Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879 to Jewish parents. In the year 1880 the Einsteins moved to Munich so that Albert could attend the school there. Albert's father started a factory there in Munich.
The most charming story was told about the young Albert Einstein when he was 5. He was late to dinner because he was sitting out in the garden thinking under a tree, when he was brought to his father he noticed a small compass on Hermman Einstein's pocket watch. He was fascinated with the little compass and why it always pointed north.
School for Einstein was a trying experience. For young Einstein "school is just like a barrack...and the teachers are like the officers who tell the soldiers what to do. If you don't learn your lessons by heart they scold or beat you. Even if you don't understand what the books say! They are angry when you ask questions-and I like to ask question."(2)
Albert Einstein stayed at the school in Munich until he was about 15, then he left Munich to join his family in Milan. There he while hiking and listening to music he decided to be a theoretical physicist. After this decision was made he left Milan to go the the Zurich Polytechnic school in Switzerland. After a year of study he was admitted to the Zurich Polytechnic and completed a degree in physics.
"Why should one not admit a man [to the United States]...who dares to oppose every war except the inevitable one with his own wife?" (1932) (1)
Albert Einstein viewed the militarism with his homeland as disgusting. At the age of 16 renounced his German citizenship and became a Swiss citizen vowing never to hold German citizenship again. During World War I Einstein was the co-founder of the 'Bund Neues Vaterland'(League of the New Fatherland). "Its direct aim was to bring about an early and just peace, but it also had the long term objective: the establishment of an international organization which would make future wars impossible."(3) The work of this group was eventually banned and an underground operation continues until it could be re-founded a few months before the end of the war.
The League of Nations had a link to Einstein in its Committee of Intellectual Cooperation, also considered the ancestor of the UNESCO. His involvement on this committee was short lived due to the prejudices against his German and Jewish background. Einstein also saw that the group catered to the powerful and wealthy.
When Adolph Hitler gained power in 1933, Einstein changed his opinion on militarism. He started to tell the nations of Europe that military preparedness is what should be happening in their countries. He realized that the only way to stop Hitler was to meet force with force. (I think he was thinking of Newton's 3rd law which is for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Unfortunately, the opposite reaction was appeasement for the nations of Europe.)
Luckily for Einstein he moved to the United States of America before he could...