Why did Albert Einstein come to America?


Quick Answer

Albert Einstein was very outspoken politically and was an avid pacifist. He was also a Jew in Germany at the time when the Holocaust was only a few years away. For this reason, he was forced out of his native Germany. He emigrated to the United States because he had been offered various positions there.

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Full Answer

Albert Einstein spoke out openly in support of pacifism and didn't hesitate to create a political persona. Because of this, and because of his famous status, he made political enemies of extreme right-wing groups. Anti-Semites declared that his work was un-German, and as the Nazis rose to power, it became increasingly hard for Einstein to live in Germany. The scientist was offered a position at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. Although he wasn't initially welcomed in the United States because of his pacifist views, after a few more months in Europe, he was able to move to America in 1933. He retained dual U.S. and Swiss citizenship, giving up his German citizenship. It was fortunate that Einstein moved because he was accused of treason by the Nazi party in 1933. The party's power was so absolute that at one point Einstein's name couldn't be mentioned, even in academic circles.

Once in the United States, Einstein and his wife helped other Jewish refugees to emigrate to the America. Einstein expressed mixed feelings about living in the United States. He felt privileged to live in a place as peaceful as Princeton, New Jersey, but at the same time felt guilty for being able to live peacefully while so many others had lives destroyed by the war. Nevertheless, Einstein remained in Princeton until his death in 1955.

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