October 2003 — The America I once knew seems like a distant memory, says one journalist after another these days. But how about this: “Times such as ours have always bred defeatism and despair.” Re-reading Einstein’s writings on peace, it is clear that America has been through an equally insane fit in the past – such as the madness following World War II.
Einstein was referring to the rush to build more A-bombs, to develop H-bombs, the plans to launch preventive war against a destroyed and helpless Russia (no UN “food for oil” program then), conscription, the Korean war, loyalty oaths, McCarthyism, and the electrocution of the Rosenbergs.
The rest of the world was revulsed then as it is today, but then it was devastated economically, weak politically, without TV or Internet. After World War II the US emerged virtually unscathed as the victor. Yes, 300,000 US soldiers died, but compare that with losses in Europe and Russia – far more than 30,000,000. And US industry and housing were intact. A colossus in a world of pygmies, and yet it was to launch the most horrific and costly arms race in the history of mankind.
Einstein wrote: “The ‘Communist menace’ is being used here by reactionary politicians as a pretext to mask their attack on civil rights. The population is too misguided, and the intellectuals too intimidated, to defend their Constitutional rights… We have come a long way toward the establishment of a fascist regime. The similarity of general conditions here to those in the Germany of 1932 is quite obvious. What might happen if, in addition, the dreaded economic depression were actually to take place!” (private letter 1954)
Einstein was a lifelong advocate of détente. While criticizing Soviet internal policies, he sympathized with the dangers that the Soviet Union faced, which convinced him, on the whole, that it was the US that posed the greater threat to world peace. He also counted on Europe, the nonaligned countries (at that time the most prominent being India), and the smaller countries: “The less powerful nations may band together and thus force an international solution; but by no means do I overestimate the realization of that hope.” (1954)
Supranational Government: … (full long text).