Peace in the Atomic Age
I am grateful to you for the opportunity to express my conviction in this most important political question.
The idea of achieving security through national armament is, at the present state of military technique, a disastrous illusion. On the part of the United States this illusion has been particularly fostered by the fact that this country succeeded first in producing an atomic bomb. The belief seemed to prevail that in the end it were possible to achieve decisive military superiority.
In this way, any potential opponent would be intimidated, and security, so ardently desired by all of us, brought to us and all of humanity. The maxim which we have been following during these last five years has been, in short: security through superior military power, whatever the cost.
The armament race between the U. S. A. and U. S. S. R. , originally supposed to be a preventive measure, assumes hysterical character. On both sides, the means to mass destruction are perfected with feverish haste—-behind the respective walls of secrecy. The H-bomb appears on the public horizon as a probably attainable goal.
If successful, radioactive poisoning of the atmosphere and hence annihilation of any life on earth has been brought within the range of technical possibilities. The ghostlike character of this development lies in its apparently compulsory trend. Every step appears as the unavoidable consequence of the preceding one. In the end, there beckons more and more clearly general annihilation.
Is there any way out of this impasse created by man himself? All of us, and particularly those who are responsible for the attitude of the U. S. and the U. S. S. R. , should realizethat we may have vanquished an external enemy, but have been incapable of getting rid of the mentality created by the war.
It is impossible to achieve peace as long as every single action is taken with a possible future conflict in view. The leading point of view of all political action should therefore be: What can we do to bring about a peaceful co-existence and even loyal cooperation of the nations?
The first problem is to do away with mutual fear and distrust. Solemn renunciation of violence(not only with respect to means of mass destruction) is undoubtedly necessary.
Such renunciation, however, can only be effective if at the same time a supre-national judicial and executive body is set up empowered to decide questions of immediate concern to the security of the nations. Even a declaration of the nations to collaborate loyally in the realization of such a“restricted world government ”would considerably reduce the imminent danger of war.
In the last analysis, every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondly on institutions such as courts of justice and police. This holds for nations as well as for individuals. And the basis of trust is loyal give and take.
然而，只有同时建立一个高于国家的司法和行政机构，使之有权决定与各国安全直接有关的问题，这样废除武力才能奏效。甚至只要各国宣布在成立这样一个 “权力有限的世界政府” 中真诚合作，这也会大大缓解越来越逼近的战争危险。
本文是爱因斯坦 1950 年 2 月 12 日在美国的电视讲话。讲话处处流露出他对世界人民幸福与安危的关心。爱因斯坦在讲话中不仅以科学的态度说明了原子弹等武器会给人类带来的灾难，而且驳斥了通过加强军备保障安全的说法，提出了废除武力的方法。这篇讲话言辞恳切，感情真挚，有理有据，是这位大科学家一篇难得的演讲。