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Mainau Declaration

The Mainau Declaration was an appeal against the use of nuclear weapons. Initiated and drafted by German nuclear scientists Otto Hahn and Max Born, it was circulated at a conference of Nobel Prize laureates in Lindau, (then) West Germany on July 15, 1955. [1] It was signed by 18 Nobel laureates, participants at the conference, and drew the signatures of 52 Nobel laureates (mostly chemists and physicists) within a year.

"We, the undersigned, are scientists of different countries, different creeds, different political persuasions. Outwardly, we are bound together only by the Nobel Prize, which we have been favored to receive. With pleasure we have devoted our lives to the service of science. It is, we believe, a path to a happier life for people. We see with horror that this very science is giving mankind the means to destroy itself. By total military use of weapons feasible today, the earth can be contaminated with radioactivity to such an extent that whole peoples can be annihilated. Neutrals may die thus as well as belligerents.
If war broke out among the great powers, who could guarantee that it would not develop into a deadly conflict? A nation that engages in a total war thus signals its own destruction and imperils the whole world.
We do not deny that perhaps peace is being preserved precisely by the fear of these weapons. Nevertheless, we think it is a delusion if governments believe that they can avoid war for a long time through the fear of these weapons. Fear and tension have often engendered wars. Similarly it seems to us a delusion to believe that small conflicts could in the future always be decided by traditional weapons. In extreme danger no nation will deny itself the use of any weapon that scientific technology can produce.
All nations must decide voluntarily to refrain from violence as the last means of politics. If they are not prepared to do so, they will cease to exist."[2]



  1. ^ Armin Hermann, The New Physics: the route into the atomic age. Inter Nationes, 1979 (p. 130).
  2. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 1962 - Presentation Speech". Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 15 Jul 2014. <>

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