In 1987, as Beyond War was building a global citizens' movement to raise awareness of the threat posed by the mentality of war in the nuclear era, over 30 scholars came together to produce Russian and English editions of Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking, Soviet and Western Scholars Issue a Challenge to Build a World Beyond War. Now, almost 15 years later, new discussions are focusing on the ways in which 1989 was not only the end of an era but also the foundation for a profound change in the way we understand the planet as an interdependent system.
About Breakthrough - From the book's original cover
Critical Acclaim for Breakthrough
Preface to the Online Edition - The Chief US Editor of Breakthrough, Martin E. Hellman, writes on where the book came from, what it is, and why it should be revisited today.
True to its name, Breakthrough is unique in literary and scientific circles. This book not only shatters old mindsets by its content, but also breaks new ground through the challenging process of joint US-USSR authorship.
From diverse disciplines, experts come together to pioneer new thinking. "War is the issue for this generation and global thinking is the challenge," states the prologue to Breakthrough.
The authors examine such questions as: How can we overcome the inexorable forces leading toward a clash between the United States and the Soviet Union? How do we build a common vision for the future? How can we restructure our thinking to synchronize with the imperative of our modern world?
With a systematic and logical approach, Soviet and Western authorities define the terms of survival in the nuclear age:
- In international affairs, unilateral security and unilateral advantage must be replaced by universal security.
- Enemy stereotypes are obsolete. Common to both sides, they are engines that drive war.
- The concept of world revolution, pursued with aggressive messianic fervor by either side, can no longer be tolerated.
Two years in the making, Breakthrough is the result of thousands of hours of cooperative effort undertaken by Beyond War, a nonpartisan educational movement originating in the United States, and the Committee of Soviet Scientists for Peace Against the Nuclear Threat.
Never easy, at times painstaking, the process of bridging the chasm of differing cultures by uncovering common interests proves worth the effort. Breakthrough presents no only a joint superpower philosophy of the key to survival, but also a tangible symbol of what a world beyond war can be.
For the first time, a book on world politics and the future published simultaneously in the Soviet Union and the United States - and here are initial responses:
"An impressive and immensely valuable product of Soviets and Americans trying to surmount the mountains which separate our cultures in a search for a common way of thinking about the central threat to us all - nuclear weaponry and ... the ultimate obscenity of nuclear war. Our differences are real, but this book and the collaboration which produced it, are the only way to thread through them to produce a world in which all our children can live in safety."
William Colby, Former Director, CIA
"The publication of this book is in itself a remarkable event. The views expressed in it make it even more remarkable. It gives American readers an opportunity to acquaint themselves with some of the best and freshest thinking in the Soviet Union. It gives Russian readers an array of facts and arguments they have not usually encountered in Soviet works. A surprising milestone!"
Professor Alexander Dallin, Director, Center for Russian and East European Studies, Stanford University
"This book is a fascinating first of its kind. Since the greatest task of our time is that of avoiding a Soviet-American nuclear war that might end the human species, what can be more important than a collection of essays by both American and Soviet scholars who tackle the problem and, meeting on common ground, enlighten us all and give us hope."
Isaac Asimov, Writer
"Breakthrough is the story of an extraordinary and exciting adventure in cooperation and collaboration by scholars and authors of the United States and the Soviet Union as they examine together the thesis that war simply does not work anymore.... Your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will thank you for seriously exploring this idea."
Mary Louise Smith, Former Republican National Chairman
"A promising and welcome beginning to what we must all hope will become the full presentation of all Soviet views in the West and all Western views in the USSR, as envisaged under the Helsinki Agreement."
Dr. Robert Conquest, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
"Breakthrough is very impressive. A stimulating collection of articles... Will hearten those who seek a common idiom for a Soviet-American dialogue."
Professor George W. Breslauer, Chair, Center for Slavic and East European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
"Any war raises the spectre of a possible nuclear holocaust. We can no longer tolerate war as an extension of political and economic struggle... That is what this book is all about."
Dr. Marvin L. Goldberger, Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.; Former President, California Institute of Technology
"Listen to what some wise people in various countries say... in Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking."
Dr. Karl Menninger, The Menninger Foundation
"It will be all too easy for... many Americans to dismiss this joint project of Soviet and American scientists and scholars as reflecting Soviet cynicism and American naiveté. What in fact it shows is realistic recognition on the part of thinking individuals that war is no longer an available means toward any desirable end... These articles both expose the risks and explore the prospects for peaceful resolution of international differences."
Paul C. Warnke, Former Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Chief U.S. Negotiator for SALT II
"New ideas are desperately needed to stabilize East-West relations to avoid a nuclear war. The present book is an excellent source for such new thinking. It is of great value for anybody who is involved in these questions."
Professor Victor F. Weisskopf, Professor of Physics, M.I.T.
"What we share is far more important than historical differences which separate us. This book demonstrates that the world can be beyond war."
Dr. Edward L. Ginzton, Varian Associates, Inc.