Albert Einstein · Politics Quotes 11

Many persons have inquired concerning a recent message of mine that ‘a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels.’ Often in evolutionary processes a species must adapt to new conditions in order to survive. Today the atomic bomb has altered profoundly the nature of the world as we know it, and the human race consequently finds itself in a new habitat to which it must adapt its thinking. In light of new knowledge…an eventual world state is not just desirable in the name of brotherhood, it is necessary for survival. ..Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. This must be the central fact in all our considerations of international affairs; otherwise we face certain disaster. Past thinking and methods did not prevent world wars. Future thinking must prevent wars.
The United States is the most powerful technically advanced country in the world to-day. Its influence on the shaping of international relations is absolutely incalculable. But America is a large country and its people have so far not shown much interest in great international problems, among which the problem of disarmament occupies first place today. This must be changed, if only in the essential interests of the Americans. The last war has shown that there are no longer any barriers between the continents and that the destinies of all countries are closely interwoven. The people of this country must realize that they have a great responsibility in the sphere of international politics. The part of passive spectator is unworthy of this country and is bound in the end to lead to disaster all round.
The position in which we are now is a very strange one which in general political life never happened. Namely, the thing that I refer to is this: To have security against atomic bombs and against the other biological weapons, we have to prevent war, for if we cannot prevent war every nation will use every means that is at their disposal; and in spite of all promises they make, they will do it. At the same time, so long as war is not prevented, all the governments of the nations have to prepare for war, and if you have to prepare for war, then you are in a state where you cannot abolish war. This is really the cornerstone of our situation. Now, I believe what we should try to bring about is the general conviction that the first thing you have to abolish is war at all costs, and every other point of view must be of secondary importance.
Address to the symposium "The Social Task of the Scientist in the Atomic Era" at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey (17 November 1946).
Albert Einstein
(14 March 1879 - 18 April 1955) German-born Swiss-American physicist.
Nationality: German
Occupation: Scientist
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