chapter V
chapter IV
Cold War.
The Cold War breaks out between the USA and the USSR. In this war, politicians were generals, and scientists were only soldiers and officers. But it was in fact the scientists who were the first to realize the danger of global disaster and called humanity to reason.
After Hiroshima, the profession of theoretical physician could no longer be peaceful. The more talented a scientist was, the less chance he had to remain on the sidelines.
“In 1946 and 1947, twice I refused the temptation to leave Lebedev Institute and cutting-edge theoretical physics. In 1948, I was no longer given a choice”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
In June 1948, a “special theoretical group” was created in FIAN under the direction of Igor Tamm, which was assigned the task to develop a design for a new type of nuclear weapon — a hydrogen bomb.

The young Lebedev Institute research associate Andrei Sakharov was included in this group as well.
Igor E. Tamm
Andrei D. Sakharov
Vitaly L. Ginzburg
Semyon Z. Belenky
Efim S. Fradkin
Yuri A. Romanov
Participation in secret military projects presupposed the absolute political loyalty of the Soviet atom scientists
In the fall of 1948, Sakharov receives an offer to join the Communist Party, but finds the courage within himself to refuse.
“I couldn't join the Party because some of its actions in the past seem wrong to me, and I don't know if I would have additional doubts about it in the future”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
Soon Sakharov is sent to the Installation to work at secret Design Bureau No. 11.
Now his entire life was subordinated to work on the creation of the nuclear weapon.  Moving to the Installation meant almost total isolation from the outer world. For the leading specialists, whose number included Sakharov, the most comfortable conditions were created for life and work in a city surrounded by barbed wired
Sakharov received an enormous salary by the standards of those time, and half of a well-appointed cottage was provided for him and his wife and children to live in.  By comparison with the extreme poverty of the residents of the surrounding village, the everyday life of the residents of the Installation seemed almost happy, but Sakharov saw through it.
“The city in which by the whim of fate we lived and worked [...] was a kind of symbiosis between an ultra-modern scientific research institute with production facilities for the experiments and test areas — and a large camp. <…> The plants, testing grounds, roads, and housing for future researchers were built by the prisoners [...] We lived in close proximity to that labor camp from 1950 to 1953. Every morning long gray lines of men in quilted jackets, guard dogs at their heels, passed by our curtained windows”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
Andrei Sakharov and Igor V. Kurchatov, head of the Soviet Atomic Project. Moscow, 1958. © Dmitry Pereverzev
Yakov B. Zeldovich, Andrei Sakharov, and David A. Frank-Kamenetsky in the yard of Frank-Kamenetsky's home at the Installation. 1950–1952
The house at the Installation where the Sakharovs lived.
Andrei Sakharov and his wife and daughters Tanya and Lyubov next to their home at the Installation. 1954–1955
Sakharov displayed his design talent already in the first months of work. Together with Vitaly Ginzburg he proposed an original diagram of the construction of the future hydrogen bomb, which was called the “layer cake”.
The “layer cake” contained alternating layers of lithium deuteride (thermonuclear fuel), uranium-238, and ordinary explosives, and an atomic charge placed in the core was used as a fuse.

The “layer cake” was not yet a classic hydrogen bomb — its power was limited — however, it became the first compact thermonuclear device which could fit in an aerial bomb case. This enabled the USSR to break ahead in the nuclear arms race.
Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg (1916–2009), student of Igor Tamm, prominent physicist. 1940s
Yury B. Khariton, chief designer and science director of KB-11
(Arzamas-16) next to the RDS-6s.
On 12 August 1953 at the Semipalatinsk Testing Grounds in Kazakhstan, the first Soviet hydrogen bomb RDS-6s, built on the basis of Sakharov's “layer cake” was tested. The power of the explosion was equal to 400 kilotons of TNT — almost 30 times as much as the explosive of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
After the successful test, the 32-year-old Sakharov joined the circle of the political, military, and scientific elite. He became the youngest academician in the USSR, receiving the Stalin Prize, 1st  Degree and the title Hero of Socialist Labor.
Diploma of the Doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics
Hero of Socialist Labor identification
Medal of laureate of Stalin Prize, 1st Degree
Medal of laureate of Lenin Prize 1956
Star of the Hero of Socialist Labor. Subsequently Sakharov was to receive such an award twice again, in 1955 and 1962.
In the following years, Sakharov did a great deal to improve the Soviet thermonuclear weapon
But as the destructive powers of the bombs created by him increased, his fear for the future also grew.
“We, the inventors, scientists, engineers, and craftsmen, had created a terrible weapon, the most terrible weapon in human history; but its use would lie entirely outside our control. The people at the top of the Party and military hierarchy would make the decisions”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
Parallel to his military work, Sakharov conducted researched aimed at using thermonuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Together with Tamm, he advanced the idea of a magnetic thermonuclear reactor, the Tokamak.
In the early 1950s, scientists of various countries began to realize how dangerous the nuclear weapon was in the hands of irresponsible politicians.
Eleven world famous scientists — physicists, philosophers, chemists, biologists – headed by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein disseminated a call to governments known as “The Russell-Einstein Manifesto”.
It laid the groundwork for the Pugwash Movement of scientists for peace, disarmament, and international security, for the prevention of world nuclear war and scientific cooperation. The goal of the Pugwash movement was to achieve a ban on nuclear testing and nuclear weapons in general.
“As human beings, we have to remember that, if the issues between East and West are to be decided in any manner that can give any possible satisfaction to anybody, whether Communist or anti-Communist, whether Asian or European or American, whether White or Black, then these issues must not be decided by war. We should wish this to be understood, both in the East and in the West. There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels?”
Russell-Einstein Manifesto
In 1961, the USA places its strategic missiles with nuclear warheads on the territory of Turkey, not far from the border of the USSR.
In August-September 1961, the USSR places its missiles with nuclear warheads on Cuba by the borders of the USA. Military freight is secretly brought on ordinary merchant ships; however, the deployment of the armaments is detected by American intelligence. The US declares a total naval blockade of the island.
Mutual threats between the USSR and USA lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis which puts the world on the brink of World War III.
The leaders of the USSR and USA, Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy, manage with difficulty to resolve the crisis and avoid a catastrophe.

From this moment, the reality of the threats of nuclear war become evident for all humankind. The Cuban Missile Crisis launched mass anti-war movements throughout the world and a policy of international detente.
Clip from the documentary film “The Caribbean Knot”. Directed by Alexander Ivankin. 2003