"The state exists for man, not man for the state.
The same may be said of science. These are old phrases, coined
by people who saw in human individuality the highest human value.
I would hesitate to repeat them, were it not for the ever recurring
danger that they may be forgotten, especially in these days of
organization and stereotypes."
The outbreak of the First World War brought Einstein's
pacifist sympathies into public view. Ninety-three leading German
intellectuals, including physicists such as Planck, signed a manifesto
defending Germany's war conduct. Einstein and three others signed
an antiwar counter-manifesto. He helped to form a nonpartisan
coalition that fought for a just peace and for a supranational
organization to prevent future wars. As a Swiss citizen Einstein
could feel free to spend his time on theoretical physics, but
he kept looking for ways to reconcile the opposing sides. "My
pacifism is an instinctive feeling," he said, "a feeling that
possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting. My attitude
is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my
deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred."
| Along with Germany's military collapse in November
1918, chaotic workers' and soldiers' councils proliferated.
One of Einstein's lectures at the University of Berlin was "canceled
due to revolution." On November 16 Einstein was one of the original
signers of a manifesto announcing the creation of a progressive
middle-class party, the German Democratic Party. After a democratically
elected assembly met in Weimar, Einstein formally accepted German
citizenship as a gesture of support for the infant republic.
The 1920 Kapp Putsch, an attempted coup by monarchists,
was only one of many disturbances in
Einstein in Berlin with leading figures
in science, business and politics.
With his scientific fame Einstein could act as unofficial
spokesman for the Weimar Republic, and he protested the continued
hostility of Germany's former enemies. In 1921 he refused to attend
the third Solvay Congress in Belgium, since all other German scientists
were excluded from it. In 1922 he joined a newly created Committee
on Intellectual Cooperation set up under the League of Nations.
The next year he resigned, distressed by the League's impotence
when confronted with France's occupation of the German Ruhr. But
he soon returned to the committee. As a leading member of the
German League for Human Rights, he worked hard for better relations
with France. He also made numerous gestures against militarism.
Einstein attracted attention to a number of causes, such as the
release of political prisoners and the defense of democracy against
the spread of fascism. He spoke in public, made statements to
the press, signed petitions. In 1924 he defended the radical Bauhaus
School of Architecture; in 1927 he signed a protest against Italian
fascism; in 1929 he appealed for the commutation of death sentences
given to Arab rioters in British Palestine.
|| While not a practicing Jew,
Einstein took opportunities to show support for the German
Jewish community when it was attacked