Council for a Livable World

  • Council for a Livable World (CLW) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501 (c)(4) non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons and increasing national security. The Council was founded in 1962 by nuclear physicist Leo Szilard and other scientists who pioneered the development of atomic weapons and immediately became concerned about their use and spread.
  • Our mission is to advocate for sensible national security policies and to help elect congressional candidates who support them … (full text Mission).

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About /Our Legacy: Nuclear physicist Leo Szilard founded Council for a Livable World in 1962 to deliver “the sweet voice of reason” about nuclear weapons to Congress, the White House, and the American public. “The policies of the great powers have consistently followed the line of least resistance, and this line leads to an unlimited arms race. 

I do not believe that America can be made secure by keeping ahead in such an arms race,” Szilard declared in April 1962 as he toured the country building support for the Council. “What one needs to create is not a membership organization, but a movement,” Szilard said.

Szilard fought for years to harness the power of atomic energy. In a letter prepared in 1939 for Albert Einstein, Szilard warned President Franklin Roosevelt about the possibility of atomic weaponry and urged the United States to develop these weapons before Nazi Germany could. This letter catalyzed the American government’s involvement in atomic research and led to the establishment of the Manhattan Project.

After unleashing the first controlled nuclear chain reaction and participating in the Manhattan Project, Szilard adamantly advocated against using the atomic bomb. Szilard drafted a July 1945 petition to President Harry Truman opposing the use of the bomb on moral grounds. Szilard also made a concerted effort to warn Truman about the dangers of using atomic weapons against Japan.

In his constant quest for a method to safeguard peace, Szilard made an important realization: In order to influence American foreign policy, one must change the composition of Congress. This insight was the seed that grew into the Council for a Livable World … (full long text).

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