<div><div> <br> <h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p><b>The First World War and Its Impact, 1914–1921</b></p> <br> <p>Einstein arrived in Berlin in 1914 at the age of 35, a scientific prodigy but innocent of the world of politics. The outbreak of the war was a rude awakening for him and led to his first tentative grappling with political issues. What he retained was the sensibility and vocabulary of a citizen of the republic of letters, not of someone prepared to engage in public debate or political action at close quarters. In the very first months of the war, moral outrage triggered his collaboration in a countermanifesto protesting the solidarity of German intellectuals with the army in its violation of Belgian neutrality. He continued, however, to devote most of his time to his scientific passions for which he sought out and embraced isolation. To a colleague he wrote in January 1915 that "in spite of the troubling, disgusting war I work quietly in my room" (CPAE 8A, Doc. 44). A police report in early 1916 offers corroboration. After mentioning his membership in the pacifist New Fatherland Association, the report noted that Einstein had not yet made his mark politically (Gülzow, 234). Perhaps his harshest critic in this regard was Einstein himself. In the last year of the war he revealed to a friend that he was unsure whether or not to rebuke himself for his own passivity (CPAE 8B, Doc. 537). The friend was Georg Nicolai. A physiology professor in Berlin, confidant of Einstein's cousin and future wife Elsa, Nicolai had drawn up the first draft of the countermanifesto which Einstein signed at the outbreak of the war. In the summer of 1915, he was working on a manuscript to be published two years later as <i>The Biology of War</i> (Nicolai; for commentary, see Zuelzer, 52–57). Many of its salient points are strikingly similar to the themes in Einstein's essay on the psychological roots of war, which was written in autumn 1915. Both authors emphasize that the survival of the human race depends on cultivating social impulses and channeling aggressive instincts to ends that benefit the entire community.</p> <p>The fact that Einstein composed his essay on the origins of war at the same time that he was struggling with the final stages of his general theory of relativity suggests that the recluse was engaging, however hesitantly, with a world beyond his single-minded devotion to science. The crystallizing event that brought him at least partially out of his seclusion was his induction into the New Fatherland Association in summer 1915, presumably at Nicolai's prompting. Membership in this pacifist organization opened to him in Berlin a network of like-minded intellectuals, their politics stretching from the center to the left, whose selfless dedication and refusal to accept blind authority struck a resonant chord (Goenner 2005, 75–88). Only months later he wrote that "these times show us that everyone must do his part for the organization of the whole" (Vol. 8A, Doc. 152). In this endeavor, he also found colleagues farther afield in neutral Europe. They included the forensic physician Heinrich Zangger and the prominent pacifist Romain Rolland in Switzerland, as well as the physicists Hendrik A. Lorentz and Paul Ehrenfest in the Netherlands. Though the New Fatherland was closed down by the authorities in early 1916, Einstein retained an affinity for the camaraderie he had experienced there. Still cautious, he was nevertheless concerned enough about the sad state of wartime politics a year later to lay out concrete steps for an international pacifist union of sovereign states.</p> <p>Five years after his arrival in Berlin, the German Empire lay in ruins and a hopeful new Weimar Republic struggled to find its footing. Meanwhile Einstein had vaulted to international fame. His cautious testing of the political waters during the war gave way to an increasingly urgent engagement with social and political issues. Two factors determined his greater access to and interest in the political realm. One was thrust on him in late 1919 after a British solar expedition confirmed his general theory of relativity. Now a world figure, pronouncements on public affairs came to be expected of him. The other was a conscious redefinition for himself of the role of the intellectual who has access to the media in the mass society of the twenties.</p> <p>Dearest to his heart in the first phase of his political involvement were the issues of a Jewish homeland—a theme taken up at length in chapter 3—and the need for international reconciliation, as well as for revitalizing scientific research and cooperation across national borders. In dealing with these matters he confronted the need to find a balance between empathy for specific constituencies, such as his fellow scientists in Central Europe and his Jewish brethren, as opposed to his overarching commitment to internationalism. This was firmly rooted in his faith in the transnational character of science as well as his instinctive distaste for parochial nationalism. Particularly offensive in this regard was the enmity between Germany and France, which could only be overcome, he thought, by a passionate commitment to the principle of human solidarity.</p> <p>After he became ever more engaged in political concerns, Einstein remained without partisan political affiliations. Though he called for the founding of the liberal German Democratic Party, he took pains to deny publicly that he was a member. Eager to educate the German public about the events of the war and to counter feelings of revenge against the Allies, he joined a nonpartisan private commission to evaluate German war guilt. He proved equally evenhanded in assessing blame for the turmoil of the early Weimar years. More significantly, the political novice was developing a discerning eye for domestic and foreign affairs.</p> <p>On the home front he expressed his distrust for the extremes of right and left, though he saw the greater danger from the former, particularly after the military putsch of March 1920. Still, he defended the Germans as a whole against charges of innate bellicosity, asserting that "on average, the moral qualities of a people do not differ very much from country to country" (CPAE 9, Doc. 80). Most worrisome for him were the ravages of the rapidly spreading economic malaise and its consequences for maintaining the high standards of German science.</p> <p>Turning his attention abroad, he took the Allies to task for the punitive Versailles Treaty imposed on the defeated Germany, damning them with the faint praise that they were the lesser of two evils. Alternating between optimism and pessimism about the prospects for the newly formed League of Nations, he calculated coolly that the venture was doomed without the participation of an internationally minded America.</p> <br> <p><b>Initial Moral Outrage</b></p> <p>Einstein experienced "a mixture of pity and disgust" at the outbreak of the First World War, an instinctive recoiling from "Europe in its madness" (CPAE 8A, Doc. 34). Two months later, insult was added to injury when ninety-three German intellectuals published a "Manifesto to the Civilized World" (also known as the "Manifesto of the 93") declaring that "the German army and the German people are one" (Böhme, 47–49). Einstein was outraged by this appeal to a narrow nationalism, a declaration he found even more offensive because it was proclaimed from the ranks of a cultural elite, to which he himself had recently been recruited. In response and in collaboration with Nicolai and two others, he drew up a countermanifesto reaching out to all Europeans.</p> <br> <p>Manifesto to the Europeans, mid-October 1914 Nicolai, 9–11; CPAE 6, Doc. 8</p> <p>While technology and commerce clearly compel us to recognize the bond between all nations, and thus a common world culture, no war has ever so intensively disrupted cultural cooperation as the present one. Perhaps our acute awareness of the disruption that we now sense so painfully is due to the numerous common bonds we once shared.</p> <p>Even should this state of affairs not surprise us, those for whom a common world culture is the least bit precious should redouble their efforts to uphold these principles. Those, however, of whom one should expect such conviction—in particular scientists and artists—have thus far only uttered things which suggest that their desire for maintaining relations has vanished simultaneously with their disruption. They have spoken with an understandable hostility—but least of all of peace.</p> <p>Such a mood cannot be excused by any national passion; it is unworthy of what the entire world has until now come to understand by the name of culture. It would be a disaster should this mood pervade the educated classes.</p> <p>Not only would it be a disaster for civilization, but—and we are firmly convinced of this—a disaster for the national survival of individual states—in the final analysis, the very cause in the name of which all this barbarity has been unleashed.</p> <p>Through technology the world has become <i>smaller</i>; the <i>states</i> of the large peninsula of Europe today move in the orbit of one another much as did the <i>cities</i> of each small Mediterranean peninsula in ancient times. Through a complex of interrelationships, Europe—one could almost say the world—now displays a unity based on the needs and experience of every individual.</p> <p>Thus it would appear to be the duty of educated and well-meaning Europeans at the very least to attempt to prevent Europe—as a result of an imperfect organization of the whole—from suffering the same tragic fate which befell ancient Greece. Should Europe too gradually exhaust itself and collapse in fratricidal war?</p> <p>The struggle raging today will likely produce no victor; it will probably leave only the vanquished behind. Therefore, it seems not only <i>good</i>, but rather bitterly <i>necessary, that intellectuals of all nations</i> marshal their influence such that—whatever the still uncertain end of the war may be—the <i>terms of peace shall not become the cause of future wars</i>. The fact that through this war European relationships have to some extent become <i>volatile and malleable</i> should rather be used to make of Europe an organic entity. The technological and intellectual prerequisites are given.</p> <p>How this European order is to be brought about should not be discussed here. We wish merely to emphasize as a matter of principle that we are firmly convinced that the time has come when <i>Europe must act as one in order to protect her soil, her inhabitants, and her culture.</i></p> <p>We believe that the will to do this is latently present in many. In expressing this will collectively we hope that it gathers force.</p> <p>To this end, it seems for the time being necessary that all those who hold European civilization dear, in other words, those who in Goethe's prescient words can be called <i>"good Europeans"</i> join together. After all, we must not give up the hope that their collective voice—even in the din of arms—will not trail off entirely unheard, especially, if among these "good Europeans of tomorrow," we find all those who enjoy esteem and authority among their educated peers.</p> <p>First it is necessary, however, that Europeans get together, and if—as we hope—enough <i>Europeans in Europe</i> can be found, that is to say, people for whom Europe is not merely a geographical concept, but rather a worthy object of affection, then we shall try to call together a union of Europeans. Such a union shall then speak and decide.</p> <p>We wish only to urge and appeal; and if you feel as we do, if you are similarly determined to <i>lend the most far-reaching resonance to the European will</i>, then we ask that you sign.</p> <br> <p>* * *</p> <p>The countermanifesto was circulated among a large number of academics, but aside from its three authors, only one graduate student was prepared to sign. Wartime censorship in Germany consigned it to three-year oblivion, from which it only emerged in 1917. In that year the countermanifesto was published in neutral Switzerland in the preface to Nicolai's <i>Biology of War</i>.</p> <p>Nicolai was only one of a number of colleagues with whom Einstein felt a growing kinship of the like-minded. Another was his former colleague at the University of Zurich, Heinrich Zangger, a professor of forensic medicine with excellent political ties to the Allied camp. A third was Romain Rolland, the most prominent pacifist of his generation, who, though a French national, was living in exile in Switzerland.</p> <br> <p>Letter to Heinrich Zangger, ca. 10 April 1915 Einstein Archives 39-662; CPAE 8A, Doc. 73</p> <p>You have the patience of an angel not to be cross with me because of my silence. But I console myself with the fact that your memory is not adequate to determine reliably the degree of my negligence. I'm now beginning to feel comfortable in the mad turmoil of the present, in conscious detachment from all things that occupy the deranged public. Why should one not live enjoyably as a member of the madhouse staff? All madmen are respected as those for whom the building in which one lives is constructed. To a certain degree the institution can be freely selected—but the difference between them is less than what one in younger years expects. Romain Rolland, who currently lives in Geneva, recently sent me a proposal, which—to continue the metaphor—leads to an organization of the sane staff of all madhouses for the purpose of not becoming deranged as well. Moreover, he has hopes that such an organization might more or less cure the inmates. The optimist! If you have the opportunity, look after him; he is being persecuted for his internationalism....</p> <br> <p>* * *</p> <p>The "organization of the sane staff" to which Einstein referred was not just an idle metaphor. Established recently in the Netherlands as the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, it was dedicated to working toward a stable postwar Europe. Einstein joined its executive council a half year later.</p> <p>In an attempt to build bridges to more conservative intellectuals, Einstein put aside resentment against colleagues, including the eminent physicist Max Planck, who had signed the Manifesto of the 93 in October 1914. At the same time, he appealed to the internationally respected Dutch physicist Hendrik A. Lorentz to initiate an effort to restore the bonds of cooperation among intellectuals from the belligerent states. In the letter that follows, Einstein bemoaned his lack of political contacts in Berlin, though he had, only a month earlier, become a member of the pacifist New Fatherland Association.</p> <br> <p>Letter to Hendrik A. Lorentz, 21 July 1915 Einstein Archives 83-432; CPAE 8A, Doc. 98</p> <p>Recently I spoke with Planck, and we both gloomily recalled the bitter division that has arisen between us and our highly esteemed foreign colleagues as a result of the unfortunate war. Whatever errors in deplorable political agitation may have been committed on either side, it is never too late to change. It is certain that we academics are all innocent of the war and that the present miserable circumstances ought to induce us even more to solidarity; whatever occurred before has to be regarded simply as not having happened.</p> <p>What to do? If I did not live in Berlin, I would write personally to our closest colleagues in France and England with the request that they pull back from the general misfortune, in order that earlier friendly relations within our community can be restored. I would ask them to assemble, completely voluntarily and unofficially, at an appropriate location (Holland or Switzerland) now during this vacation, primarily to nurture personal contacts.</p> <p>But I live in Berlin, have few contacts, and also have little skill in communicating with people. That is why I am confiding in you in the hope that you will be able to transform all this, which I can only dream of, into reality. Would you not enjoy devoting some time to this worthwhile mission? Planck encouraged me very much to do everything that was in my power; he also would do everything to restore the good relations. This is all the more important as there are signs that the official relations among the learned societies and academies could rupture; for there is a great surge of nationalistic blindness. But I note here that especially the most highly regarded are fighting against it with all their might and this will surely be the same in other countries as well ... </div></div><br/> <i>(Continues...)</i> <!-- Copyright Notice --> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'>Excerpted from <b>EINSTEIN ON POLITICS</b> by <b>DAVID E. ROWE, ROBERT SCHULMANN</b>. Copyright © 2007 Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission of PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS. <br/>All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br/>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.</font><hr noshade size='1'></blockquote>