Einstein’s last message was a dire warning against nuclear war that is still relevant today. This is what it said.

Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer both feared how nuclear weapons would be used in the future.Corbis/Getty Images

  • Einstein urged Roosevelt to fund uranium research, fearing that Germany would develop an atomic bomb.

  • After the war, the physicist expressed regret about his role in the development of the bomb.

  • His last public act was to sign a manifesto warning that H-bombs could destroy humanity.

Shortly before his death in 1955, Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein signed a manifesto written by a philosopher Bertrand Russell.

It was Einstein’s last public act and would later be called the Russell-Einstein Manifesto.

The document expressed fears that the public would not understand the power of newly developed hydrogen bombs even more powerful then atomic.

In the manifesto, Russell warned “that a war with H-bombs could potentially end the human race.”

Although the number has fluctuated over the decades, today there are still approximately 12,500 nuclear weapons in nine countries, so some of the scientists’ fears communicated in the manifesto remain relevant today.

‘The war has been won, but the peace has not.’

In the years after the US dropped two atomic bombs about the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many of the scientists involved in the Manhattan Project in developing the weapons expressed regret for their work.

They feared how similar bombs would be used in future wars.

Although he was never part of the Manhattan ProjectAlbert Einstein signed a letter to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, urging him to “accelerate the experimental work” on uranium for possible use in atomic weapons.

Years later, the German physicist called the letter is “one big mistake”.

A new Netflix docudrama, “Einstein and the bomb”, uses images and reenactments of the famous scientist and his changing views on nuclear weapons.

It quotes his 1945 Nobel Prize address expressing concern about the future use of nuclear weapons, saying, “The war has been won, but the peace has not.”


Albert Einstein warned that nuclear weapons could lead to the end of humanity.Central Press/Stringer/Getty Images

By signing Russell’s manifesto, Einstein hoped to warn the public about the dangers of these new weapons as his “last public act.” according to physicist Joseph Rotblat, who resigned from the Manhattan Project due to moral concerns.

Although this took decades before scientists proposed the theory of it nuclear winterthe manifesto predicted that the use of several H-bombs would lead to “universal death” through “a slow torture of disease and disintegration.”

Rotblat, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Linus Pauling and other scientists signed the manifesto, which led to the creation of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. The organization aims to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction.

In 2013, Rotblat wrote that the manifesto’s statement “Remember your humanity and forget the rest” was as relevant as the day Russell wrote it.

July 9, 1955

In the tragic situation facing humanity, we believe that scientists should meet in a conference to assess the dangers created as a result of the development of weapons of mass destruction, and to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the attached design.

We speak on this occasion not as members of some nation, continent or creed, but as human beings, members of the human species, whose survival is in doubt. The world is full of conflict; and, overshadowing all the minor conflicts, the titanic struggle between communism and anti-communism.

Almost everyone who is politically aware has strong feelings about one or more of these issues; but we want you, if you can, to put aside such feelings and regard yourselves only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can wish.

We will try not to say a single word that would appeal to one group more than another. Everyone is equally in danger, and if the danger is understood, there is hope that together they can avert it.

We have to learn to think in a new way. We must learn to ask ourselves, and not, what steps can be taken to give military victory to whichever group we prefer, because such steps no longer exist; The question we must ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military struggle whose outcome must be disastrous for all parties?

The general public, and even many men in positions of authority, have not realized what would be involved in a war with nuclear bombs. The general public still thinks in terms of the destruction of cities. It is clear that the new bombs are more powerful than the old ones, and that while one A-bomb could destroy Hiroshima, one H-bomb could destroy the largest cities, such as London, New York and Moscow.

Undoubtedly, major cities would be destroyed in a war with H-bombs. But this is one of the small disasters that must be faced. If everyone in London, New York and Moscow were wiped out, the world could recover from the blow in a few centuries. But we now know, especially since the Bikini test, that nuclear bombs can gradually spread destruction over a much larger area than previously thought.

It is stated on very good grounds that a bomb can now be manufactured that will be 2,500 times as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. If such a bomb explodes near the ground or underwater, it sends radioactive particles into the air. They gradually sink and reach the Earth’s surface in the form of deadly dust or rain. It was this dust that contaminated Japanese fishermen and their catch.

No one knows on what scale such deadly radioactive particles could be dispersed, but the best authorities are unanimous that a war with H-bombs could potentially end the human race. It is feared that if many H-bombs are used, universal death will occur – sudden only for a minority, but a slow torture of disease and disintegration for the majority.

Many warnings have been voiced by leading scientists and authorities on military strategy. None of them will say that the worst outcomes are certain. What they do say is that these results are possible, and no one can be sure that they will not be realized. We have not yet found that experts’ views on this issue are in any way dependent on their politics or biases. As far as our research has shown, they depend solely on the extent of the knowledge of the expert in question. We have discovered that the men who know the most are the darkest.

Here, then, is the problem we present to you, stark, terrible, and inescapable: Shall we end the human race, or will humanity renounce war?1 People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult to to abolish war. war.

The abolition of war will require unsavory restrictions on national sovereignty.2 But perhaps more than anything else, what hinders understanding of the situation is that the term “humanity” feels vague and abstract. People hardly realize in their imagination that the danger is for themselves, their children and grandchildren, and not just for a vaguely understood humanity. They can hardly bring themselves to understand that they, individually, and those they love, are in imminent danger of painful demise. And so they hope that the war might be allowed to continue, provided that modern weapons are banned.

This hope is an illusion. Whatever agreements had been made not to use H-bombs in peacetime would no longer be considered binding in wartime, and both sides would go to work manufacturing H-bombs as soon as war broke out. one side manufactured the bombs and the other did not; the side that manufactured them would inevitably win.

While an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons as part of an overall reduction in armaments3 would not provide an ultimate solution, it would serve certain important purposes. First, any agreement between East and West is good insofar as it reduces tension. Second, the abolition of thermonuclear weapons, if both sides believed that the other had sincerely carried it out, would reduce the fear of a sudden Pearl Harbor-style attack that currently keeps both sides in a state of nervous anxiety. . We should therefore welcome such an agreement, albeit only as a first step.

Most of us are not neutral in feeling, but as human beings we must remember that if the issues between East and West are to be resolved in a way that can give any possible satisfaction to anyone, whether communist or anti-communist is, Whether Asian or European or American, white or black, these issues should not be decided by war. We would like this to be understood in the East as well as in the West.

If we choose, there lies ahead of us continued progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we choose death instead, because we cannot forget our quarrels? As humans, we appeal to people: remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do that, the way is open to a new paradise; if you cannot, the risk of universal death lies before you.


We invite this Congress and through this Congress the world’s scientists and the general public to endorse the following resolution:

“Given that nuclear weapons will certainly be used in any future world war, and that such weapons threaten the survival of humanity, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and publicly acknowledge, that their goal cannot be achieved furthered by a world war, and we therefore urge them to find peaceful means for the settlement of all disputes between them.”


  1. Max born

  2. Percy W. Bridgeman

  3. Albert Einstein

  4. Leopold Infeld

  5. Frederic Joliot-Curie

  6. Herman J. Muller

  7. Linus Pauling

  8. Cecil F Powell

  9. Jozef Rotblat

  10. Bertrand Russell

  11. Hideki Yukawa

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