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Albert Einstein

Letter Discussing Global Annihilation (stamped signature) - 1948

Extraordinarily scarce fundraising letter by one of the world's most revered physicists, Nobel laureate Albert Einstein, asking for support toward efforts to avoid nothing less than global annihilation. A truly breathtaking memento of world history, with stamped signature. (Note: red notation shown on image does not appear on letter itself.)

On August 6, 1945, during the final stage of World War II (1939–45), the Enola Gay, an American B-29 bomber piloted by mission commander Paul Tibbets, dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The city was devastated, wiping out 90 percent of its infrastructure and immediately killing 80,000 people, though as many as 160,000 human beings would die including those exposed to radiation.

Just three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 40,000–80,000 people. Within a week Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's unconditional surrender in a radio address to his people, citing the devastating power of "a new and most cruel bomb."

Stirred to action by the prospect of global annihilation, in May 1946 Albert Einstein assembled a small but esteemed group of scientists to form the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. Half the members had worked directly on the Manhattan Project and all had been indirectly involved or consulted on the production of the first atomic bomb.

The object of the Committee was to encourage and further the peaceful uses of atomic energy in concert with other similar groups. To this end the "Committee was to solicit private contributions in support of the work of the National Committee for Atomic Information."

Einstein's entreaty is a profound statement not only on the global instability following World War II, but a shockingly prescient assessment of the peril still facing humanity nearly 70 years later. Even Einstein's secretarial and stamped letters are incredibly hard to come by these days, but are much more affordable than personally signed letters, which now command very high values.

Atomic bomb on Nagasaki 1945