War-crazed scientists. An appeal to the cultural world

1914

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Photo: The flag of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in 1914, Archives of the Max Planck Society.

Germany, Russia and France declared war at the beginning of August 1914. The public was whipped up in a frenzy of nationalist fervour, and many of the KWS’s scientists shared those feelings. Furthermore, the intellectual elite themselves endeavoured to influence public opinion with the publication of an appeal “To the cultural world” in October 1914 to refute accusations of atrocities committed by the German Army in occupied Belgium. Among the 93 intellectuals and artists who signed the appeal were also scientists connected with the KWS: Max Planck, Adolf von Harnack, Fritz Haber, August von Wassermann and Richard Willstätter.

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