“Nuclear weapons”, says Bertrand Russell, “draw no line between the communists and the anti-communists. Only the ultra militarists, on the brink of insanity, who disdain the destiny of nations, hope they will manage to sit out in bomb shelters. But there is absolutely no shelter from nuclear bombs. If there is a full-fledged global nuclear war, there shall be no human civilization on this earth.”
The former Soviet Prime Minister, Mr. Nikita Khruschev, addressing a press conference, some year. back, said that humanity had two alternatives either to follow the doctrine of peaceful coexistence or to perish in a nuclear war. According to his own version, the 100-megaton bomb, which Russia possesses, if used on Berlin, would devastate not only the whole of western Europe but also half of the Soviet Union and all the Eastern countries of Europe shall be wiped out of existence! Prof. Henrik Goullax, an eminent nuclear scientist, writes in Moscow Science
One megaton bomb of the 100 type has formidable destructive potentiality. It can destroy 100: to 150 million men in one second, change the courses of one hundred rivers and turn a country, as big in area as India, into a sandy desert in five minutes!
The hydrogen bomb and the megaton bomb have caused new fears, involving new doubts as to the effects of science, on human life. Eminent authorities, including Einstein, have clearly pointed out that there is a danger to all human life on this planet. According to a well-known Indian nuclear scientist,
“the problem posed by the nuclear bomb is not merely a problem of huge destructiveness but the problem of war. A point has arrived when a man must either abolish war once and for all or perish. Indeed, a nuclear war means the complete destruction of human civilization.”
What the horrors of a future nuclear war can be, should be guessed by studying the following extract from a speech of Mr. Khruschev: I will tell you a secret: our scientists have worked out a 100 megaton bomb. But according to our scientist’s calculations, a 100 megaton bomb must not be used in Europe. Should our probable enemy unleash war, then where should we drop it: over West Germany or France? But the explosion of such a bomb over this territory would affect you and several other countries. Therefore, we can use such a weapon only outside the confines of Europe. I am saying this in order that there should be a more realistic appreciation of what horrifying means of destruction there exist.
And a 100 megaton bomb is not the limit. This is, as it were, a limit from the point of view of military efficiency. For even greater means of destruction can represent a great threat also to the side that has decided to use them.
“At present, according to the estimates by foreign scientists and military experts, the United States has roughly 40,000 nuclear bombs and warheads. Everyone knows that the Soviet Union, too, has more than enough of this stuff. What would happen if all that nuclear armament were dropped on human heads? As a result of the first blow alone, 700 to 800 million people would perish. All the big cities would be wiped out or destroyed not only in the two leading nuclear states -tee United States and the Soviet Union but also in France, Britain, Germany, Italy, China, Japan and many other countries of the world. The consequences of an atomic-hydrogen war would be felt during the life of many generations, causing diseases and death, and leading to the development of most monstrous human beings
“I am not saying these things to frighten anyone. I am simply quoting data at the disposal of science. These data cannot be reckoned with.”
A thermo-nuclear war, therefore, means man’s total extinction. The scientists of both the nuclear blocs Western as well as Russian-are unanimous in their verdict that in a thermo-nuclear war neither of the two parties would survive. They have advised their leaders to drop the idea of n nuclear war. But still, there is a danger of a nuclear war breaking out by accident.
“Is war by accident a possibility?” Statesmen who have expressed fears from time to time that a Third World War may one day be started through accident or miscalculation are alive to a very real danger. It is for this reason that at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva both the Russians and Americans put forward proposals that the risk of war by accident should be minimized. How necessary it is to ensure that such an eventuality never comes about needs no emphasis.
To those who scoff that such a thing is beyond the bounds of possibility, the recent “false alarm” episode in the U.S. is singularly revealing. Though the episode lasted only a few seconds, it clearly proves that war by accident is a real danger, even though it might be one in a million chances. The U.S. Strategic Air Command spokesman confirmed that there had been a false alarm last autumn indicating that the U.St might be under enemy attack. Within seconds it was discovered that something was wrong with the communication system and that ballistic missile early-warning system at Thule in. Greenland had not been attacked.
But the point, which none should miss is that following the false signal (which indicated that something was wrong with two radar stations in the Arctic) U.S. planes carrying hydrogen bombs were ordered to get ready. That nothing happened indicates that time and thought must be given to ensure that war by accident never takes place!
Thus nuclear strategy has caused a bewildering situation on the earth. One of the glaring off-shoots of the fear-complex, unclasped by nuclear-strategy is the cold war, which has gripped humanity as a ghost. Men and women, shrunken and confused, are looking at the sky when the fleet of enemy air-craft, carrying nuclear bombs is to hum and buzz! What is the remedy? What is the solution?
The solution is complete and general disarmament, including a ban on nuclear tests. The 17-Nation Geneva Disarmament Conference has not, however, so far been able to arrive at a definite conclusion and the question of disarmament has been shelved for the time being.
But it is almost certain there would be no global nuclear war. The reason is that both the power blocs are convinced beyond any doubt that a nuclear world war means the complete destruction of each. We have seen how the nuclear war was averted by the wise policy of the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. over the last Cuban crisis. The situation in Cuba had become so explosive that a major nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. seemed almost inevitable. But the situation was very wisely and tactfully bandied. Similarly, on many an occasion such terribly critical situation arose in central Europe in connection with the Berlin issue, yet nuclear clashes were averted.
No doubt, the disarmament conference might fail, nuclear test-ban talks may be deadlocked, the cold war might be intensified, yet it is almost a certainty that there would not be any nuclear world war. Conventional wars of local character might break out and be resolved, from time to time, but neither of the two major nuclear powers dares risk a nuclear war. We have seen how the dread of a nuclear war has brought about a dramatic change in the attitude of the Big powers. The Soviet Union has begun to pin faith in the doctrine of peaceful co-existence; the U.S.A., too, would prefer a peaceful settlement of the existing issues between West and the; Communist bloc to going in for a nuclear war on these issues. The fact is that both these powers have been convinced, beyond any doubt, of inevitable mutual disaster in the event of a global nuclear war. Let us, therefore, hope that there would be no nuclear war.