H. G. Wells and Leo Szilard founded the Green Left

- Selection and comments by Peter Myers

Date November 1, 2004; update December 28, 2022.

My comments are shown {thus}. Write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/szilard.html.

Leo Szilard helped create the first nuclear chain reaction, and initiated the letter to Roosevelt that got the Manhattan Project under way.

Later, he warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and crusaded for World Government.

He credited H. G. Wells, in a science fiction novel published in 1914, with first putting the idea of a nuclear chain reaction into his mind. He was also impressed with Wells' book The Open Conspiracy (for World Government) (1928 edition), and "joined" this movement along with other Jewish scientists associated with the Manhattan Project; the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists being a vehicle for them. Szilard also met Wells in person.

They supported Communism in principle, but not necessarily as practised in the Soviet Union.

One can detect "Green" ideas in Szilard too - for example, a concern over "ecological crises". In today's terms, they belong to the "Green Left" - Mikhail Gorbachev's camp. Gorbachev was a promoter of "Convergence" between the Soviet Union and the West: convergence.html.

Agents monitoring Szilard recorded: "Subject is of Jewish extraction, ... associates mostly with people of Jewish extraction. He is inclined to be rather absent-minded and eccentric ..."

A globalist, he wrote, 'the question that all proponents of a "new globalism" would necessarily face: What shape would power have to take if it was not to rest on fear and manipulation?'

Some key words to note in the text are:

ecological : "a strangely insecure atmosphere of global ecological crises"

ozone: "the 1989 treaty to protect the earth's ozone layer"

one world or none : "a 1946 contribution to the pamphlet One World or None"

elitism : "the socialist elitism that he thought necessary to reform the world"

elite: "a society guided by an intellectual elite"

(1) William Lanouette With Bela Silard, GENIUS IN THE SHADOWS: A Biography of Leo Szilard The Man Behind the Bomb
(2) Michael Bess, REALISM, UTOPIA, AND THE MUSHROOM CLOUD: Four Activist Intellectuals and Their Strategies for Peace, 1945-1989
(3) Szilard in the One World Or None report of 1946
(4) Pavel Sudoplatov on Szilard and the Atomic Spies
(5) H. G. Wells as a Green
(6) Ben-Ami Shillony says Judaism is "the first religion to make world peace a central element in its eschatology"
(7) Karl Marx vs the "Cult of Nature"
(8) A Middle position on "Green" issues

(1) GENIUS IN THE SHADOWS: A Biography of Leo Szilard The Man Behind the Bomb

William Lanouette With Bela Silard Foreword by JONAS SALK

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1994

{p. 96} In his hours of thinking and talking - questioning and quibbling at studio parties, arguing in cafes and classrooms - the spare and ad hoc life that Szilard led enabled his mind to range wildly across the scientifc disciplines. Political and social forces were driving and changing the Berlin society he enjoyed, and while studying the newspapers and listening to the cafes' clientele, Szilard almost daily pondered Germany's fate. By the mid-1920s Szilard believed that the Weimar Republic, Germany's postwar government, was doomed to fail. Lacking procedures that might nurture and elevate new leaders, the overly complicated Weimar constitution could only grind itself down in a friction of conflict; in effect, an entropy of governance.

But Szilard still believed that democracy in Germany might survive for "one or two generations," and he devised a rational scheme to help postpone the republic's collapse and, perhaps, to prepare for transition to some healthier form of government. Drawing on the example of the Youth Movement (Jungendbewegung) that had flourished in Germany before the world war, Szilard called his organization the Bund, to his mind a closely bound alliance of like-minded young people. When Szilard brainstormed with Polanyi about the Bund, he praised The Open Conspiracy: Blueprints for a World Revolution by H. G. Wells and thought that the first twenty pages of this book, which was published in 1928, posed succinctly the problems that the world faced.

Polanyi arranged for Szilard to meet Otto Mandl, a wealthy timber merchant from Vienna then living in London, and during the Easter break in 1929, Szilard made his first journey to England. Mandl had discovered and enjoyed the writings of Wells, and moved by their visionary genius, he had arranged to publish them in Germany. Also, Mandl had married pianist Lili Kraus, who was born in Budapest and studied in Vienna, so Szilard found much to chat about when he called at the couple's home. During his London sojourn, Szilard ate with the Mandls almost every day, and a highlight of the visit was a dinner in late March attended by Wells. Writing Polanyi on April 1, Szilard reported that Mrs. Mandl and the children "are very nice each one for himself and compose a family altogether pleasant to look at." Szilard's English is stilted and affected, his spelling has German lapses, but through it an burst new enthusiasms for the ideas that might drive his own concepts for political reform. Mandl liked Szilard's notion of the Bund, but two other candidates Szilard tried to meet, biologist Julian Huxley and biochemist John B. Haldane, were abroad during the Easter holiday.

{p. 97} Back in Berlin that spring, Szilard taught but one course, "New Ideas in Theoretical Physics," leaving him free to think about the Bund, and the idea sustained his attention much longer than the inventions proposed in physics. "What we want are boys and girls who have the scientific mind and a religious spirit," he wrote in detailed plans for the Bund. He thought about the Bund throughout the summer of 1929 and continued to scribble notes and pose ideas that fall, when he also helped teach a course on "Problems of Atomic Physics and Chemistry." This course brought him to the KWI at least once a week, and at the Physics Institute downtown he joined his friend John von Neumann in teaching "New Questions of Theoretical Physics."

Whenever talk turned to politics around the cafe tables, Szilard expounded his own analysis of postwar economic developments, seeking a balance between laissez-faire capitalism and the socialist elitism that he thought necessary to reform the world. The life-styles predominating in "civilized countries" were closely associated with the ruling economic system, Szilard argued, and were largely determined by underlying economic principles. He complained that there was no sense of community purpose to bind the needs and aspirations of the German nation. And he concluded that some form of parliamentary democracy must be maintained to support laissez-faire capitalism.

From an this brainstorming, Szilard easily became gloomy about the survival of German democracy; he had noted a serious danger sign in February 1929 when he read about a conference in Paris on the rescheduling of Germany's postwar reparations payments. Representing Germany was the flamboyant Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, president of the German Reichsbank, who declared that Germany would not resume payments until she recovered her former colonies. Szilard concluded that "if Hjalmar Schacht believed he could get away with this, things must be rather bad." The practical step Szilard took after reading about that was to transfer his money to a bank in Geneva.

That move would save his personal finances, at least temporarily. But how, Szilard wondered, might he save Germany? Europe? The world? The Bund remained his answer. Szilard envisioned as the ultimate result of the Society of Friends of the Bund a utopia brought about in a society guided by an intellectual elite. "If we possessed a magical spell with which to recognize the 'best' individuals of the rising generation at an early age ..." he wrote, "then we would be able to train them to independent thinking, and through education in close association we could create a spiritual leadership class with inner cohesion which would renew itself ..."

{p. 106} But if saving Europe was impractical what about saving the human race?

The notion took shape in Szilard's mind that fall when Otto Mandl, the man who had introduced him to H. G. Wells in 1929, moved from London to Berlin. ...

In 1932, Szilard's impetus to study biology may have come from the essay "Light and Life," published that year by Danish physicist Niels Bohr. This bold paper urged applying the "complementarity" principle

{p. 107} from quantum mechallics to biology. Just as physics had abandoned conventional physical concepts and created new techniques from quantum mechanics to better explain the atom, Bohr reasoned, so might biology be understood in the same seemingly irrational but ultimatel useful way. A very remote but possible link between Bohr and Szilard may have come through physicist Max Delbruck, who returned to Berlin in the fall of 1932 from a year of study with Bohr in Copenhagen.

Unlike most of his prominent colleagues in physics - among them Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, and Victor Weisskopf - Szilard had never visited or studied at Bohr's Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen during the 1920s; but he greatly admired Bohr's work and his courage when confroning new ideas. ...

Space travel was one of the many intellectual fancies that Szilard would set aside, and biology was one that he would eventually rediscover. But the idea that came to haunt Szilard to the end of his life also dawned on him in 1932: his fear of nuclear war. Like the idea of space travel, this danger came to him through Mandl from H. G. Wells. In 1914, Wells published The World Set Free, and when Szilard read the novel, in 1932, he saw science and politics in a new and frightful alliance. Mankind's fate may not necessarily be improved by research, he realized, but in science fiction, at least, it could worsen in catastrophic ways. Wells's novel predicted - correctly - that artificial radioactivity would be discovered in 1933. In the novel, Szilard recalled later, Wells

{quote} then proceeds to describe the liberation of atomic energy on a large scale for industrial purposes, and the deelopment of atomic bombs, and a world war which was apparently fought by an alliance of England, France, and perhaps including America, against Germany and Austria. ... He places this war in the year 1956, and in this war the major cities of the world are all destroyed by atomic bombs. ... {endquote}

Although Szilard regarded the book as fiction at the time, it jarred his thinking about war and peace and science, then and for years to come. Indeed, while Szilard was speculating about biolog, teaching theoretical physics with Schrodinger, and talking about nuclear research with Meitner, he was suffering such profound doubts about his own future.

{p. 132} The young physicists John D. Cockcroft and Emest T. S. Walton managed to split atoms by a new method; not, as Rutherford had done, with naturally radioactive radium but by using high-voltage electricity to speed up streams of hydrogen protons that bombarded small samples of lithium, a light metal. ...

In the same year, physicist James Chadwick identified a third particle in the atom: the "neutron."

... The morning of Rutherford's lecture, September 11, 1933, Szilard awoke with a bad cold and stayed in bed. But the next morning, curious about the talk he had missed, Szilard paged through The Times and spied this intriguing column of type:




Farther down the column, Szilard saw:



He read on, about Rutherford's survey of "the discoveries of the last quarter century in atomic transmutation," to this summary:


What, Lord Rutherford asked in conclusion, were the prospects 20 or 30 years ahead?

High voltages of the order of millions of volts would probably be unnecessary as a means of accelerating the bombarding particles. Transformations might be effected with 30,000 or 70,000 volts . .. [and] we should be able to transform all the elements ultimately.

We might in these processes obtain very much more energy than the proton supplied, but on the average we could not expect to obtain energy in this way. It was a very poor and inefficient way of producing energy, and anyone who looked for a source of power in the transformation of the atoms was talking moonshine. {endquote}

"Lord Rutherford was an expert in nuclear physics," Szilard thought, and "an expert is a man who knows what cannot be done." Szilard found that last paragraph "rather irritating because how can anyone know what someone else might invent?" Perhaps, thought Szilard, the famous Lord Rutherford is talking "moonshine."

In the days that followed, he pondered Rutherford's declaration in a routine favored for serious thought: long soaks in the bathtub and long walks in the park. ...

He recalled:

{p. 133} "Walking along Southampton Row, I had to stop for a streetlight, and at the very moment when the light turned green, it occurred to me that Rutherford might be wrong. ..." ...

He recalled:

{quote} As I was waiting for the light to change and as the light changed to green and I crossed the street, it suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by neutrons and which would emit two neutrons when it absorbed one neutron, such an element, if assembled in sufficiently large mass, could sustain a nuclear chain reaction. I didn't see at the

{p. 134} moment just how one would go about finding such an element or what experiments would be needed, but the idea never left me. {endquote}

What he did see at that fateful intersection were two concepts needed to free the energy locked in the atom: the "nuclear chain reaction" and the "critical mass" needed to set off and sustain it.

Szilard quickly seized the implications: "In certain circumstances it might become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction, liberate energy on an industrial scale, and construct atomic bombs." Suddenly the H. G. Wells novel he had read a year before had a grave new meaning. Atomic bombs were science fiction to Wells when he wrote The World Set Free in 1913, and they were frightful to contemplate when Szilard first read about them in 1932. But by the fall of 1933, Rutherford's challenge and Szilard's response were moving atomic bombs away from fiction to scientific fact. Atomic bombs, and the chain reaction that would power them, became Szilard's "obsession," pushing aside his plans for a new career in biology.

"The thought did not come entirely out of the clear sky," he said later, but seeing both the mechanism and its fateful implications when he did was Szilard's special insight. The chain-reaction concept was common in chemistry, studied by Szilard's friend Michael Polanyi and others, and an atomic bombardment process similar to Szilard's had appeared in the Nature account of Rutherford's speech on "transmutation":

{quote} Beryllium, of mass 9 and charge 4, when bombarded, captures an alpha particle of mass 4 and charge 2, giving rise to a structure of mass 12 and charge 6 and emitting a neutron of mass 1 and charge zero. {endquote}

To enhance this process, Szilard substituted a neutron for the alpha particle that bombarded the beryllium. "I was wondering whether Rutherford was right when it occurred to me that neutrons, in contrast to alpha particles, do not ionize [or electrically charge] the substance through which they pass. Consequently, neutrons need not stop until they hit a nucleus with which they may react." Szilard further assumed that when one neutron entered the nucleus, two might be expelled, creating a chain reaction that seemed awesome. Two calculations fired his imagination, and his fears.

First, if a neutron could strike an atom's nucleus with such force that it would emit two neutrons, then with each collision the freed neutrons might double in number. ...

{p. 135} Second, the amount of energy released could be huge. If Einstein's calculations of 1905 were accurate, then his famous formula E=mc2 assured that Energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light (whose symbol is c) squared. The number for mass was minute, but the number for light speed in this equation is immense, and at least in theory, the amount of energy latent in matter was also immense.

What allowed Szilard to put together the stray clues about a nuclear chain reaction, clues that scientists working directly in atomic research had overlooked? No conclusive answer is possible, given the mysteries of Szilard's creative mind and the scant details he recalled. But this much is clear: While teaching discussion courses at the University of Berlin, Szilard followed developments in nuclear physics by reading scientific journals. He also questioned anyone who knew about a subject, often with the precision of a prosecuting attorney. Unlike his colleagues in nuclear physics, Szilard was no experimentalist. Instead, he was free to speculate haphazardly - intuitively - about the implications of other scholars' practical works, not bound to move each insight only as far as its next logical step and experiment. ...

{p. 136} By whatever means Szilard conceived the nuclear chain reaction, as soon as he had, he turned his mind on himself and tried to prove the idea right or wrong. He retreated to his room at the Imperial. Thinking. Scribbling calculations. Sketching hasty schematic pattems. For a week or more he saw no one, broke his meditation only to eat meals sent up by room service, and each night fen exhausted into bed to sleep. Szilard soaked for hours at a time in his bathtub, dozed and daydreamed on his bed, and forced his impulsive vision at the traffic light into twin hypotheses. Not only did he see a chain-reaction mechanism to release the atom's energy; he also realized why a critical mass of material was necessary: Only with many atoms close together could the neutrons reach other nuclei and not escape.

Having fled Nazi Germany that spring, Szilard also saw beyond his hypotheses to their political implications. He had feared for months that the Nazis were preparing for war and now worried that in the coming conflict Germany might be the first to build - and use - atomic bombs.

By mid-October, Szilard moved out of the Imperial Hotel, perhaps to find quieter or cheaper quarters, and rented a flat at 97 Cromwen Road, in a block of Victorian row houses a few doors west of Gloucester Road. There he continued his calculations, but apparently found it difficult to concentrate. A glance at the morning papers would have been distraction enough. Germany had quit the foundering League of Nations, and rhetoric at the Nazi party's rallies in Nuremberg was increasingly anti-Semitic and bellicose. No longer just a political aberration, the Nazi party was now the German state.

{p. 140} Even more than lightning-powered accelerators, however, it was his nuclear-chain-reaction concept that energized Szilard's thinking. His self-proclaimed "obsession" with chain reactions distracted Szilard from the refugee-settlement work for the Academic Assistance Council (AAC), and by March 1934 he had reduced his ideas to paper. In a fifteen-page patent application he named beryllium as the element most likely to be split by neutrons and, in turn, free other neutrons in a spontaneous frenzy of energy. In fact, beryllium would never split as Szilard expected; he was misled by incorrect published data about the element's atomic weight. But, intuitively, Szilard also named uranium and thorium - the only two natural elements that would eventually sustain chain reactions. He filed the patent on Monday, March 12, 1934, handing in a typed manuscript sprinkled with penned corrections and x-ed-out words. Then he began to dream about the atom's new commercial uses, perhaps replacing coal and oil as the world's industrial fuel; about its social implications, perhaps bringing abundant energy to developing countries now starved for water and minerals, and - unavoidably - about its potential as a weapon of mass destruction, perhaps giving Adolf Hitler "atomic bombs" to terrorize the world.

His patent filed, Szilard wrote to Sir Hugo Hirst, founder of General Electric (U.K), then on holiday at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, and in a playful letter urged him to read "a few pages" from The World Set Free by H. G. Wells. In the book Szilard cited an "interesting and amusing" section that had predicted in 1914 how artificial radioactivity would be produced in 1933, just as it had been by the Joliot-Curies. ...

Also in mid-March, Szilard's mentor and friend Albert Einstein wrote to support a Rockefeller Foundation grant that would finance Szilard's research at NYU, praising him as "an especially intelligent and many-

{p. 141} sided scientist, etraordinarily rich in ideas." ...

For an his involvement with nuclear research, Szilard could not ignore the pull of politics. It caught him when he picked up the Manchester Guardian on the morning of April 24 and read that Japan had rejected all interference, by the League of Nations or by any country, in its invasion of Manchuria. This invasion, and Japan's arrogance, upset Szilard's "sense of proportion," the moral and ethical balance that he sought in nature and in modern life. Szilard ripped the article from the page and with a letter mailed it to Lady Murray, the wife of classical scholar Gilbert Murray, then president of the International Committee of Intellectual Cooperation and chairman of the League of Nations Union. "We felt [at NYU in 1932] that a mere protest would not be of any value," Szilard wrote, "but that a definite pledge on the part of the leading scientists, though of rather limited value in itself, would serve to 'keep the faith' in the cause of justice." ...


(2) Michael Bess, REALISM, UTOPIA, AND THE MUSHROOM CLOUD: Four Activist Intellectuals and Their Strategies for Peace, 1945-1989

Louise Weiss (FRANCE)

Leo Szilard (USA)

E. P Thompson (ENGLAND)

Danilo Dolci (ITALY)

The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1993

{endnotes omitted}

{p. 39} the ques-

{p. 40} tion that all proponents of a "new globalism" would necessarily face: What shape would power have to take if it was not to rest on fear and manipulation? A central problem, for Leo Szilard, E. P. Thompson, and Danilo Dolci, was how to answer this question concretely, while taking into account the harsh but undeniable realities so incisively underscored by Weiss.

{p. 41} Peace through Cooperative Diplomacy: Leo Szilard's Vision of a Superpower Duopoly

Nobody should renounce even the boldest hopes before human nature has been given every opportunity to demonstrate its limits. - Leo Szilard, 1930

{p. 42} Like Louise Weiss, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard experienced the ending of the Second World War as a singularly traumatic and ambiguous moment. Weiss had returned to her shattered home in Paris during the summer of 1944, following on the heels of the fleeing Nazis. For Szilard, the point of dark and transformative insight did not come until a year later, in August 1945.

Szilard, too, had suffered personally at the hands of Nazism. As a Jewish university professor in Berlin, he had been forced to flee, eventually making his way like so many others to the United States. With the help of his friend Albert Einstein, he had persuaded Franklin Roosevelt in 1939 that the Germans might be wen on the way to building an atomic bomb; and he had devoted himself for three frenetic years to the production of plutonium in the Manhattan Project. Like so many other scientists, he had agonized over his moral responsibility in creating this fearsome new weapon, but he had reasoned that if somebody was going to possess nuclear bombs, it had better be the United States rather than Hitler's Germany. Now, in August 1945, he saw emblazoned in the newspaper headlines the news about Hiroshima's obliteration. Never one to avoid unpleasant truths, he knew that in a very real sense the bomb had been his idea: his own hands had leveled that city.

For several months Szilard had been urgently seeking to promote discussion among Manhattan Project scientists and to contact the policymakers in Washington, for he feared that within a few short years a deadly nuclear arms race would take shape between the United States and the Soviet Union. In one farsighted letter to Roosevelt, he predicted the coming era of nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles and the potential for unlimited destruction that they implied.

For Szilard, therefore, the experiences of World War II led to conclusions that were equally as pessimistic (in one sense) as those reached by Weiss; yet they thrust in a fundamentally different direction. If the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima conveyed any clear meaning to him, it was that the modern world must forever abandon the idea of securing political goals by military means. Along that path, he ardently believed, lay collective suicide - not this year, perhaps, nor the next, but someday, inescapably. This was the fundamental premise of Szilard's reasoning, and from this premise flowed a series of inferences that diverged sharply from those drawn by Weiss. The only rational goal of statesmanship, under these new circumstances, was not just to build up national strength or to avoid war but to pave the way for something truly unprece-

{p. 43} dented: a permanent peace. The task ahead - an arduous one, he admitted - was to construct a new system of international security in which all the world's peoples would voluntarily participate, because it was manifestly in their best interest to do so.

1898-1949: From Science Fiction to the Nuclear Arms Race

Szilard's life story falls unavoidably into two parts: on one side lie all the events leading up to his August 1939 letter to President Roosevelt about making an atomic bomb; on the other side lie all the events that sprang from his letter, as he struggled desperately to bring under control the immense forces he had helped unleash.

Born into a prosperous Budapest family of Jewish merchants in 1898, the eldest of three children, Szilard made an early impression on those around him as an exceptional child. His younger brother, Bela, later told an interviewer that in

{quote} all his youthful pictures - school pictures in high school, six years old, four years old even - [Leo was] dead serious. He wanted always to be different. How consciously I can't tell you. But he [even] dressed differently from his schoolmates. {endquote}

A frail and sickly child, Leo spent most of his time up to the age of ten at home; he received his early education from his mother and from governesses who taught him German and French. "Very often it is difficult to know where one's set of values comes from," Szilard later observed, "but I have no difficulty in tracing mine to the children's tales which my mother used to ten me. My addiction to the truth is traceable to these tales and so is my predilection for 'Saving the World.'"

One such tale was The Tragedy of Man, a dramatic poem written by the Hungarian writer Imre Madach. Four decades later, Szilard could still vividly remember the deep impression that this story had made on him - prodding him to think in broad, eschatological terms that were unusual in a ten-year-old:

{quote} In that book the devil shows Adam the history of mankind, with the sun dying down. Only Eskimos are left and they worry chiefly because there are too many Eskimos and too few seals. The thought is that there remains a rather narrow margin of hope after you have made your prophecy and it is pessimistic. {endquote}

As an adult, Szilard delighted to think of himself as a brilliant and prescient eccentric; he deliberately cultivated this self-image in his daily actions, and also (not surprisingly) projected it backward onto his own past. It is difficult, therefore, to know just how early in his life he really began thinking of "saving

{p. 44} the world." In any case, this picture of a precocious child thinking earnestly about the fate of the earth was the one that Szilard himself carried with him throughout his life.

When he was ten years old, Leo's health improved, and he began attending public school. He easily excelled, eventually winning the Eotvos mathematics prize in a nationwide competition; but his schoolmates apparently did not resent his brilliance.

{quote} For some reason, ... I was always a favorite of the class. ... Perhaps my popularity was ... due to my frankness, which was coupled with a lack of aggression. One of the favorite sports of the class at that time was playing soccer. I was not a good soccer player, but because I was liked there was always a rivalry between the two teams: On whose side would I be? I was sort of a mascot. ... So up to the age of fifteen, when I finally refused, I played every soccer game on one side or the other, very often on the losing side. {endquote}

Szilard was sixteen when the First World War broke out, and his reaction (as he later recalled it) was characteristically detached and impartial:

{quote} From reading the Hungarian newspapers, it would have appeared that whatever Austria and Germany did was right and whatever England, France, Russia, or America did was wrong. ... Somehow, it seemed to me unlikely that the two nations located in the center of Europe should be invariably right, and that an the other nations should be invariably wrong. {endquote}

Despite his skepticism, Szilard was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army in 1917. Before his regiment could reach the front, however, he fell ill with Spanish influenza and arranged to be sent home to Budapest for hospitalization. This illness probably saved his life, for he later received word that his regiment had been an but annihilated in battle.

As the war ended, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated, Hungary briefly became a Soviet-style republic under the leadership of the Communist Bela Kun; but in August 1919, the Kun regime was crushed in a violent coup d'etat and replaced by the Right-wing dictatorship of Admiral Nicholas Horthy. Szilard decided that Hungary's chaotic political situation did not bode wen for his future studies, and he applied tor admission to the Engineering School at the University of Berlin. In December 1919, he boarded a train and headed west, beginning the long series of international peregrinations that was to mark his restless career.

Berlin in 1919 was one of the world's foremost centers of theoretical physics; the faculty at the university included such Nobel laureates as Albert Ein-

{p. 45} stein. Max Planck, and Max Von Laue. Szilard could not resist the lure of this intellectual milieu, and within a few weeks he switched from engineering into physics. He learned quickly, moreover, and Soon impressed his professors as a student of exceptional talent. During the Christmas holidays of 1921, he spent three weeks taking long walks and feverishly jotting down notes on a particularly vexing problem in thermodynamics. When school began again. he approached Einstein after a seminar and told him that he had solved the problem: he had found a way to reconcile the two prevailing (and radically different) theories describing thermodynamic fluctuations. Einstein responded: "That's impossible. This is something that cannot be done." "Well, yes," Szilard replied, "but I did it."

Szilard showed his manuscript to his professors, and the following week Max Von Laue telephoned him at home: "Your manuscript has been accepted as your thesis for the Ph.D. degree." He was twenty-three years old.

During these Berlin years, Szilard also became acquainted with the science fiction writings of H. G. Wells, which made a profound impression upon him. In particular, Szilard was struck by a prediction that Wells had made in 1914 concerning the release of atomic energy, its revolutionary consequences for warfare, and the inevitable world government that "atomic survivors" would establish among the radioactive ashes of a devastated civilization. At first, Szilard did not regard Wells's books "as anything but fiction." However, after the Frenchman Frederic Joliot announced the release of artificial radioactivity in 1933 (the very year, by a strange coincidence, for which Wells had predicted it), Szilard began to think seriously about the possibility of atomic weapons.

It was also in April 1933, three months after Hitler became chancellor of Germany, that Szilard fled from Berlin to Vienna, catching one of the last unrestricted trains out of the country before Nazi controls were clamped down. He had been observing events in German politics with growing anxiety throughout the 1920s, and had first reached the conclusion "that something would go wrong in Germany" in February 1929, before the onset of the depression. Hjalmar Schacht, the president of the German Reichsbank, had made the startling announcement that Germany could not pay any more war reparations unless it got back its former colonies. ' I was so impressed by this," Szilard later recalled, "that I wrote a letter to my bank and transfered every single penny I had out of Germany into Switzerland." After this event, Szilard had prepared himself tor the worst: "I had two [packed] suitcases standing in my room ...; the key was in [them], and all I had to do was turn the key and leave when things got too bad."

From a hotel in Vienna he mobilized an international campaign to help find new academic posts for the hundreds of Jewish intellectuals who he knew would be fleeing Hitler's Germany as he had done himself. Later in 1933, this

{p. 46} project brought him to England; and it was here, as he was crossing a London street one autumn day, that he made the most momentous theoretical breakthrough of his career:

{quote} [Itl suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by neutrons, and which would emit two neutrons when it absorbed one neutron, ... [it might become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction, liberate energy on an industrial scale, and construct atomic bombs. The thought ... became a sort of obsession with me. {endquote}

Szilard's idea, as it turned out, was still too far ahead of its time. Lord Ernest Rutherford, who dominated British physics during the 1930s, had recently dismissed the notion of tapping the atom's power as "moonshine.' 15 Thus, because no one would provide financial backing for experiments based on so adventurous a conception, Szilard was forced to abandon his plans for research. Nevertheless, he took out a secret patent on his idea in 1934 and assigned it to the British admiralty for safekeeping.

Szilard was still living in London in March 1936 when Hitler's troops reoccupied the demilitarized Rhineland territories, unopposed by France or Britain. From that point on, Szilard later recalled, "I knew that there would be war in Europe." Although he had been offered a lectureship at Oxford University, it was time once again to prepare the suitcases. He had told his friend Michael Polanyi half-jokingly in 1935: "I would stay in England until one year before the war, at which time I would shift my residence to New York City. That was very funny, because how can anyone say what he will do one year before the war?" 17 In September 1938, Szilard was visiting a friend in Illinois when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London from the Munich Conference, trading the fate of Czechoslovakia for "peace in our time." Szilard brooded for three months, then wrote a most characteristic letter to the director of the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford:

{quote} It seems to me that the Munich agreement created, or at the very least demonstrated, a state of international relations which now threatens Europe and in the long run will threaten the whole civilized world.... I greatly envy those of my colleagues at Oxford who in these circumstances are able to give their fun attention to [scientific worksl ... without offending their sense of proportions. To my great sorrow I am apparently quite incapable of following their example.... I may therefore return to England if I can see my way of being of use, not only in science, but also in connection with the general situation....

Please excuse the three months' delay of this letter. Immediately after the Munich agreement it did not seem possible for me to have

{p. 47} a sufficiently balanced view. and I had to allow some time to elapse before I was able to write without bitterness of this event. {endquote}

Shortly after Szilard had written this letter, the eminent Danish theoretician Niels Bohr arrived in Europe with a piece of startling news: nuclear fission in uranium had just been discovered by two German scientists. Szilard immediately perceived the implications of the discovery and set up experiments (on borrowed equipment) to determine whether uranium, under appropriate conditions, would sustain a nuclear chain reaction. The experiments, conducted with Walter Zinn at Columbia University in March 1939, indicated that it would. "All we had to do," Szilard later recalled,

{quote} was to turn a switch, lean back, and watch the screen of a television tube. If flashes of light appeared on the screen, that would mean that neutrons were emitted in the fission process, ... and that the large-scale liberation of atomic energy was just around the corner. We turned the switch and we saw the flashes. We watched them for a little while and then we switched everything off and went home. That night there was very little doubt in my mind that the world was headed for grief. {endquote}

Since it was clear to Szilard that war was approaching, he decided that Franklin Roosevelt himself must be apprised of these scientific developments and of their possible military consequences. To this end, he drafted a letter to the president, persuaded Einstein to sign it, and had it dispatched directly by a friend who had good connections in the White House. Out of these events the two-billion dollar Manhattan Project gradually developed. Szilard was assigned to the so-called Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, the branch of the Manhattan Project devoted to the production of plutonium in an atomic pile.

Albert Einstein later referred to his signing of Szilard's letter to Roosevelt as the one great mistake of his life. On the other hand, when they were faced at the beginning of World War II with the serious possibility of a Hitler wielding atomic weapons, most scientists did not hesitate to contribute their energy and ingenuity to the wartime cause. The Manhattan Project eventually became a top military priority for the United States, especially after the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941; and it steadily grew into a complex industrial effort with a plodding momentum of its own. For Szilard, the strict regimentation and requirements of secrecy represented the opposite of the scientific openness he considered essential to creative research. He soon grew restive, and complained repeatedly to his superiors that excessive restrictions on interdepartmental communications were slowing the project down. His initial fears were, on the one hand, that Germally would procure a bomb first and subjugate the entire planet: or, on the other hand, that if the United States could not quickly

{p. 48} develop its own bomb to use against Germany, the peoples of the world would never comprehend the weapon's revolutionary destructiveness, and would hence lose the incentive for a radical postwar arms-control agreement.

Then, as it became increasingly clear toward the end of 1944 that Germany could be vanquished by means of nonnuclear weapons, Szilard's fears turned toward Japan. By this point, the issues had an shifted, for there could be little doubt any longer of a U.S. victory. Was it still necessary to use the atomic bomb against Japan, and if so, in what manner" Szilard became deeply concerned about the total isolation of the scientists, who were making the bomb, from the relatively small group of policymakers who would decide how to use it. He worried not only about the moral issues involved in using the bomb but about the consequences that it would have for the balance of power in the postwar world. Specifically, Szilard later wrote, he "was concerned at this point that by demonstrating the bomb and using it in the war against Japan, we might start an atomic arms race between America and Russia which might end with the destruction of both countries."

Not being one to mince words, Szilard appealed vigorously to the project's administrators with various schemes to end the scientists' isolation, but he received only superficial reassurances. He then circulated petitions among the various Manhattan Project installations, requesting permission for the scientists to engage in open debate concerning the use of the bomb. The debate's proceedings, he suggested, should be sent to the president. This proposal was quickly blocked by the military security personnel, who had already grown suspicious of Szilard's independent temperament as early as 1940, and had ordered him shadowed by detectives for the duration of the war. (The agents duly recorded: "Subject is of Jewish extraction, ... usually eats his breakfast in drug stores and other meals in restaurants, ... occasionally speaks in a foreign tongue, and associates mostly with people of Jewish extraction. He is inclined to be rather absent-minded and eccentric, and will start out a door, turn around and come back, go out on the street without his coat or hat.... Subject's actions are very unpredictable and if there is more than one entrance or exit, he is just as apt to use the most inconvenient as not.")

Undaunted by the failure of his petitions, Szilard drafted a long letter to President Roosevelt and had it transmitted directly to the White House by a friend. "The strong position of the United States ... in the past thirty years;' he wrote,

{quote} was essentially due to the fact that the United States could out-produce every other country in heavy armaments. ... The existence of atomic bombs means the end of the strong position of the United States in this respect. From now on the destructive power which can be accumulated by other countries as well as the United

{p. 49} States can easily reach the level at which an the cities of the "enemy" can be destroyed in one single attack. ...

If there should be great progress in the development of rockets after this war it is conceivable that it will become possible to drop atomic bombs on the cities of the United States from very great distances by means of rockets. ...

... [Should] our "demonstration" of atomic bombs and their use against Japan be delayed ... so that the United States shall be in a more favorable position in negotiations aimed at setting up a system of [international] controls? {endquote}

A few days later, Szilard had just received word of being granted an appointment with Eleanor Roosevelt when the news broke that the president had died of a stroke. He then requested to see Harry Truman in person. Truman was not available, but he directed Szilard to discuss his concerns with James F. Byrnes, who (unbeknownst to Szilard) was slated to become Truman's new secretary of state. In May 1945, Szilard visited Byrnes at his home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, but the ensuing discussion left both men dissatisfied. Byrnes disapproved of Szilard's "general demeanor and his desire to participate in policymaking," while Szilard was "completely flabbergasted" by Byrnes's assumption that "rattling the bomb might make Russia more manageable." In particular, Szilard was appalled when Byrnes made a pointed reference to the destiny of Hungary, implying that Szilard should worry less about long-term relations between the United States and Soviet Union than about keeping his native country free from domination. "I certainly didn't want Russia to stay in Hungary indefinitely," Szilard later wrote, "but what Byrnes said offended my sense of proportion .

Troubled by this revealing encounter with one of the senior officials of the incoming administration, Szilard returned to Chicago During the next two months, he desperately sought to circulate another round of petitions, pushing the Manhattan Project scientists to demand greater control over the use of their creation - but to no avail. On August 6, Hiroshima was bombed and the new weapon's existence most starkly revealed to the rest of the world.

Szilard's fundamental ideas about politics as the art of conciliation and mediation were born long before the nuclear era, amid the decaying democracy of Weimar Germany. It was here, during the 1920s and early 1930s, that he first witnessed the blind force of ideological partisanship as it dragged a nation toward anarchy. His earnest and imaginative response to the internal polarities of Weimar Germany clearly prefigured the way he would later respond to the great polarity between Russia and America.

Szilard had come to Berlin in December 1919, just as the defeated German people were first making their rather sullen and half-hearted departure from

{p. 50} the authoritarian grandeur of Kaiser Wilhelm's Second Reich. The new republic, which had its birthplace at Goethe's native city of Weimar, was regarded by many Germans - both on the Left and the Right - as an alien political model imposed on a helpless nation by the victors of the First World War. One of the great paradoxes of Weimar democracy was that its principal supporters were the allegedly Marxist members of the Social Democratic party, whose leaders dominated German politics during the early postwar years. Flanked on the left by militant Communists and on the right by reactionary or proto-Fascist groups, the liberal center rested on an increasingly fragile coalition of Social Democrats, Catholics, and so-called Vernunftrepublikaner (republicans by rationalization), reluctant liberals like Thomas Mann who yearned for a uniquely German synthesis of traditional and modern political forms, and who supported the Weimar government only because an immediate alternatives seemed far worse.

Acutely sensitive to this volatile atmosphere of clashing political views, and alarmed by the economic turmoil and strident racism of the 1920s, the young physicist Szilard tried to sketch a solution of his own. He wrote in 1930,

{quote} If we possessed a magical spell with which to recognize the "best" individuals of the rising generation at an early age, ... then we would be able to train them to independent thinking, and through education in close association we could create a spiritual leadership class with inner cohesion which would renew itself on its own.... [Such a group could] exercise a potent influence on the shaping of public affairs even without any particular inner structure and without any constitutionally determined rights.... It would also be conceivable that such a leading group would take over a more direct influence on public affairs as part of the political system, next to government and parliament, or in the place of government and parliament. {endquote}

This organization, which Szilard called Der Bund (meaning "a closely bonded alliance"), may have been directly modeled after the contemporary proposals of H. G. Wells, whose science-fiction writings had already awakened in Szilard's imagination the fateful vision of an atomic bomb. Szilard greatly admired Wells, and even met briefly with him in 1929 - yet he never mentioned any explicit connection between his "Bund" and the book Wells published in the same year, The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution. Whatever the actual relation between them, however, the "Bund" and the "Open Conspiracy" represented the same bold conception of political renewal - with the difference that Szilard focused upon the concrete circumstances of Germany in 1930, whereas the mind of Wells roamed more freely across the continents and decades.

For both Szilard and Wells, the growing political and economic disarray

{p. 51} of the 1920s and '30s suggested that twentieth-century society was no longer governable by traditional forms of leadership. They proposed that the citizens of the Western democracies gradually transfer the reins of governance to a new elite, made up of the "best minds" from all fields and trained to act with decisiveness amid the incipient chaos of the era. Szilard's plan was more detailed than that of Wells, for it specified the methods of selection, training, and education for his ideal elite, whereas Wells preferred to leave such details up to the initiative of the participants. For both of them, however, the key element was the inner cohesion of this new group of leaders. Although its members would be drawn from diverse backgrounds and encouraged to hold contrasting views, the new elite must be united by a spiritual esprit de corps which transcended an the ideological, national, and class distinctions that were threatening to tear modern society apart. Both the Hungarian scientist and the English novelist were rather vague about details, but they explicitly pointed to an underlying "religious spirit" as the foundation for their proposals. Like the Guardians in Plato's Republic, these new leaders must represent exactly the opposite of the rapacious trafficking that had been associated with the word "politics" since ancient times. In Szilard's "Bund," they were to

{quote} demonstrate their devotion through particular burdens which they take upon themselves and through a life of service.... They must hand over to the Order an monies they earn above the base minimum necessary for their existence.... For a part (about a third?) of the members of the Order, celibacy may perhaps be prescribed. {endquote}

The "Bund" and the "Open Conspiracy" were frankly elitist conceptions, but neither of them was intended as a blueprint for a modern form of oligarchical government. What Szilard and Wells had in mind, rather, was to inject a strong dose of meritocracy into the processes of contemporary mass democracy. They envisioned a group of enlightened leaders with sufficient moral authority to persuade large numbers of citizens, but they refused to accept any Leninist notions of a vanguard party that could force the masses to follow their "objective" interests. "Care must be taken," Szilard wrote,

{quote} that the prevailing opinion of the leading group be safely and freely communicated to a wide public so that the two may never diverge to a significant degree.... Whether one should ever give the Order an opportunity to exercise a more direct influence on public affairs is a question that can be postponed until experience has shown ... to what degree it has succeeded in remaining closely bound to the general public. {endquote}

In proposing such a new form of governance, Szilard and Wells were drawing directly or indirectly from an three of the major ideologies that competed

{p. 52} for dominance during the interwar years. From classical liberalism - which remained central to their proposals - they adopted the principle of the free exchange of goods and ideas as a basic tenet. They mitigated this liberal principle, however, with an emphasis on centralized planning for public welfare, as espoused by contemporary communists and socialists. Wells referred to himself as a nonmarxian socialist, while Szilard (who abhorred an such labels) was attracted to the idea of social planning less from any ideological conviction than from his ingrained penchant for rational and well-ordered solutions. Finally, their proposals also reflected a critique of parliamentary democracy somewhat similar to that which was emerging among the ideologues of Fascism; for both Szilard and Wells saw little hope in the polarized and ineffectual parliaments of England, France, and Weimar Germany. Like the Fascists, they urgently sought new sources of resolute leadership outside the traditional organs of national public life; but they were drastically different from the Fascists in everything else, for they based their solutions on reason, tolerance, and a deep respect for the virtues of diversity. Indeed, the "Bund" and the "Open Conspiracy" were deliberately designed to forestall a decline into Fascism by addressing and remedying precisely those weaknesses in parliamentary government that the Fascists tended to exploit.

Szilard's proposed "Bund" also bore many similarities to Louise Weiss's Ecole de la Paix, which was meeting during these same years in Paris. Both these institutions were designed to provide a neutral platform, from which enlightened individuals might gain insight into each other's contrasting positions, thereby moving closer to mutual understanding and to producing a common plan of action for the future. "In today's bureaucracy," Szilard wrote in 1930, "there is no structure whatsoever that would offer a guarantee of a well-thought-out, large-scale definition of aims." This had been precisely one of Weiss's main reasons for founding her Ecole: the idea that an elite group of individuals, endowed with the respect of the broader population, might step forward to offer a democratic society the sense of direction that it so badly needed to survive. Szilard's "Bund," however, never went beyond the initial planning stages; for in the growing polarization of Weimar Germany, he was unable to find enough persons willing to participate in his unorthodox experiment. Still, he did not grow disillusioned by the harsh setbacks of the 1930s (as Weiss did), and later revived his elitist proposals for consensus building and mediation in the new context of the postwar era.

"If you are a scientist," Robert Oppenheimer told a gathering at Los Alamos, New Mexico in November 1945,

{quote} you believe that it is good to find out how the world works; that it is good to find out what the realities are; that it is good to turn

{p. 53} over to mankind at large the greatest possible power to control the world.... It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is of intrinsic value to humanity. {endquote}

Oppenheimer's audience. which consisted largely of Manhattan Project scientists and technicians, did not include Leo Szilard. Had he been present, though, Szilard would doubtless have found it troubling to hear such a straightforward assertion about the value of knowledge in dominating the environment. Szilard expressed his more ambiguous assessment of the relation between knowledge and power in a 1946 contribution to the pamphlet One World or None. "Atomic bombs," he wrote, "are the product of human imagination applied to the behavior of inanimate matter; [we] cannot cope with the problems that their existence has created unless we are willing to apply our imagination to the problems of human behavior."

Here was a scientist who clearly understood that Oppenheimer's phrase, "power to control the world," actually concealed an unbridgeable qualitative difference between controlling things and controlling people. Implicit in Szilard's statement was a paradox lying at the heart of industrial civilization: while human mastery over nature steadily increases, humanity's control over its own destiny becomes more and more problematic. This twentieth-century paradox of growing power and diminishing control is an too familiar to the postwar generations, who have learned how to conduct their everyday lives in a strangely insecure atmosphere of global ecological crises and economic disequilibrium, political turmoil, and fearsome armaments. For Szilard, Hiroshima and Auschwitz could only be followed by humility. "I am not particularly qualified to speak about the problem of peace," he wrote in 1947 for the newly created Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;

{quote} I am a scientist and science, which has created the bomb and confronted the world with a problem, has no solution to offer to this problem. Yet a scientist may perhaps be permitted to speak on the problem of peace, not because he knows more about it than other people do, but rather because no one seems to know very much about it. {endquote}

Szilard was too sophisticated to think that the inductive logic of natural science could be transferred to the infinitely more obtuse and intractable questions of politics, and he readily acknowledged the rift between physical problems and social problems. Nevertheless. it is impossible to understand Szilard's vision of peace without understanding his vision of science. for both were derived from the same reservoir of fundamental values. Like his great masters, Einstein and Bohr, Szilard did not find any rigid cleavage between "scientific" and "humanistic" categories of thought. He approached basic scientific prob-

{p. 54} lems with an undisguised reverence that bordered on rationalistic mysticism; and, conversely, he tried to keep his personal life and political ideas as clear and unfettered as he kept his scientific creativity. In 1940, when the A-bomb project was still a small and tentative undertaking, he wrote down for himself a list of the personal ideals that moved him. He was evidently embarrassed enough by their openly emotional tone to feel the need to entitle them - with typical wry self-mockery - "Ten Commandments." On science, Szilard wrote:

{quote} Do not destroy what you cannot create.

Speak to all men as you do to yourself, with no concern for the effect that you make, so that you do not shut them out from your world; lest in isolation the meaning of life slips out of sight and you lose the belief in the perfection of the creation. {endquote}

On the conduct of his personal life, he wrote:

{quote} Do your work for six years; but in the seventh, go into solitude or among strangers, so that the recollection of your friends does not hinder you from being what you have become.

Let your acts be directed towards a worthy goal, but do not ask if they will reach it; they are to be models and examples, not means to an end.

Honor children. Listen reverently to their words and speak to them with infinite love. {endquote}

Szilard did not need to "obey" these commandments, for (in the words of his widow) they already reflected his spirit "like a portrait." Scientific inquiry, personal life, and social action were inseparable for him; he brought the same intellectual habits and moral values to an three.

On the other hand, although he took his work very seriously, Szilard's style of thought continually revealed a certain playful lightness. His friends remarked that he could labor night and day for several months on a scientific experiment, than abandon it suddenly with complete serenity, saying, "Oh, it was not a good idea." He preferred to act as a catalyst and innovator, concentrating an his effort on a problem in its early stages when the frames of reference were not yet clear-cut; and then, once the general outlines had emerged, his attention would wander and he would move on to something else. The drudgery of finishing a project, as wen as the subsequent recognition for it, he cheerfully left to others. "Had he pushed through to success an his new inventions," observed the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dennis Gabor in 1973, "we would now talk of him as the Edison of the twentieth century."

With gentle irony, Szilard relentlessly criticized the statesmen and political trends of the Cold War period, yet he did not hesitate to turn the same dry bemusement upon himself: "I must confess," says the main character in one of

{p. 55} his stories, "that with Szilard I never know when he is serious and when he is joking, and I suspect that often he does not know himself." He could be brusque and impulsive at times, or extraordinarily patient and cautious; he was as understated about his own achievements as he was unintimidated by the achievements of others; he plunged vigorously into scientific and political arguments, yet his friends and colleagues marveled at his apparent incapacity for acrimony or in will.

Szilard was not exactly a humble man, but it would be misleading to say that he had a "big ego." He was egocentric, in the sense that he appears to have felt personally responsible since his childhood for affecting the fate of humankind in some decisive way; and he would let nothing come between him and this responsibility. His vision of his own stature was neatly captured when he looked back with irony on his unsuccessful 1945 meeting with Truman's secretary of state, James Byrnes:

{quote} I was rarely as depressed as when we left Byrnes' house and walked toward the station. I thought to myself how much better off the world might be had I been born in America and become influential in American politics, and had Byrnes been born in Hungary and studied physics. In an probability there would have been no atomic bomb, and no danger of an arms race between America and Russia. {endquote}

Having lived in Hungary, Germany, and England before settling in the United States, Szilard was perhaps less a Hungarian emigre than a rootless citoyen du monde: "Leo's home," according to a friend, was "wherever his intellectual interests [happened] to be at the moment." During the postwar years, he lived mainly in hotels and faculty clubs, ate his meals in "horrible restaurants frequented by students," and "owned no. property, very few books." In 1951 he married "an old friend of Berlin days," Gertrud Weiss; but his wife was knowingly taking on a relationship with a man who could never be tied down. Whenever possible, he affiliated himself with academic institutions only on the most tenuous and temporary basis. Although he was officially a professor at the University of Chicago through most of his postwar career, he regularly sought (and received) research grants which permitted him to rove continuously among major American universities, staying in each location for a few months or years at a time. Among scientists, something of a "Szilard legend" eventually developed, and he was noted not only for his "uncanny ability to conceive ideas before their time," but also as "an intellectual adventurer, likely to embark at any moment on some excursion far beyond the boundaries of science ... unpredictable just because his behavior [was] so devastatingly rational ."

Even in physical appearance, Szilard seemed a striking and unusual figure.

{p. 56} The sociologist Edward Shils, a close friend of his, was left with the following impression after they first met in 1945:

{quote} From my window, I could see him approaching, roly-poly; he walked smoothly and rapidly, the swift and regular agitation of his legs contrasting with the serenity of his bearing.... Very shortly thereafter, he came to my room. He was short and plump; he had a large head, a high, broad, somewhat sloping brow, and small, fine, neatly curving features. His hair, dark and combed back, had a broad grey streak running almost from the center of his forehead, and surmounted a ruddy face. It was the face of a benign, sad gentle, mischievous cherub. The whole formed a picture of unresting sensitivity and intelligence, immensely energetic and controlled, and yet with great ease and gentleness of manner. {endquote}

In 1946, Szilard astonished his colleagues by abandoning physics altogether and starting over anew in the fledgling field of molecular biology. This radical break, according to one of his friends, signified "a turning from death to life that seemed to reflect his deep revulsion after Hiroshima." Szilard himself, however, attributed the switch more simply to an intuition that physics had been intellectually exhausted by mid-century and that it was time to move on to something truly new. He was especially disgusted by what he perceived as the co-optation of theoretical physics by the demands of large-scale technology. "Nowadays," he wrote,

{quote} a physicist has to go to the army or navy and get himself a million dollars or if necessary ten million, and build a cyclotron for a few hundred million volts at least, but preferably for a billion volts or even ten billion volts, and after he has gone through the trouble of spending a few million dollars, which usually takes a few years, he can then sit down and observe phenomena which no one could predict and about which he can then be astonished. {endquote}

On the other hand, Szilard believed that "while physics appears to be on the way out, biology does not seem to exist yet." He suspected that "there must exist universal biological laws just as [there] exist, for instance, physical laws [like] the conservation of energy or the second law of thermodynamics." Like Einstein and Bohr, Szilard tended to approach scientific questions with an eye to their bearing on the fundamental mysteries of nature; he was actually more at ease with those answers that bordered on mathematical or metaphysical paradox than with straightforward, one-dimensional models projecting mere mechanical laws. Not surprisingly, his early biological research, which focused on the phenomenon of aging, was guided by questions about the subtle reciprocal interaction of the whole and part within a living organism:

{p. 57} [Does] aging occur in a cell of the animal body because it is not placed in a constant environment, but in an environment determined by an the cells of the body, and because that environment changes as the result of the interaction of the cells of the body with each other? ... Even if we understood an the phenomena that a muscle or nerve fiber may exhibit in terms of the underlying physical and chemical analysis, we will not have made an appreciable step towards the understanding of what life is.

The fact that Szilard should have been thinking in such speculative and anti-reductionistic terms in his postwar scientific work is not without significance for his political activities. He repudiated physics because he believed that it had succumbed to the lure of technology and was, therefore, enduring a slow death of massive institutionalization. He embraced biology, on the other hand, precisely because it did "not seem to exist yet" - because it was an uncharted territory that still offered opportunities for small-scale, flexible research into areas that one chose because they were intrinsically interesting, not just potentially lucrative or useful. What motivated Szilard's choice was probably not so much an explicit value judgment that physics, in Robert Oppenheimer's words, had "known sin," whereas biology was untainted because it focused on life. Such a comparison, given the historical circumstances of the Manhattan Project, apparently did not strike Szilard as entirely fair; for few could know better than he what it had been like to make the agonizing decisions of 1939. Rather, the essential problem for Szilard appears to have been much simpler: postwar physics was being harnessed like a workhorse for the utilitarian ends of industrial society, whereas biology still seemed relatively free to roam wherever the human imagination beckoned. Both in his aversion for what he perceived as the physicist's submission to the ends of power and in his attraction to the biologist's independence, Szilard the scientist was no different from Szilard the humanist.

Thus, if there was a common thread running through Szilard's personal life and scientific ideals, it was the peculiar movement he always made between passionate involvement in some problem or endeavor, and abrupt disengagement so that he could move on to something new. "[A] man's clarity of judgment," he told an interviewer in 1960,

{quote} is never very good when he is involved, and as you grow older, and as you grow more involved, your clarity of judgment suffers. This is not a matter of intelligence; this is a matter of ability to keep free from emotional involvement. {endquote}

This vigilant and continuous effort of emotional disengagement was also central to Szilard's conception of peace; for war, as he saw it, flowed essentially

{p. 58} from strong emotional attachments to particular national or ideological positions. Human beings, he believed, would not engage in the insane destructiveness of modern war unless they had been blinded by irrational impulses and narrow affective allegiances. There is no sign that Szilard read or was directly influenced by the writings of another Hungarian, Karl Mannheim, whose Ideology and Utopia was first published in Bonn in 1929. Yet Szilard would almost certainly have shared that work's urgent preoccupation with "the prospects of rationality and understanding" in an era of violently clashing nationalisms, racisms, and hardened ideologies. Like Mannheim, Szilard believed that the intellectual's role in the twentieth century was to help other groups of people get along with each other - to stand apart from an limited or parochial interests, providing a neutral ground from which those conflicting positions might be harmonized, or at least allowed to coexist.

Szilard apparently never doubted that such a neutral ground could be created. He believed that lasting peace was a remote but real possibility, and he based this belief on the deeper faith that clear and open-minded communication could lead to successful compromises on an the major conflicts that divided human beings from each other. The nature of the conflicts, per se, did not trouble Szilard, for he believed that no social problem would prove so intractable as to resist indefinitely the efforts of intelligent and rational negoti-

1945-1964: The Urgent Utopia

On September 23, 1949, the U.S.-Soviet arms race which Szilard had long foreseen became a public fact, as President Truman made the dramatic announcement that the Soviet Union had just exploded its first nuclear device. The news defied all those confident forecasts of a fifteen-year U.S. nuclear monopoly - forecasts that had impelled James Byrnes, four years earlier, to brush off Szilard's pleas for U.S.-Soviet cooperation. Szilard himself, three days before Truman's announcement, had been reading ancient Greek history. His notes recorded that he was "considerably frightened" by what he read, for he saw a clear historical parallel between the U.S.-Soviet rivalry and the deadly conflict that had brought Athens and Sparta to ruin. The logic of arms races, it seemed to him, had not changed substantially in 2,500 years.

{quote} Sparta and Athens did not want to go to war, but both looked upon war between themselves as a possibility which could not be disregarded. Therefore each one felt impelled to take steps which would make it more likely that it should win the war if war came. Each such step which Sparta took to improve her chances in case of war, and every such step which Athens took to improve her

{p. 59} chances in case of war, was of necessity a step which made war more likely to occur. {endquote}

Szilard had remained unconvinced by the stark picture of the Soviet Union that gained currency during the early postwar years. For many Westerners, he knew, the Soviets were similar to the Nazis in their ideological fanaticism and single-minded pursuit of world domination: they only understood the logic of superior force, and could not be kept at bay by means of reasonable compromises, but solely by fear. For Szilard, however, this conflation of two peoples like the Germans and the Russians, each of which possessed its own unique heritage and culture, could only result from a hopelessly muddled and superficial understanding of European history. In his view, it was far more accurate to interpret Soviet actions as stemming quite simply from the logic of self-interest. "Soviet Russia," he wrote in 1949,

{quote} is a dictatorship no less ruthless perhaps than was Hitler's dictatorship in Germany. Does it follow that Russia will act as Hitler's Germany acted? I do not believe so. ... To my mind anything that Russia has done in the past four years can be fully understood as the action of a nation pursuing her national interests, guided largely, though not solely, by strategic considerations. {endquote}

Szilard met regularly with Soviet scientists and officials during trips to Europe and at international scientific conferences, and he once chided his friend Edward Teller, the father of the American hydrogen bomb, for his rigidly anti-Soviet position:

{quote} I doubt that Teller would find it easy to hold on to the premises of his political thinking if he had had adequate personal contact with our Russian colleagues and had made an extended visit to Russia.... The set of values of our Russian colleagues is not exactly the same as the set of values of the man in the street in Moscow or Leningrad, and of course the Soviet Government is no more a human being than the Government of any other great power. Still, the Soviet Government does not operate in a vacuum and the members of the Soviet Government who are, after all, human beings are not likely to remain unaffected by the set of values which pervades most of Russia. {endquote}

Unswayed by the dehumanizing rhetoric of the Cold War, Szilard insisted on assuming that the majority of Russians were not beastly aggressors but normal human beings like the citizens of other nations. The Soviet government, he believed, was a ruthless dictatorship; but it was amenable to reason, and it was certainly not interested in committing national suicide. On this basis, he felt, there was room for fruitful bargaining and long-term accommodation.

{p. 60} Unfortunately, however, the international atmosphere during the first five years after World War II could hardly have been less propitious for advancing ideas like Szilard's. The mentality of James Byrnes, which had so dismayed Szilard in 1945, also characterized most of the powerful individuals who helped shape the postwar world - from Truman to Acheson and Dulles, from Stalin to Zhdanov and Molotov. Even before Roosevelt's death, Western suspicions had been fueled by the Soviet betrayal of the Polish wartime leadership in Warsaw, just as Russian suspicions were fueled by the Anglo-American delay in establishing a second front in Europe. After 1945, the two erstwhile allies - each unfurling the banner of a rival ideology - scrambled to gain control over the postwar world before control was preempted by the other. Soviet and American actions followed upon each other in rapid succession: on the Soviet side, the vain attempts in 1946 to control Iran and Turkey; Communist takeovers and purges in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia; and the sudden blockade of Berlin. On the American side: Truman's abrupt cancellation of Lend-Lease in 1945; U.S. manipulation of the United Nations as an instrument for opposing Soviet policies; the Truman Doctrine and anti-Communist intervention in Greece; U.S. moves to establish pro-Western governments (and military bases) around the vast perimeter of the Soviet land mass, in Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe; and the formation of NATO in 1949. Within the Soviet Union, these international events went hand in hand with a further hardening of the already paranoid and brutal excesses of Stalinism; while in the United States, Truman's government loyalty investigations (inaugurated in March 1947) paved the way for the collective hysteria of McCarthyism.

Which side was to blame for this self-aggravating cycle of fear and provocations? Who started it? Szilard regarded such questions as naive and misleading, because they implied that one side had been the exclusive aggressor while the actions of the other had been uniformly defensive. He did not see the Cold War this way. For him, rather, the Cold War was like a lethal game that could either be observed from the outside or "played" from the inside. From the perspective of the inside, one heard people in one bloc passionately describing those in the other bloc as "evil" or "primarily at fault." From the outside perspective, however, one saw a polarized configuration of international politics that could be logically expected to express itself in precisely this kind of hostile repartee between two self-righteous camps. Szilard easily admitted that one side or the other could be primarily responsible for any given international incident, but he refused to accept the idea that the Cold War as a whole was triggered by unilateral action. The Cold War, in his view, was an interactive relationship based on a dynamism of fundamental symmetry: the reciprocal logic of the arms race, and the reciprocal distrust of two alien peoples.

Szilard truly considered nuclear war a day-to-day possibility, and he occasionally urged his friends "to leave the United States, and go to live in Australia

{p. 61} or New Zealand or perhaps a small island in the Pacific, in order to be away from the danger." Although he himself continued to bustle about such prime nuclear targets as New York and Washington, D.C., Szilard took precautions in the same way as he had done during the crisis years between 1929 and 1933: he carried with him his essential patents and documents in two bags known as "BBS" and "SBS" (Big Bomb Suitcase and Small Bomb Suitcase). In 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, Szilard fled by plane to Geneva until the duel between Kennedy and Khrushchev had clearly been resolved. "I have been getting more and more convinced that the country will come to grief," he later explained to a friend. "If I were to stay in Washington until the bombs begin to fan and were to perish ... I would consider myself on my deathbed, not a hero but a fool."

It was this grim appraisal of humankind's prospects that set the tone for Szilard's radical solutions to the Cold War. Szilard's vision of peace - like everything else about him - evolved continuously as new ideas and new events stimulated his imagination. Nevertheless, he forced himself twice during the postwar period (in 1955 and 1961) to sit down and bring together his far-ranging thoughts into a fairly comprehensive "blueprint" for a pathway out of the Cold War. The first effort was a long article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, entitled "Disarmament and the Problem of Peace." {Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Oct 1955, pp. 297-307}

The second eventually took shape as a humorous fictional essay, "The Voice of the Dolphins," designed to convey the complex ideas of his 1955 article to a much broader audience. The narrator of this essay, a historian of the 1990s, describes the steps through which a demilitarized world federation has emerged out of the international anarchy of the 1950s. Crucial to the transformation was the "Vienna Institute," where Soviet and American scientists (working together as a team) had learned to communicate with superintelligent dolphins. Acting as arbiters between the global power blocs, the dolphins devised ingenious disarmament plans which preserved national sovereignty and identity while leading gradually toward global disarmament. The story ends with the narrator's well-founded suspicion that the dolphins never really existed, but that they were a convenient fiction used by the scientists to enhance their credibility as neutrals promoting peace.

Szilard started from the assumption that two major incentives might push the superpowers toward a political settlement: the danger of nuclear annihilation, and the tremendous economic benefits of reducing military expenditures. Pragmatically anticipating the lobbying of arms-manufacturing corporations and military groups, he suggested that the U.S. and Soviet governments each set up a special fund to compensate those who possessed vested economic interests in the military establishment. These funds, he thought, could be financed from current defense budgets and could subsidize the conversion of all industries to peacefuI purposes. Military personnel would be given ex-

{p. 62} tremely generous allowances, over a period of years, to train for a new career; but they would not be the only ones to reap the benefits of disarmament. Szilard calculated that the billions of dollars in annual savings would enable the superpowers (depending on their priorities) to abolish hunger in the Third World, or to double their own domestic standards of living. "Leisure," he wrote, "could take the form of ... two months' additional paid vacation for everybody.

With incentives like these, it was hard to consider disarmament uninteresting: But what about national security? In Szilard's view, disarmament was meaningless - even dangerous - unless it was preceded by a fundamental political agreement that both superpowers strongly supported. In "The Voice of the Dolphins" (1961), he asked his readers to imagine a world patrolled by "multinational police forces" created with the blessing of the United States and the Soviet Union. These regional military forces would operate under the aegis of the United Nations; their assignment would be to deter aggression in their designated areas of the globe and to punish any nation that disturbed the status quo by violent means. The actions of these U.N. police forces would be governed by regional committees of nations endorsed in advance by the superpowers. "America," Szilard thought, "might agree not to veto a slate favored by Russia for a certain region if Russia would agree not to veto a slate favored by America for a certain other region."

Szilard's reasoning here was straightforward. He believed that the superpowers would continue for the foreseeable future to project their influence to the far corners of the globe, as their national interest and ideology ordained; and it seemed far safer to have this influence regulated by the interposed institutional structures of the United Nations. For the sake of international stability, he argued, it was better to cushion the rivalry of the superpowers through a tacit division of the planet into regional spheres of influence, rather than to have Russia and America intervening unilaterally and erratically in the affairs of lesser nations, as dictated by the flux of international crises and fickle public opinion.

Szilard's vision, therefore, was not based on some vague and pious conception of world government that simply cancelled out national sovereignty. Instead, he proposed a flexible and decentralized structure in which international bodies could modulate the preponderant influence of major nations, while smaller nations could acquire a limited but nonetheless real capability to govern their own local regions. In "The Voice of the Dolphins," Szilard wrote:

{quote} When the possibility of setting up regional police forces under the control of various "groups" of nations was first discussed, many people opposed it on the ground that each such region would be likely to become the sphere of influence of one or the other of the

{p. 63} great powers.... It turned out, however, that the regions under the control of the various groups of nations were spheres of noninfluence, rather than spheres of influence. For instance, Central America was under the control of Uruguay, Canada, Austria, and Australia, and this did not place Central America in the sphere of influence of the United States, but it did exclude Central America from the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. Similarly, the Middle East was excluded from the sphere of influence of the United States without falling into the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. {endquote}

Why should the superpowers allow these lesser nations to take over their own roles as international constables? Why, for instance, should the United States cede its traditional dominance over the political fortunes of Central America to "Uruguay, Canada, Austria, and Australia?" The answer lay in the broader advantages of the global settlement with Russia - of which the Central American and Middle Eastern "regional police forces" were an integral part. For the sake of defusing the nuclear powderkeg and greatly increasing their own economic prosperity, the superpowers might be willing to barter some of the direct influence that they currently exercised over various regions of the planet. The tact that such an agreement would require both the superpowers and the world's smaller countries to surrender some of their sovereignty to the United Nations did not deter Szilard, for to him it offered the only path toward a safer, more stable world.

A crucial flaw in this vision, of course, lay in Szilard's rather sketchy depiction of the regional police forces themselves. What if Uruguay and Austria, for instance, could not agree on how to respond to a crisis within their sphere? What if the regional police force in the Middle East began implementing a policy that one (or both) of the superpowers strenuously opposed? Szilard did not directly address these kinds of thorny questions, and his articles accordingly tailed to attract much attention.

In another sense, however, these questions are somewhat unfair; for Szilard never hoped to provide an infallible blueprint for peaceful international relations. His aim, rather, was to depict a global political system governed by an entirely different set of assumptions and ground rules. It was obvious that such a picture would seem highly unrealistic if judged by contemporary standards; but Szilard's goal was to imagine what such a world might look like and to specify the changes that would have to occur in order to get "from here to there."

Szilard could see plainly that the vast majority of human beings was still hemmed in by the divisive allegiances of nation, class, religion, race, and local community. All these divisions constituted the substance of human culture, he believed, and could not be simply overruled or ignored. The trick to steering

{p. 64} this imperfect world toward sanity, as he saw it, lay in a concept that he called "predetermined gradualism." The idea underlying this cumbersome term was fairly ingenious, for it simultaneously addressed two profoundly conservative tendencies in human society. On the one hand, Szilard observed, most people were inherently slow to change, and stubbornly resisted drastic alterations in their established patterns of life and thought. On the other hand, the political, economic, and military problems of the postwar world were so complex and interconnected that every attempt at piecemeal change in one of these domains invariably ran afoul of major obstacles in the other domains. The solution, in Szilard's view, was to bring together a wide range of problems and disagreements and resolve them as part of a single package of long-term compromises and trade-offs. Rather than immediately implementing the whole set of deals, however, the negotiating teams would lay out a steady progression through prearranged stages, which each step coming a little closer to the desired final goal. In this way, he reasoned, the outcome would be predetermined, but the steps along the way would be gradual enough to ease the shock of transition.

Moreover, foreseeing the reluctance of political leaders to embark on sweeping negotiations over the shape of the distant future, he added another interesting twist: either side should be able to withdraw from the agreement at any time with complete impunity. If the agreement was truly sound, he argued, it would be strongly in the interest of both sides to keep it in force. Rather than seeing the whole settlement abrogated, they might, therefore, be willing to make partial concessions when particular (and unforeseeable) conflicts arose. Naturally, such a comprehensive political settlement would have to rest upon a "gentleman's understanding" not to engage in political subversion outside one's own indirect spheres of influence; and once again, the primary enforcer of this "understanding" was nothing more than the self-interest of the superpowers in keeping the overall agreement in force.

What Szilard envisioned, therefore, was a world where the positive incentives of cooperation had replaced the negative sanctions of fear and punishment in keeping the peace. It was at this point, and only at this point, that he began to discuss disarmament. Szilard thought that the superpowers would have to accept three basic principles if they sincerely wanted disarmament. First, they would have to agree to maintain their weaponry at levels of rough parity or equilibrium. Second, they would keep a portion of their strategic nuclear forces as "insurance" against being double-crossed, an "insurance" that would presumably be required for a long time. Finally, with each diminution in levels of armament, they would have to agree to concomitant reductions in the secrecy that cloaked their military establishments; for secrecy implied the possibility of betrayal, and fear of betrayal would block an progress.

The key to the entire procedure, of course, lay in the gradual transfer of peacekeeping functions to the regional police forces established under a

{p. 65} spheres-of-influence agreement. It was essential to avoid creating a power vacuum at any point in the disarmament process; for in the absence of an effective arrangement for settling conflicts and enforcing the peace, the disarmament of the superpowers would become a dangerous descent into vulnerability and possible chaos.

Szilard envisioned three broad phases of disarmament. During the first stage the superpowers would destroy three-quarters of their conventional military forces, while retaining their fun arsenal of nuclear weapons. At this point, the regional police forces would begin to operate as enforcers of the peace, and other great powers like France, China, and Great Britain would also reduce their conventional forces. If the first stage proved workable over a period of years (Szilard did not specify how many), then the more drastic reductions of the second phase would begin. Here, an conventional arsenals would be gradually eliminated, including those of the lesser nations, and only the multinational peacekeeping forces would remain. Then, in the third stage, the last stockpiles of nuclear weapons would be destroyed. At the heart of this final step was the establishment of a foolproof method of inspection, so that no nation could secretly accumulate a nuclear arsenal and blackmail the rest of the world.

Szilard's solution to this difficulty was directly connected to the broader political settlement between the superpowers. If the world's nations truly desired to keep the global settlement in force, he wrote, then they "might have to adopt a fresh attitude toward the problem of inspection, and decided to legalize the position of the informer." Each nation, in other words, would adopt an official policy of actively encouraging its own citizens, government employees, and scientific researchers to report any violation of the overall disarmament plan. Indeed, he argued, each nation would allow an the other countries to employ local citizens as secret informers, providing large cash rewards and immunity from prosecution to anyone who discovered a violation. Why? Because, if it was true that the participating states had a strong interest in keeping the international settlement in force, then it would also be in their interest to convince other states that they were not cheating. Accordingly, they would do everything in their power to establish a credible system for reassuring their neighbors that any major violation would be reliably discovered and reported.

This picture represented a perfect reversal of the reasoning that characterized traditional international politics. Szilard had taken the logic of competitive self-interest and gradually subverted it, in steady increments, until he had pushed through to an entirely different logic of cooperative self-interest. He was fully aware of the utopian tension between his final vision and the harsh world of the Cold War; but he believed that the articulation of such a long-range vision was an essential first step - even for much more modest programs of change.

{p. 66} Thinking about the distant future, however, did not make much sense to Szilard unless it was coupled with prompt action to create a "breathing space" within the all-too-real Cold War of the present. Disregarding the fact that a scientist, in the 1940s, was expected to stick to laboratory experiments and graduate students, he began stepping with increasing confidence into the limelight of politics and the mass media.

Already during the fall of 1945, while the nation was still in disarray from the war, Szilard received his first lesson about maneuvering for success in American politics. The occasion was a bill being rushed through congress to form a new, military-controlled U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Alarmed by the prospect of military officers obtaining preponderant authority over peacetime nuclear-policy decisions, Szilard immediately established a lobbying headquarters in a Washington hotel. He enlisted the support of fellow scientists, congressmen, and members of the press, and was thus able to persuade the House Military Affairs Committee to reopen its hearings on the bill. After being the first to present testimony, he began to contact everyone he knew to mobilize a solid opposition. Edward Shils, Szilard's friend from the University of Chicago, later wrote:

{quote} I remember going to his suite in the building where we were staying. He was simultaneously on two separate long-distance calls on telephones in two rooms, going back and forth, putting down the receiver in one room while he went to take up the conversation in the other. {endquote}

Szilard was particularly effective in this early phase of the struggle, when prodigious outbursts of energy were required to build up a momentum of dissent. Gradually, however, as more and more atomic scientists pledged their support, founding a national federation in Washington to represent their new movement, Szilard began to withdraw toward the sidelines. Although he continued to work for the scientists' cause, he clearly preferred the role of catalyst to that of administrator and left the orchestration of the final lobbying drive to others. Eventually, the scientists won a major victory, and the AEC began functioning in 1947 under strictly civilian control.

At the same time, Szilard was becoming increasingly alarmed by the anti-Communist hysteria that he saw reflected in the press and in the rhetoric of politicians. The only way out, in his view, was to embark on a campaign of education among the American public, breaking the psychological patterns of blind mistrust and setting new terms for the debate on foreign policy. In a letter to Einstein in March 1950, as Senator Joseph McCarthy was loudly accusing the U.S. State Department of being riddled with Communists, Szilard described in detail a proposed Citizens' Committee which would serve to clarify U.S. diplomatic aims by holding mock American-Russian debates. According

{p. 67} to the plan, a group of well-educated U.S. citizens would study carefully a specific topic of international concern and then divide into two groups. One side would argue as if they were Russians, while the others would defend the "American" position. A transcript of the debate would then be made public. In this way, Szilard believed,

{quote} if we could at least achieve that the public discussion of the Russian-American conflict will be henceforth carried on more in terms of the real conflicting interests which are involved and less in the irrational terms in which it has largely been conducted in these last four years, then we would already have achieved something of importance. {endquote}

Szilard proposed the Citizens' Committee for sponsorship by the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, of which both he and Einstein were members; but the outbreak of the Korean War two months later forced him to postpone his project indefinitely.

Judging from the much lower profile that he kept during the remainder of the 1950s, it appears that Szilard reluctantly came to grips with McCarthyism, acknowledging the strength of this pervasive and irrational phenomenon, and recognizing that an immigrant like himself was in no position to launch an effective opposition. As a result, he focused more on his biological research and confined his political ideas to the relatively safe platform of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He continuously readapted his thinking, moreover, as the Cold War waxed and waned. The Korean War, between 1950 and 1953, had spurred the United States to a new level of involvement in the affairs of distant nations - a level unprecedented in the nation's history. From Iran to French Indochina, from Formosa to Guatemala, the U.S. government intervened to block what it perceived as a rising tide of global communism. It signed security treaties with Australia and New Zealand in 1951, with Francisco Franco's Spain in 1953, and with the Southeast Asian nations in 1954. The U.S. defense budget grew dramatically during the 1950s (independently of the specific costs incurred by the Korean War), and the first U.S. hydrogen bomb cast its glaring light over the Pacific atoll of Eniwetok in 1951. Over half of the U.S. citizens in a 1954 nationwide poll declared that they "regarded favorably" the efforts of the senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy.

The Soviets, too, were thinking in global terms, but their means of projecting influence were not yet comparable with those of their rivals. In March 1953, four months before the Korean armistice, the death of Stalin abruptly shook the power hierarchy in the Eastern bloc. As the reins of governance passed into the hands of an uneasy oligarchy, some of the tighter controls of Stalinism were relaxed; but only two months after Stalin's death, the new rulers unflinchingly used tanks in great force to crush an anti-Soviet insurrection in

{p. 68} East Germany. By 1955, Nikita Khrushchev had emerged as the new Soviet leader, and it was he who presided over the formation of the Warsaw Pact, a mirror image to NATO in the Eastern bloc. Under Khrushchev's strong leadership, the Soviet Union began to acquire a new reputation as a modern superpower fully capable of challenging the leading role of the United States. By the end of the following year, the Soviet Union had concluded fourteen economic and military pacts with Third World countries.

A meeting between Eisenhower and Khrushchev in 1955 brought few substantial agreements but contributed to perceptions of a "thaw" in the Cold War; this perception was reinforced early in 1956, when Khrushchev astounded the world at the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist party by denouncing Stalin's criminal excesses. The "thaw" abruptly ended, however, in November 1956 - a month in which the overwhelming predominance of both superpowers became plain for an to see. On the Western side, a rash military action by France, Britain, and Israel to wrest the Suez Canal from Egypt's control turned into a humiliating fiasco after Washington issued peremptory instructions to place the matter before U.N. arbitration. On the Eastern side, a successful reform movement in Poland had led to growing hopes for independence and self-rule in Szilard's native Hungary; yet when the Hungarian reformers moved into outright revolution, troops from the Warsaw Pact poured in from an sides under Soviet orders. Although more than three thousand of his countrymen perished during the Soviet-sponsored invasion, Szilard maintained a strict silence on the subject. He may have feared that any public protest on his part would destroy his carefully cultivated position as an intermediary between East and West.

The period of the mid-fifties "thaw," however, had provided an important opportunity for Szilard to emerge from his relative isolation. In 1955, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein had issued a joint "manifesto" on the nature of future wars, calling for a meeting of scientists from around the world to discuss the problems of atomic energy and international cooperation. The meeting, which became the first in an ongoing series, was held in 1957 in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, and started what gradually became known as the Pugwash Movement. Szilard participated with guarded enthusiasm. Although he attended eight of the eleven conferences held during the following seven years, and often presented long papers specifically written for each occasion, he remained skeptical that any conference held on so large a scale could really promote a "meeting of the minds" (as he called it). He realized that it would be unlikely for Soviet scientists to speak freely in so widely publicized and formal a context, and he disapproved of the vague and noncommittal proposals which were an that such a huge congregation could agree upon as its common platform. Accordingly, when the seventy participants of the third conference issued in 1958 a fundamental declaration that was to be "considered the tenet of the

{p. 69} Pugwash Movement," it was ratified unanimously - "with only Szilard abstaining."

By the late 1950s, the United States and the Soviets had reached a tense modus vivendi. Although it would take another decade before Western military experts would begin talking of "parity" or "equivalence" in the military capabilities of the superpowers, the Soviets had made a huge impression in 1957 with the launching of Sputnik (the first man-made satellite) aboard a powerful rocket. Suddenly the fearful prediction that Szilard had made to President Roosevelt in 1945 was coming true: nuclear technology had been coupled with aeronautics and ballistics, threatening entire nations with a rain of destruction from one moment to the next. The mainland of the United States, long protected by vast oceans, was no longer a sanctuary but a naked and vulnerable target. Although initial U.S. fears of a "missile gap" later turned out to be exaggerated, the Soviets had succeeded in establishing what one American strategic expert described as a "balance of terror."

Szilard's periodic articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists during the late fifties and early sixties clearly reflected these new strategic realities. Although he still clung to his long-term hopes for a comprehensive settlement between the superpowers, he devoted several extended essays to the more pressing problem of stabilizing the U.S.-Soviet rivalry, so as to mitigate the inherent dangers of the arms race. In one article, entitled "How to Live with the Bomb and Survive" (1960), he pragmatically accepted the rationale of nuclear deterrence, or mutually assured destruction, that was gradually becoming the cornerstone of the superpowers' strategic policies. Nevertheless, he characteristically pushed this rationale much farther than most "defense intellectuals" of the period. If the superpowers' statesmen truly believed in nuclear deterrence, Szilard argued, then their primary goal should be to reach an explicit understanding about how to handle conflicts and crisis situations without triggering a disastrous escalation that neither side wanted. They should establish formal procedures for handling such crises well in advance, so that neither side would be likely to misread the other's actions; and they should promptly scale back their nuclear forces to low and equal levels, since it was far easier to monitor a small and stable number of weapons than a constantly changing and proliferating arsenal.

At the heart of Szilard's thinking, in these short-term proposals for stabilizing the arms race, just as in his long-range hopes for disarmament, lay the goal of enhancing communication between the two enemies. Without effective communication, even the most modest attempts at cooperation were bound to fail; yet the existing points of contact between the superpowers in the late 1950s struck him as hopelessly inadequate. Official diplomacy consisted mainly of mutual accusations and posturing; such informal channels as the

{p. 70} Pugwash conferences seemed too far removed from the realities of power to accomplish much. It was here, therefore, that Szilard decided to embark on a bold attempt at conducting diplomacy on his own. Starting early in 1959, he began to write a series of letters directly to Nikita Khrushchev, describing his plan for orchestrating a more far-reaching "meeting of the minds" between the Americans and Russians. To his astonishment, the Soviet leader wrote back, and for the next four years, Szilard and Khrushchev traded proposals back and forth. These contacts with the Soviet leader represented the culmination of ideas that Szilard had developed for his "Bund" in the early 1930s, and they ultimately came to constitute one of the more important episodes in his career.

What Szilard envisioned was a small, unofficial forum for Russian-American discussions on arms control; the novelty in his idea was to seek official approval for the informal talks and to have off-duty government experts as wen as scientists participating. A delicate balance had to be struck, Szilard thought, between the rigidity of official negotiations among the powerful, and the relative flexibility (but proportionate impotence) of discussions among mere outsiders. Since the participating Russian and American experts would not speak as representatives of their governments, they would be freed from the need to use bargaining tactics and could thus communicate more clearly. At the same time, since these persons would have close informal connections with decision makers who were actually in power, the discussions' impact on official policy might still prove considerable.

Szilard knew that the Soviet government in recent years had issued several resounding proclamations calling for "General and Complete Disarmament." Western defense experts had routinely dismissed these Soviet proposals as mere propaganda, pointing to the fact that the Soviet government refused to allow on-site inspection of its weapons facilities as proof that it made its offers in bad faith. Szilard, however, decided to take the Soviet offers more seriously. Although he doubted that "General and Complete Disarmament" could ever take place, except as the final development in a much broader process of political accommodation, he nonetheless believed that a propitious moment had arrived for taking the first step.

Szilard's major opportunity arose in October 1960, when Khrushchev traveled to New York, flanked by representatives of an the Eastern-bloc countries, to attend the Fifteenth General Assembly of the United Nations. In addition to frequent diplomatic receptions and vigorously combative press conferences, Khrushchev met the Cuban leader Fidel Castro for the first time, mended fences with Yugoslavia's Tito (with whom relations had been severely strained), and conferred privately with world statesmen from Ghana's President Kwame Nkrumah to Britain's Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Amid the hectic schedule of engagements, the Soviet leader set aside

{p. 71} fifteen minutes for an interview with Szilard. Their talk, once it had begun, actually lasted two hours.

Szilard and Khrushchev met under awkward circumstances, for the international atmosphere in the fall of 1960 was not a propitious one for conducting diplomacy - whether openly or behind the scenes. An American presidential campaign was reaching its climax, as candidates Richard Nixon and John Kennedy fiercely vied with each other in presenting images of patriotism and anti-Communist toughness. Only five months earlier, the Soviet leader and President Eisenhower had abruptly scuttled a scheduled summit meeting after Soviet antiaircraft rockets shot down an American U-2 spy plane near the Russian city of Sverdlovsk. "We came to New York," Khrushchev later wrote, "determined to show that American imperialism isn't all-powerful and that we knew our rights, despite the anti-Soviet howling and growling that was stirred up against us." At one point during the U.N. sessions, the Soviet leader even took off his shoe and angrily banged the podium in front of him to interrupt a speech by a Western diplomat. Large motorcades escorted Khrushchev to and from the U.N. skyscraper, for Manhattan's streets bristled with demonstrators waving placards and shouting slogans to denounce the Communist system and its representatives. When Szilard arrived at the Soviet U.N. mission headquarters at 11 A.M. on October 5, he had to pass through a barricade of two hundred New York policemen who had formed a protective cordon sanitaire around the entire block.

Szilard brought to the interview a seven-page letter in Russian, summarising his views on the burning issues of contemporary international politics. Through an interpreter, he told Khrushchev that although time was short, he wanted first to "take a minute and talk in a somewhat lighter vein."

{quote} I said that I had brought him a sample of the Schick Injecto razor, which is not an expensive razor but is very good. The blade must be changed after one or two weeks and the blades I brought with me should last for about six months. Thereafter, if he would let me know that he likes the razor, I would send him from time to time fresh blades, but this I can do, of course, only as long as there is no war.

K. said that if there is a war he will stop shaving, and he thinks that most other people will stop shaving also. I said that I was somewhat distressed to see that, during his stay in New York, he stressed only the points where he was in disagreement with American statesmen and that I thought he might have found a few points on which he was in agreement.... K. asked what points I had in mind and I told him that he might have said, for instance, that he was in agreement with Senator Kennedy on everything that Kennedy was saying about Ninon, and he could have added that he was

{p. 72} in agreement with everything that Ninon was saying - about Kennedy. {endquote}

Szilard's record of the interview does not say whether Khrushchev was amused, but the length of the ensuing conversation suggests that the Soviet premier had seen through the devices of the razor and the political wisecrack and understood that Szilard was more interested in peace than in political partisanship.

Three main themes dominated the conversation. First and foremost in Szilard's mind, of course, was the subject of rational communication between the superpowers. He reiterated the proposal he had made in his letters for creating an informal forum of discussion among superpower "insiders." Khrushchev had no objection to this idea, adding "that Topchiev, the General Secretary of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, will be able to arrange all the contacts that we might want."

Encouraged by Khrushchev's response, Szilard next proposed that a direct phone link be set up between the White House and the Kremlin. Apart from its potential usefulness in times of international emergency, Szilard told Khrushchev that "the installation of such a telephone connection would dramatize the continued presence of a danger which will stay with us as long as the long-range rockets and bombs are retained." The Soviet leader then alarmed Szilard by revealing that, just before leaving the Soviet Union, "an American manoeuvre was reported to him, about which there was some doubt, which forced him to order 'rocket readiness,' and he added that, incidentally, this readiness [had] still not been rescinded." Khrushchev told Szilard that if the U.S. president approved of the idea, then he, too, would be willing to have the special phone line installed.

The remainder of the conversation dealt with the two interlinked themes of picturing how a disarmed world might work, and figuring out how to get "from here to there." Szilard chose to confront Khrushchev first with one of the more pressing short-term issues. During the preceding two years, relations between the superpowers had been dangerously strained by disagreements over the fate of Berlin. Khrushchev had issued an ultimatum in 1958, threatening to turn the divided city over to East German control if diplomacy failed to produce a final agreement on the city's future status. John Foster Dulles, U.S. secretary of state, had responded that NATO would meet such a move "if need be with military force." Tensions were still high in the fall of 1960, and Szilard had come up with a solution that must have raised Khrushchev's eyebrows:

{quote} East Germany might offer to shift its capital from East Berlin to Dresden on condition that West Germany shifts its capital from Bonn to Munich. If that is done. then it would be possible to create two free cities: East Berlin and West Berlin with a view of perhaps

{p. 73} forming, at some later time, a similar confederation between East Germany and West Germany. {endquote}

The proposal typified the more utopian and fanciful side of Szilard, for it was highly reasonable in an abstract way, and yet seemed deliberately to ignore the immense political obstacles that would rapidly block any such act of international sleight of hand. Khrushchev immediately rebuffed the idea, saying "that he could not very well ask [the East German Premier] to shift the capital of East Germany away from East Berlin." Here, Szilard had clearly underestimated the political pressures impinging on both Soviet and American statesmen, blocking them from any moves that could remotely appear as "backing down."

Just as they did not see eye-to-eye on the Berlin question, Szilard and Khrushchev also failed to reach substantial agreement on a long-range vision of a disarmed world. Reading through the detailed letter in which Szilard explained his views, Khrushchev agreed that the power balance in the U.N. General Assembly would gradually shift away from its predominantly pro-U.S. stance. He praised Szilard's perceptiveness for predicting that "a world police force, under the central command of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, would not be acceptable to the Soviet Union in the present circumstances, and it might not be acceptable to the U.S. in circumstances that might prevail a few years hence." Khrushchev disagreed, however, with Szilard's proposal to get around this obstacle by creating regional U.N. police forces whose actics would be governed by committees of nations specially selected by the superpowers. To Khrushchev, this proposal appeared (correctly) as a return to the traditional conception of dividing the world into spheres of influence belonging to the various Great Powers. He told Szilard "that the nations in the region where such a regional force operates would come under the control of the nations who controlled the police force."

Szilard explained to Khrushchev that "while the Great Powers might be able to exert a certain amount of influence in such regions, at least their control would not be direct but rather indirect." The Soviet leader, however, whose nation was just beginning to come into its own as a real superpower, apparently did not find this voluntary shackling of the Great Powers attractive. He brought the conversation to an end, asking Szilard how he would feel if he were to send him a case of vodka. Szilard answered "that I wondered if I couldn't have something better than vodka."

{quote} "What do you have in mind," said Khrushchev, and I said, "Borjum." A few days earlier when Khrushchev delivered one of his long speeches before the United Nations, he had a glass of mineral water in front of him from which he drank from time to time and several times he pointed to it and said, "Borjum, excellent Russian

{p. 74} mineral water." When I said, "Borjum," Khrushchev beamed. "We have two kinds of mineral water in Russia," he said, "they are both excellent and we shall send you samples of both." {endquote}

After their meeting, Szilard and Khrushchev continued to correspond with growing frequency. Having received a formal go-ahead from the Soviet leader, Szilard began contacting prominent Americans to enlist their support for a series of high-level but informal discussions. He called his undertaking the "Angels Project," and explained his choice of this name in a letter to Khrushchev:

{quote} Contrary to what one might think, most people closely connected with the [Kennedy] Administration are keenly aware of the need of avoiding an all-out arms race. Moreover, there are a number of men among them who are "on the side of the angels" and who have consistently taken the position that the United States should be prepared to give up certain temporary advantages it holds, for the sake of attaining an agreement with the Soviet Union that would stop the arms race. {endquote}

Between October 1960 and October 1962, Szilard worked tirelessly to bring his project together. He obtained the sponsorship of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, sought (and received) substantial pledges of funding from major foundations, and vigorously promoted his idea with high officials in the Kennedy administration. Among the "Angels" who tentatively agreed to participate were Henry Kissinger (then a professor at Harvard), Marvin Goldberger (Princeton), Roger Fisher (Harvard), George Rathjens (a former advisor to President Eisenhower), and Herbert York (later to be chief U.S. negotiator in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban talks). These figures were typical of Szilard's chosen "constituency": scientists with good connections in government, ex-diplomats, liberal or "centrist" academics, an of whom shared Szilard's faith in the intrinsic value of international communication and compromise. It was to this relatively small but influential elite that Szilard regularly turned when he needed support for his projects.

Not an those whom Szilard approached responded favorably. "Your letter," wrote back one indignant professor at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, "identifies the individuals whom you are asking to join you in these discussions in effect as a minority of men of good intent working in an otherwise hostile environment of the U.S. Government. This I feel is grossly unfair." 107 Szilard responded (by return mail) that even though everyone in the government might indeed want to stop the arms race, there was still a valid distinction to be made between those who were willing to make compromises (the Angels) and those who were bent on negotiating from a position of superiority. "It is the very essence of the proposed project," he went on to explain,

{p. 75} {quote} that the American and Russian participants would not be representative samples, composed of both angels and non-angels. [If they were,] they would not be likely to reach a consensus that would be far-reaching enough to be interesting. But if they are samples biased in favor of the angels, the group might come up with the image of a disarmament agreement that America and Russia might conceivably be prepared to accept at some future date. Such an agreement would presumably not be currently acceptable to either of the two governments; nevertheless, the image could be very useful because it could focus attention on the goal towards which we might want to move. {endquote}

And he could not resist further ruffling his critic, as he closed his letter, with a typical volley of playful mischief:

{quote} Of all those with whom I have consulted, you were the only one so far who objected to the basic concept of the project. This does not necessarily mean, of course, that the others are right and that you are wrong; you might wen be very much brighter than some of those others with whom I have consulted, but I am certain that you would not expect me to concede that you are brighter than I am. {endquote}

During the months before the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, Szilard sent Khrushchev regular reports on the progress of the Angels project. In mid October, as terse ultimatums went back and forth between the superpowers and the U.S. navy prepared to intercept several Soviet ships carrying nuclear missiles to Cuba, Szilard suddenly flew to Switzerland (presumably taking "Big Bomb Suitcase" and "Small Bomb Suitcase" with him on the plane). He was still there in early November, waiting for the tense international atmosphere to calm down, when he received a letter through the Soviet legation in Geneva. It was from Khrushchev, who began his letter by speaking in a strange tone of awe about "the international crisis that we have just survived." Without giving any details, the Soviet leader admitted to Szilard just how close to a "devastating thermonuclear war" Russia and America had come: "during those days the world was practically on the brink of such a war." Khrushchev then went on to speak with surprising fervor about the Angels project:

{quote} I like this proposal.... My understanding is that the participants of the meeting ... are to hold their discussions without ... [outsiders], without representatives of television or radio corporations. And the conclusions to which they come are to be considered as their personal views. But at the same time they are to be people enjoying the respect and confidence of public opinion in their countries.... Their conclusions could greatly influence public

{p. 76} opinion, and even officials and governments would have to listen to them. {endquote}

Unfortunately, the Angels project - and especially its creator - had not been faring so wen in the eyes of the Kennedy administration. A year before, during the early months of Kennedy's presidency, Szilard had moved to Washington to get acquainted with the new wielders of power and sound out their receptiveness to his own way of thinking. "I was stopped in my tracks," he wrote, "by the invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles" in April 1961. The U.S.-sponsored invasion at the Bay of Pigs so outraged Szilard that he drafted a petition to President Kennedy and secured signatures from "about one in six" members of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. "In deciding whether to use force," the petition read,

{quote} our Government must give due regard to the [United Nations] Charter and it must not adopt a double standard of morality; it must not apply one yardstick to the actions of the Soviet Union, England, or France and another one to the actions of the United States. {endquote}

This kind of stinging rebuke, duly delivered to the White House with a cover letter from Szilard, was not likely to win friends in high places - particularly with a president unusually sensitive to the judgment of America's intellectual elite. In December 1962, Szilard showed his recent letter from Khrushchev about the Angels project to McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy's special assistant for National Security Affairs; but Bundy remained unimpressed and made it clear that he was not in favor of the scheme. "Szilard," Bundy later wrote, "was not the kind of man for this truly unofficial but well-connected process." During the spring of 1963, Szilard continued to correspond with Bundy's assistant at the White House, Carl Kaysen, but he made little progress. Although President Kennedy himself "wished the project success" in a note to the prospective Angels in June 1963, a disheartening blow came shortly afterward, on July 1. William Foster, head of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, ruled that none of the agency's consultants would be permitted to participate in "Angels" discussions at any time. This not only excluded one of the more influential "Angels," Herbert York, from participating, but also created a significant imbalance in the American and Russian teams. "I am uncertain in my own mind," Szilard admitted to Khrushchev two weeks later,

{quote} just how useful the proposed conference would be in the present circumstances.... No official of the American Government would directly participate, yet it would be necessary for some of the junior officials of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Relations or the Ministry of Defense to participate in the conference, and the con-

{p. 77} ference could hardly be useful if Soviet participation were limited to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. {endquote}

Confronted with this clear reluctance on the part of the U.S. government to provide the project with serious support, the Russians too drew back. Through a Kremlin spokesperson, Khrushchev told Szilard that the Russians henceforth would rely on the informal channels of communication already established among scientists at the Pugwash conferences. The Angels project had failed, and Szilard admitted as much in a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in February 1964: "I myself shall make no further attempts to engage the Russians in 'private discussions' on the subject of arms control."

Was Szilard surprised by the disappointing outcome of his efforts? Probably not. "It is not possible," he had written only a year before, "to get the Government to do something that no one inside the Government wants done." He did not believe that the government was full of warmongers, but simply that it was dominated by a rather short-sighted view that the United States should only negotiate with the Russians from a position of superior strength. Since an analogous constituency on the Russian side manifested this same attitude with perfect symmetry, the arms race went forward in an endless spiral. The Angels project had rested on a gamble that enlightened minorities on both sides of the Cold War could break the ongoing deadlock, if only they were given official approval for trying. Here, however, lay the key ambiguity in Szilard's plan: Was it equally in the interest of the U.S. and Soviet politicians to embark on such a gamble? How did the Angels project figure in the calculus of the superpowers' statesmen?

In 1963, the Soviet Union was still weaker militarily than the United States, both in conventional and nuclear weapons. Kennedy had used the widespread (and erroneous) perception of a "missile gap" in 1961 to launch a massive American arms buildup; yet the military superiority of the United States at the time of the Cuban missile crisis had constituted a decisive factor in Kennedy's resolution to face the Soviets down. Khrushchev, keenly aware of these facts, was under intense domestic pressure to show that the Soviet position had not been seriously undermined by his Cuban blunder. Amid this configuration of political pressures, the appearance of Szilard with his Angels scheme may wen have seemed tantalizing to the Soviet leader. Szilard would choose the American "Angels," while Khrushchev himself could handpick the Soviet ones; this would conveniently exclude the U.S. government from the process of shaping the meetings. Furthermore, if the American "Angels" truly believed that the United States should be prepared to give up certain temporary advantage.:' it was hard to see how such talks could go badly for the Soviet Union. Since disarmament talks reinforced the image of a negotiation between equals, while possibly mitigating or at least obscuring the Soviets' actual military infe-

{p. 78} riority, Khrushchev had every interest in encouraging discussions of this nature. The Kennedy administration, however, which had gained power in 1961 precisely on the platform that the United States was falling behind the Soviets, most manifestly did not. In 1963, Kennedy and McNamara were in the process of increasing the U.S. defense budget by 25 percent, while reorganizing the Pentagon and articulating their new military-diplomatic policy of containment through "flexible response." They were not uninterested in arms control, but they had already defined for themselves a much narrower set of agreements to be sought with the Soviets; and they had been painstakingly guiding their own team of negotiators toward precisely such a limited but tangible goal in the Atmospheric Test Ban talks. Few things could have been more disruptive of their plans than to enter unpredictable discussions of far-reaching disarmament - discussions orchestrated by a well-intentioned scientist over whom they had little or no control. Thus, while "wishing the project success," they allowed it to fan by the wayside.

Szilard did not see Kennedy and McNamara as dark figures deliberately impeding the progress of peace. He did, however, regard them as being far too deeply embroiled in the day-to-day problems of running the government to provide real leadership for the long-term safety of the nation. He earnestly believed in their good intentions as they sought to stabilize the strategic arms race, edging away from former Secretary of State Dulles's policies of "massive retaliation" and diplomatic "brinksmanship." An this was reasonable in itself, he thought, but it was not nearly enough to bring about the drastic changes that were needed in the long run. "I do not believe," he had written earlier,

{quote} that the problem which faces the world today can be solved at the level of foreign policy in the narrow sense of the term ..., nor do I believe that it is within the power of the [U.S. government to tackle] this problem without the fun support of the American people for a bold and constructive solution. {endquote}

Therefore, at the same time as he was piecing together the Angels project in 1961, Szilard began a much broader political experiment to see how many "Angels" existed among the American population as a whole, and to organize these grass-roots "Angels" into an effective political force.

This political experiment - the last in Szilard's career - began in the fall of 1961, when he delivered a gripping speech about the nuclear peril at nine universities and colleges throughout the United States. He had recognized that the atmosphere of McCarthyism was truly over, and that the widespread docility of the American public before governmental authority had been left behind with the coming of the new decade. Blacks in the South were first stirring, in what were to be triumphant years of nonviolent activism for civil rights, while university campuses experienced the prickling beginnings of nonconformist

{p. 79} and revolt against "the Establishment." A novel about nuclear Armageddon, Nevil Shute's On the Beach, was a troubling bestseller; and President Eisenhower himself, in a memorable farewell speech the preceding January, had warned his fellow Americans:

{quote} This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a ... permanent armaments industry of vast proportions ... is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government.... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. {endquote}

Szilard was apparently struck not only by the content of Eisenhower's speech but especially by the fact that such a speech could be made at all. Disappointed by the international actions and prevailing attitudes of the new Kennedy administration, he decided that his Angels project would not be enough. He wrote a speech of his own entitled "Are We on the Road to War?" and embarked on a nationwide speaking tour to see how his ideas would fare at the grass-roots level. The response he received was so enthusiastic that he began devising plans to transform this diffuse antiwar sentiment into a coherent political movement.

The organization he founded for this purpose, the Council for a Livable World, is still functioning three decades later. As Szilard conceived it, the Washington-based council would receive pledges of money from a wide variety of members whose common concern was to encourage a departure from the foreign policy of the Cold War. These funds would then be directed to the electoral campaigns of congressional candidates whose voting records had demonstrated an unequivocal commitment to peace and arms control. "As far as federal elections are concerned," Szilard wrote, members of the movement "would be pledged to cast their vote, disregarding domestic issues, solely on the issue of war and peace." By thus concentrating exclusively on the peace issue, Szilard apparently hoped to avoid the fragmentation and internecine strife that prevented many pacifist organizations of the period from wielding political clout.

By February 1961, Szilard had received over one thousand letters from persons throughout the nation pledging 2 percent of their annual incomes for campaign contributions. "I am overwhelmed by the mail that pours in," he admitted. From the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle, Szilard's speaking tour had received detailed and sympathetic coverage, and his appeal for collaborators stirred up a surprisingly hopeful and eager response. In the words of one Chicago newspaper columnist:

{quote} Szilard ... proposes something that can be done. I strongly recommend it to those ... who despair, to those who have already turned

{p. 80} away from these words because they fear and feel they are impotent in the face of [the threat of war].... Whatever help he can use from this citizen, he will get. {endquote}

Here, then, was the "Bund" of the 1930s making its appearance in a new form, after being adapted by Szilard to fit the political style of American democracy. The Council for a Livable World was not an explicitly elitist organization, as the proposed "Bund" would have been, for it relied directly on the support of progressive public opinion. Like the "Bund," however, the council was led by a core group of prominent individuals - many of them scientists, not surprisingly - who would define the council's platform and choose the candidates to be funded. This "Board of Directors" would provide the long-range sense of direction that Szilard found sadly lacking in American politics. "Whether such a movement," he wrote, "could grow further and come to represent not only a decisive amount in campaign contributions but also a significant number of votes, would ... depend on the future course of world events."

By March 1963 - less than a year after founding the council - Szilard was able to send out the following report to council members:

{quote} During the [1962] election the Council did fairly well.... We received and transmitted to George McGovern checks totaling over $20,000 and to Senator [Joseph] Clark over $10,000. McGovern was elected with a margin of a few hundred votes and it is generally recognized here that the Council was instrumental in his election. {endquote}

Thus, at the same time as the Angels project was approaching collapse, the council was beginning to take off. It had proved impossible for an "outsider" like Szilard to make a direct impact on the diplomacy of the superpowers, but his indirect approach of influencing the U.S. electoral process was ultimately more effective. Although the council did not grow into the major political organization that Szilard had envisioned, it continued to provide a focal point for the energies of concerned citizens throughout the following decades. Szilard himself died less than two years after founding the council; but he had established a lasting prototype for the conversion of widely dispersed popular sentiment into hard political currency. Long before the "Political Action Committee" became a standard vehicle for the lobbying efforts of countless special-interest groups, he had pioneered this idea to promote the special interest of a "livable world."

Was Szilard unrealistic? Did he have an overly optimistic view of human nature and of politics - and was it this that prompted his quixotic efforts to nudge the superpowers beyond the diplomacy of the Cold War?

It is worth noting that Szilard was not alone in advocating an arduous kind

{p. 81} of "realism," oriented toward a radical transformation of world politics. In May 1950, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists printed a pithy article, "On Negotiating with the Russians," by the eminent political scientist Hans Morgenthau. Szilard already knew Morgenthau, for they both held positions at the University of Chicago; and he so strongly approved of Morgenthau's article that he later quoted a long excerpt from it in a letter to Secretary of State Dean Acheson. Morgenthau declared himself a firm believer in the "realist" current of political theory - the current of Realpolitik, which conceived international politics as an unregulated competition for power among nations pursuing their own self-interest. Yet in his article, Morgenthau started from the same premise as Szilard: "[T]he choice before the world is between negotiated settlement and war, that is, universal destruction." Like Szilard, he argued that the Russians would live up to any political agreement as long as it was in their interest to do so - and he strongly attacked the typical Cold War view that any arrangement advantageous to the Russians must automatically be disadvantageous to the United States. He then proposed, as the basis for a comprehensive settlement between the superpowers, a return to the traditional practice of dividing the world into spheres of influence. Morgenthau cited Winston Churchill and Arnold Toynbee as fervent contemporary supporters of this idea, and his closing quotation from Toynbee must have particularly gratified Szilard:

{quote} In 1904 France and Great Britain went into consultation, worked over the map of the world, and wherever there was friction between them they ironed it out and made a bargain on a fifty-fifty basis: "You have this, we keep that; and we will forget about that old quarrel of ours." In 1907 Great Britain and Russia did the same. This is a difficult thing to do, in view of the traditional rivalries and dislikes of nations, and we succeeded in doing it in those cases only under strong pressure; we had a common aggressive enemy of whom we were an afraid, and that was Germany. But, after all, in the present situation America and Russia have a common enemy too, of whom I am sure they are likewise afraid, and that is atomic energy. {endquote}

Unlike Toynbee, however - whose proposal sounded like a revival of old-style European imperialism - Szilard's spheres of influence were not based on "You have this, we keep that." Instead, his own plan was to modify this traditional notion by gradually shifting military control to regional police forces, thereby submerging the preponderant influence of the superpowers within a broader system of collective security.

The question of Szilard's realism was directly taken up in 1950 by the eminent French political philosopher Raymond Aron, in response to a provocative

{p. 82} article on European security by Szilard. In 1949, shortly after President Truman had announced the successful detonation of a Soviet atomic weapon, Szilard predicted in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that this qualitative change in the strategic equation would drastically undermine the credibility of the American nuclear "umbrella" which protected Western Europe. Suddenly, he reasoned, it had become possible for the Russians to incinerate Western Europe overnight, without directly threatening the United States. Although he acknowledged that the existence of NATO would probably continue to deter Russian aggression, he posed a difficult question for Europeans to answer: "[Can] anyone seriously expect the French, Belgians, and the Dutch thus to accept, for the sake of a lessened probability of war, the absolute certainty that in case of war their cities will be utterly destroyed?" This question penetrated to the key psychological weakness of the NATO alliance: the serious possibility that a "limited" nuclear war might be fought on European soil, without involving the territories of the superpowers. Szilard proposed a fairly straightforward solution to this problem: NATO should be dismantled, but the United States should conclude defense pacts with each of the Western European countries separately; Western Europe should be neutralized, and the United States should cease to prepare "those nations in peacetime as bases for possible future military operations against Russia." In this way, the Western Europeans would be encouraged to build up their own defenses, while continuing to rely on the deterrent effect of a U.S. defensive guarantee; but NATO bases in Western Europe would no longer constitute a potential military threat to the Soviet Union - thereby removing a basic incentive for Soviet aggression .

Within six months, Aron's response to this ambitious proposal arrived from across the Atlantic and was also published in the Bulletin. Aron recognized that Szilard was the first to speak openly and clearly about the upcoming vulnerability of Western Europe; yet he entirely disagreed with Szilard's solution. According to Aron, Szilard's idea was politically unrealistic because, unlike Switzerland or Argentina during World War ll, Europe was itself a primary object of superpower contention and hence intrinsically nonneutral; Szilard's idea was strategically unrealistic, because to have a neutral Europe on its huge Western flank would be intolerable for the Soviet Union; it was ideologically unrealistic, because the rival social theories governing the Soviet Union and Western Europe would inevitably lead to reciprocal antagonism in a crisis. Aron contended that Szilard was far too optimistic about the possibility that open dialogue with the Soviet Union would lead to an international understanding - and concluded, with regret, that the only realistic option for the United States and Western Europe was to continue waging the Cold War until the Russians began to behave themselves.

Much of the disagreement between Szilard and Aron stemmed from a deeper opposition between two kinds of realism. Underlying Aron's form of

{p. 83} realism was the basic question, "What is it possible to achieve, given the record of he past?" As Aron reconstructed it, the record of the past clearly demonstrated that force, and the threat of force, must remain the ultimate arbiters within the international arena. In his view, moreover, this fundamental fact of politics did not necessarily bode in for the U.S.-Soviet rivalry. "As long as the Soviet Union is afraid of general war," he predicted, "she will refrain from creating a casus belli, and the cold war will retain the same limited character which distinguishes it at present."

Szilard's realism, however, reflected an entirely different type of question: "What is it necessary to achieve, given the prospects of the future?" Unlike Aron, Szilard did not believe that the Cold War could continue indefinitely without breaking down at some point into all-out war. "The traditional aim of foreign policy," he wrote, "is to prolong the peace; that is, to lengthen the interval between two wars. What is the use of postponing war if we know - as we know today - that it will be an the more terrible the later it comes?"

From Aron's perspective, which was quite similar in this respect to Louise Weiss's, Szilard was engaging in wishful thinking: for even if it was true that the survival of humankind depended upon a long-term settlement between America and Russia, this did not in itself render such a settlement likely, or even possible. The fact that something was urgently needed for survival did not necessarily bring it any closer to realization.

On the other hand, Aron's perspective also was open to criticism: for in Szilard's view, the hardline mentality of persons like Aron and Edward Teller could not help but have the effect of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Aron had ended his article with the conclusion that the "best that Americans can do is to maintain their superiority in armaments and every time a particular problem arises, not to leave the slightest doubt as to the attitude they intend to adopt." By refusing to see a way out of the Cold War, Szilard believed, one entered a mechanical spiral of logic that could only result in steady escalation of armaments and continuation of hostilities.

Both lines of argument involved specific risks. Szilard's "realism" rested on a wager that human beings, under the threat of nuclear destruction, would succeed in drastically reshaping their military relations, building a formal international system of stability and cooperation. Aron's "realism" rested on a wager that no such radical institutional transformation was necessary: rather, the fear of nuclear war would automatically impose self-restraint upon the world's statesmen, and this self-restraint could be counted upon to last indefinitely. In a sense, therefore, both positions were pinned upon a similar hope: that the nuclear peril would force statesmen to learn how to govern their behavior with an unprecedented rationality and self-control.

Here, in the end, lay the two principal flaws in Szilard s reasoning - flaws that Louise Weiss might have pointed out. had she confronted him in direct

{p. 84} debate: Szilard deliberately avoided discussing the need for a global "arbiter"; and he assumed, like Aron, that rationality would prevail.

The first of these flaws stemmed from Szilard's repugnance for most visions of "world government," as they had emerged since the early years of the twentieth century. The idea of a single world government had vaguely attracted him in the 1930s and mid-1940s, but he eventually came to the conclusion that such a centralized institution - even in the unlikely event of its establishment - would constitute a cumbersome and potentially oppressive monstrosity. Instead, he put forth the alternative vision of a more decentralized world order in which the United Nations would function only as a coordinating body, while actual policy-making was left to regional subgroups of nations.

This vision, however, left Szilard open to some tough questions: Supposing two or more of his proposed "regional police forces" developed opposing positions in a crisis? Supposing two member nations in a single regional force took strongly conflicting views? What would prevent them from coming to blows, and who would arbitrate between them? Szilard never addressed these kinds of questions, because he believed that no single authority of arbitration was likely to be accepted by an the world's peoples for the foreseeable future. And yet the logic here remained inescapable: any formal system of "collective security" clearly required the recognition by an participants of some higher authority, like a World Court, before which conflicting members might negotiate their respective claims. If such a court was to have real clout, then each national or regional government would first have to surrender a portion of its own sovereignty to it, subordinating certain aspects of its power to the authority of the court. No "halfway solution" to this problem existed: either the nations could agree upon a higher authority to defend their vital interests, or they would have to continue to defend them on their own behalf. Like Weiss, of course, Szilard knew from personal experience what the fate of such international arbitrating bodies had been during the 1930s; but he failed to address this crucial problem in clear terms and pinned his hopes, instead, on a rather vague notion that the nuclear menace would force even the most intractable opponents to behave reasonably and reach a compromise.

Here, indeed, lay Szilard's second key weakness: his elitist and overly rationalized view of politics. A passage from "The Voice of the Dolphins," written in 1961, revealed the problematic assumptions underlying his position:

{quote} Political issues are often complex, but they are rarely anywhere as deep as the scientific problems which were solved in the first half of the century. These scientific problems were solved with amazing rapidity because they were constantly exposed to discussion among scientists, and thus it appears reasonable to expect that the solution of political problems could be greatly speeded up ... if they were subjected to the same kind of discussion. {endquote}

{p. 85} Szilard was perfectly aware that partisan political issues could not be reduced to the clearer terms of scientific discourse; but he never appears to have relinquished a lingering hope of prodding politics closer to the norms of scientific truth. Perhaps, he reasoned, it was impossible to cleanse political conflicts of the inherent bias that pervaded them, but at least it might be possible to reduce that bias to much lower levels. Thus, in his earnest desire to find a common ground, he tended to exaggerate the capacity for people to act rationally and disinterestedly where vital interests were concerned; and he overlooked the blind self-destructiveness of human beings in a state of passion. Louise Weiss would probably have reminded him, if she had had the chance, of Adolf Hitler's stance when the Second World War began to turn against him. Far from taking a rational and prudent course, he had said, in effect: "I will succeed in my designs, or I will bring down utter ruin upon my Reich and the rest of the world!"

This last consideration applied to Raymond Aron's position as well: for on what did Aron base his rather sanguine assumption that the militarized peace of the Cold War could continue indefinitely? Had there ever been a peace that rested on mutual threats and that did not degenerate at some point into bloody conflict? Aron could reply that nuclear weapons had raised the stakes so high that the ground rules had fundamentally shifted: nobody, not even Hitler, would want to attack a nuclear-armed foe. And yet, Hitler had been willing to risk the future of his nation, as well as his own life, on a wild military gamble - attacking powers whose demographic and economic base vastly outstripped those of Germany. How could Aron be sure that no more gamblers of this sort would be born, or that miscalculations, malfunctioning machines, or some other imponderables might not someday come into play? Aron's notion that the nuclear menace would somehow force a fundamental rationality upon international relations for the foreseeable future seems equally as problematic, in this sense, as Szilard's.

Nevertheless, Aron's "realism" had the advantage of advocating a continuation of existing patterns of behavior, whereas Szilard called for a radical departure from contemporary assumptions and habits. For this reason, it was Aron's vision that prevailed, and has continued to prevail, even in the multipolar political context of the post-Cold War era. Neither Aron nor Szilard offered a fully satisfactory solution to the problems of power and domination that Louise Weiss so bluntly articulated. Aron's stoic version of "muddling through," while it certainly has "worked" since the 1950s, does not offer a very comforting prospect for the coming century. Szilard's vision of thoroughgoing international cooperation, on the other hand, still seems rather far-fetched and idealistic .

{p. 86} This does not mean, however, that the two positions are fruitless or uninteresting: for they both contained elements that, when combined, offered some promise of a path to follow for the long haul. Aron insisted (quite plausibly) that military deterrence would have to form the basis of international politics for the foreseeable future; in the absence of a higher arbiter, there was simply no other option available. Yet this logic was by no means incompatible with Szilard's proposals for pushing and prodding the world toward greater cooperation. Although deterrence unavoidably rested upon fundamental distrust, Szilard rightly pointed out that it did not have to rest upon mutual hatred; and it was here that many of his proposals made a great deal of sense. The principle of cooperative self-interest could (and did) provide the basis for fruitful action among the Great Powers - as evidenced by the successful U.S.-Soviet Atmospheric Test Ban treaty of 1963, and by even broader international accords like the 1989 treaty to protect the earth's ozone layer. Szilard's fervent advocacy of cooperative self-interest, therefore, was not necessarily "utopian." Above and beyond the clash of national interests, religious worldviews, and political ideologies, Szilard was correct to point out that vital interests remained in common, and that these interests provided a powerful incentive for keeping open the lines of communication, and for reducing the role of emotional and moralistic posturing.

In the long run, moreover, Szilard was also correct to insist that military deterrence posed awesome risks, and that the only path away from military deterrence lay in the direction of ever-increasing levels of international cooperation. Today's generations, he argued, needed to adopt the same rationale as a young person saving money for the (seemingly distant) future of old-age retirement: they had to start resolutely making small changes in their current mental habits - paving the way, bit by bit, for a different era in which cooperative habits and assumptions might no longer seem so strange.

Did Szilard's efforts make a difference in the Cold War? At the level of the arms race and the superpowers' diplomatic relations, his various projects and proposals clearly failed to have much impact. At a less tangible level, however, Szilard's lonely voice during the bitter years of Stalinism and McCarthyism helped to articulate a more hopeful vision of rational and stable relations between the world's foremost powers. He traveled, he wrote letters, debated on television, organized meetings, gave speeches, and published more than forty articles on the "problem of peace" between 1945 and 1964. Not many people listened to Szilard during these difficult years, when the nations were trying to regain their equilibrium after the cataclysm of World War II. What is probably true, however, is that for an influential minority of scientists, academics, and politicians, Szilard persuasively embodied the counsels of tolerance and compromise, in a time of widespread hysteria and ideological Manichaeanism. The "White House - Kremlin hotline," the Angels project, the Council for a Livable World - these were powerful reminders of the danger that loomed over the world; they directly and tangibly strengthened the hand of an those who

{p. 87} feared for the future of humankind, and who struggled to exert a moderating influence upon international politics.

Szilard's precociousness as a scientist-activist was due both to his own unruly personality and to the extraordinary circumstances of the Manhattan Project, which suddenly thrust upon him the prestige he needed to make his opinions heard. He was destined for a solitary and uphill journey, partly because his political views contradicted the prevailing public opinion, and partly because his adopted social role contradicted the prevailing image of the scientist. "In one generation," writes the historian Rae Goodell,

the role of scientists in politics has been transformed, not once but twice. In the 1940s most scientists stuck to their laboratories and avoided the taint of politics. In the 1950s it became fashionable to make occasional trips to Washington and give behind-the-scenes advice to government officials. In the late 1960s the behind-the-scenes "inside" advisory system lost its enchantment and effectiveness, giving way to a rash of alternative, "outside" activities in Congress, courts, and the press.

At least twenty years before such activism became fashionable and influential, Szilard's role as a socially concerned scientist had already prepared the ground for others who would come later.

Szilard himself would readily have admitted that his ever-flowing torrent of plans and proposals sometimes contained extremely far-fetched ideas. In one short story, he urged the superpowers to establish "rules" of nuclear war, methodically evacuating specific cities in times of crisis and then blowing them to smithereens. Yet there was also an element of deliberate choice in Szilard's unorthodox stance; for in this absurd-sounding story, he was in effect pointing at the gross absurdity of "controlled" nuclear deterrence. Was it not absurd, he implied, to carry on business as usual in cities that were preprogrammed into actual guidance mechanisms of real missiles waiting to be fired from one moment to the next? The ending of this particular story revealed the deeper intent underlying many of his proposals and projects: after the superpowers had established a list of twelve equivalent cities that they might evacuate and destroy during a confrontation, a political insurrection occurred.

Within a few days after the receipt of the first Russian note which listed the twelve cities, people began to register in Washington as lobbyists for one or another of the twelve cities, and ten days later there was not a hotel room to be had in the whole city. It was the most powerful lobby that ever hit Washington.

At some point, Szilard implied, people might wake up to the tangible fact that it was truly their own cities, their own homes, their own families and futures that were on the line. If such an awakening occurred, then perhaps the political

{p. 88} pressure might become sufficient to compel a reevaluation of what was realistic and what was absurd.

Seen from this perspective, Szilard's life and works take on a singular consistency. From the spirit of his scientific research to the concrete aims of his political lobbying, Szilard's goal was always to disrupt established patterns and to reaffirm new models and examples of the possible. Where he saw government institutions rising up with their huge, cumbersome power and impersonal facades, he fought back with an appeal for direct international contacts and small-scale exchanges. Wherever he saw public opinion passively accepting the narrow parameters of choice offered by officials and experts, he proclaimed a bewildering array of alternatives and urged people to question their own deepest assumptions. It was only by pushing the limits, he believed, that the limits could be made to budge.

In 1959, five years before his death, Szilard was informed that he had cancer of the bladder; but he did not die of cancer. Compelled to transfer his base of operations to a room in a New York hospital, he sat down and devised his own course of radiation therapy. His friend Norman Cousins, hearing that Szilard's days were evidently numbered, rushed up to visit him and later recorded his impressions:

Szilard was out of bed. The top of the bed had been converted into a working desk suffocated by papers, scientific journals, and manuscripts. Szilard was seated on a straight chair against one side of the bed, one hand holding the telephone receiver, the other making notes.... He finished his phoning, then grinned....

"These radiologists don't know x-rays," he said in feigned despair. "I find myself having to give a course in radiology to these fellows. Anyway, I'm the chief consultant on my own case. It's quite fascinating."

I asked how he felt.

"Fine. Say, have you heard the story about Senator Margaret Chase Smith? It seems she was asked by a reporter how she would like to be president and told the reporter the question was too hypothetical to be taken seriously. 'Come now,' the reporter said, 'this is an age for new traditions. We may not be far away from the time when a woman will be president.' Senator Margaret Chase Smith still refused to comment. Finally, the reporter said, 'Very well, Senator, suppose you wake up one morning and find yourself in the White House, what would you do?' Replied Margaret Chase Smith: 'l'd apologize to the First Lady and go home.'"

Szilard let out a roar of delight at his own story, [then] told two more.... I found myself adding to the laughter that was reverberating down the hospital corridor. What was happening was clear.

{p. 89} Leo Szilard was not only running the doctors; he was also running his visitors, creating the mood, governing the conversation.

A few months later, Szilard's radiation therapy had proved so successful that he was able to leave the hospital for good. When he died four years later (in May 1964), he had added the Angels project and the Council for a Livable World to his list of endeavors, and had accepted a research position in La Jolla, California, at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies which he had helped to found during 1963. He died in his sleep of a heart attack - which is not too surprising, since he had conducted his personal life with the same gleeful disregard for moderation that characterized his public struggles. ("A great favorite for lunch," recalled his friend Edward Shils, "was a glass of buttermilk into which he poured the entire contents of the sugar bowl, followed by sherbet.")

Who was this man, who cracked jokes in the face of deadly illness, who reveled in eccentricities - and yet who so earnestly and doggedly built his life around the clash of empires and the spectral vision of a mushroom cloud? Among the many extremes that found expression within the character of Leo Szilard, his reputation for inordinate rationality and self-control stands out perhaps the most. He deliberately tried to cultivate an image of cool detachment, and his younger sister Roszi later recalled his response to a family crisis:

{quote} When my husband was gravely ill, Leo came to see us from the other end of the world. He gave us money and took care of us. At the same time, he protested that he was not doing it for a relative. "I did it for a man in trouble," he insisted. "I would have done it for anybody." {endquote}

He struggled to maintain clear and impartial judgment, but the tone of his writings was far from aloof; he tried hard to keep his personal life unencumbered, but the tenderness he evoked in his numerous friends could not be denied. This tension within his character was never resolved, for he had fixed his will upon difficult and abstract ideals, while in his daily life, not far beneath the surface, flowed a current of vibrant emotions. Like many persons of acute sensitivity, he strove to master himself by building walls made of concepts, logic, and rational principles; but in Szilard's case, those walls clearly resonated with what was moving behind them.

Did Szilard feel guilt for his role in the creation of nuclear weapons? His own explicit answer, given in a nationally televised interview in 1961, was that he did not: "I thought we must build the bomb, because if we don't, the Germans will have it first. ... I never blame myself for having guessed wrong." His Writings, however, revealed a more complicated set of feelings. In one of his short stories he depicted a physicist who abruptly went mad a few years after having helped invent the world's first atomic bomb. This "neurotic condi-

{p. 90} tion," Szilard suggested, "was brought about by his pessimistic outlook on world affairs, coupled with his manifest sense of guilt." In one article written in 1947, Szilard referred to himself and fellow atomic scientists as peculiar advocates of peace, since there was a sense in which they were "mass murderers." Edward Shils later recalled a poignant occasion in the early 1950s, after Edward Teller had succeeded in his efforts to promote the hydrogen bomb: "Szilard said in a sighing aside, 'Now Teller will know what it is to feel guilty!'"

Although it was reasonable to feel that there had been no alternative to working on the bomb in 1939, the enormity of the consequences also made it reasonable to feel an anguish of uncertainty. "Are you a religious man, Dr. Szilard?" asked the television interviewer Mike Wallace in 1961.

SZILARD: Well, look, I don't believe in the personal God, but in a sense, I am a religious man. I think that life has a meaning....

WALLACE: When you say life has a meaning, you mean ...

SZILARD: Well, this is difficult to define what it means that life has a meaning, but if you press me for a definition, I will say that life has a meaning if there are things which are worth dying for.

He was not a religious man in the conventional sense, but on August 11, 1945, five days after Hiroshima and two days after Nagasaki, he wrote a quiet letter to the Rev. Alfred Painter, chaplain at the University of Chicago:

Presumably, if the war should end within the next few days, there will be a service in your chapel.... I wondered whether you thought that provisions could be made in this service for a special prayer to be said for the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.... I also wondered whether it would be possible to arrange for an offering at the end of the service for the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the idea of transmitting the collected sum to the survivors when conditions permitted.

It is painful to imagine the emotion Szilard must have felt, knowing that he was personally responsible not just for the dead in Japan, but - thinking in broad historical terms as was his wont - for the possible end of the human species. Yet, as he was later to do with his cancer, he found a peculiar strength in such a moment. Keeping his struggle to himself, he was able to channel his emotion from guilt to hope, from despair to playful and tenacious commitment. In this simple act, perhaps, lay the heart of Szilard's legacy.


(3) Szilard in the One World Or None report of 1946

(3.1) Summary

In 1946, through a journal called The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the U.S. Government put a proposal for World Government called the Baruch Plan: baruch-plan.html.

The booklet One World Or None was published in 1946 in association with it: one-world-or-none.html.

In One World Or None, about half the authors are Jewish: Bohr, Oppenheimer, Szilard, Einstein, Harold Urey, Hans Bethe and Walter Lippmann.

Lippmann's was the biggest article. Of him, Carroll Quigley wrote in Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (Macmillan, New York, 1966):

{p. 939} This new recruit, Walter Lippmann, has been, from 1914 to the present, the authentic spokesman in American journalism for the Establishments on both sides of the Atlantic in international affairs. His biweekly columns, which appear in hundreds of American papers, are copyrighted by the New York Herald Tribune which is now owned by J. H. Whitney. It was these connections, as a link between Wall Street and the Round Table Group, which gave Lippmann the opportunity in 1918, while still in his twenties, to be the official interpreter of the meaning of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points to the British government.
{endquote} quigley.html

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was edited by Eugene Rabinowitch and H. H. Goldsmith; both appear to be Jewish.

Gerhard Falk wrote in a webpage titled American Jewish Achievements, at http://www.jbuff.com/c122100.htm

{quote} Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk

The Achievements of the American Jewish Community: Four Fruits of Freedom

... A fourth area which owes a great deal to Jewish enterprise in America is our scientific development. Included are, of course, the great Albert Einstein who was voted Man of the Century at the beginning of this year. His achievements in physics and the achievements of Neils Bohr, Edwin Teller, Leo Szilard, James Franck, Eugene Rabinowitch, Hy Goldsmith, Hans Bethe, Harold Urey and J. Robert Oppenheimer, administrator of the atomic bomb project, make it possible to say that the atomic bomb was a Jewish invention and that the atomic age was introduced to the world by Jews. What is true of this country is also true of Russia. The Russian atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb were also invented by Jewish physicists.

(3.2) Quotes from One World or None, re the establishment of a "World Community" - from Szilard & his associates


A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb

Edited by Dexter Masters and Katharine Way


Foreword by Niels Bohr

Introdction by Arthur H. Compton

H. H. Arnold Hans Bethe E. U. Condon Albert Einstein Irving Langmuir Walter Lippmann Philip Morrison J. R. Oppenheimer Louis Ridenour Frederick Seitz Harlow Shapley Leo Szilard Harold Urey Eugene P. Wigner Gale Young and the Federation of American (Atomic) Scientists

Whittlesey House

McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.


{p. ix} Foreword

Science and Civilization*


... Civilization is presented with a challenge more serious perhaps than ever before, and the fate of humanity will depend on its ability to unite in averting common dangers and jointly to reap the benefit from the immense opportunities which the progress of science offers. ...

{p. x} Such measures will, of course, demand the abolition of barriers hitherto considered necessary to safeguard national interests but now standing in the way of common security against unprecedented dangers.

{p. 22} Chapter 5

The New Weapon: The Turn of the Screw


... The obvious consequence of this intimate participation of scientists is a quite new sense of responsibility and concern for what they have done and for what may come of it. This book itself is an expression of that sense of concern. A more subtle aspect of it, not frequently recognized but perhaps in the long term more relevant and more constructive, is this: Scientists are, not by the nature of what they find but by the way in which they find it, humanists; science, by its methods, its values, and the nature of the objectivity it seeks, is universally human. ...

{p. 25} The vastly increased powers of destruction that atomic weapons give us have brought with them a profound change in the balance between national and international interests. The common interest of all in the prevention of atomic warfare would seem immensely to overshadow any purely national interest, whether of welfare or of security.

{p. 53} Chapter 11

How Does It All Add Up?


{p. 57} The May-Johnson Bill was actually similar in intent and effect to the transfer of power from the German Reichstag to Hitler, though, of course, it would not have so completely destroyed representative government in one act. Many people did not realize the broad and tragic meaning of this bill. It was a definite beginning of the end of our representative government and of the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. ...

{The Baruch Plan was, then, the alternative to the May-Johnson Bill. Here, Urey is likening the leaders of the US Army to Hitler. Yet, the US army had just helped defeat Hitler's army; what is the sense? The logic is that Urey - and his fellows behind the Baruch Plan - see the US as run by two factions: the "Aryan" or "Christian" one, and theirs, the "Jewish" one. Similarly, the Soviet Union had its "Aryan" or "Christian" faction - Stalin, and its "Jewish" one - the Trotskyist. The point of the Baruch Plan was for the "Jewish" factions in both to link up and isolate the "Aryan" or "Christian" factions. Unfortunately, Stalin was in power, and Trotsky dead, at this moment of historic opportunity. I myself have no brief for nuclear weapons. I don't think Australia or Japan should acquire them.}

{p. 61} Chaper 12

Can We Avert an Arms Race by an Inspection System?


{one should bear Mordecei Vanunu in mind, when reading this article; also, the WMD inspections and claims concerning Iraq}

... How far can we go towards averting the danger of such an arms race under present conditions - that is, without assuming changes in the general organization of peace that we now have under the United Nations Organization?

If the United States and Russla were to agree to an arrangement ruling out both stockpiles and manufacture of atomic bombs within the territory of either country, it appears very likely that such all arrangementa would be acceptable to all other major powers of the uorld and could be extended to them, or at least to all nations whose voluntary collaboration would be necessary.

If the United States, Russia, and other nations actually set up such an arrangement, an atomic arms race could be postponed and probably averted, provided that it is possible to rule out secret violations. Until there is a world authority capable of enforcing observance among the great powers, it will probbly be just as well to let the powers retain the legal right to abrogate their arrangement at any time.

The arrangement itself should provide for rights of inspection to be exercised by an international agency attached to the United Nations Organization. There are a number of ways in which inspection could be made effective, and, while none of the methods may be infallible, all the methods applied together could make violations a very hazardous undertaking.

Inspection of Ores. Aerial surveys, which during the war proved to be very effective, would go a long way toward revealing the presence of mining activities as well as other undisclosed industrial activities. Once uranium mining operations vere located, it would be possible to keep track of the mined ores and to follow the uranium from the mine to its destination. If the uranium were obtained from a low-grade ore, mining operations could be detected from the air with a high degree of probability. Nor could the operations be easily camouflaged against infrared photography. The mining of high-grade uranium ore, in the event that such deposits were discovered, might be somewhat easier to conceal because of the smaller quantity of ore that would have to be mined. But

{p. 62} if this mining were carried out in remote and sparsely populated areas, it could still be detected by means of aerial surveys, even though the quantity of ore involved were small. The international agency under whose auspices this survey would be carried out would have to possess the right to issue warrants for searches; then, if necessary, inspec- tors armed with such warrants could check on the ground any suspicious activities detected from the air.

Mining operations in populous areas, on the other hand, would hardly escape the attention of those who lived and worked in the areas and would therefore scarcely remain a secret for any length of time.

A general geological survey of the world's uranium deposits - which ought to be extended to deposits containing only 1-10 to 1-100 per cent of uranium - would enable us to determine in detail just what measures to adopt for adequate inspection of the mining of uranium in the various parts of the world.

Inspection of Industrial Installations. The detection of secret plants producing U-235 or plutonium presents little difficulty. Plants producing U-235 require such a large supply of power (in the form of either coal, oil, or electricity) that their location is betrayed, particularly if production is concentrated in not highly industrialized regions. If they are dispersed in more densely populated regions, their existence will be known to large numbers of people and will therefore not remain concealed for long.

Because of the heat liberated in the process, plutonium-producing plants can be detected either by the water supply which must be available for cooling, or by some alternate cooling method which would make them easily discernible because of certain peculiar structures involved.

The discovery of any of these plants would be easy during the period of construction. It would be particularly easy within the next few years, since early developments in this field are characterized by more conspicuous installations than those that may follow later.

Inspection of Specialized Personnel. We have so far discussed only more or less mechanical methods of inspection. The over-all aim of preventing an arms race requires, however, that we check not only the manufacture of atomic bombs but also other methods of aggressive warfare, some of which are potentially almost as terrible as those based on the liberation of atomieenergy. Such an over-all check, particularly if it is supposed to extend to unforeseen techniques of mass extermination, calls for novel, less mechanical methods of inspection. Knowledge of the movements and activities of all scientists, engineers, and technically skilled personnel would permit the detection of any dangerous activity as soon as it reaches the stage of construction and before it could reach the stage of production. This would be the primary aim of the inspection of personnel.

The inspecting agents must, of course, have scientific knowledge. ...

{p. 63} The Citizen as Inspector. ...

Scientists and engineers are not isolated from the community in which they live. They have the same loyalties as other members of the community, and their first loyalty may well be to their own country. Just how that loyalty is interpreted will vary, however, with the circumstances. Let us assume that the United States and Russia have arrived at an arrangement which prohibits the manufacture of atomic bombs but which leaves both countries the right to abrogate the arrangement at any time. Let us further assume that after this arrangement has been ratified and become the law of the land, the President of the United States calls upon all scientists and engineers in this country, asking them to pledge themselves to report to an international agency any secret violations committed on the territory of the United States. Let us assume further that the Espionage Act has been modified so that it no longer covers information of a purely scientific or technical nature, whether or not it might relate to the national defense. In circumstances like these there is little doubt that most scientists and engineers in the United States would respond to the President's appeal.

Can we expect Russian scientists to respond similarly? My knowledge of Russian scientists is very much less direct, and my answer to this question must therefore be based on the fundamental conviction that differences between men in general, and scientists in particular, are matters of degree. I do not believe that there are essential differences between Russian and American scientists.

Here it may be desirable to define more closely the conditions under which such a system can be expected to work to command the confidence of all nations. Clearly it would be greatly strengthened by creating international institutions that would establish close collaboration between the scientists and engineers of different countries. ...

{p. 64} The breathing spell that we might secure by avertmg an arms race would give us the opportunity to establish a world community. Unless we made use of it for this purpose, we would have done nothing but postpone the next world war, which will be all the more terrible the later it comes. The issue that we have to face is not whether we can create a world government before this century is over. That appears to be very likely. The issue that we have to face is whether we can have such a world government without going through a third world war. What matters is to create at once conditions in whirh the ultimate establishment of a world government will appear as inevitable to most men as war appears inevitable at present to many. Clearly the crucial point in this transition will be reached when a world government will in fact operate in the area of security or police functions. When that point is reached, the right to abrogate will cease and secession will become both illegal and in fact impossible. Discussion of such a long-range program would

{p. 65} go beyond the scope of this chapter. I have mentioned it because I doubt that the danger of an arms race can be successfully averted unless the problem of creating a breathing spell and the roblem of establishing a world community - that is, the short-range and the long-range programs - are attacked simultaneously. For, if we wish to avert an arms race, we will have to give up our own atomic bombs and scrap our own manufacturing facilities before we can have a foolproof peace system. We shall have to take risks, and we shall have to derive the courage to take risks from the conviction that we are on our way toward the solution of the problem of permanent peace.

{p. 66} Chapter 13

International Control of Atomic Energy


{p. 67} The enforcement of international agreement by sovereign states against sovereign states is known as the method of collective security. We cannot rely -- indeed no nation does or will rely -- upon international agreements of this kind. Why not? Because the remedy is as bad as the disease: the peaceable nations have to be willing to wage total war in order to prevent total war. The remedy is so crude, so expensive, and usually so repulsive, that it will not be applied by the very peoples who are supposed to apply it, namely by the peace-loving peoples.

{Given the Jewish earnestness to bring peace to everyone else - to solve squabbles via enforcement from the UN - as exhibited by the Jewish contributors in this book, it is ironic that the Middle East conflict has been the most intractable in the world for over 50 years; that Israel has been able to defy the UN without penalty; that Israel - unlike Iraq and Iran - has been able to build a secret nuclear program, without calls for UN inspection; and that it has jailed its "nuclear whistleblower" Mordecai Vanunu, even in solitary confinement, with scarecely a murmur of complaint}

{p. 68} At the beginning of this chapter I said that the essential political principle is known by which our problem can be solved. There is no mystery about it, and indeed it becomes self-evident once we realize clearly why collective security is such a bad method of enforcing laws and agreements.

The principle is to make individuals, not sovereign states, the objects of the international agreements; it is to have laws operate upon individuals. This principle is not altogether novel even in the international affairs of our era when national sovereignty has been so absolute, and its doctrines have been expounded so dogmatically and so pedantically.? It is the principle that men have had to invoke and apply "whenever they have sought to enlarge the area of lawful order."

{Footnote ?: Cf Hans Kelsen, Peace Through Law, Univerity of North Corolina Press, pp. 71 et. seq., for instances of individuai responsibility etablished by general international law or treaty - namely, rules forbidding piracy, breach of blockade and contraband, illegitimate warfare; also Article III of tbe abortive Treaty of Wahington, 1922, on submarine warfare and Article II of the International Convention for the Protection of Submarine Telegraph Cables, 1884. Other interesting and suggestive intances are: Treaty for the Suppression of the African Slave Trade, 1862: international convention ior the Suppression of the Trade in women and Children, 1921; International convention for the Suppression of the Circulation of and Trade in Obscene Publications, 1923, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, 1929. {end footnote}

The authors of the American Constitution invoked it in order to remedy the lawlessness and disorder of the Confederacy of 1781. They espoused and elucidated the principle in the Federalist. If anything in the field of political science can be called a proven discovery, it is that a system of law will not produce order if it operates only upon states, and that the enforcement of law becomes possible only as the laws operate upon individuals. For then the enforcement of the law may not encounter "the organized and unified opposition which is evoked" when the attempt is made to regulate or coerce states that command the allegiance and obedience of masses of people. Hamilton argues that if there is to be a "super-intending power" - which is what we are committed to establishing when we seek "effective safeguards" against weapons of mass destruction - then "we must resolve to incorporate into our plan those ingredients which may be considered as forming the characteristic difference between a league and a government; we must extend the authority of the Union (in this case of the super-intending power of the United Nations) to the persons of the citizens" of the Unitd Nations.

In examining the bearing of this principle upon

{p. 69} the problems of the world today, we must not be diverted or confused by the connotations of the word "government." The word suggests the apparatus of a world flag, a world executive, a world legislature, a world judicial system, a world army, world policemen, detectives, inspectors, and tax collectors. None, some, or all of these instruments of government may be desirable or feasible; the point I wish to insist upon is that we need not and that we should not consider them now. For the principle that world laws and agreements shall operate upon individuals can be applied constructively at once without a priori commitment to create the particular institutions of a world government.

The principle is most suitable to the problem that the three foreign ministers agreed to lay before the Commission for the Control of Atomic Energy that they have asked the General Assembly of the United Nations to establish. The problem is how to provide "effective safeguards ... against the hazards of violations and evasions" of agreements that would call for "the exchange of basic scientific information for peaceful ends," for the "control of atomic energy to the extent necessary to insure its use only for peaceful purposes," and "for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and other major weapons of mass destruction." ...

Any individual scientist, industrialist, administrator, or official who wished to obey the law could, if his government were seeking to coerce him, claim the protection of the United Nations. {what of Mordecai Vanunu?} If he escaped, they would give him asylum. If he were put in a concentration camp, the United Nations could demand an explanation and a fair hearing of his case if any friend or relative managed to convey the news of his case to any agent of any government of the United Nations.

No one would owe allegiance to his own state when that meant that he had to violate the world law. ...

{p. 70} Even in time of war among well-nigh absolute soverelgn states, the enforcement of complete secrecy is exceedingly difficult and in large degree imperfect. The kind of agreement that we are discussing would make it much more difficult, especially in peacetime. It would make secrecy by government officials unlawful and would make it lawful, and also righteous, honorable, and not too imprudent, for anyone to expose violations of the rules and to inform the inspectors.

{Mordecai Vanunu being the perfect test case}

Dr. Szilard examines the details of the problem of inspection in Chapter 12. ...

{p. 73} We can now see in retrospect that during the Second World War there was consummated a revolutionary development in human relations. It has pushed mankind across the boundary lines of what was until recently the modern age, when men lived in a congeries of unqualifiedly sovereign states and their dependencies; the first but essential formations of the world state have begun.

... The United Nations became an alliance because they were all, though separately and at different times, the victims of aggression. ...

This did not mean, as many men have thought, that the United Nations are stalled on the way to a world order. It meant, on the contrary, an admission on their part that out of sovereign states alone a world order cannot be formed. Though that was not the intention, nor was its significance appreciated when it happened, what was in fact blocked by the rule of unanimity was the effort to advance along a way that did not and could not take the United Nations into a world order of law.

{p. 74} But what we can prove - and it is a momentous conclusion - is that the potentiality of the world state is inherent in the United Nations. When I say that it is inherent, I mean that this is the end and the logic according to which the United Nations must evolve if they are to evolve at all towards an enduring world order. The world state is inherent in the United Nations as an oak tree is in an acorn. Not all acorns become oak trees; many fall on stony ground or are devoured by the beasts of the wilderness. But if an acorn matures, it will not become a whale or an orchid. It can become only an oak. That is the potentiality inherent in its organism. In this sense, not another League of Nations but a world state, in the exact meaning of the term, is inherent and potential in the embryonic organism of the United Nations.

The recognition of this truth will be in itself an event that will affect the course of events. For when an idea that enlists men's hopes is seen to be consistent with their acts, it evokes and organizes their energies. It is not then an abstraction or an essence. It is a dynamic force in their conduct. There are the ideas that shake the world and change it.

The project of the world state is now such an idea.

{p. 75} ...But in this condition of the world, a new event may and can, and could be made to intervene. That event would be the decision of the American people to make the formation of the world state the principal objective of their own foreign policy.

{H. G. Wells also advocated the World State: opensoc.html}

{p. 76} Chapter 14

The Way Out


... So long as the individual state, despite its official condemnation of war, has to consider the possibility of engaging in war, it must influence and educate its citizens - and its youth in particular - in such a way that they can easily be converted into efficient soldiers in the event of war. Therefore it is compelled not only to cultivate a technical-military training and type of thinking but also to implant a spirit of national vanity in its people in order to secure their inner readiness for the outbreak of war. Of course, this kind of education counteracts all endeavors to establish moral authority for any supranational security organization.

{Does not Israel have that spirit of "national vanity"?}

{p. 77} 3. The above-named bodies can now begin to function. The vestiges of national armies can then be either disbanded or placed under the high command of the supranational authority.

4. After the cooperation of the nations of highest military importance has been secured, the attempt should be made to incorporate, if possible, all nations into the supranational organization, provided that it is their voluntary decision to join.

{for more on Einstein see einstein.html}

{p. 78} Survival is at Stake


... The arms race must be stopped. ...

¶ The problem has brought us to one of the great crises of history.

¶ The problem has moved onto the political plane and will remain there. Science will devise no defense to make the danger go away.

¶ The problem is a world problem. There can be no merely national solutions. ...

{p. 79} Second, the year 1946 has a special importance - and the next year, and perhaps the next.

... There is not much time. {hence the "Time is running Out" slogan on T-shirts}

Third, the solution cannot be simply a formal one, although it will certainly bring new rights and new laws. It must be embodied; it must involve an institution, which can spend hard cash and employ earnest and intelligent men. The final form of any agency proposed will be impossible to state, but there must be a beginning. And the initial plan must provide for growth and development in the institution just as the problem will grow and develop. ...

Time is short. And survival is at stake.


(4) Pavel Sudoplatov on Szilard and the Atomic Spies

Pavel Sudoplatov and Anatoli Sudoplatov with Jerrold L. and Leona P. Schecter, SPECIAL TASKS: MEMOIRS OF AN UNWANTED WITNESS - A SOVIET SPYMASTER (Little, Brown and Company, New York 1994; paperback edition 1995, with addenda to the Foreword & Introduction).

{p. 172} ATOMIC SPIES {Sudoplatov's text begins here}

The most vital information for developing the first Soviet atomic bomb came from scientists engaged in the Manhattan Project to build the American atomic bomb - Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard.

Oppenheimer, Fermi, Szilard, and Szilard's secretary were often quoted in the NKVD files from 1942 to 1945 as sources for information on the development of the first American atomic bomb. It is in the record that on several occasions they agreed to share information on nuclear weapons with Soviet scientists. At first they were motivated by fear of Hitler; they believed that the Germans might produce the first atomic bomb. Then the Danish physicist Niels Bohr helped strengthen their own inclinations to share nuclear secrets with the world academic community. By sharing their knowledge with the Soviet Union, the chance of beating the Germans to the bomb would be increased.

{p. 192} The mole in Tennessee was connected with the illegal station at the Santa Fe drugstore, from which material was sent by courier to Mexico. The unidentified young moles, along with the Los Alamos mole, were junior scientists or administrators who copied vital documents to which they were allowed access by Oppenheimer, Fermi, and Szilard, who were knowingly part of the scheme.

{p. 195} Not only were we informed of technical developments in the atomic program, but we heard in detail the human conflicts and rivalries among the members of the team at Los Alamos. A constant theme was tension with General Groves, director of the project. We were told of Groves's conflicts with Szilard. Groves was outraged by Szilard's iconoclastic style and his refusal to accept the strictures of military discipline. The "baiting of brass hats" was Szilard's self-professed hobby. Groves believed that Szilard was a security risk and tried to prevent him from working on the Manhattan Project despite Szilard's seminal contribution to the development of the first atomic chain reaction with Fermi. ...

We knew that Oppenheimer would remain an influential person in America after the war and therefore our relations with him should not take the form of running a controlled agent. We understood that he and other members of the scientific community were best approached as friends, not as agents. Since Oppenheimer, Bohr, and Fermi were fierce opponents of violence, they would seek to prevent a nuclear war, creating a balance of power through sharing the secrets of atomic energy. This would be a crucial factor in establishing the new world order after the war, and we took advantage of this.

{p. 206} We decided that Terletsky should be sent to see Bohr in the guise of a young Soviet scientist working on a project supervised by Academicians Ioffe and Kapitsa. He was to explain the problems in activating the nuclear reactor to Bohr and to seek his advice. ...

I met with Terletsky in 1993, just before he died. He recalled that at first Bohr was nervous and his hands trembled, but he soon controlled his emotions. Bohr understood, perhaps for the first time, that the decision that he, Fermi, Oppenheimer, and Szilard had made to allow their trusted scientific proteges to share atomic secrets had led him to meet

{p. 207} agents of the Soviet government. Bohr had sent official confirmation to the Soviet Emhassy that he would meet with a delegation and now he realized that the delegation contained both a scientist and an intelligence officer.

Vasilevsky's successful trips to Denmark, Switzerland, and Italy coincided with the start of the Cold War. Beria awarded him a choice apartment and $1,000 - a considerable sum at that time - for his expenses abroad. After our reactor was put into operation in 1946, Beria issued orders to stop all contacts with our American sources in the Manhattan Project; the FBI was getting close to uncovering some of our agents. Beria said we should think how to use Oppenheimer, Fermi, Szilard, and others around them in the peace campaign against nuclear

{p. 208} armament. Disarmament and the inability to impose nuclear blackmail would deprive the United States of its advantage. We began a worldwide political campaign against nuclear superiority, which kept up until we exploded our own nuclear bomb, in 1949.

... Through Fuchs we planted the idea that Fermi, Oppenheimer, and Szilard oppose the hydrogen bomb. They truly believed in their positions and did not know they were being used. They started as antifascists, and became political advocates of the Soviet Union.
{end} More at atomic-spies.html.

Sudoplatov thought that, with the end of the Soviet Union, there was no longer any reason for secrecy. But the One-Worlders in the International Socialist (Trotskyist, Green Left) camp (proponents of the World Court, Radical Feminism and Gay Marriage) were by no means ready to depart the scene; they were probably aghast to find themselves implicated in many of his revelations. Szilard not least.

(5) H. G. Wells as a Green

Wells saw the end of World War I as an opportunity to create a new world. He supported both Lenin, and the attempt to create a World Government at the Treaty of Versailles: wells-lenin-league.html.

(5.1) from The Open Conspiracy

H. G. Wells, The Open Conspiracy, in H. G. Wells, The Open Conspiracy and Other Writings. London, 1933.

{p. 28} To avoid the positive evils of war and to attain the new levels of prosperity and power that now come into view, an effective world control, not merely of armed force, but of the production and main movements of staple commodities and the drift and expansion of population is required.

{p. 35} This candid attempt to take possession of the whole world, this Open Conspiracy of ours, must be made in the name of and for the sake of science and creative activity. ...

Intelligent control of population is a possibility which puts man outside competitive processes that have hitherto ruled the modification of species, and he can be released from these processes in no other way.

There is a clear hope that, later, directed breeding will come within his scope, but that goes beyond his present range of practical achievement, and we need not discuss it further here. Suffice it for us here that the world community of our desires, the organized world community conducting and ensuring its own progress, requires a deliberate collective control of population as a primary condition.

{end} More at opencon.html

(5.2) from After Democracy

H. G . Wells, After Democracy. London, Watts & Co., 1932; bold emphasis added


{p. 196} It is really nothing more than what our statesmen and men of affairs are feeling their way towards to-day - too timidly and slowly, I fear - with their Debt conferences, the Bank of International Settlements, and so forth. As World Dictators, you or I can travel faster. They have to go slowly because they have to follow the spread of new ideas. We Dictators can lead ideas. My World Economic Council would make a Twenty Years' Plan for the reorganization of the world's production and distribution. It would not smash down all the tariff walls at once - that might lead to frightful convulsions - but it would set about reducing them methodically, organizing the transport of the world by sea and land and air as one system, assigning types of cultivation and manufacture to the most favourable regions, possibly shifting workers to new regions of employment, irrigating deserts, and restoring forests.

{end} More at hgwells.html

(5.3) from The Shape of Things to Come

H. G . Wells, The Shape of Things to Come: the Ultimate Revolution, (hardback) London, Hutchinson & Co., 1933; (paperback) Corgi books NY 1979.

{p. 323; pbk p. 367} Let the Modern State society go on with the scientific organization of the world, yes, and let us go on with the propaganda of its doctrines in every land.

{p. 326; pbk p. 370} 'The Council has its air and sea ways, its airports, dockyards, factories, mines, plantations, laboratories, colleges and schools throughout the world. These are administered by its officials and protected by its own police, and the latter are instructed to defend these organizations whenever and wherever it may be necessary against the aggression of unauthorized persons.

'In every centre of population there are now Modern State nuclei and Control agents conducting the educational work of the Council and in reasonable contact with the local economic life, with local enterprises, local authorities and individuals not yet affiliated to the Modern State organization. The time has come for an these various quasi-independent organs of business and administration to place themselves in orderly relations to the new Government of the Whole World.

'We are constituting a Bureau of Transition, for the simplification and modernization of the business activities, the educational and hygienic services, production, distribution and the preservation of order and security throughout our one home and garden, our pleasure ground and the source of all our riches - the earth, our Mother Earth, our earth and yours.

{this indicates that the Green movement is a key part of Wells' World Government}

{p. 365; pbk p. 413} History becomes a record of increasingly vast engineering undertakings and cultivations, of the pursuit of minerals and of the first deep borings into the planet. New mechanisms appeared, multiplied, and were swept away by better mechanisms. The face of the earth changed. The scientific redistribution of population began. Yet there was little likeness to the world of to-day, as we know it. No age in human history has left us such strange and uncongenial pictures.

Costume was not unpleasant during this period, because of its simplicity; the human figures in the scene at least are tolerable; but these scientific Puritans also produced some of the clumsiest architecture, the most gaunt and ungainly housing blocks, the dullest forests, endless vistas of straight stems, and the vastest, most hideous dams and power-stations, pylon-lines, pipe-lines, and so forth that the planet has ever borne. But at any rate they flooded the Sahara and made the North African littoral the loveliest land in the world.

{p. 388; pbk p. 441} And equally visible still was the quality of recent conquest in the social and economic fields. As Theotocopulos complained, the Second Council overdid its embankments. It was distrustful even of the waters of the earth. Its reservoirs and rivers had, he says, 'a bullied air'. If the jostling little fields and misshapen ill-proportioned farms, the untidy mines, refuse-heaps, factories, workers, slums and hovels and all the dire squalor of competitive industrialism had long since disappeared from the spectacle, there was still effort visible at every point in the layout of twenty-first century exploitation. The stripping and burning of forests that had devastated the world so extensively in the middle decades of the preceding hundred years had led to strenuous reafforestation.

{end} More at hgwells.html

(5.4) John Carey on Wells as a Green

John Carey, The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligensia, 1880-1939 (Faber and Faber, London, 1992).

endnotes included

{Wells correctly categorises Wells as a Green, but mis-diagnosess him as a fascist, whereas in fact he was a pioneer of the Green Left}

{p. 118} {Chapter 6} H. G. Wells Getting Rid of People

H. G. Wells was born in Bromley, Kent, in 1866. It was just the wrong time to be born in Bromley. The railway had arrived in 1858 and a second station, Bromley North, was constructed when Wells was twelve. With the railway came 'development', which meant, in this case, new estates of speculative housing for London commuters. Between 1861 and 1881 the population of Bromley went up from 20,000 to almost 50,000 (a rate of increase four times the national average) and in the first ten years of this period the number of houses in Bromley rose by 86 per cent.1 In his semi-autobiographical novel The New Machiavelli, Wells recounts how, as a child, he had to watch Bromley being ruined. 'All my childish memories are of digging and wheeling, of woods invaded by building ... I realized building was the enemy.' Bromley's fields disappeared beneath rows of houses, its little river, the Ravensbourne, the haunt of trout and kingfishers, was filled with rubbish - 'old iron, rusty cans, abandoned boots'. It had, the narrator of The New Machiauelli recalls, been important in his imaginative life - the scene of early walks with his mother. By the time he was eleven, 'all the delight and beauty of it was destroyed'.2

As we have seen, what happened to Bromley was to happen to much of southern England. But suburban sprawl was only a particularly prominent and distressing feature of the much larger problem of population growth, which increasingly alarmed writers and intellectuals in the course of Wells's lifetime. When he published The Shape of Things to Come in 1933, he dedicated it to 'Jose

{p. 119} Ortega y Gasset, Explorador' - a tribute, presumably, to Ortega's role as the explorer of the new ethics that man's multitudinousness made necessary.

Anxiety about overpopulation, rooted in his childhood vision of woods and fields destroyed at Bromley, is the key to Wells's reading of modern history. 'The extravagant swarm of new births,' he declares in Kipps, 'was the essential disaster of the nineteenth century.'3 No social improvement is possible, A Modern Utopia tells us, unless population is controlled. From the view of human comfort and happiness, the increase in population that occurs at each advance in human security is the greatest evil of life.'4 The unprecedented improvements in the production and distribution of goods which the nineteenth century achieved have not made mankind richer, Wells's William Clissold observes, because population growth has kept pace with or outstripped them. Gains in productivity have been 'absorbed by blind breeding'.5 Support for birth control becomes, for Wells as for Clissold, the vital test of a modern world view - the crucial factor distinguishing liberals from reactionaries. Wells's hostility to the Catholic Church arose from his perception that its opposition to birth control stood in the way of any improvement in the human condition.

He realized, of course, that the population problem was even more acute outside Europe. In The Open Conspiracy, the book which he offered as a plain statement of his essential ideas, the profligate fertility and 'inchoate barbarism' of the inhabitants of the Orient and Africa are seen as obstacles to any real human progress. In India, North Africa, China and the Far East, Wells regretfully reports, 'there goes on a rapid increase of low-grade population, undersized physically and mentally, and retarding the mechanical development of civilization'. In these 'decadent communities outside the Atlantic capitalist system', almost no intelligences would be found, he predicted, capable of grasping his plans for world improvement.6

{excursus - Peter M. This misrepresents what Wells actually wrote in The Open Conspiracy (1933): opencon.html. He says there that the revolt of colonised regions of the world, India, China, Africa etc., against the European Empires, is assisted by the Open Conspiracy, and it invites their amenable leaders - the "finer, more emergetic minds" (p. 58) to move "from the sinking vessel of their antiquated order, across their present conquerors, into a brotherhood of world rulers" (p. 59). They are encouraged to turn to "the problem of saving and adapting all that is rich and distinctive of their inheritance to the common ends of the race" (p. 59). "But to the less virorous intelligences of this outer world" - those not willing to submit - "the new project of the Open Conspiracy will seem no better than a new form of Western envelopment, and they will fight a mighty liberation as though it were a further enslavement to the European tradition. They will watch the Open Conspiracy for any signs of conscious superiority and racial disregard. Necessarily they will recognize it as a product of Western mentality ..." (p. 59).
{end excursus}

The urgency of these plans arose in part from his remarkably clear perception of the ecological damage caused by mankind's irresponsible reproduction. He realized, much earlier than it was generally

{p. 120} understood, how recklessly other species were being wiped out, and their habitats irretrievably destroyed. 'Man,' he concluded, 'is a biological catastrophe.'7

{endnote 7 on p. 232: HGW, Apropos of Dolores, Jonathan Cape, London, 1938, p. 61}

Despite, or perhaps because of, the vast scope of the problem, Wells, like other commentators, tended to focus his anxieties upon certain local and specific issues. His childhood experience of the rape of Bromley ensured that suburban sprawl would be one of these. 'England now for the half of its area,' he reported in 1976, 'is no better than a scattered suburb.'8 The pain and anger this aroused permeate his fiction. London's suburbs in Tono-Bungay are a 'tumorous growth' - endless streets of undistinguished houses, shabby families and second-rate shops, with outcrops from the main cancer producing such horrors as 'ignoble' Croydon and 'tragic' West Ham.9 In Ann Veronica the prosperous villas of Surbiton and Epsom shine out in their raw ugliness 'like a bright fungoid growth'.10 The greyness of life in 'a Neo-Malthusian suburban hutch' - the sort of jerry-built receptacle that makes 'such places as Hendon a nightmare of monotony' - provides George Brumley with a fruitful topic in The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman.11

Wells notes, with a special pang, the galloping ruin of Britain's coastline. All but a small part of the south and east coasts, he laments has been cut up into building plots, with estate agents' boards everywhere, and ill-made, weedy tracks designated 'Trafalgar Avenue' or 'Sea-View Road'.12 Mass tourism and its devastations are another nightmare. Writing in 1911, Wells depicts the future fate of Capri - the whole island converted into one enormous hotel, with miles of additional floating hotels offshore, and aeroplanes dropping out of the sky every afternoon bringing thousands of fresh pleasure-seekers.13

Equally dismaying was the new vigour that mass culture had given to the advertising industry. Public advocacy of anti-bilious pills, pickles and soap seemed to Wells degrading. It disfigured the countryside, and spread an atmosphere of pampered, lower-class consumerism that he found offensive. Failure to recognize the damage done by advertisements is a sure sign, in his fiction, of substandard intellegence - or worse. His sordid capitalist Sir Isaac

{p. 121} Harman, having desecrated various beauty spots with hoardings for Staminal Bread, seeks to erect one on Shakespeare Cliff at Dover. Harman's success, based on a chain of cafes, is inexorably linked to the whole depressing phenomenon of clerks, suburbs and commuterdom. It is Sir Isaac's enterprise that supplies 'the midday scone or poached egg' in all 'centres of clerkly employment in London or the Midlands'. 14

Inextricably involved with advertising was the blight of popular newspapers. True, Wells's imagination was not immune to the feat of organization that ensured their daily appearance on the streets. A character in one of his futurist stories, looking back on the newspaper age, describes its effect as if it were something from science fiction: 'You must figure the whole country dotted white with rustling papers. It is just as if some vehement jet had sprayed the white foam of papers over the surface of the land.' But the same speaker, leafing through samples of early twentieth-century popular journalism, dismisses it as 'faled bawling', like 'screams and shouts heard faintly in a little gramophone'. Newspapers were dangerous, Wells believed, because the profit-motive forced them to appeal to the most crude and vulgar passions, such as patriotism and war-fever. This made them prime organs of mass hatred. A popular newspaper was, in a quite literal sense, 'a poison rag'.15

A more insidious evil than newspapers, and less resistible, was woman. Though Wells was highly susceptible to feminine allure, his considered view of woman's influence on civilization was not favourable. For one thing, it was undeniably woman's unchecked fertility that was to blame for the population problem. For another, women notoriously used their sex appeal to captivate young males and force them into marriage, thus tying them to the breadwinning treadmill and effectively ending their lives as thinkers. This fate overtakes Wells's Mr Lewisham, among others. The evidence suggests that Wells thought of women as by nature extravagant, and addicted to clothes, chatter and shopping. There is not a single woman, complains the consumptive Masterman in Kipps, 'who wouldn't lick the boots of a Jew or marry a nigger, rather than live decently on a hundred a year'.16 These were not precisely Wells's

{p. 122} sentiments, but he seems to have shared Masterman's exasperation. When Wells's women divulge to their menfolk the true nature of femininity, it is not a flattering picture. Women, Clementina tells William Clissold, are ungenerous, parasitic, fearful, vain, easily muddled, tired by brain-work and untruthful. They are also less highly individualized than men - though the romantic tradition pretends they are more so - and the vast industry of fashion, perfumery and cosmetics has come into existence solely to bestow on them the individuality they lack.17 Marjorie, in Marriage, is similarly frank. 'What are we women?' she demands. 'Half savages, half pets, unemployed things of greed and desire.' Her husband, Trafford, though blinded by love at first, is brought to see that Marjorie is right after witnessing her wanton extravagance in the West End stores. 'I'm a deeper and bigger thing than you,' he discloses. 'I reach up to something you don't reach up to.' Marjorie entirely agrees. It is, she acknowledges, woman's craving for material things that has ruined mankind.18

Given that the need for children is minimal, on an overcrowded planet, woman's role as mother and homemaker is set to diminish, as Wells sees it, and it is not clear that she is really fitted for any other role. She may, of course, become a surrogate male, applying herself, not very outstandingly, to tasks traditionally carried out by men. But this seems unlikely to satisfy her natural desires. 'Our world is haunted by the superfluous dissatisfied woman,' sighs a male spokesman in Apropos of Dolores. 'She darkens the sky.'19 The husband in this novel solves his immediate problem by murdering his wife. But the philosopher Karenin in The World Set Free suggests a more far-reaching remedy. The modern world, he cautions, has no room for 'sexual heroines', woman must stop flaunting her sexuality, and if she does not, men must remember that genetic engineering allows them to determine the sex of children. 'If woman is too much for us we'll reduce her to a minority.'20

Wells's less optimistic visions of the future, however, predict a world that is even more suffocatingly overcrowded than our own, and in which the illiterate masses have sunk to a condition of semi-human subjection and dependence. They are consumers of debased

{p. 123} mass media, and are incessantly bombarded with crude advertisements, beamed at them by televisual or radiophonic means. In his novel of 1899, When the Sleeper Wakes, a character called Graham comes out of a cataleptic trance to find himself 203 years in the future. London has by this time become a huge glass-roofed conglomeration of innumerable levels - 'a gigantic glass hive' - with a population of 33 million. Down in the subterranean levels of the city live the pale, toiling masses ('Masses - the word comes from your days - you know, of course, that we still have masses,' a guide explains to Graham). This submerged population talk in a crude dialect and listen to 'Babble Machines' (the replacement for newspapers), which broadcast crude, false news items and shout slogans - 'Blood! Blood!' or 'Yah!' - to attract attention. Even in the upper city levels, Graham finds, there are no books any more, only videos or porn-videos, labelled in simple phonetic English. He feels battered by the sheer size of the congested mass, and begs to be alone. 'Let me go into a little room,' he weeps.21

In his non-fiction works Wells committed himself to formulating ways in which this dreadful future could be averted and the world population controlled. As he saw it, the main problem was the mass of low-grade humanity such as inhabits the underground in When the Sleeper Wakes. All over the world, he observes in Anticipations, published in 19O1 'vicious, helpless and pauper masses' have appeared, spreading as the railway systems have spread, and representing an integrart of the process of industrialization, like the waste product of a healthy organism. For these 'great useless masses of people' he adopts the term 'People of the Abyss', and he predicts that the 'nation that most resolutely picks over, educates, sterilizes, exports, or poisons its People of the Abyss' will be in the ascendant.

The word 'poisons' may sound extreme here, but getting rid of these inferior types need not, Wells stipulates, worry the conscience of the rulers of his New Republic. On the contrary, it may be looked upon as an ethical duty. He derives his new ethics from two sources: Malthus and Darwin. Malthus's Essay on Population has, he argues, destroyed facile liberalisms once and for all, by showing that

{p. 124} unless the problem of reproduction is solved, all dreams of human betterment must be futile or insincere, or both. Meanwhile, Darwin's theory of natural selection has rendered untenable the belief in human equality implicit in every liberalizing movement.

It has become apparent that whole masses of human population are, as a whole, inferior in their claim upon the future, to other masses, that they cannot be given opportunities or trusted with power as the superior peoples are trusted, that their characteristic weaknesses are contagious and detrimental in the civilizing fabric, and that their range of incapacity tempts and demoralizes the strong. To give them equality is to sink to their level, to protect and cherish them is to be swamped in their fecundity.23

The ethical system that will obtain in Wells's New Republic will favour the procreation of what is fine and efficient, and check the procreation of 'base and servile types'. In the past, Nature killed these off, and in some cases killing will still be necessary. Nor, advises Wells, should this appal us. Death for such people will mean merely 'the end of the bitterness of failure, the merciful obliteration of weak and silly and pointless things'. Clearly the effecting of this will be morally justifiable.

The new ethics will hold life to be a privilege and a responsibility, not a sort of night refuge for base spirits out of the void; and the alternative in right conduct between living fully, beautifully and efficiently will be to die. For a multitude of contemptible and silly creatures, fear-driven and helpless and useless, unhappy or hatefully happy in the midst of squalid dishonour, feeble, ugly, inefficient, born of unrestrained lusts, and increasing and multiplying through sheer incontinence and stupidity, the men of the New Republic will have little pity and less benevolence. 24

If 'the whole tenor of a man's actions' shows him to be unfit to live, the New Republicans will kill him. They will not be squeamish about inflicting death, because they will have a fuller sense of the possibilities of life. 'They will have an ideal that will make killing worth the while.' The killing, Wells explains, will not be needlessly brutal. 'All such killing will be done with an opiate.' Whether this will be administered forcibly, or whether the victim will be persuaded to swallow it, he does not reveal. Selected criminals will be destroyed by the same means. Those guilty of 'outrageous conduct'

{p. 125} to women or children, or of 'cowardly and brutal assaults', together with the criminally insane, will be humanely put down, on the principle that 'people who cannot live happily and freely in the world without spoiling the lives of others are better out of it.' The death penalty will also be used to prevent the transmission of genetic disorders. People suffering from genetically transmissible diseases will be forbidden to propagate, and will be killed if they do.25

Even these wide-reaching reforms will, Wells realizes, still leave unsolved the problem of the black and brown races, whom he considers inferior to whites in intelligence and initiative, and who therefore seem to him to pose the general question to the Western world, 'What will you do with us, we hundreds of millions, who cannot keep pace with you?' Clearly administering opiates to the entire populations of China and Africa would raise some practical difficulties, and Wells does not present, in Anticipations, anything approaching a properly worked-out extermination policy. None the less, he appears convinced that genocide is the only answer. The 'swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people', who do not meet the new needs of efficiency, will, he insists, 'have to go'. It is 'their portion to die out and disappear'.26

In later non-fiction works Wells applies his attention less to the extermination of inferior breeds and more to the application of birth-control within his New Republic itself. He concedes that the science of genetics is still imperfect, so selective breeding, such as eugenicists favour, is impractical. Not that he opposes, in principle, the idea that only certain couples should be allowed to have children, but the selection of those couples on genetic grounds surpasses, he warns, current human knowledge. Accordingly he proposes to restrict parenthood to those who have the money and intelligence to make responsible child-rearers. The authorities should set minimum standards of clothing, cleanliness, growth, nutrition and education, and if these standards are not met, the child will be taken away and reared by the state at the parents' expense. If the parents fail in their payments for the child's maintenance, they will be put into celibate labour establishments to work off their debt, and they will not be released until the debt is fully discharged.

{p. 126} These measures, Wells feels, will ensure a fall in the birthrate of 'improvident, vicious and feeble types'.27

He introduces these recommendations in Mankind in the Making in 1903, and they are refined and developed in A Modern Utopia, published in 1905. This is a story about two hikers in the Swiss Alps, the narrator and a botanist, who suddenly find themselves, as a result of a space-time warp, in another world which is 'out beyond Sirius, billions of light years away' but is identical in population and geography to our own world - everyone in our world, that is, has a double there. The difference between the two worlds is that the one the hikers find themselves in is conducted on rational lines. It has already become a world state, with English as its universal language.

Its rulers are representatives of Wells's proposed new governing class, which he designates at various times 'new Ironsides' or 'Cromwellians' or 'Samurai'. They are rational, advanced, scientifically trained people - technicians, engineers, doctors - and they are not democratically elected. Democracy, Wells believed, was fatal, since the only appeal democratically elected politicans could make to the electorate was patriotic, and patriotism inevitably led to war. Wells's Samurai constitute a voluntary, non-hereditary nobility, drawn from both men and women. To qualify, they must have passed an examination and have achieved something unusual, such as writing a book, painting a picture or obtaining an engineering degree. They must observe an austere rule of life, abjuring tobacco, drugs, alcohol and meat, and taking cold baths daily. Once a year they must also go on a journey, alone, to some wild, solitary region - ice fields, oceans and deserts are recommended - for at least a week.

Around this fiction Wells arranges discussions of other Utopian arrangements, including the treatment of failures.

{quote} It is our business to ask what Utopia will do with its congenital invalids, its idiots and madmen, its drunkards and men of vicious mind, its cruel and furtive souls, its stupid people, too stupid to be of use to the community, its lumpish, unteachable, and unimaginative people? And what will it do with the man who is 'poor all round, the rather spiritless, rather incompetent low-grade man, who on earth sits in the den of the sweater, tramps the streets under the banner of the unemployed, or trembles - in another man s

{p. 127} cast-off clothing, and with an infinity of hat-touching - on the verge of rural employment?28 {endquote}

These people, Wells explains, must be 'in the descendent phase. The species must be engaged in eliminating them; there is no escape from that.' However, their elimination in A Modern Utopia is not to be effected by killing, as Wells had suggested in Anticipations. Killing would be Nature's remedy, and Wells lingers over it with some fondness: 'The way of Nature in this process is to kill the weaker and sillier, to crush them, to starve them, to overwhelm them.' But in zionly babies born deformed or diseased are killed. Adult degenerates of all kinds are merely prevented from breeding. The Utopian state insists that to have children you must be solvent, above a certain age (twenty-one for women, twenty-six for men), free of transmissible disease, physically developed to an approved level, not a criminal, and sufficiently intelligent and energetic to have reached a statutory level of education. If, defying these regulations, you do reproduce, the state will take away your offspring and make you pay for its upkeep. For a second offence, you will be sterilized. Meanwhile, all idiots, lunatics, drunkards, drug addicts, violent people, thieves and cheats - in fact, all those people who 'spoil the world for others' - are to be isolated on special islands, patrolled by guards, where the sexes are kept apart to stop procreation.29

This kind of organization - applied to the whole population of the earth, which in A Modern Utopia is 1,500 million - presupposes a high degree of administrative control, and Wells imagines this being achieved by a massive bureaucratic effort. Each inhabitant of the world in A Modern Utopia has a number, and has his or her thumbprint taken and photographed. The central index is in a vast system of buildings in Paris, where an army of attendants labours day and night keeping the record of births, marriages, deaths and criminal convictions up to date. Because population is mobile, such a record, Wells points out, is inevitable in an organized world. Wells's science fiction sometimes accurately predicts modern technological advances. But here he predicts a need rather than an advance. The advance - computer technology - which could now

{p. 128} provide the complete index to the world's population he required, was to come into being without his foreseeing it.

These, then, are the plans for population control that Wells outlines in his role as the prophet of modernity. As a writer of fiction he is able to go much further. The advantage of fiction is that it can cleanse the world of people more rapidly and spectacularly than birth control. In his early essay 'The Extinction of Man', Wells speculates about the different circumstances that might eliminate the human race. Giant crabs or octopuses might come from the sea and eat people. Alternatively the world's population might be devoured by ants. Both these ideas developed into Wellsian fictions. The ants appear in a story called 'The Empire of the Ants', set in the Amazon jungle, where two explorers, sent to investigate a plague of killer ants, find that the creatures have acquired intelligence. They have tools strapped to their bodies and their leaders wear uniform. They kill by poison, which they carry around in needle-like crystals. If they spread, the narrator predicts, they will wipe out the human race. 30 ...

{p. 131} The exultation in death that sweeps through The War of the Worlds is unmistakable, but it is counterbalanced by the loathsomeness of the victors - the Martians - who are another version of Wells's nightmare crabs. They have big, staring eyes, tentacles and horrible mouths that quiver, pant and drop saliva. Their steeds, the Handling Machines, are explicitly 'crab-like'. The Martians eat human beings - or, rather, suck the blood out of them - and the narrator gets a close look at one prospective meal, a well-dressed middle-aged man with shining studs and watch-chain, as he is lifted, shrieking, to his killer's mouth. 40

In the end the Martians are defeated, succumbing to germs and bacteria which their systems, unlike ours, cannot cope with. Just ten years later, in 1908, Wells published a fantasy of world destruction, The War in the Air, which offers no such get-out for the world's millions. The destroyers this time are men in aircraft. Written soon after the advent of manned Right, the novel predicts the effects of air war, and foresees its major drawback - that it can effect only the destruction, not the occupation, of its target.

The novel makes it clear that the world deserves to be destroyed, because it has become so ugly, and the eyesores are those that dismayed the young Wells in suburban Bromley. The story opens in a London suburb called Bun Hill, where a gardener and greengrocer, Tom Smallways, tends the last patch of country in an area invaded by urban growth. Tom's garden is overshadowed by building site hoardings. The cables of the suburban monorail darken the sky above. The roof of Tom's mushroom shed carries advertisements, facing upwards to catch the eye of monorail travellers. Tom's father can remember Bun Hill when it was a Kentish village. But the old estates were cut up for building, the Crystal Palace was built, 6 miles away, then the railway came, and the gasworks, and an ugly sea of workmen's houses, and the pretty River Otterbourne became a putrid ditch. It is the story of Bromley from The New Machiavelli.

The penalty the novel metes out for this sacrilege is the destruction of virtually the whole civilized world. We watch it through the eyes of Bert Smallways, Tom's brother, who by a series of mischances gets aboard an airship in the German fleet just as it is taking off to bomb New York. As the fleet sails over northern England, we get a last glimpse of the ignoble landscape which is to be erased. Manchester and Liverpool lie below, a 'sprawl of undistinguished population', like London slums run to seed, with a few last bits of agricultural land caught in its net. Once over New York, the Germans wipe out the city with its 'black and sinister polyglot population', then global war develops, destroying all the world's major cities. Economic systems collapse; millions die of starvation.

When Bert returns to England he finds most of the population has died in a plague called the Purple Death. London is a ghost city, full of skeletons, dogs and rats. The few survivors of the English people

{p. 133} live in rural peasant communities, subsisting by primitive agriculture. They have returned, Wells observes, from 'suburban parasitism' to what had been the life of the European peasant since the dawn of history. There are few children, because most of those born die within a few days. Adverts for canned peaches survive grotesquely in a medieval landscape of waste land and starving vagabonds.

Wells implies that this is all for the best. The old suburban life was not rooted in history or the earth. The life of the survivors is. Bert and his wife, Edna, rear pigs and hens 'among the clay and oak thickets of the Weald' - a stalwart English address, if rather vague. 'They loved and suffered and were happy.' 41

With time, the obliteration of human life in Wells's fiction becomes more violent and thorough. The World Set Free, published in 1914, foresees nuclear fission and the outbreak of atomic war. Wells's atom bombs trigger chain reactions, so that they go on exploding indefinitely, turning their targets into man-made volcanoes. Leo Silard, one of the scientists who worked on the Hiroshima bomb, said the idea of chain reaction first came to him after reading this book.42 In the story atom bombs destroy most of the world's capitals in the late 1950s, killing millions. Economy and industry are paralysed. Government breaks down. Plague, cholera and famine follow the holocaust, greatly reducing the populations of India and China, and so easing the problem of those 'swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people' whose presence on earth worried Wells in Anticipations.

Nuclear war, though it has a healthy effect on population figures, also destroys property. Twenty years later, in 1933, in The Shape of Things to Come, Wells hit on a way of eliminating people that would leave buildings intact. His futurist fantasy tells how germ warfare developed around 1940, and how an accidental release of yellow fever in India left much more open space on that subcontinent. The 1930s also saw the refinement of poisonous gases, culminating in Permanent Death Gas, which was used in a world war in the 1950s. Between May 1955 and November 1956 half the world's population perished, either from warfare or subsequent plagues and epidemics. 'In India the tigers and in Africa the lions came into the desolate streets, and in Brail the dead population of whole districts was eaten chiefly by wild hog, which multiplied excessively.' The European scene is marginally less bleak. One Titus Cobbett, making a cycling tour from Rome along the Riviera to Bordeaux in 1958, describes deserted chateaux and overgrown gardens, 'blind tangles of roses, oleanders, pomegranates, oranges', and derelict railways overgrown with wild flowers. London's suburbs, however, are not even beautiful in their overthrow. Cobbett finds them a 'ruinous desolation'.43

Wells is often thought of as a rationalist, bringing science to the succour of mankind and planning technological Utopias. This view is not false, but it is incomplete. Many aspects of modern mass-mankind repelled him - newspapers, advertising, consumerist women, cities. A return to peasant life was preferable. The development of his fiction suggests that destruction lured him even more powerfully than progress. Reducing the world's population became an obsession. In fantasy he took - again and again, and with mounting savagery - a terrible revenge on the suburban sprawl that had blighted Bromley.

{p. 135} {Chapter 7; footnotes begin a 1} H. G. Wells Against H. G. Wells

Wells's greatness as a writer depends not only on the intensity with which he hates but on the imaginative duplicity that qualifies his hatred. ...

{p. 148} He had always been torn between system and freedom, and continued to be. But from about 1910 system began to prevail. Worry about population was one cause of this. Freedom was all very well, but it choked the earth with bodies. Only by system could humanity's rampant growth be checked, so Wells began to work out programmes of world reform. He was aware of the losses involved. System meant the end of individuality. Mr Polly, Kipps and Mr Lewisham are individuals. But the people who occupy Wells's utopias and dystopias are representatives, like the people in adverts. They illustrate a design.

Once system is accepted, categorization follows, and abstractions like 'the masses' swallow up individual Mr Pollys and Mr Lewishams. Wells can be found mocking this tendency. 'I don't call the people we get here a Poor - they're certainly not a proper Poor. They're Masses. I always tell Mr Bugshoot they're Masses, and ought to be treated as such,' quacks Mrs Hogberry of Beckenham in Tono-Bungay.40 But Wells himself, in the grip of system, uses terms like 'the masses' without misgiving. Moreover, it is only too clear that 'the great useless masses of people' 41 who are to be swept away by Wells's New Republicans will include confused, ignorant, common, unambitious little types like Mr Polly and Kipps.

As time went on Wells began to doubt not only whether individuality could be allowed but whether it existed at all. We can trace his struggles with this idea in his writing. At the end of Kipps, Art and Ann go for a row on the canal one summer evening, leaving the baby with a minder, and Art remarks what a Rum Go life is. 'Queer old Artie!' teases Ann - and Kipps agrees: '"Ain't I? I don't Suppose there ever was a chap quite like me before." He reflected for just another minute. "Oo! - I dunno," he said at last, and roused himself to pu11.' 42

Wells did not know either. Towards the end of his life he wrote a thesis for his D.Sc. which argues that the individual's belief that he is an independent entity is an illusion. The only reality is the collective existence of the species. 43 Forty years earlier he had maintained just the Opposite. ln a paper read to the Oxford Philosophical Society in

{p. 148} 1903, he questioned the validity of logic, pointing out that its components, such as the syllogism, depend on an acceptance of the objective reality of classification, which Wells rejects. Logical categories are really, he observes, a device for allowing the mind to ignore individual differences, and thus to comprehend an otherwise unmanageable number of unique realities. It follows that we must regard as false all reasoning that arises from 'the fallacy of classification, in what is quite conceivably a universe of uniques'.44

This position, if adhered to, would render science invalid also - since science, like logic, depends on classification - and it would destroy at one blow the whole basis of Wells's later thinking. For his thought, as we have seen, became increasingly dominated by classification - into those who are fit to survive and those who are not; into the black and yellow races and the Europeans; into the natural aristocrats and the masses. His paper of 1903 renders all this illusory.

Wells keeps trying to articulate compromises between the two positions. A Modern Utopia divides people up into the imaginative, the administrative, the dull, the base and so on, yet protests that 'every being is regarded as finally unique'.45 William Clissold (who says that he has discussed the matter with Jung) looks forward to the evolution of a 'collective human person', a 'common mental being of our race', that will nevertheless not replace individuals - they will be 'different' but 'enlarged'.46 Wells himself, in The Shape of Things to Come, prophesies that the whole human race, in history's modern phase, will become 'confluent' - 'as much a colonial organism as any branching coral or polyp' - a real 'mass', in fact. Yet this will apparently not impair individuality, but merely turn it to 'higher aims' 47

The tragedy of the individual engulfed by the mass prompts some of his most poignant images. In Tono-Bungay Marion's absurd little wedding procession, with its three white-ribboned carriages, passes through London's traffic 'like a lost china image in the coal-chute of an ironclad'.48 But system demanded individuality's extinction, and in Wells's later fiction the irreverent, irresponsible individuality of a Kipps or a Mr Polly is nowhere to be found. To Remington in The

{p. 149} New Machiavelli the individual is not a struggling, vulnerable self but just a source of muddle. Individualism means 'a crowd of separate and undisciplined little people'.49

Not that even Remington can make up his mind about it for long. His memory of Bromstead, overrun by suburbia, has set him against individual freedom, but when he meets the Baileys (modelled on Beatrice and Sidney Webb) he realizes that system is a mirage. The Baileys believe social classes are 'real and independent of their individuals'. They see people only as samples and types. 'If they had the universe in hand, I know they would take down all the trees and put up stamped green tin shades and sunlight accumulators.'50 Remington revolts against the sameness inherent in system. Threading the grimy chaos of London's streets, he finds himself losing faith in system altogether, and 'swaying back' to the belief that the huge, formless spirit of the world will not fit into categories.

This does not stop him - or Wells - trying to make it fit. Remington's New Tory party takes as its slogan 'The World Exists for Exceptional People'. By extending educational opportunity, it aims to select and develop the exceptional. No longer will they be lost in the crowd, marrying 'commonplace wives' and becoming 'commonplace workmen and second-rate professional men'. No longer will they be waste, 'as the driftage of superfluous pollen in the pine forest is waste'. One of Remington's audience protests at this point: 'Decent honest lives! Waste!'51 That voice, and Remington's, are both Wells's. If the salvation of the world is what matters, then these scattered, unfulfilled lives - like Mr Lewisham's - really are waste. But to the individual they are not waste but life.

Wells shuttled inconclusively between these two perceptions, and they came to dominate his creative thought. Ellen, in The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman, earns praise for the gift - rare, says Wells, among philanthropists - of 'not being able to classify the people with whom she was dealing'. To her they re 'individualized souls', as distinct and considerable as herself.52 But Trafford, in Marriage, wants to end the multiplicity and diversity of human existence, because he sees that if people do not grow more alike, and do not adopt the same ideals of world reform, then the world cannot be

{p. 150} saved. The sight of the shopping crowds in Oxford Street exasperates him.

{quote} This rich and abundant and ultimately aimless life, this tremendous spawning and proliferation of uneventful humanity! These individual lives signified no doubt enormously to the individuals, but did all the shining, reflecting, changing existence that went by like bubbles in a stream, signify collectively anything more than the leaping, glittering confusion of shoaling mackerel on a sunlit afternoon? 53 {endquote} ...

Wells does not 'solve' the problem of the individual versus the system, but neither does he allow us to imagine it can go unsolved if we are to survive as a species. His value as a writer is that he faces us with facts beyond the normal scope of fiction. He teaches that unless population is controlled, all dreams of human betterment are futile. He knows that adequate control must involve a degree of interference, extending to every living person, which would outrage old-world concepts of individual freedom. He sees that in an overpopulated world human beings are a plague. It was not easy for him to reach these conclusions. As the pioneer of scientific fantasy and the apostle of free love, he was temperamentally averse to compulsion. He had, as he told a friend in a letter of 1907, no 'organizing capacity', but was a 'thoroughly immoral person', 'discursive, experimental and flunctuating'.55 Yet increasingly he devoted his life to imagining a 'common social order' for the entire population of the planet, with a single language, a single monetary system and a rigorous central control that would arrest the spontaneous, disorderly breeding that had characterized earlier eras.56

He did not pretend that improvements could come about without widespread death and suffering. Some types of people, and some races, must be exterminated. He acknowledged that a transitional period of 'grim systematization', dictatorially imposed by the ruling elite and lasting perhaps many years, would be necessary before mankind was ready for happiness. But after that would come the green world. Mankind would live rationally in a pollution-free global garden, with the population kept below the safety limit of 2,000 million. Education would eliminate religion. Poverty, war and disease would be obsolete. The world's forests would grow again. Biological research would multiply plant varieties. Animal species would be preserved in vast wild-life parks, closed to humans.57 This was Wells's dream. But it carried with it the shadow of poor crazy Mr Britling scribbling red lines on his map of the world. {end}

{p. 232} 6 H.G. Wells Getting Rid of People

When he is the author of a work listed here, H. G. Wells is referred to as HGW.

1- See J. M. Rawcliffe, 'Bromley: Kentish Market Town to London Suburb, 1841-81', in F. M. L. Thompson (ed.), The Rise of Suburbia, Leicester University Press and St Martin's Press, New York, 1982, pp. 28-91.
2-HGW, The New Machiavelli, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1966 pp. 33-9.
3-HGW, Kipps, Fontana Colins, London, 1961, p. 240.
4-HGW, A Modern Utopia, Chapman and Hall, London, 1905, p. 180.
5-HGW, The World of William Clissold, Ernest Benn, London, 1926, p.237.
6-HGW, The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution, Victor Gollancz, London, 1928, pp. 80-88.
7-HGW, Apropos of Dolores, Jonathan Cape, London, 1938, p. 61.
8-HGW, The World of William Clissold, ed. cit., p. 772.
9-HGW, Tono-Bungay, Pan Books, London, 1972, p. 82.
1O-HGW, Ann Veronica, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, I968, p. 10.
11-HGW, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman, Macmillan, London, 1914, pp. 341-2.
12-HGW, In the Days of the Comet, The Century Co., New York, 1906, p. 191.
13-See HGW, 'A Dream of Armageddon', in The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, Nelson, London, 1911.
14-HGW, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman, ed. cit., pp. 31, 96. On the nightmare future of advertising, see also HGW, 'A Story of the Days to Come', in Tales of Space and Time, Harper and Bros., London and New York, 1900, pp. 200-246, and When the Sleeper Wakes, Harper and Bros., 1899, pp. 161-2.
15- See HGW, In the Days of the Comet, ed. cit., pp. 101, 123-6, and The Shape of Things to Come: The Ultimate Revolution, Hutchinson, London, 1933, p. 196.
16-HGW, Kipps, ed. cit., p. 201.
17-HGW, The World of William Clissold, ed. cit., pp. 784, 794-9.
18-HGW, Marriage, Macmillan, London, 1912, pp. 508, 526.

{p. 233} 19-HGW, Apropos of Dolores, ed. cit., pp. 51-2.
20-HGW, The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind, Macmillan and Co., London, 1914, p. 80. 21-HGW, When the Sleeper Wakes, ed. cit., pp. 65, 68, 140, 239-59.
22-HGW, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, Chapman and Hall, London, 1901, pp. 81-2, 211-12.
23-Ibid., pp. 287-90.
24-Ibid., pp. 298-9.
25-Ibid., pp. 300-301.
26-Ibid., pp. 80, 317.
27-HGW, Mankind in the Making, Chapman and Hall, London, 1903, pp. 37, 64, 72, 99-111.
28-HGW, A Modern Utopia, ed. cit., p. 135.
29-Ibid., pp. 141-5, 184-91.
30-See HGW, 'The Empire of the Ants', in The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, ed. cit. ...
40-Ibid., p. 143.
41-HGW, The War in the Air, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1967, pp. 242-3.
42-Norman and Jean Mackenzie, The Time Traveller: The Life of H. G. Wells, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1973, p. 298.
43-HGW, The Shape of Things to Come, ed. cit., pp. 220, 236-7, 239.

7 H. G. Wells Against H. G. Wells

When he is the author of a work listed here, H. G. Wells is referred to as HGW. ...

{p. 235} 39-E. M. Forster, Howards End, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1968, pp. 111-12.
40-HGW, Tono-Bungay, ed. cit., p. 199.
41-HGW, Anticipations, ed. cit., pp. 211-12.
42-HGW, Kipps, ed. cit., p. 86.
43 - See Norman and Jean Mackenzie, The Time Traveller: The Life of H. G. Wells, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1973, p. 437.
44-HGW, A Modern Utopia, ed. cit., p. 384.
45-Ibid., p. 65.
46-HGW, The World of William Clissold, ed. cit., pp. 87-9, 120.
47-HGW, The Shape of Things to Come: The Ultimate Revolution, Hlltchinson, London, 1933, p. 430.
48-HGW, Tono-Bungay, ed. cit., p. 15l.
49-HGW, The New Machiazelli, p. 112.
50-Ibid., p. 165.
51-Ibid., pp. 260-61.
52-HGW, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman, Macmillan, London, 1914, p. 356.
53-HGW, Marriage, ed. cit., pp. 412-13.

{p. 236} 54-Ibid., p. 373.
55- Mackenzie, op. cit., p. 221.
56- HGW, The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind, Macmillan and Co., London, 1914, pp. 215-221.
57-HGW, The Shape of Things to Come, ed. cit., pp. 386-99.


(5.5) Critique of John Carey's assessment of Wells - Peter M.

Carey ignores the importance of World Government for Wells: opensoc.html.

He presents Wells as a fascist, whereas Wells was an admirer of Trotsky and a supporter of the early Soviet Union. He tried to have the League of Nations made a World Government. He worked closely with Jewish Internationalists promoting that, such as Israel Zangwill, Walter Lippmann and David Lubin: wells-lenin-league.html.

Wells devolted himself to the politics of World Government, as his numerous non-fiction works show: hgwells.html. He similarly used his fiction for the same political goals, reaching a different audience.

Carey puts the words of his fictional charcters into Wells' mouth, as if Wells endorsed them, but Wells' purpose was to show the necessity of World Unity, the disastrous conequences of failing to attain that goal.

There's a close tie between Green movement and the Trotskyists. In Australia, Green MPs regularly speak at meetings organized by Trotskyists (e.g. leaders of the International Socialist Organisation).

Greens and Trotskyists ARE elitists, but they're anti-Nazi.

They oppose Zionism, and for this reason, Zionists often accuse them of being Nazis. An example is the writings of Hannah Newman, a Jewish writer who brands the New Age movement "a Kinder, Gentler Reich".

Her article of that heading is no longer at http://www.mega.nu/ampp/newage.html#metatop, but it is at http://richardboyden.com/Luciferianism.htm.

In her article WHAT JEWISH PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE NEW AGE, also at the above link, she writes,

"In a word, the 'New Age' is a political/religious movement which seeks to unite the world under the guidance of non-human spirits, in the process singling out the Jewish people and Judaism for destruction".

These articles bear the email address <freeway@netvision.net.il>

Carey claims that Wells was pro-peasant: "Many aspects of modern mass-mankind repelled him - newspapers, advertising, consumerist women, cities. A return to peasant life was preferable." (p. 133).

But Wells wrote, in The Shape of Things to Come: the Ultimate Revolution (hardback: London, Hutchinson & Co., 1933; paperback: Corgi books New York 1979):

{hardback p. 289; pbk p. 328} The question of the expropriation of the peasant and the modernization of agricultural production was taken up at Basra where Lenin and Stalin had laid it down, defeated. The Conference was lucidly aware that upon the same planet at the same time you cannot have both an aviator and a starveling breeding peasantry, toiling endlessly and for ever in debt. One or the other has to go, and the fundamental objective of the Conference was to make the world safe for the former. The disappearance of the latter followed, not as a sought-after end but as a necessary consequence. And the disappearance of as much of the institutions of the past as were interwoven with it.

{hbk p. 300; pbk p. 340} The abolition of the self-subsisting peasant had been the conscious objective of Lenin and Stalin in Russia. The cultivator, with increasing ease, was to produce fundamental foodstuffs far beyond his own needs and to receive for his surplus an ever increasing variety of helps, comforts and amenities. {end} hgwells.html.

Carey claims that Wells is racist:

"He realized, of course, that the population problem was even more acute outside Europe. In The Open Conspiracy, the book which he offered as a plain statement of his essential ideas, the profligate fertility and 'inchoate barbarism' of the inhabitants of the Orient and Africa are seen as obstacles to any real human progress. In India, North Africa, China and the Far East, Wells regretfully reports, 'there goes on a rapid increase of low-grade population, undersized physically and mentally, and retarding the mechanical development of civilization'. In these 'decadent communities outside the Atlantic capitalist system', almost no intelligences would be found, he predicted, capable of grasping his plans for world improvement.6" (p. 119).

Even worse, Carey depicts Wells as promoting the genocide of non-whites:

"Even these wide-reaching reforms will, Wells realizes, still leave unsolved the problem of the black and brown races, whom he considers inferior to whites in intelligence and initiative, and who therefore seem to him to pose the general question to the Western world, 'What will you do with us, we hundreds of millions, who cannot keep pace with you?' Clearly administering opiates to the entire populations of China and Africa would raise some practical difficulties, and Wells does not present, in Anticipations, anything approaching a properly worked-out extermination policy. None the less, he appears convinced that genocide is the only answer. The 'swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people', who do not meet the new needs of efficiency, will, he insists, 'have to go'. It is 'their portion to die out and disappear'.26" (p. 125).

This misrepresents what Wells actually wrote in The Open Conspiracy (1933): opencon.html.

He says there that the revolt of colonised regions of the world, India, China, Africa etc., against the European Empires, is assisted by the Open Conspiracy, and it invites their amenable leaders - the "finer, more emergetic minds" (p. 58) to move "from the sinking vessel of their antiquated order, across their present conquerors, into a brotherhood of world rulers" (p. 59).

They are encouraged to turn to "the problem of saving and adapting all that is rich and distinctive of their inheritance to the common ends of the race" (p. 59).

"But to the less virorous intelligences of this outer world" - those not willing to submit - "the new project of the Open Conspiracy will seem no better than a new form of Western envelopment, and they will fight a mighty liberation as though it were a further enslavement to the European tradition. They will watch the Open Conspiracy for any signs of conscious superiority and racial disregard. Necessarily they will recognize it as a product of Western mentality ..." (p. 59).

Like the Trotskyists and Greens, but unlike the Nazis, Wells argues for Open Borders, opening the possibility of mass immigration, in his book After Democracy. (London, Watts & Co., 1932):

{p. 200} As World dictator I should see to it that the kind of knowledge which leads to a restriction of population is spread throughout the whole world. That secured, I do not think mankind need fear over-population. Nor do I think the races of mankind are going to devour one another. There is not going to be any great overrunning of peoples. The climatic regions of the earth determine the character of their human populations. The negro did not capture tropical Africa; tropical Africa made him and gave herself to him: for keeps, I think. The brownish peoples again hold the sub-tropical world by virtue of their superior adaptation to that world; similarly the whites the rainy temperate zone, and the Mongols dry Asia. So it seems to me. There may be a lot of marginal admixture; there may be replacement with altered conditions: but my World Dictatorship at any rate will be untroubled by the nightmare of racial swarmings. Men in the coming future will find that when they are free to move wherever they choose about our planet they will for the most part stay in the habitats congenial to them. When they know how to limit their increases they will limit them. {end}

(6) Ben-Ami Shillony says Judaism is "the first religion to make world peace a central element in its eschatology"

Two recent books which compare the Jewish and Japanese psyches are Ben-Ami Shillony, The Jews and the Japanese, and Isaiah Ben-Dasan, The Japanese and the Jews. These books seem to be competing to present Judaism to the Japanese, in a battle for the Japanese mind. From japan.html.

Ben-Ami Shillony, The Jews and the Japanese: the Successful Outsiders, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont, 1991.

Professor Shillony bills himself as "a Jew, an Israeli" (p. 10).

(6.1) Jews as creators of "Software" i.e. Concepts and Philosophies

Shillony reminds the Japanese of Schiff's war-loans to help Japan win the Russo-Japanese War (pp. 143-50, 162, 178), and offers a Jewish-Japanese partnership:

{p. 224} The Japanese and the Jews complement each other in many ways. While the Jews have developed much of the "software" of Western civilization: great philosophical constructs, new theories, and revolutionary ideologies, they often failed to act prudently on these ideas, becoming themselves the victims of their own contributions, as in the case of Marxism {an allusion to Stalin: stalin.html}. The Japanese

{p. 225} are now providing the "hardware" of modern civilization: the machines and the material assets, but they have not yet produced any grand theories that could deploy material abundance in a new way. These two kinds of mastery, if combined, could provide new and unforseeable achievements. ... In an economically and culturally integrated world, in which people enjoy unrestricted mobility and access to each other's cultural assets, the labels "Jews" and "Japanese", as well as those of other ethnic and religious groups, may lose their validity. When every human being becomes heir to the whole cultural heritage of mankind, there will be no more outsiders.

{Is this what Zionism has striven for ... its own disappearance?}

{p. 63} The Meiji period (1868-1912) leaders who built the new Japan ... had no intention of creating the "new man" or of offering new formulas for the solution of the world's problems.

{p. 64} Whereas ... the Jews sought to revise, redraw, and replace the basic tenets of the West.


(6.2) A Zionist-Trotskyist Axis?

Shillony, "a Jew, an Israeli" (p. 10), combines Zionism with Marxism; since Stalin opposed the Jewish communists, this "Marxism" is Trotskyism.

Ben-Ami Shillony, The Jews and the Japanese: the Successful Outsiders, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont, 1991.

{p. 64} It is difficult to imagine the world today without the contributions of Karl Marx {note that he is placed first, although the list is not chronologically ordered}, Leon Trotsky {tribute to Trotsky is the mark of a Trotskyist: Stalinists never do it}, Sigmund Freud {the Freud-Bolshevik alliance is another mark of Trotskyism}, Alfred Adler, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Emile Durkheim, Henri Bergson, Claude Levi-Strauss, and many other Jewish scholars, writers, philosophers, and scientists. Many of these eminent persons were iconoclastic geniuses. They had detached themselves from Orthodox Judaism and some even converted to Christianity, but they all shared the Jewish trait of challenging accepted truths and searching out new ways of understanding the world. Carrying on the tradition of nonconformism and argumentation, they came to shatter accepted doctrines and to offer new theories and concepts.

{but if Jewish iconoclasm is mainly directed at non-Jewish culture, may it not be a type of propaganda - especially if scrutiny and criticism of Jewish politics is stymied as "anti-semitic"?}

{p. 65} Unlike Marx, Freud never abandoned Judaism, even though he was not a practising Jew. Albert Einstein, however, was a proud Jew and an active Zionist. {see einstein.html}

{p. 68} The strong moral element in Judaism, and the fact that they had long been the victims of persecution and discrimination, made the Jews sensitive to all forms of injustice. {what about the Red Terror, established by Lenin & Trotsky?} The conspicuous role Jews played in socialist and communist movements in many countries was a clear expression of this moral sensitivity. {but the Palestinians and the Arabs have not noticed it} In Germany one finds Moses Hess {see avineri.html}, Karl Marx, Ferdinand Lassalle, Eduard Bernstein, and Rosa Luxembourg. In the Russian revolution one finds Leon Trotsky {here's a Zionist supporting Trotsky}, Maxim Litvinov, Grigori Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Karl Radek, and Lazar Kaganovich.

{on the Jewish role in Communism see zioncom.html; Kaganovich, whose sister Rosa was Stalin's third wife, murdered millions. His nephew Stuart Kahan, after interviewing his uncle in Russia in 1981, wrote his biography The Wolf of the Kremlin, in which he writes, "Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich ... orchestrated the deaths of 20 million people" (pp. 14-15). Kahan's biography was published in 1987 (see kaganovich.html), yet Shillony gives him an honourable mention in this book published in 1991}

{p. 22} The religion that was subsequently called Judaism started as a spiritual revolution. ... The reduction of the number of deities from many to one ... was an affirmation of the basic unity of the universe and of the moral purposiveness that underlies it ...


Thus put, Judaism would develop non-theistic variants too, as in the case of Marx and Freud: philos.html.

(6.3) Shillony says Judaism is "the first religion to make world peace a central element in its eschatology"

Ben-Ami Shillony, The Jews and the Japanese: the Successful Outsiders, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont, 1991.

{p. 31} ... Judaism was the first religion to make world peace a central element in its eschatology. {Actually, it borrowed this from Zoroastrianism: zoroaster-judaism.html}

{p. 32} Yet quite often peace implies domination, and in many languages the word "pacify" also means "conquer". King Solomon could afford to be a king of peace because he ruled "over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt."

{this quote, from 1 Kings 4:21, may not be historically accurate, yet it is the basis of promises that Jews will rule those lands again - at Genesis 15: 18; Exodus 23: 30-31; Deut 11: 24; Josh 1:4 - and is a major motivator of modern Zionism: tmf.html}

... The peaceful world that the Jewish prophets envisioned was to be ruled over by a scion of the House of David, later called the Messiah.

The Jews ... were always inspired by the belief that in the future world of peace and justice they would serve as spiritual leaders {i.e. rulers}. This vision of a world mission gave them the strength to suffer severe persecution and propelled them to the forefront of various messianic and "idealistic" movements in modern times like those of human rights, socialism, and communism.

{end} More from Shillony at japan.html.

(7) Karl Marx vs the "Cult of Nature"

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels On Religion, with introduction by Reinhold Niebuhr (Shocken Books, New York, 1964).

{p. iv} This volume is reprinted from the {Collected Works} edition of 1957 published by The Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow.

{p. v} CONTENTS ...

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Review of G. Fr. Daumer's The Religion of the New Age An attempt at a Combinative and Aphoristic Foundation, 2 Vols, Hamburg, 1850 (Neue Rheinische Zeitung, Politisch-Okonomische Revue, No. 2, 1850).

{p. 90} Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Review of G. Fr. Daumer's The Religion of the New Age An attempt at a Combinative and Aphoristic Foundation, 2 Vols, Hamburg, 1850

Mr. Daumer's work is divided into two parts, the "preliminary" and the "main" one.

{p. 92} The entire class struggle of our times seems to Mr. Daumer only a struggle of "coarseness" against "culture". ...

The second, "main," section contains the positive aspect of the new religion. It voices all the annoyance of the German philosopher over the oblivion into which his struggles against Christianity have fallen, over the people's indifference towards religion, the only object worthy to be considered by the philosopher. To restore credit to his trade,

{p. 93} which has been ousted by competition, all our world-wise man can do is to invent a new religion after long barking against the old. ...

{p. 94} "Nature and woman are the really divine, as opposed to the human and to man ... The sacrifice of the human to the natural, of the male to the female, is the genuine, the only true subjection and self-alienation, the highest, nay, the only virtue and piety." (Vol. II, p. 257.)

We see here that the superficiality and ignorance of the speculating founder of a new religion is transformed into very pronounced cowardice. Mr. Daumer flees before the his-

{p. 95} toric tragedy that is threatening him too closely to alleged nature, i.e. to mere rustic idyll, and preaches the cult of the female to cloak his own effeminate resignation.

Mr Daumer's cult of nature, by the way, is a peculiar one. He has managed to be reactionary even in comparison with Christianity. He tries to establish the old pre-Christian religion in a modernized form. Thus he achieves nothing but Christian-Germanic-patriarchal drivel on nature expressed, for example, as follows:

Nature holy, Mother sweet,
In Thy footsteps place my feet.
My baby hand to Thy hand clings,
Hold me as in leading strings!

"Such things have gone out of fashion, but not to the benefit of culture, progress or human felicity." (Vol. II, p. 157.)

We see that this cult of nature is limited to the Sunday walks of an inhabitant of a small provinial town who childishly wonders at the cuckoo laying its eggs in another bird's nest (Vol. II, p. 40), at tears being designed to keep the surface of the eyes moist (Vol. II, p. 73), and so on, and finally trembles with reverence as he recites Klopstock's Ode to Spring to his children. (Vol. II, p. 23 et seqq.) There is no question, of course, of modern sciences, which, with modern industry, have revolutionized the whole of nature and put an end to man's childish attitute towards nature as well as to other forms of childishness. But instead we get mysterious hints and astonished philistine notions about Nostradamus's prophecies, second sight in Scotsmen and animal magnetism. For the rest, it would be desirable that Bavaria's sluggish peasant economy, the ground on which priests and Daumers likewise grow, should at last be ploughed up by modern cultivation and modern machines.


(8) A Middle position on "Green" issues

Marx' opposition to the "cult of Nature" notwithstanding, many Marxists have joined the Green movement, and diverted it from a spiritual orientation like Daumer's, to a materialist one.

Greens promote Gay Marriage, Open Borders, the World Court, Radical Feminism (including day-care for babies of just a few months), Children's Rights, and other "minority" causes that indicate their Marxist orientation.

They attempt to use Global Warming and similar environmental issues as surrogate-issues for World Government.

Despite this, it would be foolish to oppose the idea of limits (of population, or resource-use), as for example Lyndon Larouche does. Contrary to Larouche, James Goldsmith rightly argued that it is better to keep small farmers on the land, rather than mechanize their farms and force them into cities. While on the land, they can provide for their own needs simply, building houses with earth, stone etc, with recycling and little wastage:

Sir James Goldsmith, The Trap (Carroll & Graf, New York 1994):

{p. 103} You believe that intensive farming, on which modern agriculture is based, damages public health and destabilizes society. Why?

Intensive farming is based on the belief that ... Large, mechanized modern farms using the latest scientific discoveries will produce more food, more cheaply, for the benefit of the economy and of people throughout the world. ...

At first sight this seems obvious. Yet it is totally wrong. When people leave the land, they gravitate to the cities in search of work. But throughout the world there are not enough urban jobs and the infrastructure - such as lodgings, schools, hospitals, etc. - is already insufficient. The result is increased unemployment,

{p. 104} with the attendant costs of welfare, as well as a need for substantial expenditure on infrastructure. These are the indirect costs of intensive agriculture and they must be taken into account.

... Throughout the world social breakdown in the mega-cities threatens the existence of free societies.

{end} More at goldsmith.html.

Marx' opposition to peasants, cf Communist policy on small private farms, communal farms and state farms: marx-vs-the-peasant.html.

To correct Szilard's somewhat one-sided perspective of Weimar Germany:

Benjamin H. Freedman, also Jewish, warned that Zionists had played Britain against Germany, to gain Palestine via the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This was a major cause of German resentment, not mentioned by Szilard. Further, Freedman warned the Jews were promoting Communism: freedman.html.

Benjamin Ginsberg, Jewish as well as a Professor of Political Science, catalogued many cases of Jews gaining power over the state, including Weimar Germany: ginsberg.html.

Claims that the One-World conspiracy is "British": british-conspiracy.html. A graphic overview called One World Conspiracy - "British" or "Jewish"? A Jewish one inside the British one, depicting the three factions of the "One World" conspiracy, is at british-conspiracy.gif.

H. G. Wells continued his friendship with Maxim Gorky, despite Pitirim Sorokin's warning of the covert totalitarianism of the Bolsheviks: kronstadt.html.

Back to the One World index: oneworld.html.

Write to me at contact.html