Ruth Leger Sivard's

item7
item6a

Home____Publications____Background____Contact

prev

|

next

World Military and Social Expenditures by Ruth Sivard, 10th edition (1985)
 

Foreword by Henry Steele Commager

President Truman’s precipitate decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan and then to push ahead with the hydrogen bomb program may have been the most fateful in history, for their cosequences- unlike those of earlier fateful decisions- are quite literally global in embrace and may prove ultimate.

But it was not just the decision of President Truman, supported by Churchill, to use the ultimate weapons that was reckless. The responsibility was far more widely shared. An international agreement, concluded when the United States held all the trump cards, might still have prevented the nuclear race; so, too, a show of modesty rather than arrogance.

The responsibility for our ever-growing obsession with the cold war and the nuclear race must rest on the whole political and military leadership in the United States and Russia- in both countries, leadership that speedily became the prisoner of its own illusions and delusions, and still is. Like some irresistible magnet, the commitment of the superpowers to the cold war also brought together all the most powerful economic and political interests in both states, and substantial segments of the scientific and intellectual communities as well. What is more, in both nations it endowed this alliance with moral sanctions. No wonder that without a coutervailing moral force, the cold war proved irresistible for 40 years.

Now, before it is too late, we must try at last to respond to Einstein’s admonition: “There is no secret and there is no defense: there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the people of this world.”

Henry Steele Commager
Distinguished American Historian

WMSE85fFW