hysterical proportions. On both sides, means of mass destruction are being perfected with feverish haste and behind walls of secrecy. And now the public has been advised that the production of the hydrogen bomb is the new goal which will probably be accomplished. An accelerated development toward this end has been solemnly proclaimed by the President. If these efforts should prove successful, radioactive poisoning of the atmosphere and, hence, annihilation of all life on earth will have been brought within the range of what is technically possible. The weird aspect of this development lies in its apparently inexorable character. Each step appears as the inevitable consequence of the one that went before. And at the end, looming ever clearer, lies general annihilation.
Is there any way out of this impasse created by man himself? All of us, and particularly those who are responsible for the policies of the United States and the Soviet Union, must realize that, although we have vanquished an external enemy, we have proved unable to free ourselves from the war mentality. We shall never achieve real peace as long as every step is taken with a possible future conflict in view, especially since it becomes ever clearer that such a war would spell universal annihilation. The guiding thought in all political action should therefore be: What can we do in the prevailing situation to bring about peaceful coexistence among all nations? The first goal must be to do away with mutual fear and distrust. Solemn renunciation of the policy of violence, not only with respect to weapons of mass destruction, is without doubt necessary. Such renunciation, however, will be effective only if a supranational judicial and executive agency is established at the same time, with power to settle questions of immediate concern to the security of nations. Even a declaration by a number of nations that they would collaborate loyally in the realization of such a “restricted world government” would considerably reduce the imminent danger of war. [...] [8]
 


[1] O. Nathan, H. Norden, Einstein on Peace, Avenel Books, New York, 1981.
[2] Ibid., pp. IX-X.
[3] Ibid., pp. 188-191: Einstein’s open letter to Freud (July 30, 1932). In his long reply (dated September 1932) Freud is somewhat ambiguous: in some places the causes of war are traced back to the conflict of interests between groups, which are constantly resolved through violence, due to the lack of «a supreme court of judicature» with adequate executive powers, and elsewhere he traces them back to the surfacing and breaking through of the death instinct, which becomes an impulse towards destruction when it directs its action outward, against external objects.
[4] Ibid., pp. 340-341: letter to the editor in The New York Times on October 10, 1945.
[5] Ibid., p. 407: message for a meeting of an unidentified group (May 1947).
[6] Ibid., pp. 440-443: Open Letter to the General Assembly of the United Nations (October 1947).
[7] Ibid., pp. 493-496: message for the World Congress of Intellectuals at Wroclaw, appeared in The New York Times, August 29, 1948.
[8] Ibid., pp. 520-522: remarks presented in a television program conducted by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt on February 13, 1950.

 

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