Why the FBI Kept a 1,400-Page File on Einstein

tags: FBI, Einstein

Albert Einstein was already a world-famous physicist when the FBI started keeping a secret dossier on him in December 1932. He and his wife Elsa had just moved to the United States from their native Germany, and Einstein had been very vocal about the social issues of his time, arguing publicly against racism and nationalism.

By the time of Einstein’s death on April 18, 1955, that FBI file would be 1,427 pages long. Agency director J. Edgar Hoover was deeply suspicious of Einstein’s activism; the man was quite possibly a communist, according to Hoover, and was certainly “an extreme radical.”

Einstein himself probably would have laughed out loud at those labels if he’d known about them; he’d heard far worse from the Nazis back home. And he was not at all intimidated by officialdom. “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth,” he declared in 1901.

The thousands of people expected to gather this weekend as part of the March for Science would likely agree.

Motivated by cuts to national science budgets and anti-science rhetoric from the Trump Administration, a grassroots group of scientists, teachers, and other science advocates organized a march on Washington akin to the Women’s March held in January. The movement has since grown to include hundreds of partner marches in cities around the world. ...

Read entire article at National Geographic

comments powered by Disqus