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Einstein and Twentieth-Century Politics'A Salutary Moral Influence'$
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Richard Crockatt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198785491

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785491.001.0001

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The Making of a Global Public Intellectual

The Making of a Global Public Intellectual

(p.7) 1 The Making of a Global Public Intellectual
Einstein and Twentieth-Century Politics

Richard Crockatt

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an overview of Einstein’s political education as a prelude to discussion of his connections with other global public intellectuals—Gandhi, Schweitzer, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Romain Rolland, Thomas Mann, and John Dewey—and the growth of internationalism in the aftermath of the First World War. Coverage of Einstein’s first public political stance—his opposition to the First World War—serves as a platform for discussion of his emergence as a global public figure in the wake of the experimental proof in 1919 of his General Theory of Relativity. The chapter concludes with his ideas about how intellectuals might exert influence on the great political decisions of war and peace. Central to this chapter, and this book, is the notion that Einstein’s preferred politics was ethical and indeed ‘non-political’ in approach, in that he resisted tying his political activity to institutions or programmes.

Keywords:   global public intellectuals, internationalism, Theory of Relativity, First World War, non-political politics, global public figure, proof, WWI, ethical politics

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