Einstein on Peace and human rights, April 1918

“...must make a public declaration for those who in their solitude have not yet lost their belief in moral progress”

Characters team Jun 23. 2017
by Characters team

Six months before the end of World War I, Einstein, the pacifist, wrote to the mathematician David Hilbert, asking that scientists speak out publicly for internationalism, peace, and human rights:
“Countless times in these desolate years of general nationalistic delusion, men of science and the arts issued statements to the public that have already inflicted incalculable damage to the feeling of solidarity that had been developing with such promise before the war among those who devote themselves to higher and freer purposes. The hue and cry raised by strait-laced preachers and servants of the bleak principle of power is becoming so loud, and public opinion is being misled to such a degree by methodical silencing of the press, that those with better intentions, feeling wretchedly isolated, do not dare to raise their voices.

Day by day the danger is growing that even those who have been clinging with all their might to the ethical ideals of a happier phase in human development will eventually despair and will also fall victim intellectually to the general derangement.

This serious situation places those, who through fortunate intellectual achievements have gained an elevated position among scholars throughout the entire civilized world, before a mission they must not evade: They must make a public declaration that could serve as support and consolation for those who in their solitude have not yet lost their belief in moral progress.”

 (The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 8, Doc. 521)
Source : "Courtesy of the Einstein Archives Online".
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