The nuclear peril represented a danger which was likely to last as long as governments possessed nuclear weapons, and perhaps even longer if such destructive objects get into private hands. At ﬁrst I imagined that the task of awakening people to the dangers should not be very diﬃcult. I shared the general belief that the motive of self-preservation is a very powerful one which, when it comes into operation, generally overrides all others. I thought that people would not like the prospect of being fried with their families and their neighbours and every living person that they had heard of. I thought it would only be necessary to make the danger known and that, when this had been done, men of all parties would unite to restore previous safety. I found that this was a mistake. There is a motive which is stronger than selfpreservation: it is the desire to get the better of the other fellow. I have discovered an important political fact that is often overlooked, as it had been by me: people do not care so much for their own survival – or, indeed, that of the human race – as for the extermination of their enemies. The world in which we live is one in which there is constant risk of universal death. The methods of putting an end to this risk are obvious to all, but they involve a very tiny chance that someone may play the traitor, and this is so galling that almost everybody prefers running the risk of nuclear war to securing safety. I thought, and I still think, that, if the risk of total destruction were made suﬃciently vivid, it would have the desired eﬀect. But how was an individual, or a collection of individuals, to bring about this vividness? In company with those who thought like me, I tried various methods with varying degrees of success. I tried ﬁrst the method of reason: I compared the danger of nuclear weapons with the danger of the Black Death. Everybody said, ‘How true,’ and did nothing. I tried alerting a particular group, but though this had a limited
success, it had little eﬀect on the general public or Governments. I next tried the popular appeal of marches of large numbers. Everybody said, ‘These marchers are a nuisance’. Then I tried methods of civil disobedience, but they, too, failed to succeed. All these methods continue to be used, and I support them all when possible, but none has proved more than partially eﬃcacious. I am now engaged in a new attempt which consists of a mixed appeal to Governments and public. So long as I live, I shall continue the search and in all probability I shall leave the work to be continued by others. But whether mankind will think itself worth preserving remains a doubtful question.