x l i i I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 9
Hort refers to the work of the Friedlaender brothers in the 1890s, which attempted
to find experimental evidence in favor of Mach’s claim that the relativity of inertia
could explain the thought experiment known as Newton’s
Some enthu-
siasts of relativity, many of them nonscientists, drew considerable comfort from the
sudden and surprisingly swift triumph of general relativity over Newtonian abso-
lutism. In this case, however, Einstein had to inform Hort that there was no prospect
of an experimental detection of the frame-dragging effect because the effect was
too small to observe (Doc
Einstein’s abhorrence of war and his pacifist inclinations were readily apparent
during World War I, despite his reluctance to engage in public
With military defeat and the collapse of the imperial regime in late 1918, and
Einstein’s growing conviction that under democratic rule Germans might be pre-
pared to listen, his willingness to engage openly on matters of importance to him
and others was reinforced by his rising standing both in Germany and abroad. This
volume documents the emergence and the public articulation of Einstein’s position
on various issues. While he clearly aligned himself with certain groups and op-
posed others, Einstein was not a member of any political party, although he at times
had to defend himself against the perception that he was (Docs. 212 and 379). His
moral political sensibility, mostly independent of any strident partisanship, was
formed in the crucible of World War I and in turbulent postwar Europe, when Ein-
stein, like others, reflected both on the causes of the war and its conduct, as well as
its dramatic repercussions. It was also at this time that he began clarifying to him-
self, and to others, his position on Jewish matters.
Einstein’s engagement with significant political and humanitarian causes came
in a time of grave need, of hunger, strikes, revolution, and counter-revolution in
Germany, of the collapse of empires and the formation of new national entities
across Europe. Due to his rising visibility, Einstein both initiated and was drawn
into numerous actions and appeals generated across Europe, often among intellec-
tuals with humanistic and liberal outlooks. The letters reflect his views and activi-
ties on pacifism and his desire for international conciliation, including mitigation
of what he perceived as a rising vengeful spirit among the former warring nations.
His concern for the survival and well-being of the new German Republic, his sym-
pathy for some socialist goals, his support for some of the objectives of Zionists,
are also palpable. Finally, he actively concerned himself with the education of Jew-
ish students from Eastern Europe, the founding of the Academy for the Science of
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