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The Militant, 20 April 1946

Eugene Varlin

New War Will Doom Our Civilization

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 16, 20 April 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


This is the fifth and concluding article in a series dismissing the death-dealing weapons in the hands of the imperialist warmongers.

In previous articles, we sought to show that the development of new techniques and weapons of war will make World War III immeasurably more destructive and terrible than World War II.

There are the rockets, known as V-2’s, which Germany introduced late in World War II and used in her air war against England. These can have a 5,000 mile range and a speed of 5,000 miles an hour. A rocket launched from the east coast of the United States could reach Russia in less than an hour. Models of greater range and speed are already in the experimental stage.

There are the weapons of biological warfare which are capable of infecting whole populations with fatal diseases like infantile paralysis, typhoid, cholera and leprosy. These weapons used in conjunction with rockets could rapidly spread deadly diseases over vast areas. Every major power already possesses weapons of this kind.

Horrible though they are, the weapons of biological warfare pole by comparison with the deadliest weapon in the arsenal of the imperialists, the weapon which in its first two trials wiped out the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the atomic bomb.

The atom bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were 20,000 times as powerful as TNT. Small, light atom bombs could be planted at strategic points inside a country before the outbreak of war. If this is done, World War III may begin and end when someone pulls the master switch that sets them off.

Atom bombs used in this way could wipe out the overwhelming majority of a country’s cities and people in a few hours. Or atom bombs, like the weapons of biological warfare, could be launched by rockets.

One World or None

Today the atom bomb is an American monopoly. However, in the recently published book, One World or None, Frederick Seitz and Hans Bethe, two atom scientists, say that “any one of several determined foreign nations” might even be ahead of the United States in five years’ time. Dr. Urey, another atom scientist, believes that “if an armament race continues ... the Russians ... may have begun to produce bombs within about three years.” If war should break out five years from now, several of the warring powers will be in possession of the atom bomb.

The development of the rocket and the atom bomb make it highly unlikely that World War III will be fought in the same way as World War II. The most famous military action of World War II was establishing the Normandy beachheads. This landing was accomplished, after years of preparation, by the greatest single assemblage of the air, naval and ground forces in history. Nevertheless, had the Germans at that time been in possession of only a few atom bombs, they could have destroyed the entire attacking force, the men, the airplanes, and the battleships in a matter of minutes.

In an article entitled The Age of Annihilation, printed in the January–February issue of Army Ordnance, the well-known British military analyst, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller gives the following picture of the war of the future.

World Conflagration

“Whole countries,” he says, “will be girt about by radar sets, ceaselessly ‘listening in’ for the first note of the broadcast of annihilation. In the vicinity of these instruments will be hidden away two tactical organizations of atom-charged and propelled rockets – the one offensive and the other defensive. The first will be ranged on every great foreign city in the world, because before the war is launched (to declare it would be sheer madness) no single nation will know who among the rest is its true enemy.

“The second organization will be directed by the radar sets and as soon as they signal a flight of offensive rockets speeding toward them, the defensive rockets will automatically be released by radar to speed into the heavens and explode in whatever cubic space in the stratosphere radar decides the enemy’s offensive rockets will enter at a calculated time.

“Then, miles above the surface of the earth, noiseless battles will be fought between blast and counterblast. Now and again an invader will get through, and up will go London, Paris in a 40,000-foot-high mushroom of smoke and dust.”

This is the kind of war which Wall Street is now planning to unleash upon us and all the other peoples of the world.

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