Last week I finished Walter Isaacson’s “Einstein”. Einstein had moved to Princeton in 1933 and remained there until his death in 1955. During the 30’s, he was world famous, beloved, quirky and kind. To my surprise, in a section called Prewar Politics, the author writes the following on page 445.
“A survey of incoming freshmen in 1938 produced a result that is now astonishing, and should have been back then as well; Adolf Hitler polled highest as the “greatest living person.” Albert Einstein was second.”
This passage had a footnote which I followed to the back of the book. Here is the footnote:
“Hitler Is ‘Greatest’ in Princton Poll: Freshmen Put Einstein Second and Chamberlain Third,” New York Times, Nov 28, 1939. The story reports that this was for the second year in a row.”
Simply food for thought and a possible worthwhile rejoinder when discussion turns to the perceptions held by our best and our brightest of the ‘coolest’ Politician of the day."