INT: Final few questions then, sir. What was the worst moment... of the period of the Cold War, what was the worst moment for you?
JR: For me, the worst moment was when I heard on the BBC the announcement of the 6th of August that the bomb on Hiroshima was dropped. Because when I left the Project, when I left Los Alamos in December 1944, one condition for letting me go by the American intelligence people, was that I will not have any more contacts with my colleagues on the Project, so I was completely cut off. I had no idea whatsoever what has been going on in Los Alamos; I didn't know anything about the test of the bomb, and the first time I heard about it was on the announcement of the destruction of Hiroshima. And it came, first of all, as a terrible shock, a terrible disappointment to me, because I still had hoped that maybe... that they will decide that, having tested the bomb, and the war in the Far East is nearly at end, they won't use it. And this is in fact what the scientists wanted, but the military decided, for other reasons, that they should do it, they should explode it. But more than that, I was frightened, because I already knew at that time about the work on the hydrogen bomb, I knew that a bomb a thousand times more powerful will be developed. I could foresee the arms race coming, aI could foresee the great danger which this will put on the whole of humankind, and this really was a desperation to me at that moment. I thought, "What can we do to prevent this happening?" This was the first thought, my reaction when I heard about the bomb.
INT: Do you think that the Cold War was necessary?
JR: We had this idstruggle going on for quite a long time, ever since the Communist Revolution. . Some people say - in fact there's documentary evidence - that even Hitler was encouraged by the West to... perhaps to end the Communist regime. And therefore, to a certain extent, the Cold War was (.?.) from the beginning because of the existence of these two political systems which were incompatible with each other. But it would not have taken this turn which would endanger everybody, as it happened with the nuclear weapons. Therefore, the nuclear weapons became a very important tool in the struggle between the East and the West. And once you started it, it became completely out of control, because nobody can, in any way, justify the build-up of these enormous arsenals, on both sides, of nuclear warheads.
INT: And what would you say, for good, or probably more likely for ill, was the legacy of the Cold War?
JR: One is, first of all, the Cold War has demonstrated that the future of mankind is no longer assured, that now there is in the power of man to bring the whole human species to an end. And we came very close to it even, at least on one occasion that we know about definitely, and this is in October 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, when really the future of civilisation hanged on the decision of one man. Is he going to accept the ultimatum of the United [States], or not? I think this is a turn in all our history. I think, for the first time, it's become possible for man, in a single act, to bring our civilisation, which has been the result of the evolution of so many centuries, to bring it to a rapid end. And we must never forget this. From now on, you see, we can no longer sort of say, "All right, the world will go on forever." It will not go on forever. By the action of man - it could be brought to an end by the action of man. And this, I think, has to influence us. We must never allow this to happen. And even if we succeed in the work which we in Pugwash have been doing, try to eliminate nuclear weapons, even if we succeeded in this, this would still not remove the total danger, because one can rebuild these weapons, or, worse still, further advances in science and technology will bring about other means of destruction, wholesale destruction. In other words, we must always be on the alert. And the lesson of the Cold War is that we must bring all war, not just nuclear war or chemical biological - all war must cease to exist as an institution in our society.
INT: Superb. Two final, very short questions... going back to our earlier discussion, that I'd just like to pick you up on. One is: as you were meeting in Caxton Hall during the setting up of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, there was the Geneva Summit of 1955. Can you tell me what you felt - was this posturing, or did you believe that the governments, such as Eisenhower, really wanted to make a start towards reducing the tensions of the Cold War?
JR: There always was the feeling among scientists like myself, who believe in science if it's properly developed and applied, that this great discovery of nuclear energy became for the first time known to the public in the form of a destruction, and this gives a very bad name to science. Therefore, we felt at that time that somehow we must restore the balance. The image of science should not be tarnished in this way. Therefore, we worked at the beginning very hard to show the beneficial aspects of nuclear energy, that it can be used for the benefit of mankind, and we worked very hard to show that it can be used to generate electricity in reactors. And this was taken up by many industrialists. Eisenhower at that time felt, by 1955, that we somehow should try to open this all up, but open it up mainly by the peaceful uses. Some people will say that at that time he wanted to begin to sell reactors... that it was a purely commercial idea. It probably played a certain role. But this big conference in 1955, on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, also connected with a huge exhibition; Canadians and Americans, they are going to sell their reactors. I am not saying anything against it, but... I mean, it's also important; but to try to hide it, to hide... I think it was wrong-sighted. And some of us, even during that conference - and at that time I was one of the British delegates there - tried to point out [that] we also got the other side of the coin: you mustn't forget that the bomb still exists and it could lead to a catastrophe. So in fact this also came up at that meeting, and also the problem of the hydrogen bomb [was] brought out, and also the possible beneficial uses of nuclear fusion - all this came out. It was an important conference, but it sort of ran in parallel... The Pugwash meeting was trying to emphasise the dangers; this conference tried to emphasise the peaceful uses.
INT: Final question then, sir. In your time in Los Alamos, you too were part of the British delegation, as was Klaus Fuchs. Did you know him, and did you feel that what he did possibly played a role in stabilisation of world peace?
JR: I met Fuchs for the first time in Los Alamos, for a fairly short time, because he didn't join us till much later; he was in a different part of the Manhattan Project, in New York. He was sort of a very introvert person, he talked very little. I didn't have a chance to get to know him, although he was a member of the British team. I got to know him a little bit better when we came back to England, and I used to meet him from time to time. But again, I didn't suspect for one moment about his nefarious activities in trying to convey to the Russians our views. I'm always for an open society. I've always felt science can only proceed if it is completely open, and this means that we communicate our findings. But this does not mean giving away the blueprint of making a bomb in secret - not... I mean, even to a regime who was even worse in secrecy than it was in America during the war. Therefore, I certainly will not approve of this sort of openness of transmission of science. How much has he contributed towards the stability? I would say none. On the contrary, he did help the Russians to do it quicker than people have thought, to make the bomb much faster, and therefore to build up the arms race. No, I don't think that he really has contributed. People who knew him better than I did, thought that after coming back to England, he may have regretted perhaps what he did, because he find the life in England and the democracy so much more amenable to him. But I happened to meet him many years later, after he was released from prison here and went to Germany. And I met him in one city in Russia, actually, and we talked to each other. And I found him to be the same hard-line Communist as he was apparently in the early years. He showed no regret whatsoever. And I feel that his role was really an abysmal role.
INT: Professor Rotblat, thank you very much indeed. That was a fascinating interview. Thank you very much indeed.