Of What Is Leo Szilard Guilty?
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
In the Wall Street Journal of May 11, 1994, the celebrated Dr. Edward Teller submitted a plausible defense of his one-time political opponent, Prof. Enrico Fermi. The occasion is the widespread circulation of a book by a former Soviet spymaster, Pavel Sudoplatov, Special Tasks. The book alleges that three prominent wartime physicists, Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer, and Leo Szilard, assisted in transmitting U.S. atomic-bomb secrets to Moscow.
In defending Fermi against charges of World War II-time atomic spying for Moscow, Teller wrote:
"I have no reason to doubt that the NKVD (the predecessor of the KGB) had a few moles placed in Los Alamos. That Fermi helped to place these moles in Los Alamos or Oak Ridge, Tennessee, or that he left documents lying around so the moles could see and transmit them to the Soviet Union, is not supported by the evidence, and, I believe clearly wrong. Actually, Fermi worked primarily in Chicago and came to Los Alamos only in the last few months of World War II."
So far, Dr. Teller, very good. The argument of Prof. Hans A. Bethe, writing in defense in the May 27 edition of the Washington Post, becomes visibly hysterical in the extremes of exaggerated, irrelevant denials. It seems not to have occurred to Dr. Teller, who should know this, or to Professor Bethe, who would not wish to know it, what kind of a deception motivates the notorious Chapter 7 of Sudoplatov's book.
One among the most-repeated jokes of World War II vintage spoke of the fellow who, at the close of each day's shift, trundled a wheelbarrow of sand through the exit-gate of a defense plant. The plant security spent many futile months attempting to discover something being smuggled out in the sand. After the war, a former guard asked the fellow what he had been stealing. The fellow replied, "Wheelbarrows." Apparently, neither Teller nor Bethe would have been any wiser than the plant-gate guard of that funny story.
The Soviets were receiving U.S. atomic secrets during World War II, not from spies at Los Alamos or Oak Ridge; they were receiving them from sources in British intelligence. If Teller or Bethe had not been so obsessed with the sand, that they overlooked the wheelbarrow, they would have read the entirety of Sudoplatov's book, including those places where the fact that it was British intelligence channels delivering these secrets is conceded.
That does not solve the problem, it only complicates it. Let us ask the question: Might one of those named by Sudoplatov have been unwitting channels of information to Moscow, via corrupt British intelligence channels? Would Szilard, Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr, or Fermi have cooperated with British intelligence behind the back of the United States? Szilard, or Bohr: without question! Oppenheimer: probably! Fermi: possibly, under certain circumstances. These are not unanswerable questions. A great deal is known about the answers to these questions. Dr. Teller should remember some of the answers to those questions; Professor Bethe would not wish to do so.
The Real Story Behind the Bomb
Of the atom scientists accused by Sudoplatov the one really rotten one was Dr. Leo Szilard, the real-life "Dr. Strangelove" of the Kubrick film of the same name.
Szilard was, in real life, a puppet of British intelligence's Bertrand Russell. It was Russell's policy, developed in conjunction with Niels Bohr, which brought Szilard to work on the bomb, and it was Russell agent Szilard, then based at the University of Chicago of Russell's accomplice Robert Hutchins, who played the key atom-scientist role in striking the 1958 Pugwash Conference agreement with Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchov. Szilard was very, very dirty all around.
The story of the bomb begins at the turn of the century. Up through the mid-1920s, physical chemists came to know that both nuclear fusion and a nuclear-fission chain-reaction were possible. It started with chemist Dmitri Mendeleyev's development of his Periodic Law, continued with the related discoveries of the Curies and their student, the Russian scientific genius Vladimir Vernadsky, the discoveries of Chicago's William Draper Harkins and of Britain's Ernest Rutherford, and the work of a number of brilliant women who, for male-chauvinist reasons, were kept out of the policy agreements struck at the post-Versailles Treaty 1920s Solvay Conferences.
Harkins replicated crucial evidence of stellar thermonuclear fusion in a Wilson chamber in 1915. Rutherford also assembled the data (which he was later pressured to suppress) which bore on the matter of fission. During the period 1925-27, Vernadsky established the radiology laboratory in Russia and proposed a mission of developing nuclear fission as a principal source of industrial power. For reason of considerations referenced by Dr. Jonathan Tennenbaum in his treatment of the work of Lise Mietner, Ida Noddack, et al., the feasibility of a nuclear-fission chain-reaction was well-known in relevant circles prior to 1938.
Nonetheless, the participants in the Solvay Conferences maintained a curious, hysterical denial of this fact until Russell and company decided to use the Bohr report on Otto Hahn's work as a lever for inducing President Franklin Roosevelt to launch the building of an A-bomb.
Meanwhile, in Russia, Vernadsky was pressuring Stalin to build the bomb, recommending his protégé Professor Igor Kurchatov to head up what became the Stalin-backed, wartime Atom Project: Russia failed to build the bomb during the war chiefly because of lack of a logistical basis for doing so. Thus, as Sudoplatov reports, it was not scientific principles which Kurchatov thought he required from his British sources of secret U.S. information, but engineering particulars.
Why would Bertrand Russell, formerly a fanatical supporter of the Solvay coverup, make such a turnabout? Why would British intelligence channels associated with Russell, Blount, Maclean, Philby, et al., all from families with the most famous names in the British secret foreign intelligence services, conduit U.S. wartime atomic secrets to be received by Professor Kurchatov's project in Russia? This touches upon facts readily available to both Teller and Bethe, but which both appear loathe to remember.
Did Bethe know? Of course he does. Read one passage from his defense of his old associates: "The book says correctly: 'Oppenheimer, Bohr, and Fermi were opponents of violence.' " Yes, Russell and his cronies were pacifists; one might say, more frankly, "Nazi-like pacifists." Read Russell from 1923 and then 1951:
"[T]he white population of the world will soon cease to increase. The Asiatic races will be longer, and the Negroes still longer, before their birth rate falls sufficiently to make their numbers stable without help of war and pestilence.... Until that happens, the benefits aimed at by socialism can only be partially realized, and the less prolific races will have to defend themselves against the more prolific by methods which are disgusting even if they are necessary."
—Prospects of Industrial Civilization, 1923
"[U]nless the increase of population can be diminished.... War ... has hitherto been disappointing in this respect ... but perhaps bacteriological war may prove more effective. If a Black Death could spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full.... The state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of it? Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other peoples'...."
—Impact of Science Upon Society, 1951
These Nazi-like pacifist rantings by Russell, the first following World War I, the second World War II, are crucial for understanding the sense in which Russell cronies, among the atom scientists such as Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, et al., were "opponents of violence." Perhaps the best place to begin an investigation of the peaceful impulses of atom-bombers such as Oppenheimer and Szilard is Russell's own "Dr. Strangelove" proposal in the October 1946 edition of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Russell saw a fission-bomb as a weapon of terror so frightening that nations would be terrified into surrendering their sovereignty to that system of U.N.O. world-government which had been Russell's life-long goal since the days of his famous anti-war walk-out from the luncheon-meeting of Lord Milner's "Kindergarten" at the beginning of this century. The key to Bohr, Szilard, et al., is that their master, Bertrand Russell, was a fanatical, racialist, mass-murdering, one-world government freak. Russell, the loyal grandson of a Lord Russell who was prepared to deploy British and French naval forces to aid the cause of Confederate chattel slavery in North America, was a Nazi-like variety of pacifist, exuding a disgusting quality which all of Russell's cronies and admirers tended to share. For such fanatics as these, smuggling a U.S. wartime atom secret or two to Moscow would be an afternoon faculty cocktail-party giggle.
Bethe knows this very well. So does Edward Teller if he troubles to think about it. In one sense, Teller's defense of Fermi is humanly warming, but also hypocritical in what it does not say about the matter. Bethe's maudlin meanderings through the editorial page of the Washington Post tend toward the quality of emetic.
What About Hiroshima?
Why did the United States drop the only two nuclear weapons then in its arsenal upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, when Japan was already seeking to negotiate peace? Was President Truman's decision the result of Averell Harriman's desire to cheat the Gen. Douglas MacArthur he hated of the laurels of untarnished victory? Or, was the motivation that which Russell clarified publicly in his contribution to the October 1946 Bulletin?
Was the purpose of the bombing to scare Stalin, as Russell's 1946 piece argues? Was British intelligence's systematic leaking of U.S. atom secrets to Moscow part of the effort to scare the United States into facing the imminent reality of a Soviet fission-weapon? Perhaps neither was true, but, rather, both were interdependently true. Perhaps, it was as Russell insisted, an attempt to use the terror of nuclear-fission weapons to induce both the U.S.A. and Moscow to surrender to the kind of U.N.O. world-government which Britain's resident, broom-riding witch, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her evil pussy-cat George Bush sought to bring about during 1989-92.
Why did Russell and company, in 1939, do an about-face from the Solvay Conference line on nuclear fission? Was it not for the reasons which Russell gave in his October 1946 contribution to the Bulletin? These were the world-federalist ideas to which Russell had been dedicated all of the 20th century.
Stalin saw through the tricks of Russell and Russell's lisping crony, Winston Churchill, and rejected the proposal. In 1955, Khrushchov sent four emissaries to the 1955 London conference of Russell's World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government. The deal was on. Russell's Fabians used U.S.A.-Canada asset Cyrus Eaton to set up the first Pugwash Conference. At the second, 1958 Quebec Conference, Leo "Strangelove" Szilard announced his "world government through mutual and assured destruction," and it was left to Robert (very) Strange McNamara and the Nixon administration's resident witch, Henry A. Kissinger, to carry out the agreement which Russell had struck with Khrushchov through Szilard's Pugwash design.
These facts are well known to Teller and Bethe. If they were serious in refuting Sudoplatov's Chapter 7, they would point to these facts, and show what sort of hoax Sudoplatov's book is written to perpetrate, and why. Perhaps if they were willing to face openly the truth about the Solvay Conferences and a few other bits of very dirty laundry in the internal life of science, they would have cultivated a stronger sense of the importance of strict truth in the domain of politics. I suppose we must be satisfied that Ed Teller did the decent thing by Enrico Fermi.
 Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness—A Soviet Spymaster, by Pavel Sudoplatov and Anatoli Sudoplatov with Jerrold L. and Leona T. Schecter, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1994.