Lot #168
Albert Einstein Typed Letter Signed

Invoking the writings of Gandhi, Albert Einstein comments on his "contempt for marching and the military attitude" while advocating for education towards peace
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Estimate: $5000+


Invoking the writings of Gandhi, Albert Einstein comments on his "contempt for marching and the military attitude" while advocating for education towards peace

TLS signed “A. Einstein,” one page, 8.5 x 11, blindstamped personal Princeton letterhead, December 15, 1950. Insightful letter to Pvt. Jerry Gold, commenting on the military and society. In part: "My remarks about my contempt for marching and the military attitude in general refers, of course, to those who take this attitude spontaneously. It is clear from your letter that you do not belong to that category. The second question is: what can be done against the military evil in general. The isolated individual is so hopelessly dependent from state and society that individual rebellion is in most cases ineffective and suicidal. But there is enough occasion to fight the evil by the use of the customary political means and by educating others to reasonable thought by not hiding your conviction and by employing reasonable discussion to convince. This can easily be done in such a way that one avoids conflict with the law. To educate people to the right mentality the writings of Gandhi and about Gandhi are very effective. If there is enough education about the subject the evil will be eliminated." In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, light creasing, and portions of the text underlined in an unknown hand.

Private Gold had evidently asked for clarification on remarks found in Einstein's his 1931 essay 'The World As I See It,' where he wrote: 'This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that does by the name of patriotism—how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.'

Renowned as a pacifist and humanitarian, Einstein nevertheless advocated for the development of the atomic bomb when world peace was threatened by Hitler. With the advent of nuclear proliferation, he regretted taking this stance and famously became an outspoken opponent of nuclear weapons. Here, in the aftermath of World War II, he further explains his belief that education can lead to peace and mentions Gandhi's non-violent writings as a cornerstone for this philosophy.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #618 - Ended October 13, 2021

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