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Bertrand Arthur William Russell

Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born on 18 May 1872 in Trelleck, Wales. He graduated in 1894 from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge where he expanded his already acute awareness of social consciousness and developed logical reasoning as a separate field of philosophy. After graduating, Russell returned to Cambridge to take a teaching position.

Russell became well known for his ardent liberalism and was banned from speaking at several schools because of his ideology, specifically for his stance on religion and sexual freedom. During World War I, he publicly denounced the involvement of both sides. As a result of this opposition, Russell was dismissed from teaching at Cambridge and sent to prison. After the war, he was released from

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prison and he visited the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to study the effects of communism. He found the communist system "intolerable" and believed that the benefits were not worth the cost paid by the people.

When World War II erupted in Europe, Russell temporarily shifted from his previously extreme liberal and pacifist ideology to support the Allied forces against their aggressors. Russell became aware of the research on nuclear weapons that was taking place in the United States during WWII and became an outspoken activist against the use of these weapons. On 9 June 1949, King George VI of England presented Russell with the Order of Merit for civil service. Considered to be "the champion of humanity and freedom of thought," Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on 10 November 1950.

His opposition to nuclear weapons led Russell to collaborate with Albert Einstein and other prominent scientists in releasing the Russell-Einstein Manifesto on 9 July 1955. The manifesto expressed the concerns of the scientific community regarding the use of nuclear weapons and for an agreement renouncing nuclear weapons as part of a general reduction of armaments. The manifesto, considered a key document in the beginnings of anti-nuclear campaigns, states, "In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the Governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them."

Throughout the 1950s Bertrand Russell was a leader in the British nuclear weapons opposition movement. At the age of 89, he was jailed for his involvement in civil disobedience. In 1963, he created the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation. This organization was "established to carry forward Russell's work for peace, human rights, and social justice." Bertrand Russell died on 2 February 1970.