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The Nobel Peace Prize
Recipient Linus Carl
Presentation Speech by Gunnar Jahn, Chairman of the
after the atomic bombs were exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1), Albert Einstein made this statement:
"The time has come
now, when man must give up war. It is no longer rational to solve international
problems by resorting to war. Now that an atomic bomb, such as the bombs
exploded at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, can destroy a city, kill all the people in a
city, a small city the size of Minneapolis, say, we can see that we must now
make use of man's powers of reason, in order to settle disputes between
In accordance with the principles of justice we must develop
international law, strengthen the United Nations, and have peace in the world from now
At the time few people heeded these words of Albert
One man, however, never forgot them, the man we welcome among
us today, the man whom the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament has
selected for this year's award of the Peace Prize - Linus Carl Pauling, who ever
since 1946 has campaigned ceaselessly, not only against nuclear weapons tests,
not only against the spread of these armaments, not only against their very use,
but against all warfare as a means of solving international
Linus Pauling is a professor of chemistry; for thirty-nine
years he has been on the staff of the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena, where he was made a professor in 1931. In addition to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, his scientific achievements have won
him many distinctions, medals, and honors, both in his own country and abroad.
His renown as a scientist is beyond dispute.
In 1946, at the request of
Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, together with seven other scientists, formed the
Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, of which Einstein was chairman.(1) The
most important task of this committee was to bring to the notice of people
everywhere the tremendous change that had taken place in the world after the
splitting of the atom and the production of the atomic bomb had become fact. In
the words of the author Robert Jungk, "it was a crusade undertaken by men who
were children in political affairs."(2)
The hope cherished by mankind
that, once the Second World War was over, an age of peace and disarmament would
follow, was not fulfilled. It was not long before differences between East and
West emerged in all their stark reality, as the cooperation engendered in time
of war crumbled and was replaced by suspicion and mutual fear of
The result was the armaments race between the two great
powers, to see who could produce the most effective nuclear weapons. Gradually
the "terror balance" became the tacitly accepted safeguard against war and a
guarantee of peace.
It was in August, 1949, that the Soviet Union also
succeeded in producing the atom bomb.(3)
The armaments race created an
atmosphere which not only made it difficult to work for the promotion of
disarmament and peace but also threatened to muzzle freedom of
Inevitably, the crusade lost impetus and faded away.
Linus Pauling marched on; for him, retreat was impossible.
first few years, his aim was above all to prevent the hydrogen bomb from
becoming a reality. In speeches and lectures he endeavored to open the eyes of
his fellowmen to the catastrophe it represented. "This bomb", he declared, "may
have a destructive effect, a hundred, a thousand, nay ten thousand times greater
than that of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Its effect will depend
on how great the bomb is and at what height above the earth it is exploded."
This statement was made as early as 1947, and subsequent tests with the hydrogen
bomb proved the validity of his predictions.
On February 13, 1950,
Pauling spoke to a large audience in Carnegie Hall in New York, this time in
protest against the decision to produce the hydrogen bomb. His speech was
subsequently published as a brochure entitled The Ultimate
He opened his speech by describing the consequences, should
there be a major war involving hydrogen bombs: a thousand million men and women
dead, and the earth's atmosphere permeated with toxic radioactive substances,
from which no human being, animal, or plant would be safe.
"The solution of the world's problem - the problem of atomic
war - is that we must - we must bring law and order into the world as a
Our political leaders impelled by the massed feelings of the
people of the world must learn that peace is the important goal - a peace that
reflects the spirit of true humanity, the spirit of the brotherhood of
It is not necessary that the social and economic systems in Russia
be identical with that in the United States, in order that these two great
nations can be at peace with one another. It is only necessary that the people
of the United States and the people of Russia have respect for one another, a
deep desire to work for progress, a mutual recognition that war has finally
ruled itself out as the arbiter of the destiny of humanity. Once the people of
the world express these feelings, the East and the West can reach a reasonable
and equitable decision about all world affairs and can march together side by
side, towards a more and more glorious future."
This 1950 speech was
followed by a series of talks and lectures on the same subject - what would
happen if a major nuclear war broke out.
There were many, of course, who
recognized the truth of Linus Pauling's warning, but at that time his words
aroused no general response from the American public. Outside the ranks of
scientists and peace organizations, he was then relatively unknown. And the
people themselves? In the United States - as here in Norway at a later period -
they found it most convenient to turn a deaf ear to his warnings.
United States tested its first hydrogen bomb in November, 1952, and the Soviet
Union followed suit in August, 1953. The cold war had now entered upon a still
more uncompromising phase, but the voice of Linus Pauling was not to be
silenced. Tireless and undaunted, and supported in his views by numerous
scientists, he continued to draw attention to the fearful destruction and mass
annihilation of human life that might result if hydrogen bombs were used. "There
does not seem," he says, "to be any theoretical limit to the size of these
Of the appeals launched at this time bearing Pauling's
signature, the Mainau Declaration of July 15, 1955, is the best known. It was
signed by fifty-two Nobel Prizewinners, most of them scientists. The appeal is
such an important document that I should like to quote it:
undersigned, are scientists of different countries, different creeds, different
political persuasions. Outwardly, we are bound together only by the Nobel Prize,
which we have been favored to receive. With pleasure we have devoted our lives
to the service of science. It is, we believe, a path to a happier life for
people. We see with horror that this very science is giving mankind the means to
destroy itself. By total military use of weapons feasible today, the earth can
be contaminated with radioactivity to such an extent that whole peoples can be
annihilated. Neutrals may die thus as well as belligerents.
If war broke
out among the great powers, who could guarantee that it would not develop into a
deadly conflict? A nation that engages in a total war thus signals its own
destruction and imperils the whole world.
We do not deny that perhaps
peace is being preserved precisely by the fear of these weapons. Nevertheless,
we think it is a delusion if governments believe that they can avoid war for a
long time through the fear of these weapons. Fear and tension have often
engendered wars. Similarly it seems to us a delusion to believe that small
conflicts could in the future always be decided by traditional weapons. In
extreme danger no nation will deny itself the use of any weapon that scientific
technology can produce.
All nations must come to the decision to renounce
force as a final resort. If they are not prepared to do this, they will cease to
In the harsh political atmosphere then prevailing, it was not
surprising that Linus Pauling gradually became isolated and ostracized,
primarily on suspicion of being a Communist.
On several occasions during
the 1950s, the authorities withheld his passport, even when he wished to travel
abroad to attend conferences of a purely scientific nature, as for example in
1952. It is only fair to record that, upon making his application direct to
Washington, he was granted his passport.
In 1955 Dr. Pauling appeared
before a committee of the United States Senate that was investigating the work
of the Passport Office. He was then questioned on his alleged associations with
Communists or Communist sympathizers, a term which at that time was applied to
many people. When asked whether he himself was a Communist, Linus Pauling
repeated what he had so often declared under oath: that he was not a Communist,
that he had not been a Communist, that he was not a crypto-Communist nor a
theoretical Marxist, that he had never wittingly helped the Communist Party or
followed the party line. The senator conducting the investigation remarked that
it was his own impression that "it was the Communists who had followed Pauling's
line." This was as far as the committee could get, and for a few years Pauling
was left in peace.
Anyone familiar with Linus Pauling and his views,
anyone who has heard him speak or has read his works, should know that he is by
no means a Communist.
Meanwhile, as the United States, Great Britain, and
the Soviet Union stepped up their nuclear tests, radioactive fallout in the
earth's atmosphere increased.
Soon more and more scientists, alive to the
dangerous effects of radioactive fallout on human health and hereditary factors,
were protesting against these tests.
Linus Pauling was one of the first
to perceive the danger, and from the middle of the 1950s he devoted the better
part of his time and energy to his campaign against test explosions. He
constantly maintained that these tests must be terminated by an agreement signed
by the countries possessing the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb, and that the
agreement must be enforced by means of effective international
It was during his struggle to end tests of nuclear weapons
that Linus Pauling's name became well known all over the world - and also
In order to assess in terms of figures the effect
radioactive fallout would have on future generations, Linus Pauling carried out
his own investigations and calculations, calculations which he always submits
with reservation, because of the many unknown factors involved.
again he states: "Maybe my figures are many times too high, maybe they are many
times too low." But his calculations were supported by many others. I need only
remind you of Albert Schweitzer's message broadcast by the Oslo radio
station on April 23, 1957.
The opposition Pauling encountered came first
of all from two scientists, E. Teller(3) and W.F. Libby , of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
seem to differ not so much on the resultant calculations themselves as on the
conclusion to be drawn from these calculations.
Teller and Libby readily
admit that radioactive fallout is harmful, but they consider this fact relative,
weighing it against the risk taken by being unable to secure ever more effective
defensive armaments through nuclear tests.
Pauling's views on test
explosions, on the other hand, are not dependent on whether there are few or
many people who would suffer from radioactive fallout.
On May 15, 1957,
in a speech to students at Washington University in St. Louis, he dealt with
what was known about the effect of radioactivity on human hereditary factors.
Among other things, he said: "I believe that no human being should be sacrificed
to a project; and in particular I believe that no human being should be
sacrificed to the project of perfecting nuclear weapons that could kill hundreds
of millions of human beings, could devastate this beautiful world in which we
It was after this speech that he drew up the appeal which, more
than anything else, attracted the attention of the public. This appeal was
signed by more than 2,000 American scientists and was later circulated and
signed by over 8,000 foreign scientists, from forty-nine different
In his book No More War!, published in 1958, Linus
Pauling has described how he collected these signatures.
The petition was
the result of the efforts of individual scientists. No organization was
responsible for circulating the petition or gathering signatures. The whole job
was done by a mere handful of people.
In January, 1958, Linus Pauling and
his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, submitted the appeal, with its 11,021 signatures,
to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization, Dag
Hammarskj÷ld. The Pauling Appeal reads as follows:
scientists whose names are signed below, urge that an international agreement to
stop the testing of nuclear bombs be made now.
Each nuclear bomb test
spreads an added burden of radioactive elements over every part of the world.
Each added amount of radiation causes damage to the health of human beings all
over the world and causes damage to the pool of human germ plasma such as to
lead to an increase in the number of seriously defective children that will be
born in future generations.
So long as these weapons are in the hands of
only three powers, an agreement for their control is feasible. If testing
continues, and the possession of these weapons spreads to additional
governments, the danger of outbreak of a cataclysmic nuclear war through the
reckless action of some irresponsible national leader will be greatly
An international agreement to stop the testing of nuclear
bombs now could serve as a first step toward a more general disarmament and the
ultimate effective abolition of nuclear weapons, averting the possibility of a
nuclear war that would be a catastrophe to all humanity.
We have in
common with our fellowmen a deep concern for the welfare of all human beings. As
scientists we have knowledge of the dangers involved and therefore a special
responsibility to make those dangers known. We deem it imperative that immediate
action be taken to effect an international agreement to stop the testing of all
And then, in 1958, without entering into any prior
agreement, the Soviet Union, followed by the United States and Great Britain,
discontinued nuclear tests.
Just what effect the warnings of scientists -
foremost among them Linus Pauling and Albert Schweitzer - may have had in this
connection, would be difficult to say with any certainty. But there is no doubt
that both of them, together with other scientists, have contributed to
familiarizing people with the dangers nuclear tests involve; and every
government is bound to take into consideration public opinion, whether openly
expressed or not.
Pauling's campaign had aroused a tremendous amount of
attention both at home and abroad.
Once again the Internal Security
Subcommittee of the United States Senate summoned him for interrogation. The
first interview took place on June 21, 1960, and the second on October 11 of the
At Pauling's request, the hearings were held in public, and
the proceedings published for everyone to read.
The primary purpose of
the subcommittee was to discover how the 11,000 signatures had been obtained.
There were many who believed that the appeal was Communist inspired, and once
again Linus Pauling found himself facing the old charge of
Pauling answered every question frankly and clearly.
Questioned on his own attitude to communism he said: "At a meeting in Pasadena,
I testified under oath that a statement that I had prepared to the effect that I
was not a Communist, never had been a Communist, and never had been associated
with the Communist Party, was true..."
Later on in the course of the
proceedings, he stated: "I would like to know more about Marxism than I know. I
believe that we never can know too much about anything...I do not understand
dialectical materialism, either. But I do not believe in censorship. I believe
in freedom of publication."
He gave the subcommittee all the facts on how
the appeal signed by the 11,021 scientists came about.
But when the
subcommittee asked to be supplied with a list of names of those who had assisted
him in collecting signatures, he replied: "I think that my reputation and
example may well have led many young people to work for peace in this way. My
conscience does not allow me to protect myself by sacrificing these idealistic
and hopeful people. And I am not going to do it... For (he continued later)
anyone called before this committee is rendered vulnerable. He may lose his
It was a serious matter for Linus Pauling to refuse to answer
questions put to him by the subcommittee, and he realized that he risked a
prison sentence for contempt of Congress.
Pauling endeavored to secure a
court ruling that the subcommittee's demand that he submit the names of those
who had helped him to collect signatures violated the constitutional right of
every citizen to appeal to the authorities. Pauling failed to secure a favorable
verdict in two instances. His appeal to the Supreme Court did not materialize,
for the Senate subcommittee dropped the matter. It merely published its findings
in a report which, incidentally, was strongly criticized in some of the major
American newspapers as being too one-sided and not particularly fair to
Although encountering opposition in various quarters, Pauling's
name and his views became even better known, and the manner in which his
hearings had been conducted gained him added support, as is so often the case
when a good cause is attacked.
Undaunted, Linus Pauling and his wife, Ava
Helen Pauling, continued their campaign, delivering as many as a hundred
speeches and lectures a year. His wife has been a great source of inspiration
for Pauling, and the assistance she renders him is invaluable. Her own peace
lectures, with their special appeal to women, have been influential.
is impossible in a short address to touch upon all the speeches Linus Pauling
has made and all the conferences in which he has participated. I must confine
myself to a few of the international disarmament and peace conferences, such as
the Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs held in Hiroshima in 1959,
where he personally wrote the resolution which was issued after the
This states that an international agreement must be reached in
which the nations pledge themselves to terminate all tests with nuclear weapons
and not to produce new ones. Nor should these weapons be distributed to other
nations. A neutral zone should be established between East and West. Among the
countries to remain neutral, mention is made of East and West Germany, with
adjoining countries, and Japan, but naturally not China.
In May, 1961,
Linus Pauling and his wife convened in Oslo an international Conference against
the Spread of Nuclear Weapons. Scientists from fifteen countries attended, and
the main point in the resolution adopted was that nuclear weapons must not be
allowed to spread to other countries, since such a spread would inevitably
increase the danger of some power's willfully unleashing nuclear warfare.
Furthermore, the spread of these weapons would also reduce the chance of a
On September 1, 1961, the Soviet Union resumed
nuclear testing in the atmosphere and announced plans for detonating a
fifty-megaton nuclear bomb. On October 18, Pauling sent a telegram to Premier
Khrushchev(4), earnestly entreating him not to carry out this plan. At the same
time he sent a telegram to President Kennedy(5), requesting that the United
States government declare that no test explosions would be undertaken in the
atmosphere provided the Soviet Union revoked its plan to detonate the
He received a long letter from Khrushchev, dated
October 26, 1961, the gist of which was that the Soviet Union considered itself
regrettably forced to carry out new tests with nuclear weapons, and he was
therefore sorry that he was unable to reverse the decision already made. The
reasons given were that the Western powers were arming, and that the Soviet
Union considered its security threatened.
And so, despite his efforts,
Linus Pauling did not succeed.
At this time he was also deeply involved
in the problem of shelters in the event of nuclear attack. He maintained that
shelters would not be able to reduce the number of dead and wounded in a nuclear
war because their construction might give people the false impression that
nuclear warfare was not, after all, so dangerous. He strove in articles and
speeches to enlighten the general public on this point.
1961, Pauling and his wife were invited by the Academy of Science in Moscow to
attend its second centenary celebration. While they were there, they were both
asked to lecture on disarmament and peace. Pauling's lecture was based on the
same arguments he had used in the United States, but he emphasized the danger of
the new nuclear tests in the Soviet Union. He was confronted with the argument
that the Soviet Union was compelled to continue its tests in order to be in a
position to obtain weapons capable of preventing the outbreak of a nuclear war.
Pauling pointed out that this was the very argument used by those in the United
States who insisted on continuing nuclear tests.
During this visit in
Moscow, Pauling applied for a personal interview with Premier Khrushchev. When
this was refused, he sent the Russian leader two letters and a draft of an
agreement for a ban on nuclear tests. In the main, his proposal tallies with the
test ban agreement of July 25, 1963.
On March 1, 1962, the United States
resumed nuclear tests in the atmosphere.
In October, 1962, Pauling was in
a position to state that the tests undertaken in the Soviet Union and in the
United States during the course of the previous year or so had released twice as
much radioactive fallout as all the tests undertaken during the sixteen
In 1963, however, after what had long appeared a state
of permanent deadlock, discussions on a nuclear test ban finally made some
headway when the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain entered into
an agreement. This was signed in Moscow on July 25, 1963, and went into effect
on October 10 of this year. Most countries have now signed, the most important
exceptions being France and China. The agreement covers all tests of nuclear
weapons except those carried out underground.
In his magnificent speech
to the American people on July 26 of this year, the late President John F.
Kennedy stated: Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer
in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs
might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health
hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard, and it is not a statistical
issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby-who
may be born long after we are gone - should be of concern to us all..
his speech President Kennedy revealed that his views on nuclear tests were based
on the same moral attitude that Linus Pauling has consistently
No one would suggest that Linus Pauling is actually
responsible for the nuclear test ban itself or for the efforts of the great
powers to arrive at an agreement acceptable to all parties.
anyone believe that this treaty would have been concluded now if there had been
no responsible scientist who, tirelessly, unflinchingly, year in year out, had
impressed on the authorities and on the general public the real menace of
In his speech President Kennedy likewise stressed the
great danger of spreading nuclear weapons to more and more countries. These were
his words: "I ask you to stop and think for a moment what it would mean to have
nuclear weapons in so many hands, in the hands of countries, large and small,
stable and unstable, responsible and irresponsible, scattered throughout the
world. There would be no rest for anyone then, no stability, no real security,
and no chance of effective disarmament."
Even though the Test Ban Treaty
has been effected, this is only the first small step toward an agreement on
complete disarmament and peace.
Though the road may be long and
difficult, Linus Pauling has an unshakable belief that one day mankind will
succeed in banning war: "I believe that there is a greater power in the world
than the evil power of military force, of nuclear bombs - there is the power of
good, of morality, of humanitarianism.
In his opinion, it will be
possible by enlisting these forces to build a world community in which the
actions of all nations will be subject to just supervision and control, through
the medium of international law and justice.
As far as I know, Linus
Pauling has not drawn up any concrete plan for the future. But one thing is
certain: he has great faith in the role of science, as he shows in his
suggestion for establishing a World Peace Research Organization which would be
affiliated with the United Nations, and which would represent every branch of
science, including the natural sciences and the humanities.
organization of this kind must be based on knowledge and wisdom. It is for this
reason that Pauling has now left his position at the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena and joined the Center for the Study of Democratic
Institutions at Santa Barbara. He has taken this step, he tells us, because this
institution allows him greater freedom to continue his work for peace.
wants to use this opportunity for research in drawing up concrete plans for the
It is Linus Pauling's highly ethical attitude toward life - the
deepest driving force within him - that drew him into the fight against nuclear
Through his campaign, Linus Pauling has manifested the ethical
responsibility which he believes science should bear for the fate of mankind,
today and in the future.
The scientist's urge to wrest Nature's secrets
from her, is one Linus Pauling can never satisfy. As long as the world exists,
there will always be bold, adventurous minds and new campaigns to be carried on
for new goals.
Should Linus Pauling, through his tireless efforts, have
contributed - if only a little - to restoring to science its ideals, then his
campaign will in itself have been of such value that we living today can
scarcely appreciate the full extent of the debt we owe
Mr. Jahn delivered this speech on December 10, 1963, in the Auditorium of
the University of Oslo and at its conclusion presented the Peace Prize for 1962
(reserved in that year) to Mr. Pauling. The laureate responded with a brief
speech of acceptance. The English translation of Mr. Jahn's speech is, with
certain editorial changes made after collation with the Norwegian text,
basically that which appears in Les Prix Nobel en
1. Early in August, 1945, in the last days of WWII.
seven other scientists were Hans A. Bethe, Selig Hecht, Thorfin R. Hogness,
Philip Morse, Leo Szilard, Harold C. Urey, Victor F. Weisskopf; a few others
were added after 1946. The committee ceased activity in 1950.
Teller (1908- ), Hungarian-born American physicist who helped to develop both
the A-bomb and the H-bomb; for his views on nuclear testing, see his book Our
Nuclear Future: Facts, Dangers, and Opportunities, written in collaboration
with Albert L. Latter, 1958.
4. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev 1894-1971),
premier of the U.S.S.R. (1958-1964).
5. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
(1917-1963), U.S. president (1961-1963).
Lectures, Peace 1951-1970, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing
Company, Amsterdam, 1972
as a document in the public domain.
Posted December 06, 2005
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