This topic page is dedicated to Stanislav Petrov, 1939 - 2017, who would have turned 80 on 7 September.
The world has always been without nuclear weapons until July 16, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was successfully tested in the desert of New Mexico. But before that, the world was anything but peaceful, as history teaches us. Since the drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after three weeks, nuclear weapons were no longer used militarily. To date, more than 2000 nuclear weapons tests have taken place, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Officially, these two war operations are still declared militarily necessary in order to end the war, which on closer inspection seems more than doubtful.
Since there has been no further world war since 1945, nuclear armaments are regarded by their supporters as successful peacekeeping through deterrence. This ignores the fact that during the Cold War countless proxy wars raged, starting in 1950 with the Korean War, which taken together can be regarded as an unofficial Third World War. This continues to this day. Humanity has also been on the brink of collapse several times. One only has to think of the Cuban crisis of 1962. Situations arose again and again in which a nuclear war would have erupted accidentally by a hair's breadth. The story of Stanislav Petrov, the man who saved the world in 1983, is an example of this.
Even if the danger of a nuclear war is today largely averted by mistake, every reasonable person wants a world without nuclear weapons. This world must also come at all costs if mankind is to be saved from self-destruction. Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and other scientists signed a Manifesto in 1955, which points out urgently the dangers and possible effects of a nuclear war. In the meantime, there are numerous scientific and political declarations which try in a similar way to convince the national governments of the world to renounce weapons of mass destruction and to disarm them.
Every year the victims of the atomic bombs of Hiroshima (6 August 1945) and Nagasaki (9 August 1945) are remembered all over the world. They should also never be forgotten, because the extent of the devastation caused by them burst all existing ideas. So it is absolutely right that one resists any nuclear armament, because the risks are simply too gigantic. With a little cynicism, you could put it that way: The current wars with conventional weapons are harmless against it.
Hiroshima's Mayor Matsui called on the world in 2016 to unite to abolish all nuclear weapons. He is finding counterparts around the globe to help him do this: Mayors for Peace. That's more than 7000 mayors representing their cities and communities in this global peace alliance. There is hope when one learns how much support is given to the desire for a world free of nuclear weapons. Numerous peace actions bear witness to this and since 2017 there has even been an internationally binding Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which played a major role in this, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year.
How realistic is this desire for a world free of nuclear weapons? Partial success can be achieved by withdrawing nuclear weapons from certain locations and creating nuclear weapons-free zones. A nuclear-free world, however, is a utopia in the present circumstances. Even if all existing atomic bombs are scrapped, the knowledge about the production of such weapons of mass destruction remains in mankind and can be used again for armament at any time. In order to achieve the goal of global nuclear disarmament at all and then maintain this status, the unification of the world (Mayor Matsui) is actually required.
It's like everything else: If you don't secure the goals you have achieved, the results of all your efforts can be ruined overnight. We need a real World Law. Current international law is too weak for that.
See, for example, the 1987 INF Treaty on the Disarmament of Medium-Range Nuclear Missiles. For years, hundreds of thousands of people concerned about the future had demonstrated against the stationing of these weapons of mass destruction, which were extremely dangerous because of their short warning times. The political leaders of the two great power blocs, Gorbachev and Reagen, finally showed reason. Today all this is wiped away by a controversial US president with one stroke of a pen. The first new American cruise missiles are already being tested. Russian President Putin announces a "symmetrical response". Thus the arms race is once again raised symmetrically and the danger of a third world war - almost forgotten - is once again real.
Anyone who seriously wants to stand up for a world free of nuclear weapons must also open up to the positive utopia of a democratic World Union with binding and enforceable world law. This world law would have to prevent any attempt to produce or possess weapons of mass destruction and make them punishable as world crimes. There are already concrete interim objectives to this end. Who of all the many peace movements that are working for a nuclear-free world, who of the "Mayors for Peace" is prepared to support the option of a democratic further development of the United Nations in order to make wars impossible?
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