Einstein was uncomfortable with his fame. He told one biographer, "In the past it never occurred to me that every casual remark of mine would be snatched up and recorded. Otherwise I would have crept further into my shell." But Einstein recognized that his fame made it possible for him to serve as a powerful advocate for his deeply held political beliefs. A passionate humanitarian, he emerged from his shell to argue for the protection of human rights around the world.

Many of Einstein's political ideas seemed simple: prevent war through cooperation among nations, treat everyone equally. But he knew that "the problem is to get people to act" on these ideas. He supported the creation of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East but stressed the need for cooperation between Jews and Arabs. He worried that the United Nations did not have the authority to prevent war. He emphasized the need to safeguard civil rights and freedom of expression.

Einstein's views on other issues, including socialism, McCarthyism, and racism, were controversial—so controversial, in fact, that the U.S. government considered him a possible Communist spy. Yet Einstein never backed down from his commitment to the principles of freedom and justice. "We have to do the best we can," he remarked. "This is our sacred responsibility."


World Government

Einstein's passionate commitment to the cause of global peace led him to support the creation of a single, unified world government.


McCarthy Era

Einstein supported a number of political causes that branded him a radical in the eyes of many in the U.S. government. He wrote of his support for socialism, for example, and described capitalism as "economic anarchy." Such statements, combined with his advocacy of nuclear disarmament and civil rights, made Einstein a highly controversial figure in the 1950s, when the House Committee on Un-American Activities and Senator Joseph McCarthy were accusing many of being Communists.


Civil Rights Movement

Although Einstein is not usually remembered for his commitment to civil rights, he was devoted to the cause, commenting that "in the last analysis, everyone is a human being."


Jewish Identity

Einstein's personal experience of anti-Semitism while in Germany, combined with the extreme brutality of the Holocaust, further cemented his ties to the Jewish people. Referring to the prejudices faced by Jews around the world, Einstein noted that "there are no German Jews, there are no Russian Jews, there are no American Jews.... There are in fact only Jews."