John Scales Avery, head of Danish Peace Academy, warns of thermonuclear World War III from attack on Iran

Printervenlig versionPrintervenlig versionSend by emailPDF versionPDF version

In a piece titled "World War: Nobody Had The Slightest Idea What It Would Be Like," on, Avery likens the mindlessness of the current threats to the beginning of World War I, describes the catastrophe of the two world wars, and gives a credible scenario for escalation from an attack on Iran to thermonuclear war.

Avery, in a recent video interview, quoted from Percy Shelley's Masque of Anarchy, calling on people to "rise like lions," take world affairs into their own hands, and prevent a disaster to civilization.

An excerpt follows:

"None of the people who started the First World War had the slightest idea what it would be like. The armies of Europe were dominated by the old feudal landowning class, whose warlike traditions were rooted in the Middle Ages. The counts and barons who still ruled Europe's diplomatic and military establishments knew how to drink champagne, dance elegantly, ride horses, and seduce women. They pranced off to war in high spirits....

Do Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, who are contemplating starting what might develop into World War III, have any imaginative concept of what it would be like? Netanyahu has told the Israeli people that only 500 of their citizens would be killed, and that the conflict would be over in a month.... Austrian leaders in 1914 ... started what they thought would be a small action to punish the Serbian nationalists ... When the result was a world-destroying war, they said, That is not what we intended....

The planned attack on Iran would not only violate international law, but would also violate common sense and the wishes of the people of Israel. The probable result would be a massive Iranian missile attack on Tel Aviv, and Iran would probably also close the Straits of Hormuz. If the United States responded by bombing Iranian targets, Iran would probably use missiles to sink one or more of the U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. One can easily imagine other steps in the escalation of the conflict: a revolution in Pakistan; the entry of nuclear-armed Pakistan into the war on the side of Iran; a preemptive nuclear strike by Israel against Pakistan's nuclear weapons; and Chinese-Russian support of Iran. In the tense atmosphere of such a war, the danger of a major nuclear exchange, due to accident or miscalculation, would be very great.

Today ... the danger of a catastrophic war with hydrogen bombs hangs like a dark cloud over the future of human civilization. The total explosive power of today's weapons is equivalent to roughly half a million Hiroshima bombs.... What is threatened today is the complete breakdown of human society....

The First World War was a colossal mistake. Today, the world stands on the threshold of an equally enormous disaster. Must we again be led into a world-destroying war by a few blind individuals who do not have the slightest idea of what such a war would be like?"