x l i v I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 9
development of [this] country because it would be politically instructive and
sweep away luxury and moral weakness” (Doc. 94).
Of the various issues that Einstein pursued in the early postwar period, reconcil-
iation among intellectuals and citizens of all countries seemed most significant to
him. He envisioned that the spirit of reconciliation would prevail, a hope matched
by his initial optimism about the League of Nations and its promise to usher in a
new age of political stability (Doc. 97). Militarism, reactionary conservatism, re-
venge, and encroachments upon academic freedom were his chief concerns. He
worried about the potential militarization of the Geodetic Institute in Potsdam
(Docs. 130 and 133) and sought allies for a public statement to condemn the hate
campaign against the pacifist professor Georg Friedrich Nicolai (Doc. 282).
When in late 1919 his fame moved beyond the physics community, Einstein be-
gan refining and expanding upon the pacifist and other political stances that he had
started to assume during the war. Engaged to varying degrees with the League of
the New Fatherland (Bund “Neues Vaterland”), the Council of Intellectual Workers
(Rat geistiger Arbeiter) (Docs. 71 and 91), and the Clarté movement (Docs. 234
and 235), Einstein interacted with a number of political and cultural figures of the
new Weimar Republic such as Helene Stöcker (see Illustration 13), Georg Count
von Arco, Paul Natorp, Elisabeth Rotten, Otto Lehmann-Russbüldt, Prussian Min-
ister of Education Konrad Haenisch, Hellmut von Gerlach, Georg Friedrich Nico-
lai, Hans Delbrück, and Alexander Eliasberg. Against the backdrop of the volatile
first year and a half of postwar Germany, including the murders of the revolutionary
leaders Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, and Kurt Eisner, the rise and destruc-
tion of the Bavarian soviet republic, the dismay and anger of many Germans at the
revelation of the harsh terms of the Versailles Treaty, and the start and defeat of the
reactionary militaristic Kapp Putsch, Einstein often voiced his opinions in letters
otherwise devoted to scientific, professional, and personal matters.
Einstein signed and supported several appeals and manifestos, and received re-
quests that he support others (Docs. 20, 37, 64, 68, 91). He declined an invitation
to head an international commission of the League of Monists (Monistenbund)
(Doc. 260), explaining that, although being a “stalwart” (“unentwegter”) interna-
tionalist and a supporter of the Monists’ struggle for the freedom of the individual
from the control of religious communities, nonetheless, in the current climate, he
believed that the total elimination of religious organizations would lead to intellec-
tual and spiritual impoverishment.
Einstein’s humanitarian concerns extended beyond organizations to individual
actions. As a strategy for undermining the spirit of militarism, Einstein, in corre-
spondence with Elisabeth Rotten, explored the possibility of simultaneously mak-
ing public information about war crimes carried out by opposing nations
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