This book explores Einstein’s outlook on war and peace and traces the evolution of his thinking on these topics. In particular, Einstein developed a dialogue on war and peace with physicists like Bohr, Planck and Szilard as well intellectuals like Dewey, Freud, Gandhi, Mann, Mumford, Rolland Russell, Schweitzer and Tagore. The key concepts that were the focus of these discussions were the cause of war (included the Einstein–Freud debate on psychological and political causes of war) and the means to prevent it; the distinction between antimilitarism, pacifism, internationalism and federalism; and the dividing line between intergovernmental and supranational organizations.
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Foreword. Einstein and our Time
- Introduction: Lucio Levi
- The Birth of the Global Public Intellectual: Richard Crockatt
- The First World War and the Manifesto to Europeans: Jean-Francis Billion
- The Einstein-Freud Letters on the Abolition of War: Joseph Preston Baratta
- Five Phases of Pacifism: Claudio Giulio Anta
- Three Types of Pacifism: Pietro Greco
- Einstein and Federalism: Lucio Levi
- A Personal Recollection: René V.L. Wadlow
- Albert Einstein in 1948: Lucy Law Webster
- Manifesto to Europeans (mid-October 1914)
- My Opinion on the War (October 23–November 11, 1915)
- The Two Per Cent Speech (December 14, 1930)
- Letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (August 2, 1939)
- Atomic War or Peace (November 1947)
- Open Letter to the General Assembly of the United Nations (October 1947)
- Open Letter to the General Assembly of the United Nations (December 1947)
- The Russell-Einstein Manifesto (July 9, 1955)
- List of Figures
- Biographical Notes
- Series Page
The pubbication of this book was made possible by CESI - Centro Einstein di Studi Internazionali of Turin (www.centroeinstein.eu), in co-operation with the Centro Studi sul Federalismo of Turin (www.csfederalismo.it)
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About the author
Lucio Levi, former professor of Political Science and Comparative Politics at the University of Torino, is editor of The Federalist Debate and scientific director of the International Democracy Watch. He was President of the European Federalist Movement from 2009 to 2015. He is author of Altiero Spinelli and Federalism in Europe and the World (1990), Federalist Thinking (2008) and co-editor with G. Finizio and N. Vallinoto of The Democratization of International Institutions.
About the book
Albert Einstein was one of the initiators of the peace movement in Europe in the early twentieth century. He tirelessly denounced the imperfections of society due to the primitive institution of war and devoted his energies to outlawing war. After Hitler’s rise to power, he abandoned pacifism and instead embraced a federalist vision according to which the root cause of war lies in the division of the world into sovereign states and the vehicle of peace is world government.
This book explores Einstein’s outlook on war and peace and traces the evolution of his thinking on these topics. In particular, Einstein developed a dialogue on war and peace with physicists like Bohr, Planck and Szilard as well intellectuals like Dewey, Freud, Gandhi, Mann, Mumford, Rolland, Russell, Schweitzer and Tagore. The key concepts that were the focus of these discussions were the cause of war (included the Einstein–Freud debate on psychological and political causes of war) and the means to prevent it; the distinction between antimilitarism, pacifism, internationalism and federalism; and the dividing line between intergovernmental and supranational organizations.
This eBook can be cited
This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.
Foreword. Einstein and our Time
Between 1914, the year of the beginning of World War I and 1955, the year of his death, Albert Einstein’s research and reflection were constantly confronted with the problems, dramatic and decisive for the life of humanity, of peace and war. Einstein had experienced the contradictions and tragedies of the twentieth century as a scientist and a citizen of the world: nationalism, the great economic and social crises of the century, totalitarianism, colonial imperialism, racism, and a catastrophic use of nuclear energy for war purposes. Wars, and not only world wars, were the crucial outcomes of those processes. From this point of view, peace has become the decisive condition for the possibility of man’s survival, and of every other human value. Peace, understood not as a mere armistice entrusted to the goodwill of the contracting parties, but as a stable condition guaranteed by an effective, legitimate power entrenched in institutions of supranational level. As the chapters contained in this volume persuasively document, Einstein acquired over the years, through the various and different phases of his life and his reflection, a full awareness of such a reality, in a constant dialogue with other great witnesses and interpreters of his time, from Romain Rolland, to Sigmund Freud, to Bertrand Russell.
It is useful and appropriate to remember that at the root of all this, of Einstein’s awareness of the problems of peace and war, there is basically, as inevitably happens whenever a choice really becomes a personal matter, not just an intellectual theory, but before that an existential tendency, somehow a deep-seated and irrepressible emotion. In essence, the same emotion that led in the seventeenth century the philosopher Blaise Pascal to write in one of his most widely known Pensées an imaginary conversation between two characters: “…Why do you kill me?” “What! do you not live on the other side of the water? If you lived on this side, my friend, I should be an assassin, and it would be unjust to slay you in this manner. But since you live on the other side, I am a hero, and it is just…”1 Einstein’s figure, so far briefly outlined, is therefore particularly representative of the historical condition in which we presently live, of the conflicts and deadly risks it presents, of the necessity and urgency of a project and of a cultural and political action that face at the root the challenges of the elimination of war and the stable and guaranteed construction of peace.
Not surprisingly, the Einstein Center for International Studies (CESI), which promotes the publication of this volume and was born in 1965 as the European Center for Studies and Information, took over this specific name in 1994. The Eighties were the years of the Euro-missiles crisis, of the risks of a nuclear conflict, of the permanent political and military antagonism between the American and the Soviet blocs. Only in 1987, with the agreements between the American President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet one Michail Gorbachev on the Euro-missiles, was the international crisis at least provisionally settled. After that, and it is appropriate today to remind that, with the failure of Gorbachev’s proposal for a common European house and the choice of the new President George Bush, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to pursue a unilateral project of American hegemony in the world, the international system returned to dangerously unstable and confrontational relations. In particular after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York in September 2001 and, subsequently, with the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, both not only unsuccessful but also, as regards the consequences, catastrophic for the Middle East and more generally for the world. It should also be remembered that in 1979 the European Parliament, elected with a popular vote, was born, and the Eighties were therefore the years of a new hope for transnational democracy, for European unity, for its possible role in promoting peace in the world.
It is in this context, briefly outlined, that the decision to choose Einstein as the exemplar of the Study Center was taken. Einstein went beyond the pacifism of goodwill, he thought and proposed, since the years of the First World War, the idea of the United States of Europe and, more generally, the idea of a common and shared statehood throughout the world.
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- Publication date
- 2020 (April)
- Bruxelles, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 206 pp., 2 fig. b/w.