INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 5 xxxvii Elsa had drawn him to Berlin,[18] it seems that it was more a case of being "captured like a rare postage stamp" or a "laying hen" by the German aca- demic establishment which was determined to make him one of its own. Plans for creating a physics institute within the framework of a Prussian royal society for the advancement of the sciences had first been set to paper in 1906, even before the creation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in 1911. And the reader can follow in great detail in this volume how the Berlin establish- ment trained its eye on Einstein long before he made his first visit to Berlin in the second half of April 1912. The well-known maxim that Switzerland was a "first-class waiting room" ("Wartesaal 1. Klasse") for German academ- ics before being called home to Germany certainly applies in Einstein's case. (Since he had abandoned his Württemberg citizenship in 1896 and had become a Swiss citizen in 1901, the irony of this situation would not have escaped Einstein.) But the background for Einstein's call to Berlin, which he followed in the spring of 1914, can be more precisely defined in terms of a conjunction of the meteoric rise in a professional career with the ambitious, expansive character of the German scientific world. For it was only in the years before the First World War that the Prussian state, the most powerful in Germany, adopted the American and British models of financing scientific research by combining funds from private industrial and commercial sources with financial support from the government. It was this scheme of "combined financing" ("Mischfinanzierung") that enabled Planck and Nernst to welcome Einstein into the august ranks of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and to arrange after some delay for him to assume the directorship of a Physics Institute of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society. In a very profound way, Einstein's move to Berlin marks a crucial change in his life, not only because his Berlin years coincided with his rise to fame, but also because of the great change that the outbreak of the First World War, in the fall of 1914, brought about in society. After the Great War Einstein's lack of interest in matters of politics and religion, subjects totally absent from the correspondence during the Swiss Years, is replaced by a strong and active involvement in causes such as pacifism and Zionism. In 1911 Einstein could still be indifferent about officially declaring his allegiance to an established religion, saying that "returning to the bosom of Abraham was only a matter of signing a piece of paper."[19] After the war such an attitude was unthink- able. Especially after the confirmation of general relativity by the 1919 eclipse observations, Einstein became a public figure who took on new public responsibilities, even though he regretted and perhaps resented the time they took away from his main calling: physics. It is not surprising that in later life
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