G E R M A N A N T I - R E L AT I V I S T S 1 1 1
Soon afterward, Gehrcke and Lenard severed their ties to Weyland, who then left the
anti-relativists’ arena to pursue a crusade against other “Jewish influences” that he claimed
were poisoning German
Gehrcke, who consistently denied that his attacks had
anything to do with politics, continued to wage war with relativists like Hermann Weyl and
He later published a detailed documentary history intended to demon-
strate the wisdom of his prophetic assertion that Einstein’s theory of relativity was nothing
but a phenomenon of mass psychology (Gehrcke 1924b). In the meantime, Lenard, support-
ed by Stark, laid the groundwork for the Aryan physics movement, whose followers later
looked up to Lenard as their revered leader, precisely as Weyland had
Accompanied by Born, Einstein left Bad Nauheim with a sense of relief that his ordeal was
Both realized nevertheless that a deep rift had opened within the German
physics community. Reporting to Felix Klein, Born remarked that “after the Nauheim dis-
cussions one cannot gloss over the fact that there exists a southern German particularism in
physics, whose spokesmen are Wien and
Born and several other physicists had
withdrawn from Stark’s new Professional Association of German University Docents of
Physics (Fachgemeinschaft Deutscher Hochschullehrer der Physik) because of the adver-
sarial stance Stark had taken toward the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
Although badly outnumbered, German anti-relativists continued to promote their cause.
Lenard rehashed his debate with Einstein in Lenard 1921a. He not only defended his cri-
tique of general relativity, but also attacked the German press for misleading its readers with
regard to British claims that their scientists had confirmed Einstein’s theory. “The German
press,” he asserted, “should have avoided the impression, which can only be described as
puzzling to the expert, that our science was dependent on the judgement of the English. For
the fact that those who observed the solar eclipse were Englishmen has nothing to do with
judging the
Lenard brought out his old ether theory (Lenard 1910), which he tried to salvage by in-
troducing the notion of a “primal ether” (“Uräther”) in Lenard 1921b. He also tried to
undermine the empirical support for general relativity in Lenard 1921c by republishing ex-
cerpts from the long-forgotten Soldner 1801, which predicted the bending of light in the
[64]Gehrcke later described Weyland as one of the many “dubious types” to emerge from the revo-
lutionary, postwar big city (Ernst Gehrcke to Philipp Lenard, 3 February 1921, quoted in Schönbeck
2000, p. 26).
[65]Gehrcke 1924a, pp. 74–77.
[66]Beyerchen 1977, pp. 91–102, 111–167.
[67]Einstein to Max Born, 26 October 1920, GyB, Nachlass Born, no. 188. p. 18.
[68]Max Born to Felix Klein, 21 November 1920, GyGöU, Nachlass Klein, quoted in Beyerchen
1977, pp. 109–110.
[69]„Eine deutsche Presse hätte . . . den für den Kundigen nur als verwunderlich zu bezeichnenden
Anschein vermeiden müssen, als wäre man in der Wissenschaft bei uns auf das Urteil Englands ange-
wiesen. Denn daß die Beobachter der Sonnenfinsternis Engländer waren, hat mit der Beurteilung der
Ergebnisse nichts zu tun.” Lenard 1921a, p. 9.
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