7 2 D O C U M E N T 8 8 M A R C H 1 9 2 1
however they produce a kind of conflicting situation that could not have been
The situation is exacerbated by my having accepted an invitation a few weeks
ago to give a talk at the University of Manchester, which, incidentally, left largely
to me the choice of the exact
A few weeks ago, no sensible German would
have approved of my rejecting it; now my acceptance looks like a provocation
toward Germany but quite certainly through no fault of mine. If the ominous polit-
ical situation were to continue, I would perhaps be able to dispense with the visit
to Manchester; our colleagues there would understand me if I explained the reasons
to them in full friendship and honesty. Besides, scientific cooperation is a far cry
from supporting the
If scholars would take their profession more seriously
than their political passions, they would guide their actions more according to cul-
tural aspects than political ones. It even has to be said that in this regard the English
have behaved much more nobly than our colleagues here. They are for the most part
Quakers and
How magnificent their attitude has been toward me and
relativity theory in comparison! You may not have followed this so closely, but I
can only say: Hats off to the fellows! For the English I am, by the way, a Berliner,
through and through, whose international mentality is known to them. So their kind
invitation really ought to be acknowledged. They recently also sent an inquiry via
the German
in England whether I would visit London if I received an invi-
tation of an official nature. It is fortunate that this invitation has not yet been issued.
In any event, this fact also shows that English scholars do not want enmity.
All this is cura
To America I must go, however, because I have
given my firm commitment, and the steamship seats have already been booked. I
am just fulfilling a regular obligation.
I would have gladly gone to the Solvay conference, and I declined that visit with
a heavy
Nernst was furious, by the way, when he heard that I had been
invited over there and was intending to
You regret—likewise for nationalis-
tic reasons—that I had to decline. Doesn’t this remind one of the nice ancient fable
of father, son, and
making myself independent
Dear Haber! An acquaintance recently labeled me a “wild animal.” So be it. This
wild animal likes you and will look you up before departure, if at all feasible in this
hustle and bustle. Until then, cordial greetings, yours,
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