By Bertrand Russell.

Is it possible to persuade mankind to live without war? War is an ancient institution which has existed for at least six thousand years. It  has always been cruel and usually foolish, but in the past the human race managed to live with it. Modern ingenuity has changed this.

Either Man will abolish war, or war will abolish Man. For the present, it is nuclear weapons which may, before long, offer an even greater threat. If we succeed in abolishing nuclear weapons, our work will not be done.

It will never be done until we have succeeded in abolishing war. To do this, we need to persuade mankind to look upon international questions in a new way, not as contests of force, in which the victory goes to the side which is most skillful in massacre, but by arbitration in accordance with agreed principles of law. It is not easy to change age-old mental habits, but this is what must be attempted.


There are those who say that the adoption of this or that ideology would prevent war. I believe this to be a profound error. All ideologies are based upon dogmatic assertions which are, at best, doubtful, and at worst, totally false. Their adherents believe in them so fanatically that they are willing to go to war in support of them.

The movement of world opinion during the past two years has been very largely such as we can welcome. It has become a commonplace that nuclear war must be avoided. Of course, very difficult problems remain in the international sphere, but the spirit in which they are being approached is a better one than it was some years ago. It has begun to be thought, even by the powerful men who decide whether we shall live or die, that negotiations should reach agreements even if both sides do not find these agreements wholly satisfactory. It has begun to be understood that the important conflict nowadays is not between East and West, but between Man and the H-bomb.


Mark the best choice.
1. This passage implies that war is now .
a) more cruel than in the past
b) as cruel as in the past
c) less cruel than in the past


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