This quote is attributed to Einstein.

Did he say it?

  • 13
    Finally a counterexample to my rule of thumb that all questions asking "did Einstein say this" have the answer "no". Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 15:35
  • I've removed the extraneous questions because they are off-topic and presume an answer -- mostly not to set a precedent.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


It was published as part of an interview with Einstein in the Saturday Evening Post of October 1929 by George Sylvester Viereck. Einstein did not write it himself.

The interviewer quoted him, and wrote it down in English. Einstein presumably said it in German (his command of German being far superior to his command of English). The source for the quote is the translated version in English.

The exact quotation in the original language has not been preserved. Here is the translation that was published by the interviewer, Viereck:

Viereck: "Do you look upon yourself as a German or as a Jew?"

Einstein: "It is quite possible, to be both. I look upon myself as a man. Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind."

It may not satisfy you to learn that the quote is attributed to Einstein by the interviewer, rather than being written by Einstein himself. However, Einstein reiterates the mindset in "My Credo" (1932). He also recorded this statement. In it, he says:

I am against any nationalism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as did any exaggerated personality cult.

Smart man, that Einstein guy.

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    Hmm, George Orwell stated that patriotism is good. It's purely passive as contrasted to nationalism. Btw, your conclusion "Smart man, that Einstein guy" seems abrupt. How does your conclusion follow?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 8:19
  • @spork, even if I agree with your conclusion, I think it is not pertinent here.
    – Einenlum
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 13:14
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    @Einenlum People who post answers are usually allowed to add their personal opinion, provided that's as well as (not instead of) an answer, and provided that opinion doesn't masquerade as referenced evidence.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 14:12
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    @ChrisW Ok, makes sense. On the other hand, I think it can discourage people to upvote a factual answer if it ends by an opinion they disagree with.
    – Einenlum
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 15:31

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