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Einstein/Russell - "weapons of mass destruction"

Posted by Paul G on July 15, 2000

In Reply to: Einstein/Russell - "weapons of mass destruction" posted by Paul Guthrie on July 15, 2000

: : : To readers of this list:

: : : I am interested in the origins of the phrase
: : : "weapons of mass destruction." Does anyone
: : : have any idea of its earliest usage, or
: : : where I might look for info?

: : : Thanks very much.
: : : Nina
: : I'd also be interested to find out who coined this phrase. Doing a search in Altavista the earliest references I could find are:
: : 1. 1977 - a paper entitled "Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Environment" by A.H. Westing.
: : 2. A folder entitled "Weapons of Mass Destruction" being an archive of activities conducted by a peace movement group called SANE between 1968-1975. In this case the title may have came after the fact. (

: Upon doing a bit more searching it appears likely that Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein may have originated the phrase in a co-authored document known as the Pugwash Manifesto, issued in July 1955. The document begins

: "In the tragic situation which confronts humanity, we feel that scientists should assemble in conference to appraise the perils that have arisen as a result of the development of weapons of mass destruction, and to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the appended draft."

Link to Pugwash Manifest: