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GUEST,Woody BS: Realizations about Iran (34) RE: BS: Realizations about Iran 27 Aug 06

The Atoms For Peace Programme

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was determined to solve "the fearful atomic dilemma" by finding some way by which "the miraculous inventiveness of man" would not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life." In his "Atoms for Peace" speech before the United Nations on December 8, 1953, Eisenhower sought to solve this terrible problem by suggesting a means to transform the atom from a scourge into a benefit for mankind. Although not as well known as his warning about the "military industrial complex," voiced later in his farewell radio and television address to the American people, Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech embodied his most important nuclear initiative as President. From it sprang a panoply of peaceful atomic programs. With it Eisenhower placed the debate over the control of nuclear science and technology, which had largely been the province of government officials and contractors, squarely before the public. Indeed, the present public controversy over nuclear technology and its role in American society can be traced back to Eisenhower's determination that control of nuclear science was an issue for all Americans.

Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech reflected his deep concern about "Atoms for War." The escalating nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, which included the development of thermonuclear bombs, brought Eisenhower to the United Nations. Since Hiroshima, the destructive power of nuclear weapons had increased dramatically. Nuclear weapons technology, thus far a product of American expertise, would also eventually enter the arsenals of the Soviet Union through the normal processes of technological development. Eisenhower felt a moral imperative to warn the American people and the world of this new reality.

Rapid strides in nuclear weapons in nuclear weapons technology had begun at the end of World War II. In 1945 the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan had killed an estimated 106,000 people and had injured approximately 110,000 others. The larger of the two, the Nagasaki bomb, had released the explosive equivalent of 23,000 tons of TNT. In 1948 the United States had tested even larger atomic bombs in the Pacific, and by 1949 the Soviet Union had achieved its own nuclear capability with the detonation of a nuclear device. In response to the Soviet atomic bomb program, the United States had embarked upon a crash program to develop an even larger weapon, the hydrogen bomb, which promised explosive power in the range of millions of tons of TNT. The United States successfully detonated a hydrogen device in November 1952; just a few days after Eisenhower won the Presidency. The awesome 10-megaton blast had destroyed the test island of Elugelab, creating an underwater crater 1,500 yards in diameter. With it the United States and the world entered the thermonuclear age.
Before Eisenhower's inauguration, the Atomic Energy Commission secretly briefed the President-elect on the successful thermonuclear test. In addition, the commission informed Eisenhower that the American nuclear stockpile was growing rapidly, that other startling improvements in weapons design were being made, and that the tempo of weapon testing was increasing. Even more quickly than his advisers, Eisenhower understood that a "nuclear holocaust" was now a possibility. Driven by the specter of the hydrogen bomb, he began to search for some means of halting or slowing the arms race..

..On September 10, 1953, President Eisenhower himself proposed the idea that laid the foudnation for the Atoms for Peace speech. "Suppose," he suggested, "the United States and the Soviets were each to turn over to the United Nations, for peaceful use, [a number of] kilograms of fissionable material." The fissionable material would be contributed from the weapons stockpiles of both contries, thereby reducing their military reserves. If a sufficiently large quantity of fissionable material could be shifted from military stockpiles to peaceful uses, Eisenhower's proposal would serve as a significant mechanism for nuclear disarmament. Although he did not immediately see it as such, the President had at last found a glimmer of hope with which to offset the specter of thermonuclear war...

...For a few seconds the hall remained still and silent. Then 3,500 delegates broke into one of the most enthusiastic demonstrations in the history of the Untied Nations. Wave after wave of applause resounded throughout the auditorium, and even the Soviet delegation joined the tumult. From his chair, Eisenhower received the ovation with surprise, his eyes shining with emotion. Spontaneously the press labeled his address "Atoms for Peace." His speech, which had been broadcast worldwide by the Voice of America, was generally received with enthusiasm outside of the Soviet bloc. Virtually every commentator agreed that in one of the most significant speeches of the postwar era, Eisenhower had taken a courageous and potentially constructive step toward peace...

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