Monday 16 November 2015

Dwight D. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace

President Dwight D. Eisenhower stood before the United Nations Assembly on December 8, 1953 to deliver an important message:  the atomic bomb, which had first been detonated by the United States in 1945, was no longer an American secret.  Canada and the United Kingdom both knew the secret.  Even the Soviet Union now knew the secret.  In fact, the United States and the Soviet Union were starting to stockpile their atomic weapons at an alarming rate.  In the space of only eight years, atomic energy had gone from a limited to an unlimited quantity.  The two countries had the capability of wiping each other off the face of the earth.  President Eisenhower pleaded with the nations represented at the United Nations to think about ways to cut back on their atomic weapons; to think about constructive ways to use atomic energy.  President Eisenhower goes on to mention the problems the world faces:  a divided Germany and a divided Korea.  He calls for a "free intermingling" between East and West in Europe.  He calls also for a rapprochement between the United States and the Soviet Union.  Here is an excerpt from President Eisenhower's speech:

"On July 16, 1945, the united States set off the world's first atomic explosion.  Since that date in 1945, the United States of America has conducted forty two test explosions.  Atomic bombs today are more than twenty five times as powerful as the weapons with which the atomic age dawned, while hydrogen weapons are in the ranges of millions of tons of TNT equivalent.  Today, the United States stockpile of atomic weapons, which of course increases daily, exceeds by many times the total equivalent of the total of all bombs and all shells that came from every plane in every theatre of war in the all the years of World War II.

The United States would be more than willing -- it would be proud to take up with others principally involved the development of plans whereby such peaceful use of atomic energy would be expedited.

The coming months will be fraught with fateful decisions.  In this Assembly, in the capitals and military headquarters of the world, in the hearts of men everywhere, be they governed or governors, may they be the decisions which will lead this world out of fear and into peace." (

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