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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University of Wellington. Vol. 24, No. 5. 1961

The Pamphlet

The Pamphlet

This truly vital subject of nuclear weapons permits of no over-simplification as the pamphlet points out, "for the first time in our history weapons have been devised which could destroy all mankind." Yet unfortunately the pamphlet itself contains several faults of this nature.

The horrendous effects of a 15-megoton weapon on a city are accurately described. But the Claim that "the U.S.A. has an Estimated Stockpile of 100,000 of these Weapons. The Soviet Union 50,000" has no Basis Whatever in Fact.

Dr. Linus Pauling, who spoke in this country recently on the Movement's behalf and who was associated with the Communist-inspired Stockholm Peace Appeal, gave these figures some 12 months ago as his own personal estimate of the numbers of nuclear weapons of all types, "clean" and "dirty," tactical and strategic, of the two Powers. The figure of 300 needed "to destroy completely either nation" refers to the very largest types, while the spectrum of nuclear weapons is continuous.

The smallest nuclear devices explode with the force of a few dozen tons of T.N.T., the largest weapons are limited in power only by their weight and bulk. Some weapons, such as the fission-fusion and neutron bombs (the latter using no fissile material) produce almost no fall-out, while the fission-fusion-fission and cobalt bombs combine enormous power with very large " fall-out," or residual radiation. The neutron bomb generates a short and powerful burst of lethal radiation with little heat and light, and the latest fission devices produce for less fall-out for their power than those used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet the Movement and its pamphlet ignore completely the existence of all except the most powerful and destructive types, and their arguments depend upon this omission.