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Looking Back: April 1950

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In the 1950s, the Hydrogen Bomb took over from the Atomic Bomb as the most feared weapon of mass destruction. More powerful than the A-bomb, the H-Bomb was never dropped on any 'target' though before testing went underground, the crew of a Japanese fishing boat that accidentally sailed into testing range, died due to radiation poisoning.

The WCC, horrified by the creation of the H-bomb, issued this statement, condemning the invention, in the strongest possible terms.

The Hydrogen Bomb

World Council of Churches’ Appeal

A grave appeal to the Governments of the Nations for a new effort to avert the danger of world suicide through the use of the Hydrogen Bomb and other weapons of the modern war was made by the executive committee of the World Council of Churches which met in Geneva in February under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Chichester.

The Committee, which acts on behalf of 155 member Churches in 44 countries, issued the following statement :-

“The Hydrogen Bomb is the latest and most terrible step in the crescendo of warfare which has changed war from a fight between men and nations to a mass murder of human life. Man’s rebellion against his Creator has reached such a point that, unless stayed, it will bring a self-destruction upon him. All this is a perversion; it is a sin against God.

“All men have responsibilities before God as they face the grave issues raised by the Hydrogen Bomb and other weapons of modern war. Let each ponder in his conscience, be he statesman, or scientist or ordinary citizen, how far his own action or attitude contributes to the danger f world suicide; and what he must do to prevent it, and to bring the nations to understand and serve another.

“The Governments of the nations have an inescapable responsibility at this hour. The world is divided into hostile camps through suspicion and distrust, and through the failure of the nations to bring their mutual relations within an agreed system of justice and order. As representatives of Christian Churches, we …urge the Governments to enter into negotiations once again, and do everything in their power to bring the present tragic deadlock to an end.

“This is the hour to listen afresh to the Word of God Who is the Lord of history. And this is the hour for earnest prayer to Him. For the fate of mankind is in His hands. Those who trust Him do not need to fear, whatever comes. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. All are to appear before His judgement seat, and to give an account of what they have done, or have refused to do, for their fellow men.”

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