This one is for students of The Cold War period and those well-versed in Russian.
The Post World War 2 period has always been the most interesting for me, because it signified a distinct change in what was going on in the world. American isolation was a thing of the past – the independence movement brought new problems as well as solutions to the table. The United Nations was trying to be a different body than the League of Nations – and the slow descent into Cold War with the Soviet Union, and later with China was significant in just how idealogical differences overshadowed everything in the way of peaceful coexistence.
This address – lasting one hour and six minutes, was significant in that it sharply criticized an earlier address by Bernard Baruch (The Quick and The Dead), as well as elements of the Marshall Plan. What Molotov offered in this address was a plan for disarmament and a ban on nuclear weapons. Of course, during this era of mutual mistrust, this wasn’t going to happen in a million years. But Molotov got the ball rolling as far as getting the discussion started on some form of curtailing nuclear weapons.
Here is an excerpt of the translation of this address – the site for the complete translation is here: Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative.
V.M. Molotov: “There is a different plan for the atomic bomb, the plan suggested by the Soviet Union. This plan is based on entirely different lines. We, the Soviet people, do not tie up our calculations for the future with the use of the atomic bomb. Recall that the General Assembly has already declared for the exclusion of atomic weapons from national armaments. Therefore there is no reason to postpone the adoption of an international convention proposed by the Soviet Union regarding the banning of the manufacture and use of atomic weapons. Only by adopting such a decision will we create conditions favorable to a free and fruitful examination of the questions relating to the establishment of control over atomic energy in all countries. It was after the first World War that the nations reached agreement to prohibit the use for military purposes of poisonous gases, bacteriological means of warfare and other inhuman implements of war. It is all the more necessary to prohibit the use for military purposes of atomic bombs as well as any other means of mass annihilation of people, which in this particular case means the wholesale destruction of the inhabitants of cities and civilians in general, when a merciless blow will mainly fall on children, women, sick and old men. Those who yesterday fought against aggressors and who are the true opponents of new aggression should consider it their sacred duty to outlaw the use of atomic bombs and to arrange for the use of the discovered atomic energy exclusively for peaceful purposes. Only such use of atomic energy will receive gratitude from mankind as a just solution.”
Molotov, initially a protègè of Joseph Stalin, fell out of favor with the Soviet leader by 1949. Molotov, it should be noted, also presided over the Nazi-Soviet Pact discussions in 1939, a fact which made credibility for the Minister of Foreign Affairs a hard thing to swallow. Still, it got a ball rolling and the controversy which erupted from this speech set into motion the decades-old subject of Nuclear disarmament.
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