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A Quest for Global Peace: Rotblat and Ikeda on War, Ethics and the Nuclear Threat
with Joseph Rotblat

A Quest for Global Peace
Pub. Year



I.B. Tauris
(*Acquired by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2018)



The exchanges between Sir Joseph Rotblat and Daisaku Ikeda read like an absorbing textbook for understanding the deeper currents of humanity's struggle to live with itself in an age of nuclear arms. Reflections from the lives of one of the world's eminent physicists and a leading Buddhist philosopher reveal hard-won convictions in the primacy of nuclear disarmament as the only effective deterrent to (another) world-scale war.

Rotblat is known for his conscience in leaving the Manhattan Project to take up the then unpopular cause of nuclear arms non-proliferation, co-founding with Bertrand Russell the Pugwash conferences in 1957 to discuss the new global insecurities of an arms race. He shares with Ikeda the view that the application of 20th-century science and technology requires a 21st-century growth in newfound wisdom arising from basic human values that transcend the limitations of knowledge and state sovereignty alone.

"We have to learn to think in a new way," reads the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, a call to world leaders to seek peaceful means of resolving international conflicts.

Ikeda heads a global lay Buddhist movement advocating peace, culture and education, founding a number of field institutions to promote these values. He has been instrumental in the mounting of initiatives on the themes of nuclear disarmament and building the human resources for peace. He shares with Rotblat the view that moral leadership for the restoration of peace lies not only within the scientific community but also with institutions of governance, faith and education.

Both men speak at length of a "loyalty to humanity" as integral to the kind of popular consciousness and sentiment that can discern the dangerous course of unquestioned, short-sighted powers of authority. Rotblat advocates through education the expansion of one's loyalties to embrace "a sense of identity with all of humankind." He touches on a concept that resonates, responds Ikeda, with the Buddhist view of the self expanding to a "more mature and developed self that takes on the suffering of all creation." Therein lies the impetus for social change.

This series of dialogues published on the 50th anniversary of the historic Pugwash conferences and second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda's Declaration Against Nuclear Weapons - both a 20th-century legacy to the younger generations of the 21st century on whom now rests humanity's hope to banish nuclear arms and war from the face of Earth.

English, Italian, traditional Chinese (traditional and simplified version), German and Japanese editions of this work have been published.


List of Illustrations

Foreword Professor Robert Hinde, University of Cambridge, Chairman British Pugwash Conference

Preface Joseph Rotblat

Preface Daisaku Ikeda

  1. One World, One Table, One Will to Unring the Nuclear Bell: Pugwash
  2. Hiroshima and Nagasaki: From Japan's Ground Zero to the World
  3. Living History: To Survive, to Study when the World is at War
  4. The Conscience of a Nuclear Physicist: Quitting the Manhattan Project
  5. The Power of a Name: The Russell-Einstein Manifesto
  6. From Hiroshima to Norway: Pugwash Wins the Nobel Prize
  7. The Life of Deterrence, the Vision of Abolition
  8. Science and Faith: The Extension of Reason
  9. Loyalty to Humanity: Competition with a Human Face
  10. Toward a World Without War: The United Nations and We the People

Appendix 1: Declaration Against Nuclear Weapons by Josei Toda, second president of Soka Gakkai

Appendix 2: The Russell-Einstein Manifesto

Appendix 3: The Nobel Lecture given by Joseph Rotblat





"This ... ought to be required reading for anyone concerned about current trends of 'might makes right' in global politics, or concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons to the future of human society.. A Quest for Global Peace is fascinating not only because of the great knowledge and wisdom of its authors, but also because of the glimpses that it gives us of the origin of their tireless work against the institution of war.... No summary can do justice to the book. You must read it yourself."
-- Dr. John Avery, Danish Pugwash Group

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