chapter IV
chapter III
Moral Challenges
of the War.
In late 1944, Sakharov leaves the plant in order to fully concentrate on science and enters graduate studies at Lebedev Institute.* The prominent scientist Igor Evgenevich Tamm becomes his scientific director.
* Lebedev Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, now the Pyotr N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Lebedev Institute. Library
Igor Evgenyevich Tamm (1895–1971), academician, director of the theoretical department of Lebedev Institute. 1950s.
Tamm set an example for Sakharov of the understanding of the high mission of science in the modern world and the civic position of the scientist. Under his influence, Sakharov begins to specialize on research in the field of the physics of elementary particles.
In November 1947, he defends his dissertation early in pursuit of the scientific degree of candidate of physics and mathematics and remains working at Lebedev Institute.
“Likely, the main achievements of my youth and young manhood were that I was formed in the Sakharov family, which bore the ‘inherited traits’ of the Russian intelligentsia [...] and was then under the influence of Igor Evgenyevich Tamm”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
Even during the war, in 1943, within the Manhattan Project in the US, work begins on a fundamentally new type of weapon — the nuclear.
The first nuclear test in the world was held on 16 July 1945 in the desert in the state of New Mexico in the USA.
On 6 and 9 August 1945, American bombers dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The number of those killed directly from the bomb explosions was from 70,000 to 80,000 people.

By the end of the year, the total number of those who died from injuries and the effects of radioactive contamination was about 166,000 people and the toll continued to grow. The overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded are civilians.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki becomes an enormous upheaval for Sakharov.
“On the morning of 7 August, I went out of the house to the bakery and stopped at a newspaper stand. A headline struck my eye: ‘On 6 August 1945, at 8:00 a.m., an atomic bomb of enormous destructive power equal to 20,000 tons of TNT was dropped on Hiroshima’. My knees buckled. I realized that my life and the life of very many people, maybe all of them, had suddenly changed. Something new and terrible had entered our lives, and it had come from the side of the Grand Science – which I internally worshipped”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
The use of nuclear weapons against civilian Japanese cities, senseless in military terms, was not only the final point of World War II, but the start of the nuclear arms race.
Nevertheless, humanity was able to draw important political and moral lessons from World War II.
The Nuremberg trials took place in Germany from 1945–1946 — trials of the victorious powers over the political and military leaders of the fascist Reich. In this course of these trials, the most terrible manifestations of Nazism violating fundamental human rights were condemned.
On 10 December 1948, the UN General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This fundamental international document defined the basic human rights the observation of which UN members states must strive to observe. The Soviet Union abstained during the vote.
Eleanor Roosevelt, chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, with the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1948.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
First article of the Declaration