Against Nuclear Testing!

Against Nuclear Testing!

WHEN THE SOVIET UNION resumed its testing of nuclear weapons, it was a catastrophe for mankind. When the United States announced several days later that it would start underground testing—it is not yet clear, at the time of writing, whether atmospheric tests will also be undertaken—the catastrophe was compounded. The world thereby moves closer to rationalized insanity; closer to total annihilation; closer to the maiming and destruction of generations unborn.

All previous wars affected mainly those alive, but the “war of the testers” is an act of terror directed against the men and women of tomorrow. Dr. Glenn Seaborg, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, “told Congress today that a Soviet explosion of one 100-megaton bomb would produce 60 per cent as much radioactive debris as did all the atomic tests from 1945 through 1958.” (New York Times, Sept. 9, 1961). The dispatch continues: “Meanwhile, some persons in the nuclear weapons field were reliably reported to be campaigning for the United States to develop a 1000- megaton bomb, thus topping Premier Khrushchev’s threat to test a 100-megaton ‘super-bomb.”

This is sheer madness. Perfecting weapons 5,000 times as powerful as the bomb that ravaged Hiroshima, and then retaliating with weapons 50,000 times as powerful, weapons that can kill and overkill cities, countries, perhaps continents—this can no longer be regarded as “defense,” a part of the cold war, an assault upon the nerves of the enemy. Each side now has enough weapons to destroy the other, and from a military point of view there is small profit in developing still larger and more destructive nuclear weapons. People can be killed only once.

Not only is the resumption of nuclear testing an outrage against the generations to come, it is also a major step in the drift toward atomic war. The new arms race will be more diabolical than ever, because it will come after the breakdown of the moratorium upon tests and after the failure of the Geneva negotiations. The new arms race will expose the world to the enormous danger that several additional countries, and in time perhaps a dozen or fifteen, will test and hold nuclear weapons.