By Pierre-Clément Simon
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Learn about the main positive consequences and the shortcomings and of the speech
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An unprecedented and threatening context:
The Atom for Peace symbol On December 8, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York entitled “Atom for Peace”. [2,3] This speech was a tipping point for the peaceful use of atomic power. Today, 66 years later, we will attempt to summarize its contested legacy.
“I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new, one which I, […] would have preferred never to use.That new language is the language of atomic warfare.”-President Dwight D. Eisenhower
In 1953, atomic power is not exclusive to the United States anymore. The Soviet Union already tested several nuclear bombs. Among them, at least one thermo-nuclear bomb .
President Dwight D. Eisenhower is conscious of both the dangers and promises of atomic power. On one hand, he acknowledges the increasing risk of nuclear proliferation and the threat of mutual destruction from atomic warfare. On the other hand, he recognizes the immense potential of peaceful use of nuclear energy.
As such, in his speech, the president declares: “…the United States pledges before you, and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma – to devote its entire heart and mind to finding the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.”-President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Positive consequences of the speech:
1) Creation of international agreements
“The governments principally involved […], should begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international atomic energy agency