[PW] Need source for anti-war quotation Albert Einstein

T.F. Mills phasco at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 5 23:16:48 PST 2015


On 6 Nov 2015 at 1:07, Robin Leigh wrote:

> Please help with locating a source for this quotation, presumably by Albert Einstein.
> It is my convictionthat killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. 
> 
> Here is the entirepassage:  
> 
> He who joyfully marches tomusic rank and file, has already earned my
> contempt. He has beengiven a large brain by mistake, since for him the
> spinal cord wouldsurely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should
> be done awaywith at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all
> this, howdespicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to
> shreds thanbe a part of so base an action. It is myconviction that
> killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an actof murder. 

This quote is a bit weird.  There are numerous variations, some attributable to variant 
translations from the German, and some of the translations are so bad as to not quite sound 
like Einstein or to sound almost illiterate.  Later iterations appear to have been compiled by 
Einstein himself, so one would think that he approved of the English wording.

Yet in no instance I have found so far does the short version or last sentence ("killing under the 
cloak of war...") appear at all.  Did Einstein say it elsewhere?  It is more widely quoted on the 
web than the long version (and the long version more often than not includes that last 
sentence), but I find no source for it.  How and when the last sentence got interpolated is a 
mystery for now.

The longer quote, without the "cloak of war" last sentence, appears in:

Einstein.  Mein Weltbild (My Worldview), 1931 (according to Wikiquote):

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/War

Living Philosophies (anthology of living philosophers), compiled by Simon & Schuster, 1931:

http://ir.nmu.org.ua/bitstream/handle/123456789/9624/3a2baca1f171332ad238b086418b9af1.pd
f?sequence=1

Einstein.  The World As I See It, 1949:

https://archive.org/stream/AlbertEinsteinTheWorldAsISeeIt/The_World_as_I_See_it-AlbertEinst
einUpByTj_djvu.txt

Einstein.  Ideas and Opinions, 1954 ("based on Mein Weltbild, edited by Carl Seelig... new 
translations and revisions by Sonja Bargmann"):

https://namnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/29289146-ideas-and-opinions-by-albert-einstein.
pdf

See also the translation and attributions in SpiritualWiki:

http://de.spiritualwiki.org/Wiki/AlbertEinstein


T.F. Mills 
(Colorado, USA)




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