"WE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS WHO HAVE WORKED TOGETHER TO DEFEAT FASCISM AND WHO ARE PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EMERGENCE UPON THE WORLD STAGE OF THIS GREAT NEW FORCE, ATOMIC ENERGY, HAVE A DIRECT AND SPECIAL RESPONSIBLITY IN THIS CRISIS OF HUMANITY": 1948 ALBERT EINSTEIN FUNDRAISING LETTER FOR THE EMERGENCY COMMITTEE OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, SIGNED BY HIM
EINSTEIN, Albert. Typed letter signed. Princeton: Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, April 30th, 1948. One leaf, typed on recto, for one page. Wove letterhead stationery measures 8-1/2 by 11 inches, matted and framed, entire piece measures 24 by 15-1/2 inches. $22,500.
Fantastic typed letter signed by Einstein, soliciting funds for a program of public education "so that the American people will understand all that is at stake" when it comes to atomic energy and nuclear weapons. "It is our duty to do all within our power to assure that this historic achievement of mankind does not become his trap and his tomb."
In May 1946, Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and other atomic scientists formed a corporation, whose mission was to discharge "our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of the simple facts of atomic energy and its implications for society." To attain this objective the Committee solicited private contributions in support of educational programs that publicized the potential uses and misuses of atomic energy. These programs had as their main objective some form of international control of the atomic bomb such as the Baruch Plan submitted to the United Nations in 1946 (Cohen, 436). Einstein became one of the nation's most prominent leaders in opposing nuclear proliferation, and correctly identified the Soviet Union as the most important country to seek understanding with—it was during this same summer of 1947 that the 'Doomsday Clock' was established, an iconic symbol of the nuclear catastrophe associated with the Cold War. Within two years the Soviet Union conducted their first atomic test, igniting a massive global arms race; despite this, the world has thus far heeded Einstein's urgent warning and resisted nuclear warfare.
In this fundraising letter, Einstein notes that "Almost imperceptibly, we have moved from our post-war ideal of world cooperation to an acceptance of acute national rivalries. At the highest official levels and among ordinary people, talk of the next war is commonplace. Governments proceed as if war were inevitable… Although there are ideological issues which are causing great difficulty [between the US and the USSR], it is a gross error to believe that they can be solved by resort to war… We are all citizens of a world community sharing a common peril—the imminence of war and the inevitability of the use of atomic weapons in that war." Einstein's concern persisted for the rest of his life: a week before his death in 1955, he signed "a pacifist, antinuclear manifesto being circulated by the philosopher Bertrand Russell" (Simmons, 14). While Einstein did send this fundraising letter to multiple individuals, it remains extremely scarce. Accompanying the letter is a 5-1/2 by 5-1/2-inch printed sheet reprinting the original "Statement by the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists," laying out the six fundamental facts "accepted by all atomic scientists" regarding the danger posed by proliferation and potential use of atomic weapons, referenced in the letter ["the enclosed statement"]. A manuscript annotation on the statement, presumably by the recipient Dr. Fisher, notes "pd 5-6-48" and a check number. Also included is a 6 by 3-1/2-inch printed receipt for Dr. Fisher's $100 contribution to the Committee, dated "5-10-48." The letter is addressed to Dr. O.O. Fisher of Detroit, Michigan.
Faint fold lines. Fine condition, Einstein's signature bold and clear. A wonderful letter demonstrative of Einstein's political voice and leadership.