' The world is what it is, which is to say, nothing much. That is what we all learned yesterday, thanks to the formidable chorus that radio, newspapers, and infomation agencies have just unleashed, regarding the atomic bomb. We are told, that in the midst of hundreds of enthusiastic commentaries, that any average sized city can be wiped out by a bomb the size of a football. American, English, and French newspapers are filled with elegant essays on the future, the past, the inventors, the cost, the peaceful incentives, even the military advantages, and the bombs independent character.
Our technical civilisation has just reached its greatest level of savagery. We will have to choose, soon, between collective suicide or the intelligent use of our scientific conquests.
Meanwhile we think there is something indecent in celebrating a discovery in this way, whose use has caused the most destruction that humanity has ever known. What will it bring to a world already given over to all the convulsions of violence, incapable of any control, indifferent to justice and simple human happiness, to a world where science devotes itself to organised murder?
These discoveries must be recorded, commented upon for what they surely are, announced to the world so that humanity may have a truthful idea of its desitiny. We cannot allow these terrible revelations to be surrounded by humourous or picturesque writings.
It was already hard to breathe in a tortured world. Here now is is new source of anquish being offered, without reservation, its last chance. And that could, after all, be the pretext for a special edition. But should be an occassion for a few reflections and a lot of silence.......
Lets be clear. If the Japanese capitulate after the destruction of Hiroshima due to intimidation, we will be glad of it. But we refuse to draw from such grave news anything other than the determination to plead even more energetically for a real international society in ,which great powers will not have rights superior to small or mid-sized ones, in which war, a scourge that has become definite through human intelligence alone; will not depend on the appetites or doctrines of this or that State.
Before the terryfying prospects now available to humanity, we see even more clearly that peace is the only fight worth struggling for. This is no longer a plea, but a demand to be made by all the people to their governments - a demand to choose definitely between hell and reason.'
Camus at Combat
Albert Camus, Jacqueline Levi Valensi,
David Carrol, Arthur Goldhammer