Ava Helen Pauling - Activism - Nuclear Disarmament and World Peace

Nuclear Disarmament and World Peace

For much of her life, Ava Helen Pauling made world peace her primary political concern. During the Cold War, she and her husband protested against nuclear armament and worked to increase public awareness of the danger of nuclear war. Even after Linus Pauling came under fire from the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, or SISS, the Paulings continued to campaign for global peace. Ava Helen Pauling traveled throughout the United States and Europe giving speeches emphasizing the importance of peace. She was also instrumental in bringing together various groups in marches and rallies to protest U.S. military policy and McCarthyism. After collecting over 9,000 signatures from scientists worldwide, in 1958 the Paulings presented the United Nations with a petition demanding an end to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty. The signing of this treaty directly resulted in Linus Pauling's receipt of the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize, his second unshared Nobel Prize. In an interview which aired on the Nova TV series in 1977, Ava Helen Pauling explained:

I, in talking with thought that it was of course important that he do his work, but if the world were destroyed, then the work would not be of any value. So that he should take part of his time and devote it to peace work as we called it. I felt a little guilty about this because of course I knew very well what great and deep pleasure he got from his scientific work, how competent he was in his scientific work, and how enthusiastic he was about it.

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