Marxism and the Nuclear Question

Joseph Stalin

1. From: Answers to the Questions of the Moscow Correspondent of the 'Sunday Times', Mr. Alexander Werth, in a Letter of 17 September, 1946.

24th September, 1946

Q. Do you believe that the actual monopoly of the United States on the atom bomb to be one of the greatest threats to peace?

A. I do not think that the atom bomb is such a power as certain politicians are disposed to state. The atom bomb is intended to frighten people with weak nerves, but it cannot decide the fate of a war, and would under no circumstances suffice for this purpose. Certainly, the monopoly on the secrets of the atom bomb poses a threat, but against that there are at least two things:

The monopoly on the possession of the atom bomb cannot last long;

The use of the atom bomb will be forbidden.

Pravda, 25th September, 1946

2. From: Answer to Questions of 23rd October, 1946, from the President of the American News Agency United Press, Hugh Baillie.

29th October, 1946

Q. Does Russia already have the atom bomb or any similar weapon?

A. No.

Q. What is your opinion of the atom bomb or a similar weapon as an instrument of war?

A. I have already given my opinion of the atom bomb in the well known answers to Mr. Werth.

Q. In your opinion, how can atomic energy be best controlled? Should this control be founded on an international basis, and in what measure should the power of your sovereignty be sacrificed in the interests of the establishment of an effective control?

A. Strict international control is necessary.

Pravda, 30 October, 1946

3. From: Interview with Elliot Roosevelt

27th December, 1946

Q. If you are of the opinion that the United Nations should control the atom bomb, must that not be done through inspection and the establishment of control over all research institutes and industrial plants that produce any manner of weapons, as well as over the peaceful application and development of atomic energy?

(At this point, Elliot Roosevelt adds: Stalin immediately asked: 'In general?' I said: 'yes, but especially, is the Soviet Union in agreement in principle with such a plan?')

A. Of course. On the basis of the principle of equality it is not for the Soviet Union to make exceptions. It must submit to the same rules of inspection and control, like all the other countries.

(At this point Roosevelt remarks: This answer followed without hesitation and the question of the reservation of the right of veto was not even mentioned).

Q. Do you believe that the convocation of a new assembly of the big three for the discussion of all international problems, the present threat to general peace, would be useful?

A. I am of the opinion that not one assembly, but rather several, must take place. If several assemblies take place, very useful objectives would be served.

(Here Roosevelt remarks: At this moment my wife asked whether he thought that such meetings would help establish closer contacts on lower government levels too. She also asked whether such cooperation had been achieved through the conferences during the war.

Stalin turned to her and answered with a smile: 'There is no doubt about that. The consultations of the war times and the successes achieved have greatly helped by the bringing about of a closer cooperation on lower government levels.')...

Q. What do you think has caused the loosening of the friendly relations and mutual agreements between our two countries since the death of Roosevelt?

A. I am of the opinion that, if this question concerns the relations and mutual agreement between the American and Russian people, they have not deteriorated at all, but on the contrary, they have improved. Concerning the relations of the two governments, there have been misunderstandings. There was a certain deterioration, then a big clamour arose that the relations would deteriorate further in the future. But I see nothing frightening in this, in the sense of damaging peace or in the sense of a military conflict. No one big power is presently able to, even if the government itself is striving to, raise a big army to fight against another Allied power, to set up another great power, because at the present nobody can make war without the people, but the people do not want to be led into another war. The people are tired of war, besides there is no obvious aim to justify a new war. Nobody would know what they were fighting for, and so I see nothing to be frightened of, in that some representatives of the government of the United States speak of the deterioration in our relations. In regard of all these considerations, I do not believe in the danger of a new war.

Bolshevik, No.1, 1947.

4. From: Interview with the American Republican Presidential Candidate, Harold Stassen

9th April, 1947

Stassen said that for the raising of living standards the mechanization and electrification was of great importance, and the application of atomic energy in industry was of great importance for all the peoples as well as for the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America. He, Stassen, was of the opinion that the creating of an inspection and control system and that the use of atomic energy for military purposes should be declared illegal, was of great importance for all the peoples of the world. Was Stalin of the opinion that in the future, they should come to terms over the control and regulation of the production of atomic energy and over its peaceful application?

Stalin answered that he hoped so. Between the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America there stood great differences of opinion on this question, but finally both sides, - so he, Stalin, hoped, - would come to terms. In his, Stalin's, view there would need to be international control and inspection and this would be of great importance. The application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes would cause a great revolution in production procedure. Where the application of atomic energy for military purposes was concerned, it possibly would be forbidden. the desires and the conscience of the peoples demanded so.

Stassen answered that it was one of the most important problems. If it was solved, atomic energy could be a great blessing for the peoples of all the world, but if not, then a great curse.

Stalin said that he believed it would be possible to establish international control and inspection. The development moved towards that.

Pravda, 8 May 1947

5. From: Answers to the questions from the european general Director, of the American news agency 'International News Service', Kingsbury Smith. 27 January, 1949.

Q. Would the government of the U.S.S.R. be prepared to consider a joint publication with the government of the United States of America, to discuss a declaration which confirms that neither the one nor the other government intends to allow a war between them?

A. The Soviet government would be prepared to discuss the question of the publication of such a document.

Q. Would the government of the U.S.S.R. be prepared, jointly with the government of the United States of America, to take steps towards the realization of this peace treaty, for example, gradual disarmament?

A. Of course the government of the U.S.S.R. would cooperate with the government of the United States of America in the carrying through of steps for the realization of the peace treaty and gradual disarmament.

Pravda, 31 January, 1948

6. From: Interview with a Pravda Correspondent.

17th February, 1951

Prime Minister Attlee needs to lie about the Soviet Union; he must represent the peaceful politics of the Soviet Union as aggressive, and the aggressive politics of the English government as peaceful politics to mislead the English people, to blindfold them with this lie about the Soviet Union, and in this way drag them towards a new world war that would be organized by the warmongering circles in the United States of America.

Prime Minister Attlee pretends to be a follower of peace. But if he really is for peace, why was he against the proposal of the Soviet Union in the United Nations Organization on the conclusion of a peace pact between the Soviet Union, England, the United States of America, China and France?

If he really is for peace, why is he against the proposals of the Soviet Union to immediately begin to limit armaments and to immediately forbid atomic weapons?

If he really is for peace, why does he persecute those that intercede for the defence of peace; why has he forbidden the peace congress in England? Could the campaign for the defence of peace possibly threaten the security of England?

It is clear that Prime Minister Attlee is not for the keeping of peace, but rather for the unleashing of a new world-encompassing war of aggression...

Q. Do you hold a new world war to be unavoidable?

A. No. At least, one can, at present, hold it to be not unavoidable.

Of course, in the United States of America, in England and also in France, there are aggressive powers that long for a new war. They need war to achieve super profits and to plunder other countries. These are the billionaires and millionaires that regard war as a fountain of revenue, that brings colossal profits.

They, the aggressive powers, hold the reactionary governments in their hands and guide them. But at the same time they are afraid of their people who do not want a new war and are for the keeping of peace. Therefore, they take the trouble of using the reactionary governments to ensnare their people with lies, to deceive them, to represent a new war as a war of defence, and the peaceful politics of peace-loving countries as aggressive. They take the trouble to deceive the people, to force them and draw them into a new war with their aggressive plans.

They therefore even fear the campaign for the defence of peace, they fear that this campaign would expose the aggressive intentions of the reactionary governments.

They therefore even oppose the proposals of the Soviet Union on the conclusion of a peace treaty, on the limitation of armaments and on the forbidding of atomic weapons; they fear that the acceptance of these proposals would frustrate the aggressive measures of the reactionary governments and render the arms race unnecessary.

Where will all this struggle between the aggressive and the peace-loving powers end?

Peace will be kept and strengthened if the people take the holding of peace into their own hands and defend it to the utmost. War could be unavoidable if the arsonists of war succeed in trapping the masses with their lies, in deceiving them and in drawing them into a new war.

Now, therefore, a broad campaign for the holding of peace, as a way of exposing the criminal machinations of the arsonists of war, is of prime importance.

As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, it will continue to carry through the politics of preventing war and keeping peace.

For Lasting Peace, for People's Democracy, No.8.
23rd February-1 March, 1951.

7. From: Answers to the questions of a 'Pravda' Correspondent.

On the Atomic Weapon
'Pravda', 6 October, 1951

Q. What do you think of the clamour in the foreign press these days in connection with an Atom bomb test in the Soviet Union?

A. As a matter of fact, we have carried out a test of a certain kind of Atom bomb. Tests with Atom bombs of different calibres will also continue, in accordance with the plans for the defence of our country against an attack carried out by the Anglo-American aggressive bloc.

Q. In connection with the Atom bomb test, various well-known personalities in the U.S.A. pretend to be alarmed and shout that the security of the U.S.A. is threatened. Is there any ground for such excitement?

A. There is no ground whatsoever for such excitement.

These well-known personalities in the U.S.A. cannot be unaware that the Soviet Union is not only against the application of Atomic weapons, but also for their forbidding, for the cessation of their production. As it is known, the Soviet Union has repeatedly demanded the forbidding of Atomic weapons, but each time they were refused by the powers of the Atlantic bloc. That signifies that in the case of an attack by the U.S.A. on our country, the ruling circles of the U.S.A. would use the Atom bomb. This circumstance has forced the Soviet Union to also own Atomic weapons to meet the aggressors well armed.

Of course, it would please the aggressors if the Soviet Union was unarmed in the case of them undertaking an attack. But the Soviet Union is not in agreement with that, and believes that one must meet the aggressor well armed.

Consequently, if the U.S.A. does not have the intention of attacking the Soviet Union, one must hold the excitement of well-known personalities of the U.S.A. as purposeless howling, as the Soviet Union is not thinking of attacking, at any time, the U.S.A. or any other country.

Well-known personalities of the U.S.A. are dissatisfied that not only the U.S.A., but also other countries and, above all, the Soviet Union, possess the secret of Atomic weapons. They would rather that the U.S.A. had the monopoly on Atom bomb production, that the U.S.A. had unlimited possibilities to frighten and blackmail other countries. What grounds do they have for really thinking so, what right do they have? Do the interests of safeguarding peace demand such a monopoly, perhaps? Would it not be more correct to say that it is exactly the opposite case, that the safeguarding of peace demands, above all, the liquidation of such monopolies and the unconditional forbidding of Atomic weapons? I think that the adherents of the Atom bomb would only agree to forbid Atomic weapons in the case of them seeing that they do not have the monopoly any more.

Q. What do you think of international control of the supply of Atomic weapons?

A. The Soviet Union is for the forbidding of Atomic weapons and for the suspension of the production of Atomic weapons. The Soviet Union is for the establishment of international control, for a decision on the forbidding of Atomic weapons, on the suspension of production of Atomic weapons and on the use of already manufactured Atom bombs for civilian purposes exclusively and conscientiously. The Soviet Union is for such an international control.

Well-known American personalities likewise speak of 'control', but their 'control' is based not on the suspension of the production of Atomic weapons, but rather on the continuation of such production and, this to such an extent that corresponds to the available sources of raw materials available to this or that country. Consequently, the American 'control' is not for the forbidding of Atomic weapons, but rather for their legalization and sanctioning. That would sanction the right of the arsonists of war, with the help of Atomic weapons, to annihilate tens of thousands, no, - hundreds of thousands of peaceful people. It is not difficult to understand that this is not control, but rather a mockery of control, a deception of the peace-desiring people. Of course, such a 'control' will not satisfy the peace-loving people, who demand the forbidding of Atomic weapons and the suspension of their production.

Unity, 18 October, 1951, p.1313.

8. From: Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR.

February 1, 1952

It is said that Lenin's thesis that imperialism inevitably generates war must now be regarded as obsolete, since powerful popular forces have come forward today in defence of peace and against another world war. That is not true.

The object of the present-day peace movement is to rouse the masses of the people to fight for the preservation of peace and for the prevention of another world war. Consequently, the aim of this movement is not to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism -- it confines itself to the democratic aim of preserving peace. In this respect, the present day peace movement differs from the movement of the time of the First World War for the conversion of the imperialist war into civil war, since the latter movement went farther and pursued socialist aims.

It is possible that in a definite conjuncture of circumstances the fight for peace will develop here or there into a fight for socialism. But then it will no longer be the present-day peace movement; it will be a movement for the overthrow of capitalism.

What is most likely is that the present day peace movement, as a movement for the preservation of peace, will, if it succeeds, result in preventing a particular war, in its temporary postponement, in the temporary preservation of a particular peace, in the resignation of a bellicose government and its supersession by another that is prepared temporarily to keep the peace. That, of course, will be good. Even very good. But, all the same, it will not be enough to eliminate the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries generally. It will not be enough, because, for all the successes of the peace movement, imperialism will remain, continue in force -- and, consequently, the inevitability of wars will also continue in force.

To eliminate the inevitability of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism.

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