Archive for May, 2011

Edward Young: Draw the murd’ring sword to give mankind a single lord


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Edward Young: Selections on peace and war


Edward Young
From The Love of Fame, the Universal Passion (1728)
Satire VII

While I survey the blessings of our isle,
Her arts triumphant in the royal smile,
Her public wounds bound up, her credit high,
Her commerce spreading sails in ev’ry sky,
The pleasing scene recals my theme again,
And shews the madness of ambitious men,
Who, fond of bloodshed, draw the murd’ring sword,
And burn to give mankind a single lord.
The follies past are of a private kind;
Their sphere is small, their mischief is confin’d;
But daring men there are (awake, my Muse!
And raise thy verse!) who bolder frenzy chuse;
Who, stung by glory, rave, and bound away,
The world their field, and humankind their prey.

The Grecian chief, th’ enthusiast of his pride,
With Rage and Terror stalking by his side,
Raves round the globe; he soars into a god!
Stand fast, Olympus! and sustain his nod.
The pest divine in horrid grandeur reigns,
And thrives on mankind’s miseries and pains.
What slaughter’d hosts! what cities in a blaze!
What wasted countries! and what crimson seas!
With orphans’ tears his impious bowl o’erflows,
And cries of kingdoms lull him to repose.

And cannot thrice ten hundred years unpraise
The boist’rous boy, and blast his guilty bays?
Why want we then encomiums on the storm,
Or famine or volcano? they perform
Their mighty deeds; they hero-like, can slay,
And spread their ample deserts in a day.
O great alliance! O divine renown!
With dearth and pestilence to share the crown.
When men extol a wild destroyer’s name,
Earth’s Builder and Preserver they blaspheme.

One to destroy is murder by the law,
And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;
To murder thousands takes a specious name,
War’s glorious art, and gives immortal fame.

When after battle I the field have seen
Spread o’er with ghastly shapes which once were men,
A nation crush’d, a nation of the brave!
A realm of death! and on this side the grave!
Are there, said I, who from this sad survey,
This human chaos, carry smiles away?
How did my heart with indignation rise!
How honest Nature swell’d into my eyes!
How was I shock’d to think the hero’s trade
Of such materials, fame and triumph, made!

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Alexander Herzen: War and “international law”


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war


Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Letter 4 (1862)
Translated by Constance Garnett


Napoleon waged this war as a remedial measure to pacify the French by the gymnastics of liberation and the galvanic shocks of victory…How was it possible to avert a war which was essential for domestic interests? If it had not been Austria the French would have had to beat somebody else.


Proudhon was perfectly right. There are two or three ideas which are particularly precious to me; I have been repeating them for about fifteen years; fact upon fact confirms them with unnecessary abundance. Part of what I anticipated has come to pass, the other part is coming to pass before our eyes, yet these ideas seem as wild, as unaccepted, as they were.

And what is most mortifying, people seem to understand you; they agree, but your ideas remain like aliens in their heads, always irrelevant, never passing into that integral part of consciousness and the moral being, which as a rule forms the undisputed foundation of our acts and opinions.

It is owing to this inconsistency that people apparently highly cultured are continually being startled by the unexpected, caught unawares, indignant with the inevitable, struggle with the insurmountable, pass by what is springing into life, and apply all sorts of remedies to those who are at their last gasp…

Pedantry and scholasticism prevent men from grasping things with simple lively understanding more than do superstition and ignorance. With the latter the instincts are left, hardly conscious, but trustworthy; moreover, ignorance does not exclude passionate enthusiasm, and superstition does not exclude inconsistency, while pedantry is always true to itself.

At the time of the Italian war a simple-hearted, worthy professor lectured on the great triumphs of ‘international law,’ describing how the principles of Hugo Grotius had developed and entered into the conscience of nations and governments, how questions which had in old times been decided by rivers of blood and the miseries of entire provinces, of whole generations, were now settled, like civil disputes between private persons, on the principles of national right.

Who, apart from some old professional condottiere, would not agree with the professor that this is one of the greater victories of humanity and culture over brute violence? The trouble is not that the lecturer’s judgment is wrong, but that humanity is very far from having gained this victory.

While the professor in eloquent words was inspiring his young audience to the contemplation of these triumphs of peace, very different commentaries on international law were taking place on the fields of Magenta and Solferino. It would not have easy for any international court to avert the Italian war, since there was no international cause for it, for there was no subject to dispute. Napoleon waged this war as a remedial measure to pacify the French by the gymnastics of liberation and the galvanic shocks of victory. What Grotius or Vattel could have solved such a problem? How was it possible to avert a war which was essential for domestic interests? If it had not been Austria the French would have had to beat somebody else. One can only rejoice that the Austrians presented themselves.

Battle of Solferino

Then India, Pekin – war waged by democrats to maintain the slavery of the blacks, wars waged by republicans to obtain the slavery of political unity. And the professor goes on lecturing; his audience is touched; they fancy that they have heard the last creak of the gates of the temple of Janus, that the warriors have laid down their weapons, put on crowns of myrtle and taken up the distaff, that the demobilized armies are tilling the fields…And all this at the very moment when England is covered with volunteers, when at every step you meet a uniform, when every shopkeeper has a gun, when the French and Austrian armies stand with lighted matches, and even a prince – I think it was of Hesse Cassel – put on a military footing and armed with revolvers the two hussars who had from the time of the Congress of Vienna ridden peacefully without weapons behind his carriage.

If war breaks out again – and that depends on thousands of chances, on one casual shot – in Rome or on the borders of Lombardy, a sea of blood would flow from Warsaw to London. The professor would be surprised, the professor would be pained…

To complete the absurdity we ought not to lose sight of the fact that in abstract logic the professor is right, and that if not a hundred but a hundred million men had grasped the principles of Grotius and Vattel, they would not slaughter each other for the sake of exercise or for the sake of a bit of land. But the misfortune is that under the present political regime only a hundred and not a hundred million men can understand the principles of Grotius and Vattel.


Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865): French political philosopher

Hugo Grotius (1583-1645): Dutch legal philosopher, author of De Jure Belli ac Pacis (Law of War and Peace)

Emerich de Vattel (1714-1767): Swiss legal philosopher, author of Droit des gens; ou, Principes de la loi naturelle appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des nations et des souverains (The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law Applied to the Conduct and to the Affairs of Nations and of Sovereigns)

Italian war: Napoleon III’s war with Austria over Italy in 1859, whose major battles were at Magenta and Solferino

“England is covered with volunteers”: Herzen lived in exile in London at the time he wrote the above

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John Dos Passos: Three Soldiers

May 30, 2011 1 comment


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

John Dos Passos: Selection on war


John Dos Passos
From Three Soldiers (1921)

Almost out of sight among the moving tree trunks was a log. It was not a log; it was a bunch of grey-green cloth. Without thinking Chrisfield strode towards it. The silver trunks of the beeches circled about him, waving jagged arms. It was a German lying full length among the leaves.

Chrisfield was furiously happy in the angry pumping of blood through his veins.

He could see the buttons on the back of the long coat of the German, and the red band on his cap.

He kicked the German. He could feel the ribs against his toes through the leather of his boot. He kicked again and again with all his might. The German rolled over heavily. He had no face. Chrisfield felt the hatred suddenly ebb out of him. Where the face had been was a spongy mass of purple and yellow and red, half of which stuck to the russet leaves when the body rolled over. Large flies with bright shiny green bodies circled about it. In a brown clay-grimed hand was a revolver.

Chrisfield felt his spine go cold; the German had shot himself.


Perhaps he was badly enough wounded to be discharged from the army. The thought set his heart beating like mad. That meant that he, who had given himself up for lost, who had let himself be trampled down unresistingly into the mud of slavery, who had looked for no escape from the treadmill but death, would live. He, John Andrews, would live.

And it seemed inconceivable that he had ever given himself up, that he had ever let the grinding discipline have its way with him. He saw himself vividly once more as he had seen himself before his life had suddenly blotted itself out, before he had become a slave among slaves. He remembered the garden where, in his boyhood, he had sat dreaming through the droning summer afternoons under the crepe myrtle bushes, while the cornfields beyond rustled and shimmered in the heat. He remembered the day he had stood naked in the middle of a base room while the recruiting sergeant prodded him and measured him. He wondered suddenly what the date was. Could it be that it was only a year ago? Yet in that year all the other years of his life had been blotted out. But now he would begin living again. He would give up this cowardly cringing before external things. He would be recklessly himself.

The pain in his legs was gradually localizing itself into the wounds. For a while he struggled against it to go on thinking, but its constant throb kept impinging in his mind until, although he wanted desperately to comb through his pale memories to remember, if ever so faintly, all that had been vivid and lusty in his life, to build himself a new foundation of resistance against the world from which he could start afresh to live, he became again the querulous piece of hurt flesh, the slave broken on the treadmill; he began to groan.

Andrews lay, comfortable in his cot, looking into the ward out of another world. He felt no connection with the talk about him, with the men who lay silent or tossed about groaning in the rows of narrow cots that filled the Renaissance hall. In the yellow glow of the electric lights, looking beyond the orderly’s twisted face and narrow head, he could see very faintly, where the beams of the ceiling sprung from the wall, a row of half-obliterated shields supported by figures carved out of the grey stone of the wall, handed satyrs with horns and goats’ beards and deep-set eyes, little squat figures of warriors and townsmen in square hats with swords between their bent knees, naked limbs twined in scrolls of spiked acanthus leaves, all seen very faintly, so that when the electric lights swung back and forth in the wind made by the orderly’s hurried passing, they all seemed to wink and wriggle in shadowy mockery of the rows of prostrate bodies in the room beneath them. Yet they were familiar, friendly to Andrews. He kept feeling a half-formulated desire to be up there too, crowded under a beam, grimacing through heavy wreaths of pomegranates and acanthus leaves, the incarnation of old rich lusts, of clear fires that had sunk to dust ages since. He felt at home in that spacious hall, built for wide gestures and stately steps, in which all the little routine of the army seemed unreal, and the wounded men discarded automatons, broken toys laid away in rows.

Through the window at the opposite side of the ward he could see a bit of blue sky among white scroll-like clouds, with mauve shadows. He stared at it until the clouds, beginning to grow golden into evening, covered it. Furious, hopeless irritation consumed him. How these people enjoyed hating! At that rate it was better to be at the front. Men were more humane when they were killing each other than when they were talking about it. So was civilization nothing but a vast edifice of sham, and the war, instead of its crumbling, was its fullest and most ultimate expression. Oh, but there must be something more in the world than greed and hatred and cruelty. Were they all shams, too, these gigantic phrases that floated like gaudy kites high above mankind? Kites, that was it, contraptions of tissue paper held at the end of a string, ornaments not to be taken seriously. He thought of all the long procession of men who had been touched by the unutterable futility of the lives of men, who had tried by phrases to make things otherwise, who had taught unworldliness. Dim enigmatic figures they were – Democritus, Socrates, Epicurus, Christ; so many of them, and so vague in the silvery mist of history that he hardly knew that they were not his own imagining; Lucretius, St. Francis, Voltaire, Rousseau, and how many others, known and unknown, through the tragic centuries; they had wept, some of them, and some of them had laughed, and their phrases had risen glittering, soap bubbles to dazzle men for a moment, and had shattered. And he felt a crazy desire to join the forlorn ones, to throw himself into inevitable defeat, to live his life as he saw it in spite of everything, to proclaim once more the falseness of the gospels under the cover of which greed and fear filled with more and yet more pain the already unbearable agony of human life.

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George Santayana on war and militarism

May 29, 2011 2 comments


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

George Santayana: Selections on war


George Santayana
From Reason and Society (1905)


A military class is…always recalling, foretelling, and meditating war; it fosters artificial and senseless jealousies toward other governments that possess armies; and finally, as often as not, it precipitates disaster by bringing about the objectless struggle on which it has set its heart.

Since barbarism has its pleasures it naturally has its apologists. There are panegyrists of war who say that without a periodical bleeding a race decays and loses its manhood. Experience is directly opposed to this shameless assertion.

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.

[T]he panegyrist of war places himself on the lowest level on which a moralist or patriot can stand and shows as great a want of refined feeling as of right reason. For the glories of war are all blood-stained, delirious, and infected with crime; the combative instinct is a savage prompting by which one man’s good is found in another’s evil.


An army, considered ideally, is an organ for the state’s protection; but it is far from being such in its origin, since at first an army is nothing but a ravenous and lusty horde quartered in a conquered country; yet the cost of such an incubus may come to be regarded as an insurance against further attack, and so what is in its real basis an inevitable burden resulting from a chance balance of forces may be justified in after-thought as a rational device for defensive purposes. Such an ulterior justification has nothing to do, however, with the causes that maintain armies or military policies: and accordingly those virginal minds that think things originated in the uses they may have acquired, have frequent cause to be pained and perplexed at the abuses and over-development of militarism.

An insurance capitalised may exceed the value of the property insured, and the drain caused by armies and navies may be much greater than the havoc they prevent. The evils against which they are supposed to be directed are often evils only in a cant and conventional sense, since the events deprecated (like absorption by a neighbouring state) might be in themselves no misfortune to the people, but perhaps a singular blessing.

And those dreaded possibilities, even if really evil, may well be less so than is the hateful actuality of military taxes, military service, and military arrogance.

Their action irresponsible.

Nor is this all: the military classes, since they inherit the blood and habits of conquerors, naturally love war and their irrational combativeness is reinforced by interest; for in war officers can shine and rise, while the danger of death, to a brave man, is rather a spur and a pleasing excitement than a terror. A military class is therefore always recalling, foretelling, and meditating war; it fosters artificial and senseless jealousies toward other governments that possess armies; and finally, as often as not, it precipitates disaster by bringing about the objectless struggle on which it has set its heart.

Pugnacity human.

These natural phenomena, unintelligently regarded as anomalies and abuses, are the appanage of war in its pristine and proper form.


Victory, no doubt, has its fruits for the victor. If fighting were not a possible means of livelihood the bellicose instinct could never have established itself in any long-lived race. A few men can live on plunder, just as there is room in the world for some beasts of prey; other men are reduced to living on industry, just as there are diligent bees, ants, and herbivorous kine.

But victory need have no good fruits for the people whose army is victorious. That it sometimes does so is an ulterior and blessed circumstance hardly to be reckoned upon.

Barrack-room philosophy.

Since barbarism has its pleasures it naturally has its apologists. There are panegyrists of war who say that without a periodical bleeding a race decays and loses its manhood. Experience is directly opposed to this shameless assertion. It is war that wastes a nation’s wealth, chokes its industries, kills its flower, narrows its sympathies, condemns it to be governed by adventurers….


To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.

Military virtues.

Military institutions, adventitious and ill-adapted excrescences as they usually are, can acquire rational values in various ways. Besides occasional defence, they furnish a profession congenial to many, and a spectacle and emotion interesting to all. Blind courage is an animal virtue indispensable in a world full of dangers and evils where a certain insensibility and dash are requisite to skirt the precipice without vertigo. Such animal courage seems therefore beautiful rather than desperate or cruel, and being the lowest and most instinctive of virtues it is the one most widely and sincerely admired.

In the form of steadiness under risks rationally taken, and perseverance so long as there is a chance of success, courage is a true virtue; but it ceases to be one when the love of danger, a useful passion when danger is unavoidable, begins to lead men into evils which it was unnecessary to face.

Bravado, provocativeness, and a gambler’s instinct, with a love of hitting hard for the sake of exercise, is a temper which ought already to be counted among the vices rather than the virtues of man. To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.

Discipline, or the habit of obedience, is a better sort of courage which military life also requires. Discipline is the acquired faculty of surrendering an immediate personal good for the sake of a remote and impersonal one of greater value. This difficult wisdom is made easier by training in an army, because the great forces of habit, example and social suasion, are there enlisted in its service. But these natural aids make it lose its conscious rationality, so that it ceases to be a virtue except potentially; for to resist an impulse by force of habit or external command may or may not be to follow the better course.

Besides fostering these rudimentary virtues the army gives the nation’s soul its most festive and flaunting embodiment. Popular heroes, stirring episodes, obvious turning-points in history, commonly belong to military life. They are splendid vices. Nevertheless the panegyrist of war places himself on the lowest level on which a moralist or patriot can stand and shows as great a want of refined feeling as of right reason. For the glories of war are all blood-stained, delirious, and infected with crime; the combative instinct is a savage prompting by which one man’s good is found in another’s evil. The existence of such a contradiction in the moral world is the original sin of nature, whence flows every other wrong. He is a willing accomplice of that perversity in things who delights in another’s discomfiture or in his own, and craves the blind tension of plunging into danger without reason, or the idiot’s pleasure in facing a pure chance. To find joy in another’s trouble is, as man is constituted, not unnatural, though it is wicked; and to find joy in one’s own trouble, though it be madness, is not yet impossible for man. These are the chaotic depths of that dreaming nature out of which humanity has to grow.

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Erasmus: The Complaint of Peace

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Desiderius Erasmus:
Antipolemus: or, the Plea of Reason, Religion, and Humanity against War
The Complaint of Peace


Dulce bellum inexpertis (1536)
Translated by Vicesimus Knox as Antipolemus: or, the Plea of Reason, Religion, and Humanity against War


Peace is at once the mother and the nurse of all that is good for man; war, on a sudden and at one stroke, overwhelms, extinguishes, abolishes, whatever is cheerful, whatever is happy and beautiful, and pours a foul torrent of disasters on the life of mortals.

Indeed, at the conclusion, it commonly happens that both sides, the victorious and the vanquished, have cause to deplore. I know not whether any war ever succeeded so fortunately in all its events but that the conqueror, if he had a heart to feel or an understanding to judge, as he ought to do, repented that he ever engaged in it at all.


If there is in the affairs of mortal men any one thing which it is proper uniformly to explode, and incumbent on every man by every lawful means to avoid, to deprecate, to oppose, that one thing is doubtless war.

There is nothing more unnaturally wicked, more productive of misery, more extensively destructive, more obstinate in mischief, more unworthy of man, as formed by nature, much more of man professing Christianity. Yet, wonderful to relate! war is undertaken, and cruelly, savagely conducted, not only by unbelievers, but by Christians.

Nor are there ever wanting men learned in the law, and even divines, who are ready to furnish firebrands for the nefarious work and to fan the latent sparks into a flame. Hence, war is considered so much a thing of course, that the wonder is how any man can disapprove of it — so much sanctioned by authority and custom that it is deemed impious to have borne testimony against a practice in its principle most profligate, and in its effects pregnant with every kind of calamity.

If any one considers the organization and external figure of the body, will he not instantly perceive that Nature, or rather the God of Nature, created the human animal not for war, but for love and friendship; not for mutual destruction, but for mutual service and safety; not to commit injuries, but for acts of reciprocal beneficence? Man she brought into the world naked, weak, tender, unarmed, his flesh of the softest texture, his skin smooth, delicate, and susceptible of the slightest injury. There is nothing observable in his limbs adapted to fighting or to violence.

Unable either to speak or walk, or help himself to food, he can implore relief only by tears and wailing; so that from this circumstance alone might be collected that man is an animal born for that love and friendship which is formed and cemented by the mutual interchange of benevolent offices. Moreover, Nature evidently intended that man should consider himself indebted for the boon of life, not so much to herself as to the kindness of his fellowman; that he might perceive himself designed for social affections, and the attachments of friendship and love.

Then she gave him a countenance not frightful and forbidding, but mild and placid, imitating by external signs the benignity of his disposition. She gave him eyes full of affectionate expression, the indexes of a mind delighting in social sympathy. She gave him arms to embrace his fellow creatures. She gave him lips to express a union of heart and soul. She gave him alone the power of laughing, a mark of the joy of which he is susceptible.

She gave him tears, the symbol of clemency and compassion. She gave him also a voice, not a menacing and frightful yell, but bland, soothing, and friendly. Not satisfied with these marks of her peculiar favor, she bestowed on him alone the use of speech and reason – a gift which tends more than any other to conciliate and cherish benevolence and a desire of rendering mutual services, so that nothing among human creatures might be done by violence.

She implanted in man a hatred of solitude and a love of company. She sowed in his heart the seeds of every benevolent affection, and thus rendered what is most salutary at the same time most agreeable.

Now view with the eyes of your imagination savage troops of men, horrible in their very visages and voices – men clad in steel, drawn up on every side in battle array, armed with weapons, frightful in their crash and their very glitter. Mark the horrid murmur of the confused multitude, their threatening eyeballs, the harsh, jarring din of drums and clarions, the terrific sound of the trumpet, the thunder of the cannon – a noise not less formidable than the real thunder of heaven, and more hurtful – a mad shout like that of the shrieks of Bedlamites, a furious onset, a cruel butchering of each other! See the slaughtered and the slaughtering! heaps of dead bodies, fields flowing with blood, rivers reddened with human gore!

Meanwhile I pass over the corn-fields trodden down, peaceful cottages and rural mansions burnt to the ground, villages and towns reduced to ashes, the cattle driven from their pasture, innocent women violated, old men dragged into captivity, churches defaced and demolished, every thing laid waste, a prey to robbery, plunder, and violence!

Not to mention the consequences ensuing to the people after a war even the most fortunate in its event – the poor, unoffending common people robbed of their little hard-earned property; the great laden with taxes; old people bereaved of their children, more cruelly killed by the murder of their offspring than by the sword, happier if the enemy had deprived them of the sense of their misfortune, and life itself, at the same moment; women far advanced in age, left destitute, and more cruelly put to death than if they had died at once by the point of the bayonet; widowed mothers, orphan children, houses of mourning, and families that once knew better days reduced to extreme penury.

Peace is at once the mother and the nurse of all that is good for man; war, on a sudden and at one stroke, overwhelms, extinguishes, abolishes, whatever is cheerful, whatever is happy and beautiful, and pours a foul torrent of disasters on the life of mortals. Peace shines upon human affairs like the vernal sun. The fields are cultivated, the gardens bloom, the cattle are fed upon a thousand hills, new buildings arise, riches flow, pleasures smile, humanity and charity increase, arts and manufactures feel the genial warmth of encouragement, and the gains of the poor are more plentiful.

But no sooner does the storm of war begin to lower, than what a deluge of miseries and misfortune seizes, inundates, and overwhelms all things within the sphere of its action! The flocks are scattered, the harvest trampled, the husbandman butchered, villas and villages burnt, cities and states that have been ages rising to their flourishing state subverted by the fury of one tempest, the storm of war. So much easier is the task of doing harm than of doing good – of destroying than of building up!

To these considerations add that the advantages derived from peace diffuse themselves far and wide, and reach great numbers; while in war, if any thing turns out happily, the advantage redounds only to a few, and those unworthy of reaping it.

One man’s safety is owing to the destruction of another. One man’s prize is derived from the plunder of another. The cause of rejoicings made by one side is to the other a cause of mourning. Whatever is unfortunate in war is severely so indeed, and whatever, on the contrary, is called good fortune, is a savage and a cruel good fortune, an ungenerous happiness, deriving its existence from another’s woe.

Indeed, at the conclusion, it commonly happens that both sides, the victorious and the vanquished, have cause to deplore. I know not whether any war ever succeeded so fortunately in all its events but that the conqueror, if he had a heart to feel or an understanding to judge, as he ought to do, repented that he ever engaged in it at all.

Such and so great are the evils that are submitted to in order to accomplish an end, itself a greater evil than all that have preceded in preparation for it. We thus afflict ourselves for the noble end of enabling ourselves to afflict others.

If we were to calculate the matter fairly, and form a just computation of the cost attending war and that of procuring peace, we should find that peace might be purchased at a tenth part of the cares, labors, troubles, dangers, expenses, and blood that it costs to carry on a war.

But the object is to do all possible injury to an enemy! A most inhuman object! And consider whether you can hurt him essentially without hurting, by the same means, your own people. It surely is to act like a madman to take to yourself so large a portion of certain evil when it must ever be uncertain how the die of war may fall in the ultimate issue.

Where are there so many and so sacred obligations to perfect concord, as in the Christian religion? Where so numerous exhortations to peace? One law Jesus Christ claimed as his own peculiar law; it was the law of love or charity. What practice among mankind violates this law so grossly as war?

Examine every part of his doctrine, you will find nothing that does not breathe peace, speak the language of love, and savor of charity; and as he knew that peace could not be preserved unless those objects for which the world contends with the sword’s point were considered as vile and contemptible, he ordered us to learn of him to be meek and lowly.

He pronounced those happy who held riches in no esteem. He prohibited resistance of evil. In short, as the whole of his doctrine recommended forbearance and love, so his life taught nothing but mildness, gentleness, and kind affection. Nor do the apostles inculcate any other doctrine – they who had imbibed the purest spirit of Christ, and were filled with sacred draughts from the fountainhead. What do all the epistles of Paul resound with but peace, long-suffering, charity? What else do all the writers in the world who are truly Christian?

But let us observe how Christians defend the madness of war. If, say they, war had been absolutely unlawful, God would not have excited the Jews to wage war against their enemies. But the Jews scarcely ever waged war, as the Christians do, against each other, but against aliens and infidels; we Christians draw the sword against Christians. They fought at the express command of God; we at the command of our own passions.

But even Christians urge, that the laws of nature, of society, of custom and usage, conspire to dictate the propriety of repelling force by force, and defending life, and money too. So much I allow. But Gospel Grace, of more force than all these laws, declares in decisive words that we must do good to those who use us ill, and should also pray for those who design to take away our lives. All this, they tell us, had a particular reference to the apostles; but I contend that it also refers to all Christian people.

They also argue that, as it is lawful to inflict punishment on an individual delinquent, it must be lawful to take vengeance on an offending state. The full answer to be given to this argument would involve me in greater prolixity than is now requisite; and I will only say that the two cases differ widely in this respect: he who is convicted judicially suffers the punishment that the laws impose, but in war each side treats the other as guilty and proceeds to inflict punishment regardless of law, judge, or jury. In the former case, the evil falls only on him who committed the wrong; in the latter case, the greatest part of the numerous evils falls on those who deserve no evil at all – on husbandmen, on old people, on mothers, on orphans and defenseless females.

But the objector repeats, “Why may I not go and cut the throats of those who would cut our throats if they could?” Do you then deem it a disgrace that any should be more wicked than yourself?

Why do you not go and rob thieves? They would rob you if they could. Why do you not revile them that revile you? Why do you not hate them that hate you? Do you consider it as a noble exploit for a Christian, having killed in war those whom he thinks wicked, but who still are men for whom Christ died, thus to offer up victims most acceptable to the Devil, and to delight that grand enemy in two respects, first, that a man is slain at all, and next, that the man who slew is a Christian?

If the Christian religion be a fable, why do we not honestly and openly explode it? Why do we glory in its name? But if Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life,” why do all our plans of conduct differ so far from his instructions and example? If we acknowledge Christ to be our Lord and Master, who is love itself and who taught nothing but love and peace, let us exhibit his model in our lives and conversation. Let us adopt the love of peace, that Christ may recognize his own, even as we recognize him to be the Teacher of Peace.


The Complaint of Peace (Querela Pacis) (1521)
Translated by Thomas Paynell

Peace speaks in her own person


Now then, warrior, halt and consider; if wars, undertaken and carried on at the command of the Deity, (as was the case in David’s wars) pollute and render a man unholy, what will be the effect of wars of ambition, wars of revenge, and wars of furious anger?

How can you say our Father, addressing the universal parent, while you are thrusting the sharp steel into the bowels of your brother? for such you confess him to be by this very prayer, “Our Father.”

And, what is the basest and most flagitious conduct of all, there are crowned heads, who, with the mean cunning that ever characterizes the despot, contrive (because they find their own power weakened by the people’s union, and strengthened by their division) to excite war without any substantial reason for a rupture; merely to break the national union at home, and pillage the oppressed people with impunity.

There is scarcely any peace so unjust, but it is preferable, upon the whole, to the justest war. Sit down, before you draw the sword, weigh every article, omit none, and compute the expence of blood as well as treasure which war requires, and the evils which it of necessity brings with it; and then see at the bottom of the account whether, after the greatest success, there is likely to be a balance in your favour.

The causes of war are to be cut up root and branch, on their first and slightest appearance. Many real injuries and insults must be connived at. Men must not be too zealous about a phantom called national glory; often inconsistent with individual happiness.


Though I certainly deserve no ill treatment from mortals, yet if the insults and repulses I receive were attended with any advantage to them, I would content myself with lamenting in silence my own unmerited indignities and man’s injustice. But since, in driving me away from them, they remove the source of all human blessings, and let in a deluge of calamities on themselves, I am more inclined to bewail their misfortune, than complain of ill usage to myself; and I am reduced to the necessity of weeping over and commiserating those whom I wished to view rather as objects of indignation than of pity.

For though rudely to reject one who loves them as I do, may appear to be savage cruelty; to feel an aversion for one who has deserved so well of them, base ingratitude; to trample on one who has nursed and fostered them with all a parent’s care, an unnatural want of filial affection; yet voluntarily to renounce so many and so great advantages as I always bring in my train, to go in quest of evils infinite in number and shocking in nature, how can I account for such perverse conduct, but by attributing it to downright madness? We may be angry with the wicked, but we can only pity the insane. What can I do but weep over them? And I weep over them the more bitterly, because they weep not for themselves. No part of their misfortune is more deplorable than their insensibility to it. It is one great step to convalescence to know the extent and inveteracy of a disease.

Now, if I, whose name is Peace, am a personage glorified by the united praise of God and man, as the fountain, the parent, the nurse, the patroness, the guardian of every blessing which either heaven or earth can bestow; if without me nothing is flourishing, nothing safe, nothing pure or holy, nothing pleasant to mortals, or grateful to the Supreme Being; if, on the contrary, war is one vast ocean, rushing on mankind, of all the united plagues and pestilences in nature; if, at its deadly approach, every blossom of happiness is instantly blasted, every thing that was improving gradually degenerates and dwindles away to nothing, every thing that was firmly supported totters on its foundation, every thing that was formed for long duration comes to a speedy end, and every thing that was sweet by nature is turned into bitterness; if war is so unhallowed that it becomes the deadliest bane of piety and religion; if there is nothing more calamitous to mortals, and more detestable to heaven, I ask, how in the name of God, can I believe those beings to be rational creatures; how can I believe them to be otherwise than stark mad; who, with such a waste of treasure, with so ardent a zeal, with so great an effort, with so many arts, so much anxiety, and so much danger, endeavour to drive me away from them, and purchase endless misery and mischief at a price so high?

If they were wild beasts who thus despised and rejected me, I could bear it more patiently; because I should impute the affront to nature, who had implanted in them so savage a disposition. If I were an object of hatred to dumb creatures, I could overlook their ignorance, because the powers of mind necessary to perceive my excellence have been denied to them. But it is a circumstance equally shameful and marvellous, that though nature has formed one animal, and one alone, with powers of reason, and a mind participating of divinity; one animal, and one alone, capable of sentimental affection and social union; I can find admission among the wildest of wild beasts, and the most brutal of brutes, sooner than with this one animal; the rational, immortal animal called man.

Among the celestial bodies that are revolving over our heads, though the motions are not the same, and though the force is not equal, yet they move, and ever have moved, without clashing, and in perfect harmony. The very elements themselves, though repugnant in their nature, yet, by a happy equilibrium, preserve eternal peace; and amid the discordancy of their constituent principles, cherish, by a friendly intercourse and coalition, an uninterrupted concord.

In living bodies, how all the various limbs harmonize, and mutually combine, for common defence against injury! What can be more heterogeneous, and unlike, than the body and the soul? and yet with what strong bonds nature has united them, is evident from the pang of separation. As life itself is nothing else but the concordant union of body and soul, so is health the harmonious cooperation of all the parts and functions of the body.

Animals destitute of reason live with their own kind in a state of social amity. Elephants herd together; sheep and swine feed in flocks; cranes and crows take their flight in troops; storks have their public meetings to consult previously to their emigration, and feed their parents when unable to feed themselves; dolphins defend each other by mutual assistance; and everybody knows, that both ants and bees have respectively established by general agreement, a little friendly community.

But I need dwell no longer on animals, which, though they want reason, are evidently furnished with sense. In trees and plants one may trace the vestiges of amity and love. Many of them are barren, unless the male plant is placed on their vicinity. The vine embraces the elm, and other plants cling to the vine. So that things which have no powers of sense to perceive any thing else, seem strongly to feel the advantages of union.

But plants, though they have not powers of perception, yet, as they have life, certainly approach very nearly to those things which are endowed with sentient faculties. What then is so completely insensible as stony substance? yet even in this, there appears to be a desire of union. Thus the loadstone attracts iron to it, and holds it fast in its embrace, when so attracted. Indeed, the attraction of cohesion, as a law of love, takes place throughout all inanimate nature.

I need not repeat, that the most savage of the savage tribes in the forest, live among each other in amity. Lions show no fierceness to the lion race. The boar does not brandish his deadly tooth against his brother boar. The lynx lives in peace with the lynx. The serpent shews no venom in his intercourse with his fellow serpent; and the loving kindness of wolf to wolf is proverbial.

But I will add a circumstance still more marvellous. The accursed spirits, by whom the concord between heaven and human beings was originally interrupted, and to this day continues interrupted, hold union with one another, and preserve their usurped power, such as it is, by unanimity!

Yet man to man, whom, of all created beings, concord would most become, and who stands most in need of it, neither nature, so powerful and irresistible in every thing else, can reconcile; neither human compacts unite; neither the great advantages which would evidently arise from unanimity combine, nor the actual feeling and experience of the dreadful evils of discord cordially endear. To all men the human form is the same, the sound made by the organs of utterance similar; and while other species of animals differ from each other chiefly in the shape of their bodies, to men alone is given a reasoning power, which is indeed common to all men, yet in a manner so exclusive, that it is not at the same time common to any other living creature. To this distinguished being is also given the power of speech, the most conciliating instrument of social connection and cordial love.

Throughout the whole race of men are sown by nature the seeds of virtue, and of every excellent quality. From nature man receives a mild and gentle disposition, so prone to reciprocal benevolence that he delights to be loved for the pleasure of being loved, without any view to interest; and feels a satisfaction in doing good, without a wish or prospect of remuneration. This disposition to do disinterested good, is natural to man, unless in a few instances, where, corrupted by depraved desires, which operate like the drugs of Circe’s cup, the human being has degenerated to the brute. Hence even the common people, in the ordinary language of daily conversation, denominate whatever is connected with mutual good will, humane; so that the word humanity no longer describes man’s nature, merely in a physical sense; but signifies humane manners, or a behaviour, worthy the nature of man, acting his proper part in civil society.

Tears also are a distinctive mark fixed by nature, and appropriated to her favourite, man. They are a proof of placability, a forgiving temper; so that if any trifling offence be given or taken, if a little cloud of ill humour darken the sunshine, there soon falls a gentle shower of tears, and the cloud melts into a sweet serenity.

Thus it appears, in what various ways nature has taught man her first great lesson of love and union. Nor was she content to allure the benevolence by the pleasurable sensations attending it; nor did she think she has done enough, when she rendered friendship pleasant; and therefore she determined to make it necessary. For this purpose, she so distributed among various men different endowments of the mind and the body, that no individual should be so completely furnished with all of them, but that he should want the occasional assistance of the lowest orders, and even of those who are most moderately furnished with ability. Nor did she give the same talents either in kind or in degree to all, evidently meaning that the inequality of her gifts should be ultimately equalized by a reciprocal interchange of good offices and mutual assistance. Thus, in different countries, she has caused different commodities to be produced, that expediency itself might introduce commercial intercourse.

She furnished other animals with appropriate arms or weapons for defence or offence, but man alone she produced unarmed, and in a state of perfect imbecillity, that he might find his safety in association and alliance with his fellow-creatures. It was necessity which led to the formation of communities; it was necessity which led communities to league with each other, that, by the union of their force, they might repel the incursion either of wild beasts or banditti. So that there is nothing in the whole circle of human affairs, which is entirely sufficient of itself for self-maintenance, or self-defence.

In the very commencement of life, the human race had been extinct, unless conjugal union had continued the race. With difficulty could man be born into the world, or as soon as born would he die, leaving life at the very threshold of existence, unless the friendly hand of the careful matron, and the affectionate assiduities of the nurse, lent their aid to the helpless babe. To preserve the poor infant, Nature has given the fond mother the tenderest attachment to it, so that she loves it even before she sees it.

Nature, on the other hand, has given the children a strong affection for the parent, that they may become supports, in their turn, to the imbecillity of declining age; and that thus filial piety may remunerate (after the manner of the stork) to the second childhood of decrepitude, the tender cares experienced in infancy from parental love. Nature has also rendered the bonds both of kindred and affinity strong; a similarity of natural disposition, inclinations, studies, nay of external form, becomes a very powerful cause of attachment; and there is a secret sympathy of minds, a wonderful lure to mutual affection, which the ancients, unable to account for, attributed, in their admiration of it, to the tutelar genius, or the guardian angel.

By such and so many plain indications of her meaning has Nature taught mankind to seek peace, and ensure it. She invites them to it by various allurements, she draws them to it by gentle violence, she compels them to it by the strong arm of necessity. After all, then, what infernal being, all-powerful in mischief, bursting every bond of nature asunder, fills the human bosom with an insatiable rage for war? If familiarity with the sight had not first destroyed all surprise at it, and custom, soon afterwards, blunted the sense of its evil, who could be prevailed upon to believe that those wretched beings are possessed of rational souls, the intellects and feelings of human creatures, who contend, with all the rage of furies, in everlasting feuds, and litigations, ending in murder! Robbery, blood, butchery, desolation, confound, without distinction, every thing sacred and profane. The most hallowed treaties, mutually confirmed by the strongest sanctions, cannot stop the enraged parties from rushing on to mutual destruction, whenever passion or mistaken interest urges them to the irrational decision of the battle.

Though there were no other motive to preserve peace, one would imagine that the common name of man might be sufficient to secure concord between all who claim it. But be it granted that Nature has no effect on men as men, (though we have seen that Nature rules as she ought to do in the brute creation), yet, must not Christ therefore avail with christians? Be it granted that the suggestions of nature have no effect with a rational being, (though we see them have great weight even on inanimate things without sense) yet, as the suggestions of the Christian religion are far more excellent than those of nature, why does not the Christian religion persuade those who profess it, of a truth which it recommends above all others, that is, the expediency and necessity of peace on earth, and good-will towards men; or at least, why does it fail of effectually dissuading from the unnatural, and more than brutal, madness of waging war?

When I, whose name is Peace, do but hear the word Man pronounced, I eagerly run to him as to a being created purposely for me, and confidently promising myself, that with him I may live for ever in uninterrupted tranquillity; but when I also hear the title of Christian added to the name of Man, I fly with additional speed, hoping that with christians I may build an adamantine throne, and establish an everlasting empire.

But here also, with shame and sorrow, I am compelled to declare the result. Among Christians, the courts of justice, the palaces of princes, the senate-houses, and the churches, resound with the voice of strife, more loudly than was ever heard among nations who knew not Christ. Insomuch that though the multitude of wrangling advocates always constituted a great part of the world’s misfortune, yet even this number is nothing compared with the successive inundation of suitors always at law.

I behold a city enclosed with walls. Hope springs in my bosom that men, Christian men, must live in concord here, if any where, surrounded, as they are, by the same ramparts, governed by the same laws, embarked, as it were, in the same bottom, in the voyage of life, and therefore exposed to one common danger. But, ill-fated as I am, here also I find all happiness vitiated by dissension, that I can scarcely discover a single tenement in which I can take up my residence for the space of a few days only, unmolested.

But I leave the common people, who are tossed about, like the waves, by the winds of passion. I enter the courts of kings as into a harbour, from the storm of folly. Here, say I to myself, here must be a place for Peace to lodge in. These personages are wiser than the vulgar; they are the minds of the commonalty, the eyes of the people. They claim also to be the vicegerents of Him who was the teacher of charity, the Prince of Peace, from whom I come with letters of recommendation, addressed, indeed, in general, to all men, but more particularly to such as these.

Appearances, on my entrance into the palace, promise well. I see men saluting each other with the blandest, softest, gentlest expressions of respect and love; I see them shaking hands, and embracing with the most ardent professions of esteem; I see them dining together, and enjoying convivial pleasures in high glee and jollity; I see every outward sign of the kindest offices and humanity; but sorry am I to add, that I do not see the least symptom of sincere friendship. It is all paint and varnish. Every thing is corrupted by open faction, or by secret grudges and animosities. In one word, so far am I from finding in the palaces of princes a habitation for Peace, that in them I discover all the embryos, seminal principles, and sources of all the wars that ever cursed mankind, and desolated the universe.

Unfortunate as I am in my researches for a place to rest in, whither shall I next repair? I failed among kings, it is true; but perhaps the epithet great belongs to kings, rather than good, wise, or learned; and perhaps they are more under the influence of caprice and passion than of sound and sober discretion. I will repair to the learned world. It is said, learning makes the man; philosophy, something more than man; and theology exalts man to the divine nature. Harassed as I am with the research, I shall surely find among these a safe retreat to rest my head in undisturbed repose.

Here also I find war of another kind, less bloody indeed, but not less furious. Scholar wages war with scholar; and, as if truth could be changed by change of place, some opinions must never pass over the sea, some never can surmount the Alps, and others do not even cross the Rhine; nay, in the same university, the rhetorician is at variance with the logician, and the theologist with the lawyer. In the same kind of profession, the Scotist contends with the Thomist, the nominalist with the realist, the Platonic with the peripatetic; insomuch that they agree not in the minutest points, and often are at daggers drawing de lana caprina, till the warmth of disputation advances from argument to abusive language, and from abusive language to fisty-cuffs; and, if they do not proceed to use real swords and spears, they stab one another with pens dipt in the venom of malice; they tear one another with biting libels, and dart the deadly arrows of their tongues against their opponent’s reputation.

So often disappointed, whither shall I repair? Whither, but to the houses of religion? Religion! that anchor in the storm of life? The profession of religion is indeed common to all christians; but they who come recommended to us under the appellation of priests, profess it in a more peculiar manner, by the name they bear, the service they perform, and the ceremonies they observe.

When I take a view of them at a distance, every outward and visible sign makes me conclude, that among them, at least, I shall certainly find a safe asylum. I like the looks of their white surplices; for white is my own favourite colour. I see figures of the cross about them, all symbolical of peace. I hear them all calling one another by the pleasant name of brother, a mark of extraordinary good-will and charity; I hear them salute each other with the words, “Peace be unto you”: apparently happy in an address so ominous of joy. I see a community of all things; I see them incorporated in a regular society, with the same place of worship, the same rules, and the same daily congregation. Who can avoid being confidently certain that here, if no where else in the world, a habitation will be found for peace?

O, shame to tell! there is scarcely one man in these religious societies that is on good terms with his own bishop; though even this might be passed over as a trifling matter, if they were not torn to pieces by party disputes among each other. Where is the priest to be found, who has not a dispute with some other priest? Paul thinks it an insufferable enormity that a Christian should go to law with a Christian; and shall a priest contend with a priest, a bishop with a bishop? But perhaps it may be offered as an apology for these men, that, by long intercourse with men of the world, and by possessing such things as the world chiefly values, they have gradually adopted the manners of the world, even in the retreat of the church and the cloister. To themselves I leave them to strive about that property, which they claim by prescription.

There remains one order of the clergy, who are so tied to religion by vows that, if they were inclined, they could no more shake it off, than the tortoise can get rid of the shell which he carries on his back, like a house. I should hope, if I had not been so often disappointed, that, among these persons, coming in the name of peace, I should gain a welcome reception. However, that I may leave no stone unturned, I go and try whether I may be allowed to fix my residence here. Do you wish to know the result of the experiment? I never received a ruder repulse. What indeed could I expect, where religion herself seems to be at war with religion. There are just as many parties as there are fraternities. The Dominicans disagree with the Minorites, the Benedictines with the Bernardines; so many modes of worship, so various the rites and ceremonies; they cannot agree in any particular; every one likes his own, and therefore damns all others. Nay, the same fraternity is rent into parties; the Observantes inveigh against the Coletae; both unite in their hatred of a third sort, which, though it derives its name from a convent, yet, in no article, can come to an amicable convention.

By this time, as you may imagine, despairing of almost every place, I formed a wish that I might be permitted to seek a quiet retreat in the obscurity of some little inconsiderable monastery. With reluctance I must declare, what I wish were untrue, that I have not yet been able to find one which is not corrupted and spoiled by intestine jars and animosities. I blush to relate on what childish, flimsy causes, old men, venerable for their grey beards and their gowns, and in their own opinions not only deeply learned, but holy, involve themselves in endless strife.

I now cherished a pleasing hope that I might find a place in private, domestic life, amid the apparent happiness of conjugal and family endearment. It was surely reasonable to expect it from such promising circumstances, as an equal partnership founded on the choice of the heart, in the same house, the same fortune, the same bed, the same progeny; add to this, the mysterious union by which two become virtually one. But here also Eris, the goddess of discord, had insinuated herself, and had torn asunder the strongest bands of conjugal attachment, by disagreement in temper; and yet, in the domestic circle, I could much sooner have found a place than among the professed religious, notwithstanding their fine titles, their splendid dresses, images, crucifixes, and their various ceremonies, all which hold out the idea of perfect charity, the very bonds of peace.

At length I felt a wish that I might find a snug and secure dwelling-place in the bosom, at least, of some one man. But here also I failed. One and the same man is at war with himself. Reason wages war with the passions; one passion with another passion. Duty calls one way, and inclination another. Lust, anger, avarice, ambition, are all up in arms, each pursuing its own purposes, and warmly engaged in the battle.

Such then and so fierce, ought not men to blush at the appellation of Christians, differing, as they do essentially, from the peculiar and distinguishing excellence of Christ? Consider the whole of his life; what is it, but one lesson of concord and mutual love? What do his precepts, what do his parables inculcate, but peace and charity? Did that excellent prophet Isaiah, when he foretold the coming of Christ as an universal reconciler, represent Him as an earthly lord, a satrap, a grandee, or courtier? Did he announce Him as a mighty conqueror, a burner of villages, a destroyer of towns, as one who was to triumph over the slaughter and misery of wretched mortals? No. How then did he announce Him? As the Prince of Peace. The prophet, intending to describe Him as the most excellent of all the princes that ever came into the world, drew the title of that superior excellence, from what is itself the most excellent of all things, Peace. Nor is it to be wondered, that Isaiah, an inspired prophet, viewed Peace in this light, when Silius Italicus, a heathen poet, has written my character in these words:

Pax optima rerum
Quas homini natura dedit

No boon that nature ever gave to man,
May be compared with peace.

The mystic minstrel, the sweet psalmist, has also sung:

“In Salem (a place of peace) is his tabernacle.” Not in tents, not in camps, did this prince, mighty to save, fix his residence; but in Salem, the city of peace. He is, indeed, the Prince of Peace; peace is his dear delight, and war his abomination.

Again, the prophet Isaiah calls the work of righteousness, peace; meaning the same thing with Paul, (who was himself converted from the turbulent Saul, to a preacher of peace) when preferring charity to all other gifts of the secret spirit of God, he thundered in the ears of the Corinthians my eulogium, with an eloquence which arose from the fine feelings of his bosom, animated by grace, and warm with benevolence. Why may I not glory in having been celebrated by one so celebrated himself, as this great apostle? In another place he calls Christ the God of Peace; and in a third, the Peace of God; plainly indicating, that these two characters so naturally coalesce, that Peace cannot come where God is not; and that where Peace is not, God cannot come.

In the sacred volumes we find the holy ministers of God called messengers of peace; from which it is obvious to conclude, whose ministers those men must be, who are the messengers of war. Hear this, ye mighty warriors and mark under whose banners ye fight;—they are those of that accursed being who first sowed strife between man and his maker. To this first fatal strife are to be ascribed all the woes that mortal man is doomed to feel.

It is frivolous to argue, as some do, that God is called, in the mysterious volumes, the God of hosts, and the God of vengeance. There is a great difference between the God of the Jews and the God of the Christians, notwithstanding God, in his own essence, is one and the same. But if we must still retain the ancient Jewish titles of God, let God be called the God of hosts, while, by the word hosts, is understood, the phalanx of divine graces, by whose energy good men are enabled to route and destroy the vices, those deadliest enemies of human felicity. Let him still be styled God of vengeance, provided you understand it to be vengeance on those sins which rob us of repose. In like manner, the examples of bloody slaughter with which the Jewish histories are stuffed, should be used, not as incentives to the butchery of our fellow-creatures, but to the utter extermination of all bad passions, hostile to our virtue and happiness, from the territory of our own bosoms.

To proceed, however, as I had begun, with scriptural passages in favour of peace. Whenever they mean to describe perfect happiness, they always denote it by the name of peace; as Isaiah, “My people shall repose in the beauty of peace”; so also, “Peace upon Israel.” Again, Isaiah expresses a rapturous admiration of them who bring glad tidings of peace. Whoever of the sacred writers announces Christ, announces peace on earth. Whoever proclaims war, proclaims him who is as unlike Christ as it is possible to be—the grand destroyer.

What induced the Son of God to come down from heaven to earth, but a gracious desire to reconcile the world to His Father? to cement the hearts of men by mutual and indissoluble love? and lastly, to reconcile man to Himself and bid him be at peace with his own bosom? For my sake, then, He was sent on this gracious embassy; it was my business which He condescended to transact; and therefore He appointed Solomon to be a type of himself; the very name Solomon signifying a peace-maker. Great and illustrious as King David is represented; yet, because he was a king who delighted in war, and because he was polluted with human gore, he was not permitted to build the house of the Lord, he was not worthy to be made the type of Christ.

Now then, warrior, halt and consider; if wars, undertaken and carried on at the command of the Deity, (as was the case in David’s wars) pollute and render a man unholy, what will be the effect of wars of ambition, wars of revenge, and wars of furious anger? If the blood of heathens defiled the pious king who shed it, what will be the effect on Christian kings, of so copious an effusion of the blood of Christians, caused solely by royal revenge?

I do beseech your Christian majesty, (if you are a Christian in any thing besides your title) to contemplate the model of him who is your sovereign; observe how he entered upon his reign, how he conducted it, how he departed from this world, and learn to reign from his example. You will find that the very first object of your heart should be, to preserve your country in a state of peace.

At the nativity of Christ did the angels sound the clarion of war? The horrid din might have been addressed to the ears of Jews, for they were allowed to wage war. Such auspices were well enough adapted to those who thought it lawful to hate their enemies; but to the pacific race of future Christians, the angels of peace sounded a far different note. Did they blow the shrill trumpet? Did they promise triumphs and trophies of victory? Far from it. What then did they announce? Peace and good will, in conformity with the predictions of the prophets; and they announced them not to those who breathe war and bloodshed, who delight in the instruments of destruction, but to those whose hearts are inclined to concord.

Let me cover their malice with what cloke they please; it is certain, that if they did not delight in war, they would not be constantly engaged in its conflicts.

But as for Christ, what else did he teach and inculcate, but peace? He addressed those whom he loved, with the auspicious words of peace: Peace be with you, he repeatedly says; and prescribes this form of salutation, as alone worthy of the Christian character. And the apostles, duly mindful of his precept and example, preface their epistles with a wish for peace to those whom they love. He who wishes health to his friend, wishes a most desirable blessing; but he who wishes him peace, wishes him the summit of human felicity.

As Christ had recommended peace during the whole of his life, mark with what anxiety he enforces it at the approach of his dissolution. Love one another, says he; as I have loved you, so love one another; and again, my peace I give unto you, my peace I leave you. Do you observe the legacy he leaves to those whom he loves? Is it a pompous retinue, a large estate, or empire? Nothing of this kind. What is it then? peace he giveth, his peace he leaveth; peace, not only with our near connexions, but with enemies and strangers!

I wish you to consider with me, what it was which he besought of his Father in his last prayer, at the last supper, when death was at hand. It was a remarkable prayer for one who knew that he should obtain whatever he requested. Father, says he, keep them in thy name, that they may be one, like as we are! Observe, I beseech you, what a wonderful union Christ requires in his followers; he does not pray that they may be of one mind, but that they may be one; nor does he mention this union in a vague manner, but says, “That they may be one, as we are,” who are one and the same in a most perfect, yet unspeakable and inexplicable manner. He indicates at the same time, that mortals can obtain salvation, or immortality, by no other means than the preservation of peace among themselves, during the whole of this transitory life.

Moreover, as the kings of this world usually distinguish their subjects by some mark by which they may be known from others, especially in war, Christ has distinguished his subjects by the badge of mutual charity. By this, says he, shall all men know that you are my disciples; not if you wear this or that uniform, not if you eat this or that kind of food, not if you fast on this or that occasion, not if you say such or such a portion of the psalms; but if you love one another, and that not in the common way, but, as I have loved you. The precepts of philosophers are innumerable, the laws of Moses are various, as well as the edicts of princes; but one commandment, says he, I give you, and it is, love one another.

When he prescribed a form of prayer to his disciples, did he not admonish us, in a wonderful manner, in the very beginning of it, concerning the unanimity which christians are bound to preserve? Our Father! says he. It is the prayer of one; yet it is the common request of all. All then are one house, one family, depending upon one Father; and how can it possibly be allowed that, in such circumstances, they should be tearing each other to pieces in never-ceasing wars?

How can you say our Father, addressing the universal parent, while you are thrusting the sharp steel into the bowels of your brother? for such you confess him to be by this very prayer, “Our Father.”

As Christ wished the sentiments of philanthropy, or universal concord, to be fixed deeply in the hearts of all his followers, by what a variety of emblems, parables, and precepts, has he inculcated the love of peace! He calls himself a shepherd, and his followers his sheep. And, let me ask, did you ever see sheep fighting in earnest with their fellow sheep, so as either to injure limbs, or destroy life? or, what greater harm can the wolves do, if the flock thus tear each other in pieces?

When Christ calls himself the vine, and his disciples the branches, what else did he mean to express, but the most perfect union between him and them, and between themselves? It would be a prodigy, indeed, if a branch were to contend with a branch of the same tree; and, is it less a prodigy, that a Christian fights with a Christian?

If there be anything sacred to Christians, surely that ought to be deemed singularly sacred, and to sink deeply into their hearts, which Christ delivered to them in his last dying commands; when he was, as it were, making his will and testament, and recommending to his sons those things which he wished might never fall into oblivion. And what is it which, on this solemn occasion, he teaches, commands, prescribes, entreats; but that they should preserve inviolate, mutual good-will, or charity? And what means the communion of the holy bread and wine, but a renewed sanction of indissoluble amity? As Christ knew that Peace could not be preserved, where men were struggling for office, for glory, for riches, for revenge, he roots out from the hearts of his disciples all passions which lead to these things; he forbids them absolutely and without exception, to resist evil; he commands them to do good to those who use them ill, and to pray for those who curse them. And, after this, shall kings presume to think themselves Christians, who, on the slightest injury embroil the world in war?

He commands that the man who would be the chief among the people, should be their servant; nor endeavour to outdo others in any thing else but in being better than they, and in doing more good to his fellow-mortals. Then are not certain persons claiming to be chiefs, ashamed, for the sake of making some paltry addition to the outskirts of their domains, (already too large) to set the world in a flame?

He teaches you to live after the manner of the birds of the air, and the lilies of the field; trusting to Providence. He forbids your solicitude to extend to the morrow. He wishes you to depend entirely on God. He excludes all rich men, who trust in riches, from the kingdom of Heaven. And yet are there crowned miscreants, who, for the sake of a poor pittance of money, perhaps, after all, not due to them, will not hesitate to spill torrents of human blood in the field of battle? Indeed, in these very times, the recovery of a sum of money appears to be a very good cause of a just and necessary war!

Christ seems to have had in view this tendency in men to contend for trifles, when he bids his disciples to learn of him to be meek and lowly, and to lay aside all dispositions to revenge. When he orders them to leave their gift at the altar, nor to offer it before they are reconciled to their brother, does he not plainly insinuate, that unanimity is to be preferred to any thing else; and that no oblation on the altar is acceptable to God, unless it is presented by me? God refused the Jewish offering, a goat perhaps, or a sheep, because it was offered by those who were at variance with each other; and shall Christians, at the very time they are endeavouring to cut each other’s throats in the field of battle, dare to make an oblation at the holy communion of the Lord’s supper? When he condescended to compare himself to a hen gathering her chickens under her wing, what a beautiful and expressive picture did he delineate of Christian unity? He gathers his chickens under his wing; and shall Christians, his professed followers, dare to act the part of hawks or kites?

Of a similar tendency is the comparison of himself to a cornerstone, at once supporting and uniting the two walls which rest upon it; and how then can it be reconcilable to the profession of Christians, that those who call themselves his vicars or vicegerents, should excite the whole world to arms, and set kingdom against kingdom? They profess, as kings of Christian countries, that he is their great sovereign and reconciler; and yet they cannot be reconciled to each other by any arguments drawn from Christianity. He reconciled Pilate and Herod; and yet his own followers will not be reconciled by his intervention. He chides Peter, though half a Jew, who drew a sword in his defence when his life was in immediate danger, and orders him to put it up into its scabbard; and yet Christians keep the sword constantly drawn, and are ever ready to use it on their brother Christians, on the most trifling provocation. Could he wish himself, or his cause to be defended by a sword, who, with his dying breath, prayed for his murderers?

Every page of the Christian scriptures, whether you read those parts of the Old Testament which have a reference to Christianity, or the New, speaks of little else but peace and concord; and yet the whole life of the greater portion of Christians is employed in nothing so much as the concerns of war. It is really more than brutal ferocity which can neither be broken in, nor mitigated in its violence, by so many concurrent circumstances. It were best to lay aside the name of Christian at once; or else to give proof of the doctrine of Christ, by its only criterion, brotherly love. How long shall your lives contradict your profession and appellation? You may mark your houses, your vestments, and your churches, with the cross, as much as you please; but Christ will recognize no other badge, than that which he himself prescribed, love of one another.

Men gathered together formerly for the purposes of devotion, saw him ascending into heaven; they that are now gathered together for the same purpose, are ordered to expect the descent of the Holy Ghost: he has promised to be always with those that are for such purposes gathered together; so that none can ever reasonably think to find him in the field of battle. With respect to the spirit of fire that descended on the apostles, what is it but charity? Nothing is more common property than fire. Without any loss, fire is lighted by fire. Would you be convinced that this spirit is the parent of concord? Mark the result of it. There was, says he, among them one heart and one soul. Withdraw the breath or spirit from the body, and immediately the fine contexture of its parts is totally destroyed. In like manner, withdraw peace, and the whole mysterious union with heaven, which forms the divine life, is at once dissolved. Divines tell us, that the Heavenly spirit is infused into our hearts by the sacrament. If they tell us true, where is that peculiar effect of this spirit in those who take the sacrament, the one heart and the one soul? But if they tell us only an amusing story, why is such honour paid to useless things? So much I have ventured to say, not for the sake of detracting from the sanctity of the sacrament, but that Christians may blush to find their manners correspond so little with their solemn profession.

What is meant by denominating the whole body of Christian people, the church, but that it should admonish them that they are united, and ought therefore to be unanimous? Now, what possible agreement can there be between camps and a church? A church implies union and association; camps, disunion and discord. If you say you belong to the church, what can you have to do with the operations of war? If you say you do not belong to the church what have you to do with Christ?

But if you are all of the same house; if you all acknowledge the same head and master of the family; if you all militate under the same captain; if you all receive the same largesses, and are maintained by the same pay; if you are all in pursuit of the same great prize, why these tumults and disorders in your march? You see among those unnatural and cruel comrades, who advance in troops to perform the work of human butchery for hire, perfect concord maintained, because they are led on under the same standards; and shall not so many pacific circumstances unite the hearts of those whose bloodless warfare is to promote piety and peace? Do so many sacraments avail nothing in producing unanimity?

Baptism is common to you all; by means of this you are born again to Christ; you are cut off from the world, and become ingrafted members of the body of Christ. Now what can conduce so much to unity and identity, as to be made members of one and the same body? From this incorporation with Christ, the petty distinctions of bond and free, Greek and barbarian, male and female, cease to separate mankind; and all are one in Christ, who brings them all, whatever their local and physical diversities may be, to unity and identity of heart and disposition.

Among the Scythians, they have a ceremony of drinking a drop of each other’s blood out of a cup, as a cement of friendship; after which, those who have partaken of it will hesitate at no hardship in the service of each other, and will meet death itself with alacrity, in mutual defence. Shall heathens then deem that concord inviolable, which a participation of a draught at the same table has sanctioned; and shall not Christians be kept in love and charity by that Heavenly bread, and that mystic cup, which Christ Himself ordained, in which they every day communicate, constantly repeating, with the most solemn rites, the holy feast of love? If Christ meant nothing by this institution why is it kept up among Christians to this day, with so many ceremonies? If He meant the most serious and important benefit to mankind, then why is it slightly regarded by you, as if it were a farce, or a mere scenic exhibition? Does any man presume to go to that table, the symbol of love; does any one presume to approach the feast of peace, who, at the same moment, meditates war against Christians, and is preparing to destroy those whom Christ died to save, to spill the blood of those for whom Christ shed His own!

Hearts unfeeling as the flint! In many particulars you are united by nature and necessity; yet in life and action, where you may freely choose your conduct, you are rent asunder by unaccountable dissension and strife! By the law of nature, you are all born into the world, of a woman; by the law of necessity, you all wax old and feeble, and then sink into the grave. You are all sprung from the same first parent; you have all the same divine author of your religion; you are all redeemed by the same blood, initiated in the same holy rites, nourished in your spiritual growth by the same sacraments; and whatever advantage flows from all these combined, flows from the same fountain, and flows equally to all. You have all the same church, and all look for the same reward.

That Heavenly Jerusalem, for which every true Christian pants, derives its name from the beatific vision of peace, of which the church, in the mean time, is a typical representation. And how happens it, that the church itself differs so widely from its holy examples? Has nature availed nothing in her various instructions and lessons of love? Has Christ availed nothing, with all His mysteries, all His precepts, all His symbols of peace?

Adversity, or evil, if not good, will cause bad men to cling together; but neither adversity nor prosperity, neither good nor evil, will effect a perfect coalition among Christians. Let us turn our attention to the adverse side, the evils of life, and see if they produce any effect in urging Christians to unite for mutual comfort and protection.

What is more brittle than the life of man? Supposing it unbroken by casualties, how short its natural duration! How liable to disease; how exposed to momentary accidents! Yet, though the natural and inevitable evils are more and greater than can be borne with patience, man, fool as he is, brings the greatest and worst calamities upon his own head. Though condemned to feel the effects of his folly, yet so blind is he that he cannot see it. Headlong he goes with an impetuosity so precipitate as to burst and tear asunder every tie of nature, every bond of Christ. To arms he rushes at all times and in all places; no bounds to his fury, no end to his destructive vengeance. Together they engage, nation with nation, city with city, king with king; and to gratify the folly or greedy ambition of two poor puny mortals, who shortly shall die by nature, like insects of a summer’s day, all human affairs are disarranged, and whirled in confusion. I will pass over the sad tragedy of war, acted on the bloody stage of the world in times long past.

Let us only take a retrospect of the last ten years. In what part of the world, during that short space, have there not been bloody battles both by sea and land? What country in which the earth has not been fertilized with the blood of Christians shed by Christians? What river or sea that has not been discoloured with purple tide of human gore? Yes, I am ashamed to declare, that Christians fight more savagely than Jews, than heathens, than the beasts of the field? The warlike spirit which the Jews displayed towards aliens, Christians are bound to display against their vices; but, on the contrary, they chuse to be at peace with their vices, and at war with their fellow-creatures. And yet, as an apology for the Jews, it must be said, that they were led to war, in a particular case, by divine command, for the purpose of divine Providence; while the Christians (remove but the poor flimsy veil of false pretexts, and judge according to real truth) you will find hurried into the crooked path of ambition by anger, the very worst counsellor, and allured to shed blood by an insatiable avarice of gold. The Jews waged war with foreign nations; while the Christians are, with the Turks, at peace, and, with one another, at war!

As to the heathen despots, it is true, the thirst of glory goaded them to battle; but yet even they conquered fierce and barbarous nations to civilize them; insomuch, that it was often an advantage to be conquered, the conquerors endeavouring to render every service in their power to the people whom they had subdued. They took pains to render their victories as little bloody as possible, that the conqueror might be rewarded with a more honourable renown, and that the clemency of the victor might afford consolation to the vanquished. But I blush to record, upon how infamously frivolous causes the world has been rouzed to arms by Christian kings. One of them has found, or forged, an obsolete musty parchment, on which he makes a claim to a neighbouring territory. As if it signified a straw to mankind, thus called upon to shed blood, who is the person, or what the family of the ruling prince, whoever he be, provided he governs in such a manner as to consult and promote public felicity.

Another alleges that some punctilio, in a treaty of a hundred articles, has been infringed or neglected. A third owes a neighbouring king a secret grudge, on a private account, because he has married some princess whom he intended to be his consort, or uttered some sarcasm that reflects upon his royal person and character.

And, what is the basest and most flagitious conduct of all, there are crowned heads, who, with the mean cunning that ever characterizes the despot, contrive (because they find their own power weakened by the people’s union, and strengthened by their division) to excite war without any substantial reason for a rupture; merely to break the national union at home, and pillage the oppressed people with impunity. There are infernal agents enough, who fatten on the plunder of the people, and have little to do in state affairs during the time of peace, who easily manage to bring about the wished-for rupture, and embroil an unoffending people in a war with an unoffending neighbour. Nothing but a fury of hell could instil such venom into the bosom of a Christian.

Cruelty of despotism like this, in the hearts of kings pretending to Christianity, was never equalled by Dionysius, Mezentius, Phalaris, the most infamous tyrants of antiquity! Degraded wretches! Brutes, not men! Great only by the abuse of greatness! Fools in every thing but the art of doing mischief! unanimous in nothing but in defrauding and oppressing the public! Yet, wretches, brutes, and fools as they are, they are called Christians, and have the impudence to go with a face of piety to church, and dare even to kneel at the altar. Pests of mankind, worthy to be transported out of civil society, and carried with convicts to the remotest islands, in exile for life.

If it be true that Christians are members of one body, how happens it that every Christian does not sympathize and rejoice in every other Christian’s welfare? Now, however, it seems to be cause enough to commence a just and necessary war, that a neighbouring land is in a more prosperous, flourishing, or free condition, than your own. For, if you can but prevail upon yourselves to speak the real truth, what, I ask, has excited, and what continues at this very day to excite, so many combined powers against the kingdom of France, unless it be, that it is the finest and most flourishing country in Europe? Nowhere is there a more extensive territory; nowhere a more august public council; nowhere greater unanimity, and, on all these accounts united, nowhere greater power…

God made man unarmed. But anger and revenge have mended the work of God, and furnished his hands with weapons invented in hell. Christians attack Christians with engines of destruction, fabricated by the devil. A cannon! a mortar! no human being could have devised them originally; they must have been suggested by the evil one. Nature, indeed, has armed lions with teeth and claws, and bulls with horns; but who ever saw them go in bodies to use their arms for mutual destruction? What man ever saw so small a number as even ten lions congregated to fight ten bulls, and drawn up in battle array? But how often have twenty thousand Christians met an equal number on the same plain, all prepared to shoot each other, through the heart, or to plunge the sword or bayonet through each other’s bowels. So little account do they make of hurting their brethren, that they have not the smallest scruple to spill every drop of blood in their bodies. Beasts of the forest; your contests are at least excusable, and sometimes amiable; ye fight only when driven to madness by hunger, or to defend your young ones; but as for those who call themselves your lords, (men and Christians) the faintest shadow of an affront is sufficient to involve them in all the horrors of premeditated war.

If the lower orders of the people were to act in this manner, some apology might be found in their supposed ignorance; if very young men were to act in this manner, the inexperience of youth might be pleaded in extenuation; if the poor laity only were concerned, the frailty of the agents might lessen the atrocity of the action: but the very reverse of this is the truth. The seeds of war are chiefly sown by those very people whose wisdom and moderation, characteristic of their rank and station, ought to compose and assuage the impetuous passions of the people.

The people, the ignoble vulgar, despised as they are, are the very persons who originally raise great and fair cities to their proud eminence; who conduct the commercial business of them entirely; and, by their excellent management, fill them with opulence. Into these cities, after they are raised and enriched by plebeians, creep the satraps and grandees, like so many drones into a hive; pilfer what was earned by others’ industry; and thus, what was accumulated by the labour of the many, is dissipated by the profligacy of the few; what was built by plebeians on upright foundations, is leveled to the ground by cruelty and royal patrician injustice.

If the military transactions of old time are not worth remembrance, let him who can bear the loathsome employ, only call to mind the wars of the last twelve years; let him attentively consider the causes of them all, and he will find them all to have been undertaken for the sake of kings; all of them carried on with infinite detriment to the people; while, in most instances, the people had not the smallest concern either in their origin or their issue.

Then, as to young men being chiefly concerned in this mischief of exciting war; so far from it, that you hide your grey hairs with a helmet; canitiem galea premitis; and you deem it an honour to the hoary head of a Christian, to encourage, or even take an active part in war, though the heathen poet, Ovid, says, turpe senex miles; that an old man, a warrior! is a loathsome object. Ovid’s countrymen would have considered a fighting-man, or one that set others to fight, at seventy years old, a blood-thirsty dotard, with one foot in his grave, a monster of wickedness and folly.

As to the laity only being concerned, it is so far from true, that priests, whom God, under the severe and sanguinary dispensation of Moses, forbade to be polluted with blood, do not blush; that Christian divines and preachers, the guides of our lives, do not blush; that professors of the purest divinity do not blush; that neither bishops, cardinals, nor Christ’s own vicars, blush, to become the instigators, the very fire-brands of war, against which Christ, from whom they all pretend to derive the only authority they can have, expressed his utter detestation.

What possible consistency can there be between a mitre and a helmet, a pastoral staff and a sabre? between the volume of the Gospel and a shield and buckler? How can it be consistent to salute the people with the words, “peace be with you,” and, at the same time, to be exciting the whole world to bloody war! with the lips to speak peace, and with the hand, and every power of action, to be urging on havoc? Dare you describe Christ as a reconciler, a Prince of Peace, and yet palliate or commend war, with the same tongue; which in truth, is nothing less than to sound the trumpet before Christ and Satan at the same time? Do you presume, reverend sir, with your hood and surplice on, to stimulate the simple, inoffensive people to war, when they come to church, expecting to hear from your mouth the Gospel of peace? Are you not apprehensive, lest what was said by those who announced the coming of Christ, “how beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth glad tidings of peace; who bringeth tidings of good, who bringeth tidings of salvation!” should be reversed, and addressed to you in this manner: “how foul is the tongue of priests; exhorting to war, inciting to evil, and urging men to destruction.” Think of the incongruous idea, a bloody priest!

Among the old Romans, who retained something of true piety in the midst of heathenism, whoever entered on the office of pontifex maximus, or high priest, was obliged to swear that he would keep his hands unstained with blood; and that, if he were provoked, or even hurt by any aggressor, he would not avenge the injury. Titus Vespasian, a heathen emperor, kept the oath religiously, and is highly commended for it by a heathen writer. But among Christians, as if shame had fled from earth, clergymen, solemnly consecrated to God, are often among the first to inflame the minds, both of king and people, to blood and devastation. They convert the sweet accents of the Gospel to the trumpet of Mars; and, forgetting the dignity of their profession, run about making proselytes to their opinion, ready to do or suffer any thing, so long as they can but succeed in kindling the flames of war.

Kings who perhaps might otherwise have kept quiet, are set on fire by those very men, who ought, if they acted in character, to cool the ardour of warring potentates by their official and sacred authority. Nay, what is more monstrous still, clergymen actually wage war in person, and with a view to obtain shares in prizes or preferments; things, which the philosophers among the heathens held in contempt; and the contempt of which is the peculiar and appropriate distinction of men who profess to follow the apostles.

A very few years ago, when the world, labouring under a deadly fever, was running headlong to arms, the Gospel trumpeters blew a blast from the pulpit, and inflamed the wretched kings of Europe to a paroxysm, running as they were fast enough of themselves into a state of downright insanity. Among the English, the clergy fulminated from the pulpit against the French; and among the French, against the English. They all united in instigating to war. Not one man among the clery exhorted to peace; or, at least, not above one or two, whose lives would perhaps be in danger, if I were even now to name them.

The right reverend fathers in God, the holy bishops, forgetting their personal and professional dignity, were continually running to and fro, like the evil-one, adding virulence to the public disease of the world, by their mischievous officiousness; instigating, on one hand, Julius the pope, and, on the other, the surrounding kings, to push on the war with vigour; as if both pope and kings were not mad enough without their inflammatory suggestions. In the mean time, the fathers in God failed not to call their bloodthirsty rage, a zeal for law, order, and religion.

To forward their sanguinary purposes, they wrest the laws of heaven to a constructive meaning never meant, they misinterpret the writings of good men, they misquote and misrepresent the sacred scripture, I do not say, with the most barefaced impudence only, but the most blasphemous impiety. Nay, matters are come to such a pass, that it is deemed foolish and wicked to open one’s mouth against war, or to venture a syllable in praise of peace; the constant theme of Christ’s eulogy. He is thought to be ill affected to the king, and even to pay but little regard to the people’s interest, who recommends what is of all things in the world the most salutary, to both king and people, or dissuades from that which, without any exception, is the most destructive.

In addition to all this, chaplains follow the army to the field of battle; bishops preside in the camp, and, abandoning their churches, enlist in the service of Bellona. The war multiplies priests, bishops, and cardinals, among whom, to be a camp legate is deemed an honourable preferment, and worthy the successors of the apostles. It is therefore the less wonderful that priests should breathe the spirit of Mars, to whom Mars gives ecclesiastical rank, together with loaves and fishes.

It is a circumstance which renders the evil less capable of remedy, that the clergy cover over this most irreligious conduct with the cloke of religion. The colours in the regiments, (consecrated by ministers of peace!) bear the figure of the cross painted upon them. The unfeeling mercenary soldier, hired by a few pieces of paltry coin, to do the work of man-butcher, carries before him the standard of the cross; and that very figure becomes the symbol of war, which alone ought to teach every one that looks at it, that war ought to be utterly abolished. What hast thou to do with the cross of Christ on thy banners, thou blood-stained soldier? With such a disposition as thine; with deeds like thine, of robbery and murder, thy proper standard would be a dragon, a tiger, or a wolf!

That cross is the standard of Him who conquered, not by fighting, but by dying; who came, not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. It is a standard, the very sight of which might teach you what sort of enemies you have to war against, if you are a Christian, and how you may be sure to gain the victory.

I see you, while the standard of salvation is in one hand, rushing on with a sword in the other, to the murder of your brother; and, under the banner of the cross, destroying the life of one who to the cross owes his salvation. Even from the holy sacrament itself, (for it is sometimes, at the same hour, administered in opposite camps) in which is signified the complete union of all Christians, the warriors, who have just received it, run instantly to arms, and endeavour to plunge the dreadful steel into each other’s vitals. Of a scene thus infernal, and fit only for the eyes of accursed spirits, who delight in mischief and misery, the pious warriors would make Christ the spectator, if it could be supposed that He would be present at it.

The absurdest circumstance of all those respecting the use of the cross as a standard is, that you see it glittering and waving high in air in both the contending armies at once. Divine service is also performed to the same Christ in both armies at the same time. What a shocking sight? Lo! crosses dashing against crosses, and Christ on this side firing bullets at Christ on the other; cross against cross, and Christ against Christ. The banner of the cross, significant of the Christian profession, is used on each side, to strike terror into the opposite enemy. How dare they, on this occasion, to attack what, on all others, they adore? Because they are unworthy to bear the true cross at all, and rather deserve to be themselves crucified.

Let us now imagine we hear a soldier, among these fighting Christians, saying the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father,” says he; O hardened wretch! can you call him father, when you are just going to cut your brother’s throat? “Hallowed be thy name:” how can the name of God be more impiously unhallowed, than by mutual bloody murder among you, his sons? “Thy kingdom come:” do you pray for the coming of his kingdom, while you are endeavouring to establish an earthly despotism, by spilling the blood of God’s sons and subjects? “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven:” his will in Heaven, is for peace, but you are now meditating war. Dare you to say to your Father in Heaven “Give us this day our daily bread;” when you are going, the next minute perhaps, to burn up your brother’s corn-fields; and had rather lose the benefit of them yourself, than suffer him to enjoy them unmolested? With what face can you say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us,” when, so far from forgiving your own brother, you are going, with all the haste you can, to murder him in cold blood, for an alleged trespass that, after all, is but imaginary. Do you presume to deprecate the danger of temptation, who, not without great danger to yourself, are doing all you can to force your brother into danger? Do you deserve to be delivered from evil, that is, from the evil being, to whose impulse you submit yourself, and by whose spirit you are now guided, in contriving the greatest possible evil to your brother?

Plato somewhere says, that when Grecians war with Grecians, (notwithstanding they were separate and independent dynasties) it is not a war, but an insurrection. He would not consider them as a separate people, because they were united in name and by vicinity. And yet the Christians will call it a war, and a just and necessary war too, which, on the most trifling occasion, with such soldiery and such weapons, one people professing Christianity, wages war with another people holding exactly the same creed, and professing the same Christianity.

The laws of some heathen nations ordained, that he who should stain his sword with a brother’s blood, should be sewed up in a sack, and thrown into the common sewer. Now they are no less strongly united as brothers whom Christ has fraternized, than those who are related by consanguinity. And yet, in war, there is a reward instead of punishment for murdering a brother. Wretched is the alternative forced upon us by war. He who conquers is a murderer of his brother; and he who is conquered, dies equally guilty of fratricide, because he did his best to commit it.

After all this unchristian cruelty, and all this inconsistency, the Christian warriors execrate the Turks as a tribe of unbelievers, strangers to Christ; just as if, while they act in this manner, they were Christians themselves; or as if there could be a more agreeable sight to the Turks than to behold the Christians running each other through the body with the bayonet. The Turks, say the Christians, sacrifice to the devil; but, as there can be no victim so acceptable to the devil as a Christian sacrificed by a Christian, are not you, my good Christian, sacrificing to the devil as much as the Turk? Indeed, the evil one has in this case the pleasure of two victims at a time, since he who sacrifices is no less his victim than he who is sacrificed by the hand of a Christian and the sword of war. If any one favours the Turks, and wishes to be on good terms with the devil, let him offer up such victims as these.

But I am well aware of the excuse which men, ever ingenious in devising mischief to themselves as well as others, offer in extenuation of their conduct in going to war. They allege, that they are compelled to it; that they are dragged against their will to war. I answer them, deal fairly; pull off the mask; throw away all false colours; consult your own heart, and you will find that anger, ambition, and folly are the compulsory force that has dragged you to war, and not any necessity; unless indeed you call the insatiable cravings of a covetous mind, necessity.

Reserve your outside pretences to deceive the thoughtless vulgar. God is not mocked with paint and varnish. Solemn days and forms of fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving, are appointed. Loud petitions are offered up to Heaven for peace. The priests and the people roar out as vociferously as they can “give peace in our time, O Lord! We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.” Might not the Lord very justly answer and say, “why mock ye me, ye hypocrites? You fast and pray that I would avert a calamity which you have brought upon your own heads. You are deprecating an evil, of which yourselves are the authors.”

Now, if every possible offence, every little occurrence not exactly to one’s mind, is to excite a war, what is there in human affairs that will not furnish an occasion of deadly strife? In the tenderest connections of domestic life, and between the most affectionate husbands and wives, there is always some fault to be connived at, some omission or commission to be mutually forgiven, some occasion for reciprocal forbearance; unless you assert that it would be better to cut asunder, on the first dispute, all ties of affection.

Suppose some differences, like those of conjugal life, to happen between neighbouring princes, why should they immediately draw the sword, and proceed to the last sad extremities? There are laws, there are sagacious men, there are worthy clergymen, there are right reverend bishops, by whose salutary advice all disagreements might be reconciled, and all disturbance checked at its origin. Why do kings not make these, instead of the sword, their umpires? Even if the arbitrators were unjust, which is not likely, when removed from all undue influence, the disagreeing parties would come off with less injury than if they had recourse to arms; to the irrational and doubtful decision of war.

There is scarcely any peace so unjust, but it is preferable, upon the whole, to the justest war. Sit down, before you draw the sword, weigh every article, omit none, and compute the expence of blood as well as treasure which war requires, and the evils which it of necessity brings with it; and then see at the bottom of the account whether, after the greatest success, there is likely to be a balance in your favour.

The authority of the Roman pontiff is allowed to be paramount and decisive. Kings themselves allow it. And yet when nations, when kings are violently engaged in the most unnatural wars for years together, where is then the paramount and decisive authority of the pontiff, where then the power said to be second to none but Christ in Heaven? On this occasion, if on any, this high power would be exerted, if the high pontiffs themselves were not slaves themselves to the same vile passions as the wretched kings and deluded people.

The pontiff summons to war. He is obeyed. He summons to peace; why is he not obeyed as readily? If men, as they profess, really do prefer peace, and are reluctantly dragged to war, why do they obey Pope Julius with so much alacrity when he calls them to war, and yield no obedience to Pope Leo, when he invites them to concord and peace? If the authority of the Roman pontiff be really divine, surely it ought then to avail most when it prescribes that conduct which Christ taught as the only proper conduct. It is fair to conclude, that those whom Julius has authority enough to excite to a most destructive war, and whom Leo, a really religious pontiff, cannot allure, by the most cogent arguments, to Christian love and charity, are serving (I express myself tenderly of them) under the cloke of serving the church, nothing else but their own vile and selfish passions.

If you are in your heart weary of war, I will tell you how you may avoid it, and preserve a cordial and general amity.

Firm and permanent peace is not to be secured by marrying one royal family to another, nor by treaties and alliances made between such deceitful and imperfect creatures as men; for, from these very family connections, treaties, and alliances, we see wars chiefly originate. No; the fountains from which the streams of this evil flow, must be cleansed. It is from the corrupt passions of the human heart that the tumults of war arise. While each king obeys the impulse of his passions, the commonwealth, the community, suffers; and at the same time, the poor slave to his passions is frustrated in his private and selfish purposes.

Let kings then grow wise; wise for the people, not for themselves only; and let them be truly wise, in the proper sense of the word, not merely cunning, but really wise; so as to place their majesty, their felicity, their wealth, and their splendor in such things, and such only, as render them personally great, personally superior to those whom the fortune of birth has ranked, in a civil sense, below them. Let them acquire those amiable dispositions towards the commonwealth, the great body of the people, which a father feels for his family. Let a king think himself great in proportion as his people are good; let him estimate his own happiness by the happiness of those whom he governs; let him deem himself glorious in proportion as his subjects are free; rich, if the public are rich; and flourishing, if he can but keep the community flourishing, in consequence of uninterrupted peace.

Such should be our king, if we wish to establish a firm and lasting peace; and let the noblemen and magistrates imitate the king, rendered by these means worthy of imitation. Let the public good be the rule of their conduct; and so will they ultimately promote most effectually even their own private advantage.

Now, will a king of such a disposition as I have described, be easily prevailed upon to extort money from his own people to put it into the pockets of foreign mercenaries and alien subsidiaries? Will he reduce his own people to distress, perhaps even for bread, in order to fill the coffers of military despots and commanders? Will he be lavish of blood, as well as treasure, (neither of them his own) and expose the lives, as well as expend the property, of his people? No. I think he will know better.

Let him exercise his power as far as he pleases, within those bounds which he will always see clearly, when he remembers that he is a man governing men, a free man at the head of free men, a Christian presiding over a nation of Christians. In return for his good behaviour, let the people pay him just so much reverence, and yield him just so many privileges and prerogatives as for the public good, and no more. A good king will require no more; and as to the unreasonable desires of a bad king, the people should unite to check and repel them. Let there be on both sides a due regard paid to private happiness. Let the greatest share of honour be ever paid, not to warlike kings, (the world has sorely suffered for its folly in giving them glory) but to kings who entirely reject the war system, and by their understanding and counsels, not by force and arms, restore to bleeding human nature the blessings of concord and repose. Let him be called a great king, not who is continually augmenting his army, and providing military stores and engines of destruction, but who exerts every effort of his mind, and uses every advantage of his situation, to render armies, stores, and engines of destruction totally unnecessary. Truly glorious as is such an attempt; not one, in the long catalogue of kings and princes that has “strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage,” every conceived the thought in his heart, except the emperor Dioclesian.

But if, after all, it is not possible that a war should be avoided, let it be so conducted, that the severest of its calamities may fall upon the heads of those who gave the occasion. Yet kings, instead of suffering at all by it, wage war in perfect consistency with their personal safety. The great men grow rich upon it. The largest part of the evil falls upon landholders, husbandmen, tradesmen, manufacturers, whom, perhaps the war does not in the least concern, and who never furnished the slightest cause for a national rupture.

In what consists the wisdom of a king, if he does not take these things into consideration? In what consists the gracious goodness, the tender feeling of a king, if he thinks such things beneath his notice?

Some method should be discovered to keep kings from shifting their thrones and dominions, and going from one dynasty to another, because innovations in matters of this kind always create disturbance, and disturbance produces war. This may easily be managed, if the children of kings are provided for, or established somewhere within their father’s own dominions; or if it should appear expedient to connect them with neighbouring crowned heads, let all hope of succession be entirely cut off at the time when a marriage, or any other mode of connection with foreign courts, is negotiated. Nor let any king be allowed to sell or alienate in any manner the least portion of his dominions, as if free states were his private property. I say free states, for all states are free that have kings, properly so called, to govern them. States that are not free, are not under kings, whatever they may be called, but despots. By the intermarriage of kings and their progeny, and the rights of succession which thence arise, a man born in the bogs of Ireland may come to reign in the East Indies; and another who was a king in Syria, may all of a sudden start up an Italian prince. Thus it may happen that neither country shall have a king, while he abandons his former dominions, and is not acknowledged by his newly acquired ones; being a perfect stranger, born in another world, for any thing they know to the contrary. And in the mean time, while he is reducing, subduing and exhausting part of his dominions, he is impoverishing and exhausting the other. He sometimes loses both, while he is endeavouring to grasp both, and most likely is not fit to govern either. Let kings once settle among themselves, how much and how far each ought to govern, and then let no marriage connection among them either extend or contract; let no treaty alter the limits once ascertained. Thus every one will endeavour to improve his allotted portion to the utmost of his power. All his efforts will be concentrated on one country, and he will endeavour to transmit it to his posterity in a rich and flourishing condition. The result will be, that when every one minds his own, all will thrive. Therefore let kings be attached to each other, not by political intermarriages, artificial and factitious ties, but by pure and sincere friendship; and above all, by a zeal similar and common to the whole tribe to promote the solid, substantial happiness of human nature. And let the king’s successor be either he who is most nearly related to him, or he who shall be judged fittest for the momentous office, by the suffrages of the people. Let the other great men rest satisfied with being numbered among the honourable nobility. It is the duty of a king to enter into no party cabals, to know nothing of private passions or partialities, but to esteem all men and measures solely as they have a reference and tendency to the good of the public. Moreover, let the king avoid travelling into foreign countries, let him never wish to pass the boundaries of his own dominions; but let him shew that he approves a proverbial saying, sanctioned by the wisdom of ages, frons occipitio prior est: by which was intimated, that nothing goes on well when conducted by secondaries and mercenaries only, and in the absence of the principal.

Let him be persuaded that the best method of enriching and improving his realm, is not by taking from the territory of others, but by meliorating the condition of his own. When the expediency of war is discussed, let him not listen to the counsels of young ministers, who are pleased with the false glory of war, without considering its calamities, of which, from their age, it is impossible that they should have had personal experience. Neither let him consult those who have an interest in disturbing the public tranquillity and who are fed and fattened by the sufferings of the people. Let him take the advice of old men, whose integrity has been long tried, and who have shewn that they have an unfeigned attachment to their country. Nor let him, to gratify the passions or sinister views of one or two violent or artful men, rashly enter on a war; for war, once engaged in, cannot be put an end to at discretion. A measure the most dangerous to the existence of a state as a war must be, should not be entered into by a king, by a minister, by a junto of ambitious avaricious, or revengeful men, but by the full and unanimous consent of the whole people.

The causes of war are to be cut up root and branch, on their first and slightest appearance. Many real injuries and insults must be connived at. Men must not be too zealous about a phantom called national glory; often inconsistent with individual happiness. Gentle behaviour on one side, will tend to secure it on the other; but the insolence of a haughty minister may give unpardonable offence, and be dearly paid for by the sufferings of the nation over which he domineers.

There are occasions when, if peace can be had in no other way, it must be purchased. It can scarcely be purchased too dearly, if you take into the account how much treasure you must inevitably expend in war; and what is of infinitely greater consequence than treasure, how many of the people’s lives you save by peace. Though the cost be great, yet war would certainly cost you more; besides, (what is above all price) the blood of men, the blood of your own fellow-citizens and subjects, whose lives you are bound, by every tie of duty, to preserve, instead of lavishing away in prosecuting schemes of false policy, and cruel, selfish, villainous ambition. Only form a fair estimate of the quantity of mischief and misery of every kind and degree which you escape, and the sum of happiness you preserve in all the walks of private life, among all the tender relations of parents, husbands, children, among those whose poverty alone makes them soldiers, the wretched instruments of involuntary bloodshed; form but this estimate, and you will never repent the highest price you can pay for peace.

While the king does his duty as the guardian and preserver, instead of the destroyer, of the people committed to his charge, let the right reverend the bishops do their duty likewise. Let the priests be priests indeed; preachers of peace and goodwill, and not the instigators of war, for the sake of pleasing a corrupt minister, in whose hands are livings, stalls, and mitres; let the whole body of the clergy remember the truly evangelical duties of their profession, and let the grave professors of theology in our universities, or wherever else they teach divinity, remember to teach nothing as men-pleasers unworthy of Christ. Let all the clergy, however they may differ in rank, order, sect, or persuasion, unite to cry down war, and discountenance it through the nation, by zealously and faithfully arraigning it from the pulpit. In the public functions of their several churches, in their private conversation and intercourse with the laity, let them be constantly employed in the Christian, benevolent, humane work of preaching, recommending, and inculcating, peace. If, after all their efforts, the clergy cannot prevent the breaking out of war, let them never give it the slightest approbation, directly or indirectly, let them never give countenance to it by their presence at its silly parade or bloody proceedings, let them never pay the smallest respect to any great patron or prime minister, or courtier, who is the author or adviser of a state of affairs so contrary to their holy profession, and to every duty and principle of the Christian religion, as is a state of war.

Let the clergy agree to refuse burial in consecrated ground to all who are slain in battle. If there be any good men among the slain, and certainly there are very few, they will not lose the reward of Christians in Heaven, because they had not what is called Christian burial. But the worthless, of whom the majority of warriors consists, will have one cause of that silly vanity and self-liking which attends and recommends their profession more than any thing else, entirely removed, when sepulchral honours are denied, after all the glory of being knocked on the head in battle, in the noble endeavour to kill a fellow-creature.

I am speaking all along of those wars which Christians wage with Christians, on trifling and unjustifiable occasions. I think very differently of wars, bona fide, just and necessary, such as are, in a strict sense of those words, purely defensive, such as with an honest and affectionate zeal for the country, repel the violence of invaders, and, at the hazard of life, preserve the public tranquillity.

But in the present state of things, the clergy (for of their conduct I proceed to speak) so far from acting as servants of Christ, in the manner I have recommended, do not hesitate to hang up flags, standards, banners, and other trophies of war, brought from the field of carnage, as ornaments of churches and great cathedrals. These trophies shall be all stained and smeared with the blood of men, for whom Christ shed his most precious blood, and shall be hung in the aisles of the churches, among the tombs and images of apostles and martyrs, as if in future it were to be reckoned a mark of sanctity not to suffer martyrdom, but to inflict it; not to lay down one’s life for the truth, but to take away the life of others for worldly purposes of vanity and avarice. It would be quite sufficient if the bloody rags were hung up in some corner of the Exchange or kept, as curiosities in a chest or closet, out of sight; disgraceful monuments they are of human depravity. The church, which ought to be kept perfectly pure, and emblematic of the purest of religions, should not be defiled with any thing stained with the blood of man, shed by the hand of man alienated, as is clear by the very act, both from Christ and from nature.

But you argue in defence of this indecent practice of hanging up flags or colours, as they are called, in churches, that the ancients used to deposit the monuments of their victories in the temples of their gods. It is true, but what were their gods but demons, delighting in blood and impurity? not the God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. Never let priests, dedicated to a God like this, have any thing to do with war, unless it is to put an end to it, and promote love and reconciliation. If the clergy were but unanimous in such sentiments, if they would inculcate them every where, there is no doubt, notwithstanding the great power of the secular arm, that their authority, personal and professional, would have a preponderance, against the influence of courts and ministers of state, and thus prevent war, the calamity of human nature.

But if there is a fatal propensity in the human heart to war, if the dreadful disease is interwoven with the constitution of man, so that it cannot abstain from war, why is not vent given to the virulence in exertions against the common enemy of Christianity, the unbelieving Turk? Yet — even here let me pause — is not the Turk a man — a brother? Then it were far better to allure him by gentle, kind, and friendly treatment, by exhibiting the beauty of our Christian religion in the innocence of our lives, than by attacking him with the drawn sword, as if he were a savage brute, without a heart to feel, or a reasoning faculty to be persuaded. Nevertheless, if we must of necessity go to war, as I said before, it is certainly a less evil to contend with an infidel, than that Christians should mutually harass and destroy their own fraternity. If charity will not cement their hearts, certainly one common enemy may unite their hands, and though this may not be a cordial unity, yet it will be better than a real rupture.

Upon the whole it must be said, that the first and most important step towards peace, is sincerely to desire it. They who once love peace in their hearts, will eagerly seize every opportunity of establishing or recovering it. All obstacles to it they will despise or remove, all hardships and difficulties they will bear with patience, so long as they keep this one great blessing (including as it does so many others) whole and entire. On the contrary, men, in our times, go out of their way to seek occasions of war; and whatever makes for peace, they run down in their sophistical speeches, or even basely conceal from the public; but whatever tends to promote their favourite war system, they industriously exaggerate and inflame, not scrupling to propagate lies of the most mischievous kind, false or garbled intelligence, and the grossest misrepresentation of the enemy. I am ashamed to relate what real and dreadful tragedies in real life, they found on these vile despicable trifles, from how small an ember they blow up a flame and set the world on fire. Then they summon before them the whole catalogue of supposed injuries received, and each party views its own grievance with a glass that magnifies beyond all bounds; but as for benefits received, they all fall into the profoundest oblivion as soon as received; so that upon the whole, an impartial observer would swear that great men love war for its own sake, with their hearts and souls, provided their own persons are safe.

After all the pretences thrown out, and the artifices used, to irritate the vulgar, there often lurks (as the true cause of wars) in the bosom of kings, some private, mean, and selfish motive, which is to force their subjects to take up weapons to kill one another, at the word of command, and as they wish to evince their loyalty. But, instead of a private and selfish object, there ought to be an object, in which not only the public, that is, not only one single community, but in which man, human nature, is deeply interested to justify the voluntary commencement of a war.

But when kings can find no cause of this kind, as indeed they seldom can, then they set their wits to work to invent some fictitious but plausible occasion for a rupture. They will make use of the names of foreign countries, artfully rendered odious to the people, in order to feed the popular odium, till it becomes ripe for war, and thirsts for the blood of the outlandish nation, whose very name is rendered a cause of hostility. This weakness and folly of the very lowest classes of the people, the grandees increase by artful insinuations, watchwords, and nicknames, cunningly thrown out in debates, pamphlets, and journals. Certain of the clergy, whose interest it is to cooperate with the grandees in any unchristian work, join, with great effect, aided by religion, in a pious imposition on the poor. Thus, for instance, an Englishman they say, is the natural enemy of a Frenchman, because he is a Frenchman. A man born on this side the river Tweed must hate a Scotchman, because he is a Scotchman. A German naturally disagrees with a Frank, a Spaniard with both. O villainous depravity! The name of a place or region, in itself a circumstance of indifference, shall be enough to dissever your hearts more widely than the distance of place, your persons! A name is nothing, but there are many circumstances, very important realities, which ought to endear and unite men of different nations. As an Englishman, you bear ill-will to a Frenchman. Why not rather, as a man to a man, do you not bear him good-will? Why not as a Christian to a Christian? How happens it, that such a frivolous thing as a name avails more with you than the tender ties of nature, the strong bonds of Christianity? Place, local distance, separates the persons of men, but not their minds. Hearts can gravitate to each other through intervening seas and mountains. The river Rhine once separated the Frenchman from the German, but it was beyond its power to separate the Christian from the Christian. The Pyrenean mountains divide the Spaniards from the French, but they break not that invisible bond which holds them together in defiance of all partition, the communion of the church. A little gut of a sea divides the English from the French; but if the whole Atlantic ocean rolled between them, it could not disjoin them as men united by nature; and, while they mutually retain the Christian religion, still more indissolubly cemented by grace.

The Apostle Paul expresses his indignation, that Christians, separating into sects, should say, “I am of Apollos; I am of Cephas; I am of Paul:” nor would he suffer the unnatural distinction of a name to parcel out Christ, who is one with all his members, and who has formed all into one inviolable whole. And shall we think the common name of a native country cause sufficient why one race of men should hunt down another race of men, even to extermination; should engage them with each other in a bellum ad internecionem; a war, to cut off, on one side or the other, man, woman and child, and leave not a tongue to tell the tale?

The hostile distinction of different nations as natural enemies, because they are separated by place, and diversified by name, is not enough to satisfy some among the blood-thirsty wretches who delight in war. Such is the depravity of their minds, that they seek occasions of difference where none is afforded either by nature or institution. They would divide France against itself, in verbal and nominal distinctions of the inhabitants; a country which is not divided by seas, or by mountains, and is indeed one and indivisible, however artful men may endeavour to cause divisions in it by distinctions merely nominal. Thus some of the French they will denominate Germans, lest the circumstance of identity of name should produce that unanimity which they diabolically wish to interrupt.

Now, if, in courts of judicature, the judge will not admit of suits which are frivolous and vexatious; if he will not admit of all sorts of evidence, especially that which arises from a personal pique and resentment, how happens it that, in a business of far more consequence to human nature even than courts of judicature, in an affair the most odious and abominable, such as the promoting discord among human creatures and whole neighbouring nations, causes the most frivolous and vexatious are freely admitted as competent and valid. Let the lovers of discord, and the promoters of bloodshed between nations, divided only by a name and a channel, rather reflect, that this world, the whole of the planet called earth, is the common country of all who live and breathe upon it, if the title of one’s country is allowed to be a sufficient reason for unity among fellow-countrymen; and let them also remember, that all men, however distinguished by political or accidental causes, are sprung from the same parents, if consanguinity and affinity are allowed to be available to concord and peace. If the church also is a subdivision of this one great universal family, a family of itself consisting of all who belong to that church, and if the being of the same family necessarily connects all the members in a common interest and a common regard for each other, then the opposers must be ingenious in their malice, if they can deny, that all who are of the same church, the grand Catholic Church of all Christendom, must also have a common interest, a common regard for each other, and therefore be united in love.

In private life, you bear with some things in a brother-in-law which you bear with only because he is a brother-in-law; and will you bear with nothing in him who by the tie of the same religion is also a brother? You pardon many little offences on account of nearness of kindred, and will you pardon nothing on account of an affinity founded in religion? Yet, there is no doubt but that the closest possible tie among all the Christian brotherhood, is confraternity in Christ.

Why are you always fixing your attention upon the sore place, where the insult of injury received from a fellow-creature festers and rankles? If you seek peace and ensue it, as you ought to do, you will rather say to yourself, “he hurt me in this instance, it is true; but in other instances he has often served or gratified me, and in this one he was perhaps incited to momentary wrong by passion, mistake, or by another’s impulse.” As, in the poet Homer, the persons who seek to effect a reconciliation between Agamemnon and Achilles, throw all the blame of their quarrel on the Goddess Atè; so in real life, offences that cannot be excused consistently with strict veracity, should, good-naturedly, be imputed to ill-fortune, or, if you please, to a man’s evil-genius; that the resentment may be transferred from men to those imaginary beings, who can bear the load, however great, without the slightest inconvenience.

Why should men shew more sagacity in creating misery, than in securing and increasing the comforts of life? Why should they be more quicksighted in finding evil than good? All men of sense weigh, consider, and use great circumspection, before they enter upon any private business of momentous consequence. And yet they throw themselves headlong into war, with their eyes shut; notwithstanding war is that kind of evil which, when once admitted, cannot be excluded again at will; but usually, from a little one, becomes a very great one; from a single one, multiplies into a complication; from an unbloody contest, changes to carnage, and at last rises to a storm, which does not overwhelm merely one or two, and those the chief instigators to the mischief, but all the unoffending people also; confounding the innocent with the guilty.

If the poor people, of the very lowest order, are too thoughtless to consider these things, it can be no excuse for the king and the nobles, whose indispensable duty it is to consider them well; and it is the particular business of the clergy to enforce these pacific opinions with every argument which ingenuity and learning can derive from reason and religion; to enforce them, I say, and inculcate them on the minds of both the great, vulgar, and the small; “instantly, in season, and out of season”; whether they “will bear, or whether they will forbear.” Something will at last stick, if it is incessantly applied; and, therefore, let the pulpits and conversation of the clergy teach the bland doctrines of peace and love everywhere and always.

Mortal man! (for so I address thee, even on a throne) dost thou exult at hearing the rumour of an ensuing war? Check thy joy for a moment, and examine, accurately, the nature and consequences of peace, and the nature and consequences of war; what blessings follow in the train of peace, and what curses march in the rear of war; and then form a true and solid judgment, whether it can ever be expedient to exchange peace for war? It it is a goodly and beautiful sight to behold a country flourishing in the highest prosperity; its cities well built, its lands well cultivated, the best of laws well executed; arts, sciences, and learning, those honourable employments of the human mind, encouraged; men’s morals virtuous and honest; then may it please your Majesty to lay your hand on your heart, and let your conscience whisper to you, “All this happiness I must disturb or destroy, if I engage in this meditated war.” On the other hand, if you ever beheld the ruin of cities, villages burnt, churches battered down, fields laid desolate, and, if the sight could wring a tear of pity from thine eye, then, Sire, remember that these are the blasted fruits of accursed war! If you think it a great inconvenience to be obliged to admit an inundation of hired soldiers into your realms, to feed and clothe them at the expence of your subjects, to be very submissive to them, meanly to court their favour, in order to keep them in good humour, well affected, and loyal; and, after all, to trust (which is unavoidable in these circumstances) your own person and your safety to the discretion of such a rabble; recollect, that such is the condition of a state of warfare, and that these evils, great as they are, become necessary, when you have made yourself their slave, in order to enslave or destroy an imaginary enemy.

If you detest robbery and pillage, remember these are among the duties of war; and that, to learn how to commit them adroitly, is a part of military discipline. Do you shudder at the idea of murder? You cannot require to be told, that to commit it with dispatch, and by wholesale, constitutes the celebrated art of war. If murder were not learned by this art, how could a man, who would shudder to kill one individual, even when provoked, go, in cold blood, and cut the throats of many for a little paltry pay, and under no better authority than a commission from a mortal as weak, wicked and wretched as himself, who does not perhaps know even his person, and would not care if both his body and soul were annihilated? If there cannot be a greater misfortune to the commonwealth, than a general neglect and disobedience of the laws, let it be considered as a certain truth, that the voice of law, divine or human, is never heard amid the clangor of arms, and the din of battle. If you deem debauchery, rape, incest, and crimes of still greater turpitude than these, foul disgraces to human nature, depend upon it that war leads to all of them, in their most aggravated atrocity. If impiety, or a total neglect of religion, is the source of all villany, be assured that religion is always overwhelmed in the storms of war. If you think that the very worst possible condition of society, when the worst of men possess the greatest share of power, you may take it as an infallible observation, that the wickedest, most unprincipled, and most unfeeling wretches bear the greatest sway in a state of war; and that such as would come to the gallows in time of peace, are men of prime use and energy in the operations of a siege or a battle. For, who can lead the troops through secret ways more skilfully than an experienced robber, who has spent an apprenticeship to the art among thieves? Who will pull down a house, or rob a church, more dexterously than one who has been trained to burglary and sacrilege? Who will plunge his bayonet into the enemy’s heart, or rip up his bowels with more facility of execution, than a practised assassin, or thorough-paced cut-throat by profession? Who is better qualified to set fire to a village, or a city, or a ship, than a notorious incendiary? Who will brave the hardships and perils of the sea better than a pirate long used to rob, sink, and destroy merchant vessels inoffensively traversing the great waters? In short, if you would form an adequate idea of the villany of war, only observe by whom it is carried into actual execution.

If nothing can be a more desirable object to a pious king, than the safety and welfare of those who are committed to his charge, then, consistently with this object, war must of necessity be held in the greatest conceivable abhorrence. If it is the happiness of a king to govern the happy, he cannot but delight in peace. If a good king wishes for nothing so much as to have his people good, like himself, he must detest war, as the foul sink of sin as well as misery. If he has sense and liberality enough to consider his subjects’ riches, the best and truest opulence he can himself possess, then let him shun war by all possible means; because, though it should turn out ever so fortunate, it certainly diminishes every body’s property, and expends that which was earned by honest, honourable, and useful employments, on certain savage butchers of the human race. Let him also consider again and again, that every man is apt to flatter himself that his own cause is a good one; that every man is pleased with his own schemes and purposes; and that every measure appears to a man agitated with passion the most equitable, though it is the most unjust, the most imprudent, and the most fallacious in the issue. But, suppose the cause the justest in the world, the event the most prosperous, yet take into the account all the damages of war, of every kind and degree, and weigh them in the balance with all the advantages of victory, and you will find the most brilliant success not worth the trouble.

Seldom can a conquest be gained without the effusion of blood. Therefore, in the midst of the rejoicings, illuminations, acclamations, and all the tumult of joy, excited by knaves among fools, it must occur to a king with a feeling heart that he has embrued hands, hitherto unspotted, in the pollution of human gore. Add to this circumstance, distressing to every humane heart, the injury done to the morals of the people, and the general good order and discipline of the state, and you will find this a loss which neither money, nor territory, nor glory, can compensate. You have exhausted your treasury, you have fleeced your people, you have loaded peaceable good subjects with unnecessary burdens, and you have encouraged the wicked unprincipled adventurers in acts of rapine and violence; and, after all, even when the war is put an end to, the bad consequences of the war still remain, not to be removed by the most splendid victory. The taste for science, arts, and letters, languishes a long while. Trade and commerce continue shackled and impeded. Though you should be able to block up the enemy, yet, in doing it, you, in fact, block up yourself and your own people; for neither you nor they dare enter the neighbouring nation, which, before the war, was open to egress and regress; while peace, by opening an universal intercourse among mankind, renders, in some measure, all the neighbouring dynasties one common country.

Consider what mighty matters you have done by thus boldly rushing into war. Your own hereditary dominions can scarcely be called your own. The possession is rendered insecure, being constantly exposed to hostile invasion. In order to demolish a poor little town, how much artillery, how much camp-equipage, and all other military apparatus, do you find requisite? You must build a sort of temporary town, in order to overthrow a real one; and, for less money than the whole business of destruction costs you, you might build another town by the side of that you are going to level in the dust, where human beings might enjoy, if you would let them, the comforts of that life which God has been pleased to bestow in peace and plenty. In order to prevent the enemy from going out of the gates of his own town, you are obliged to sleep for months out of yours in a tent of the open air, and continue in a state of transportation and exile from your own home. You might build new walls for less than it costs you to batter down the old ones with your cannon-balls, and all the expensive contrivances formed for the hellish purposes of marring and demolishing the works of human industry. In this cursory computation of your expence, (for that I am chiefly considering, and the gain that accures from victory) I do not reckon the vast sums that stick to the fingers of commissioners, contractors, generals, admirals, and captains, which is certainly a great part of the whole.

If you could bring all these articles into a fair and honest calculation, I will painfully suffer myself to be every where driven from you mortals as I am, unless it should appear that you might have purchased peace, without a drop of blood, at a tenth part of the expenditure. But you think it would be mean and humiliating, inconsistent with your own and your nation’s honour, to put up with the slightest injury: now I can assure you, that there is no stronger proof of a poor spirit, a narrow, cowardly, and unkingly heart, than revenge; especially as a king does not risk his own person in taking it, but employs the money of the people and the courage of the poor. You think it inconsistent with your august majesty, and that it would be departing from your royal dignity, to recede one inch from your strict right in favour of a neighbouring king, though related to you by consanguinity or marriage, and perhaps one who has formerly rendered you beneficial services. Poor strutting mortal! how much more effectually do you let down your august majesty and royal dignity when you are obliged to sacrifice with oblations of gold to foreign and barbarous mercenaries, to the lowest dregs, the most profligate wretches on the face of the earth; when, with the most abject adulation, and in the meanest form of a petitioner, you send ambassadors or commissioners to the vilest and most mischievous nations around, to ask them to receive your subsidies; trusting your august majesty’s life, and the property and political existence of your people, to the good faith of allies, who appear to have no regard to the most sacred engagements, and are no less inclined to violate justice than humanity.

If the preservation of peace is attended with the necessity of submitting to some circumstances rather disadvantageous, and perhaps unjust, do not say to yourself, that you incur such a loss by resolving on peace instead of war, but that you purchase the inestimable benefit of peace at such a price. You could not get it cheaper; but the consolation is that it cannot be bought too dearly. Yet methinks a royal objector says, “I would very willingly give up such and such points if I were a private man, and the things in question were my own property; but I am a king, and, whether I like it or not, am under the necessity of acting, as I do, for the public.”

For the public, says your majesty? Let me tell you, “that king will not easily be induced to enter on a war, who has no regard but for the public.” On the contrary, we see that almost all the real causes of wars are things which have no reference at all to the welfare of the public. Is your object to claim and gain possession of this or that part of another’s territory, what is that to the welfare of the people? Do you desire to take royal revenge on a crowned head in your vicinity, who has presumed to refuse your daughter in marriage, or repudiated her after marriage; what is that to the welfare of the people? How is it, in the smallest degree, a business of the state, the community at large? If you mean really to support your august majesty and royal dignity, the only way is, to support the character of a good, just, and wise man, by taking all these things into your most serious consideration, and acting accordingly.

Which of you modern kings ever extended his empire so widely, or governed with so much majesty and dignity, as Augustus Caesar? But he, in all his glory, was desirous of relinquishing his power, if the people could have found any prince to preside over them with more advantage to the commonwealth. The saying of a certain emperor of antiquity, is justly celebrated by the best writers; “perish, said he, my sons and heirs, if any other successor can be found more likely than any of them to consult the happiness of the people.” These two emperors, not being Christians, are called impious, heathenish men, by Christians; by those who would go to war, in defence of law, order, and religion; and yet such benevolent dispositions did these impious, heathen emperors display towards promoting the welfare of the people, the happiness of man in society! In the meantime, Christian emperors consider a whole Christian people as a swinish multitude, as so little worthy of their regard, that they would set the world on fire, without consulting the people, to revenge the disappointment of their own selfish desires or to secure their full gratification.

Still I hear certain potentates captiously exclaiming, that it does not signify arguing, and that they could not be personally safe if they did not repel by fire and sword the power of ill-designing men, who, not having the fear of God before their eyes, might even attack, with success, their own august majesty. How happens it, I ask them in return, that among all the Roman emperors, Antonius Pius and Antonius the philosopher were the only ones that were never attacked? From these two instances it appears, that no kings sit more firmly on their thrones, than they who shew that they are ready at any time to quit them, when their resignation appears likely to benefit the public; and that their power is a trust resumable at will, reposed in them by the people for the good of the people, and not to gratify their own pride or avarice, by lavishing away other men’s blood and money.

May it please your most Christian majesties! if nothing will move you, if neither the feelings of nature, the reflections of conscience, nor the actual pressure of calamity; at least, let the reproach of the Christian profession (for which you pretend to be so zealous) bring you back to long relinquished Christian unanimity.

May it please you, who would go to war in defence of religion, as well as of law and order, to consider how small a portion of the terraqueous globe is occupied by Christians. And this portion, small as it is, constitutes what is called in the scriptures, a city situated on a holy mountain, to be constantly reverenced, and preserved inviolate, both by God and man.

But what must we suppose a nation of atheists, (if any such there be) or of unbelievers in Christ, think and say? what reproaches must they vomit out against Christ, when they see his professed followers cutting one another in pieces, from more trifling causes than the heathens; with greater cruelty than atheists, and with more destructive instruments of mutual murder than pagans could ever find in their hearts to use, or in their understanding to contrive.

Whose invention was a cannon? Was it not the invention of the meek, lowly, merciful followers of Jesus Christ, whose law was love, and whose last legacy to his disciples and the world, peace? The cannon was the contrivance of Christians; and to add to their infamy, it is usual to mark the names of the apostles and to engrave the images of saints upon the great guns. Cruel mockery of Christ, and of human misery! Paul, the constant teacher and preacher of peace, gives a name to a piece of artillery, and is thus made to hurl a deadly ball at the head of a Christian; The Church Militant with a vengeance!

If we are so anxious, as we pretend, to support religion, law, and order, and particularly to convert an unbelieving nation to Christianity, let us first prove ourselves to be sincere followers of Christ. Will the nation to whom we intend the favour of conversion to Christianity by fire and sword, believe that we ourselves are Christians, when they see, what is too evident to be denied, that no people on earth quarrel and fight, one among another, more savagely than we Christians; though Christ, the founder of the very religion which we mean to propagate among them, declared his utter detestation of all contention, and particularly of war?

A great heathen poet expresses his admiration, that among heathens, whom we pity for their ignorance, though there is a time when men have enough of the sweetest enjoyments of life, as of sleep, of food, of wine, of the dance, and the melody of music, yet that they seem never to have enough of the miseries of war. What he said of the heathens, his contemporaries and countrymen, is strictly true among those to whom the very name of war, the very word, (as signifying a thing disgraceful to human nature) ought to be held in utter abomination.

Rome, ancient Rome, mad as she was with martial rage, and intoxicated with the vanity of military glory, yet sometimes shut the temple of her Janus. How then happens it, that among you, ye Christian kings and people, no recess, no holiday, no vacations, no rest is allowed in the work of war? With what face should you dare to recommend the Christian religion to an unbelieving nation, as the religion of peace, when you yourselves are never at peace, but engaged in bitter quarrels and hostilities among each other, without the least intermission? What encouragement must it give the common enemy to see you thus divided. Divide and conquer, is a maxim; and no victory is easier than that over men turn to pieces by internal dissension. Would you, as a nation of Christians, be formidable to those who have renounced, or never knew, Christianity? To be formidable, be united.

Why should you, wretched mortals, of your own accord, poison the pleasure, embitter all the enjoyment of this present life, and at the same time cut yourselves off from all chance of future felicity? Few and evil are the days of man, numberless the unavoidable calamities of human life; but a great part of the misery may be alleviated by love and friendship; while, by mutual kind offices all men afford each other, in difficulties that are surmountable, assistance, and, under distress that admits no remedy, consolation. The good that falls to man’s lot will be sweeter in its enjoyment and more extensive in its effects, by concord; while every man considers every other man as a friend, imparts as a share of his possessions where he can; and, where he cannot, makes him a partaker of his good-humour and good-will.

How frivolous! what childish trifles! and how soon will they perish like yourselves! about which you make such disturbance; and, to obtain which, you deal death and desolation round the land. Death! you have no occasion for swords and muskets to accelerate it. Poor insects of a summer’s day! death hovers over all of you, in act to strike, with unerring dart, the king in all his glory, at the head of his armies, as suddenly as the labourer in the field and the manufactory. What a tumult is excited by an animalcule, with a crown on his head! a being who will soon vanish, like the smoke into the air, and leave not a vestige of its existence. At the very portal of your palace, at the entrance of your military pavilion, lo! the brink of eternity! Why then will you fret and fume about shadows, phantoms, air-drawn objects of a waking dream, as if this life were endless, and there were time enough in it to be wantonly mad and miserable.

O wretched men! ye who will not believe in the future happiness of the good, or who dare not hope it for yourselves under that description. Most unreasonable, as well as miserable, if you think that the road to the blissful country of Heaven lies through the field of battle and the walks of war! The very bliss of Heaven itself is but an undescribable union of beatified minds; to take place when that shall be fully accomplished, which Christ earnestly prayed for to his heavenly Father, desiring that Christians might be as intimately and mysteriously united to each other, as he is with the Father. How can you ever be fit for this perfect union, unless you meditate upon it in the interval, and endeavour with your utmost efforts to attain it? As the transition would be too sudden and violent, from a foul and filthy glutton to an angel of light; so would it be, from a bloody warrior to the company of martyrs, and those who have kept themselves unspotted from the world, unstained with human gore.

Enough, and more than enough, of Christian blood, enough of human blood, has been already spilt; enough have you acted the part of madmen to your mutual destruction; enough have you sacrificed to the evil spirits of hell; long enough have you been acting a tragedy for the entertainment of unbelievers. I pray you, after so long and sad experience of the evils of war, (submitted to by the principal sufferers a great while ago too patiently) repent, and be wise.

Let the folly that is past be imputed, if you will, to the destinies, to any thing you please. Let the Christians vote, what the heathens sometimes voted, an entire amnesty of all past errors and misfortunes; but, for the time to come, apply yourselves, one and all, to the preservation and perpetuation of peace. Bind up discord, not with hempen bands liable to be broken or untwisted, but with chains of steel and adamant, never to be burst asunder, till time shall be no more.

Kings! to you I make my first appeal. On your nod, such is the constitution of human affairs, the happiness of mortals is made to depend. You assume to be the images and representatives of Christ, your sovereign. Then, as you wish men to hear your voice shew the example of obedience, and hear the voice of your Sovereign Lord, commanding you, upon your duty, to seek peace and abolish war. Be persuaded that the world, wearied with its long continued calamities, demands this, and has a right to insist on your immediate compliance.

Priests! to you I appeal as consecrated to the God of Love and Mercy. On your conscience I require you to promote, with all the zeal of your hearts and abilities of your minds, that which you know is most agreeable to God; and to explode, discountenance, and repel, with equal ardour and activity, what you know in your hearts he abhors.

Preachers of all denominations! to you I appeal. Preach the gospel of peace. Let the doctrines of peace and good-will for ever resound in the ears of the people.

Bishops, and all who are pre-eminent in ecclesiastical dignity! I call upon you, that the high authority and influence which you possess over the minds of both kings and people, may be exerted to bind upon their hearts, with bonds indissoluble, the sacred obligations to peace.

Dukes, lords, grandees, placemen, and magistrates, of every description! I appeal to you, that your hearty good-will may co-operate in the work of peace, with the wisdom of kings, and the piety of priests.

I appeal to all who call themselves Christians! I urge them, as they would manifest their sincerity, and preserve their consistency, to unite with one heart and one soul, in the abolition of war, and the establishment of perpetual and universal peace.

Here, and in this instance, shew the world, how much can be effected by the union of the multitude, the mass of the people, against the despotism of the few and the powerful.

Hither let all ranks and orders, equally zealous and intent in the glorious cause, bring and unite all their wisdom and abilities. Let eternal concord connect those whom Nature has connected in many points, and Christ in all. Let all act with equal zeal in accomplishing a purpose which will contribute equally to the happiness of all. Hither every circumstance invites you to co-operate; in the first place, the natural feelings of man’s heart, the spontaneous dictates of common humanity; and, in the next, the author and disposer of all human happiness, Christ. The innumerable blessings of peace, and the unutterable miseries of war, I have already endeavoured to describe. Hither also the inclinations of kings themselves, in our times, (the favourable influence of God’s grace impelling their minds to concord) seem to invite. Behold! the mild and pacific Leo, acting the part of Christ’s true vicar, has lifted up the signal of peace, and exhorted all men to flock to its standard. If then you are true sheep, follow your shepherd. If you are true sons, listen to the voice of your Father. Hither likewise Francis, king of France and the most Christian king, not in title only, summons you. He disdains not to purchase peace; nor does he regard his own pomp and external dignity, so long as he can promote and preserve the public tranquillity. He has shewn that the true splendor of royalty, the real majesty of a king, consists in an endeavour to deserve well of the human race, to promote the happiness of individuals, and not to involve them in misery and destruction, in a wild quixotic pursuit of glory. Hither also you are called by the renowned Charles the Fifth, a young man of a disposition naturally good, and happily not yet corrupted. Caesar Maximilian appears to have no objection to peace, nor does Henry, the famous king of England, refuse his concurrence.

As to the people; in all these countries the greater part of the people certainly detest war, and most devoutly wish for peace. A very few of them, indeed, whose unnatural happiness depends upon the public misery, may wish for war; but be it yours to decide, whether it is equitable or not, that the unprincipled selfishness of such wretches should have more weight than the anxious wishes of all good men united. You plainly see, that hitherto nothing has been effectually done towards permanent peace by treaties, no good end answered by royal intermarriages, neither by violence, nor by revenge. Now then it is time to pursue different measures; to try the experiment, what a placable disposition, and a mutual desire to do acts of friendship and kindness, can accomplish in promoting national amity. It is the nature of wars, that one should sow the seeds of another; it is the nature of revenge to produce reciprocal revenge. Now then, on the contrary, let kindness generate kindness, one good turn become productive of another; and let him be considered as the most kingly character, the greatest and best potentate, who is ready to concede the most from his own strict right, and to sacrifice all exclusive privilege to the happiness of the people.

What has been done by mere human policy, and for temporal purposes only, has not yet succeeded; but Christ will give success to those pious designs, which shall appear to be undertaken under his auspices and by his authority. He will be present and propitious, and favour those who favour that state of human affairs, which he himself evidently appeared, while on earth, so remarkably, decidedly to promote.

Let the public good overcome all private and selfish regards of every kind and degree; though in truth, even private and selfish regards, and every man’s own interest, will be best promoted by the preservation of peace. Kings will find, that to reign is a more glorious thing than ever it has been, when they reign by the mild authority of law, and not by arms and violence. The nobility will find their dignity greater in itself, and established on more reasonable, and therefore more permanent principles. The clergy will enjoy their ease with less interruption. The people will possess tranquillity with greater plenty, and plenty with greater tranquillity, than they yet have ever known. The Christian profession will become respectable to the enemies of the cross. Finally, every man will become dear and pleasing to every other man; all will be beloved by all! and, what is still more desirable, beloved also by Christ; to become acceptable to whom is the highest felicity of human nature.

Categories: Uncategorized

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

May 27, 2011 1 comment


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Edgar Lee Masters: “The honor of the flag must be upheld”

Edgar Lee Masters: The words, Pro Patria, what do they mean, anyway?

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

William James: The Philippine Tangle

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

Leo Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est


Edgar Lee Masters
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
The Philippine Conquest (1904)


Since then the constitution and the declaration have been duly ravished. The country has settled down to hear the reports of pillage, murder and rapine in the islands in the great work of destroying an Asiatic republic.

Conquest cannot be left to a citizen soldiery, because volunteers fight for a principle. They fight for their rights and their homes. Such were our soldiers before imperialism became a national dream.

So long as imperialism can intercept the interchange of ideas by the modern methods of ostracism and starvation and by the prevention of discussion and publicity in all the ways in which it is done imperialism may flourish. But against reason in a fair and open field it stands no chance of success.

The constitution is a plastic receptacle into which either democracy or despotism can be poured. The insular acquisitions furnished the opportunity for a gigantic stride toward despotism….If these islands were under the constitution then special privilege could not enjoy its spoils in the form of tariff laws, and then a more astute set of reasoners, greedy for power, saw the long-looked-for chance to greatly centralize the government, and not only the government, but the executive branch of it. The Spooner bill which invested the executive with powers equal to any sovereign on earth was the proper sequence of the plan.

Imperialism is anti-humanitarian; the conquest of people is anti-humanitarian; the taxing of people as the Filipinos are taxed is anti-humanitarian.


During the campaign of 1900 the argument advanced against the Philippine aggression was the repudiation of the fundamental principles of the republic involved in that aggression. And coupled with this was the claim of injustice being perpetrated against a helpless people. The problem now seems to be what guarantees have the people at home against infractions of their liberties and why may not the limitless power of a “sovereign” nation be directed against them when the apparent exigency arises in favor of those who control the government? For when a principle is once undermined the principle can no longer be looked to for security. It is then a question of chance as to the means of redress and protection.

Since then the constitution and the declaration have been duly ravished. The country has settled down to hear the reports of pillage, murder and rapine in the islands in the great work of destroying an Asiatic republic. Plutocracy proceeds with solemnity and dispatch to gather in the insular concessions or to obstruct all policies when the concessions are not readily granted. The people at large are paying the taxes and undergoing the obvious moral decline which has set in. In short it is discovered that the United States have embarked on a colonial policy, but not the colonial policy of England today. It is the colonial policy of the England of 1776, maintained to build up a nation of customers for the benefit of a favored class at home. And so we find American ideas sacrificed not merely to commercialism but to special privilege. The people furnish the soldiers; the people pay the taxes; the people build the ships, and the trusts gather in the spoils.

This revolution in our government and ideals has been accomplished by wrenching the fundamental law and the fundamental sentiments of a whole people once devoted to liberty. The whole of society has been shaken. The evil passions, the evil ambitions of men are kept down in a large measure by the unwritten law of ideals which have become intrenched by centuries of indoctrination. There is no written penalty affixed to selfishness, cruelty, lying, hypocrisy, greed, dishonor or hatred or the other demons of human nature exorcised or controlled by the power of civilization. But when the rigor of those ideals is loosened at the top the whole system of morals suffers a relaxation and a relapse. A president may initiate the catastrophe, but its impulse will recoil upon him. The congressman and the senator will feel released from the strict course of rectitude. The judge on the bench will see in the life about him and the policies about him excuse for yielding to the gathering pressure.

All other officials will be similarly affected. The influence will creep into private life. It will dominate the relations between men in business and in society. All principles, whether of government or of individuals, become affected. The highwayman in the alley knows what is going on and merely raves at the system that marks him out for sure punishment At last it is only a mask that conceals the bloated face of society. There is nothing left but organized hypocrisy.

We all expect men as individuals to be more or less illogical. Life is illogical. History is illogical. Governmental policy is still more illogical. But there is a limit to its illogic. When it reaches that point morals are prostrated upon their foundations. A president may change his mind – but not from the right to the wrong. He may contradict himself – but not in the same breath. He may preach one thing and do another – but circumstances must change. There must be reason for such alterations; there must be sound sentiment for them. If these are absent it will not be long until the humblest man in the land will understand. And if the president may do such things why not himself? It is a question of example.

If there ever was an irrational war it was the war with Spain. Americans deride the French as mercurial, sentimental, unsubstantial. And yet what appeared to be the American people demanded war with Spain. The Spaniards were governing without the consent of the governed, but they were willing to concede more than we have conceded. Weyler had instituted the reconcentrado camps, but Spain had yielded on that point. The homes of the islanders were being burned, the people were being butchered and the horrors of war hovered over the desolate land. But they promised to end the war. Spain confessed the objections to her course. And yet there must be war. The Maine incident was eliminated from the controversy by a court of our own selection. And yet there must be war. And the war came.

Then the American people beheld the United States move up and occupy the place vacated by Spain. We took their war and their methods. We tricked the Filipinos, we shot them, we burned their homes. We adopted Weyler’s reconcentrado policy. We taxed them without representation. We put ourselves in the position where a combination of powers could drive us out for the same reason that we drove out Spain, and thereby make us a theme for epic laughter as long as the world should stand. Does the whole of history furnish so illogical a chapter? It seems too puerile to believe of a great nation which traces its liberties to the time when our ancestors were wild men in the north of Germany and when, as barbarians in the British Isles, they resisted Caesar and threw off the yoke of benevolent assimilation. The moral effect of such a course of shuffling and hypocrisy cannot be calculated because it is likely to affect untold generations.

At the very outset of the scheme of conquering the Filipinos it was known that the theory of the army had to be changed. Conquest cannot be left to a citizen soldiery, because volunteers fight for a principle. They fight for their rights and their homes. Such were our soldiers before imperialism became a national dream. With the volunteers we had twice driven back the hosts of monarchy. With volunteers we had met and defeated the greatest Anglo-Saxon army that ever took the field. And yet for the purpose of conquering a people armed in part with primitive weapons the creation of a regular soldiery many times its former size was demanded. This is what Gibbon wrote about the two kinds of armies:

“In the purer days of the (Roman) commonwealth the use of arms was reserved for those ranks of the citizens who had a country to love, a property to defend and some share in enacting the laws, which it was their interest as well as duty to maintain. But in proportion as the public freedom was lost in extent of conquest war was gradually improved into an art and depraved into a trade.”

There is no trouble about the size of the army. It is too large for legitimate purposes. But it is not large enough to be a necessary menace. The trouble is that the theory of our soldiery has been changed. Small in comparison as it is, it is the army of an empire and not of a republic. Our soldiers in the Philippines are not fighting for any principle. They are not defending their homes. They are not staying aggression. They are not repelling an attack upon liberty. There is no sentiment in the struggle. There is no conscience in the fight. It is of no consequence to our soldiers whether they win or lose, except as a matter of honor, advancement and money. For these they are there to conquer, as the Arabs were in Spain, as Spain was in Peru and Mexico, and as Great Britain is in south Africa. To conquer for spoils not for themselves, because they are only hired men, but for the trusts at home – as the Spanish regulars fought for gold for the sovereign, as the Englishman is fighting for the banks of London.

We have been assured by those who have made this army that it is too small to be dangerous to the people at home. But the real danger lies in the change of our ideals. For if a small army can be created for oppression and conquest a large army can be created for the same purpose when a large army is required. And the precedent is already established for the use of such an army at home against the sullen discontent that has already been sown among the people.

This unaccountable revolution was not accomplished without fraud and force, and that more subtle form of coercion known as freedom with starvation. Professors were driven from their chairs, the pulpit was silenced, the press gagged, officials were retired to private life and a spirit of falsehood and misrepresentation pervaded the atmosphere. Imperialism cannot succeed without the satanic influences of life, and these came to the front with promises and threats, with dissimulation and with bribery, with every art that will persuade, silence, repress or purchase. And so as consequences of such an initiation it has followed that freedom of speech is denied; that debate is frowned down as tiresome and intolerable, and that the post-office department has become a censor of the press invested with unbridled despotism. So long as Spain and France could repress discussion by cutting out men’s tongues their forms of monarchy and privilege flourished. So long as imperialism can intercept the interchange of ideas by the modern methods of ostracism and starvation and by the prevention of discussion and publicity in all the ways in which it is done imperialism may flourish. But against reason in a fair and open field it stands no chance of success.

With steam, electricity and the printing press eliminated from the world it would require no great degree of prescience to foretell the ultimate fate of the United States. For up to this time the trend of affairs with us bears such a resemblance to the march of events in the Roman republic up to the reign of Augustus Caesar that the similarities cannot be overlooked.

The constitution is a plastic receptacle into which either democracy or despotism can be poured. The insular acquisitions furnished the opportunity for a gigantic stride toward despotism. These islands, according to historic precedents, according to the spirit of the constitution, which is the declaration of independence, were bound to be treated as territories advancing toward statehood. But those who had become strong through special privilege overthrew the ideals of the republic. If these islands were under the constitution then special privilege could not enjoy its spoils in the form of tariff laws, and then a more astute set of reasoners, greedy for power, saw the long-looked-for chance to greatly centralize the government, and not only the government, but the executive branch of it. The Spooner bill which invested the executive with powers equal to any sovereign on earth was the proper sequence of the plan. And, moreover, it was brought about by the congress as the Roman senate surrendered its powers to Augustus. True, the congress might repeal the Spooner bill, but the executive might veto the repeal. So how is the congress to retrieve its constitutional vigor.

Heretofore the United States have been humanitarian in their spirit, but now they are governmental. Imperialism is anti-humanitarian; the conquest of people is anti-humanitarian; the taxing of people as the Filipinos are taxed is anti-humanitarian. In short, the republican party now stands for might, for power, for glory, not realizing – or if realizing not caring – that the anti-humanitarian spirit and the passion for glory and power destroyed the governments of the past and is hastening the destruction of those of the present. That at the bottom was the real trouble, and that is the virus that has found lodgment among us. For while life is essentially selfish as a condition of self-preservation it consists with the passion for justice which both men and nations must observe or suffer the sure penalty. At last it will fully leak out and be understood by all men that the supreme court upheld the new policy on apparent grounds of expediency. It will be generally understood that the influences which had set in and which had affected every department of the government were too powerful for so worldly a tribunal to resist. For that court said in about so many words that the Porto Rican tax must be constitutional, because otherwise the United States could not safely retain the islands, and, besides, any other construction might obstruct future acquisitions. The supreme court asks how can the Porto Rican tax be unconstitutional, since to hold it so would be to deprive the government of that discretionary power absolutely necessary to profitably hold to the islands. The spirit of this reasoning will eventually produce wide national consequences.

All things having worked out so well to this pass, the accession of Mr. Roosevelt to the presidency was dramatically fitting. If made to order it could not have been better. He will pass into history as the contemporary of Kipling and William of Germany. He is of them and of their spirit and day. Some hoped that Mr. Roosevelt would throw his power on the side of idealism and progress. But they should have remembered that he repudiated his literary productions in the campaign of 1900. All his fine pretensions went the way of the world; nor in any event is he the man to stand out against the accumulated influences of imperialism. He has and will add to them. For, unspeakable as was the assassination of Mr. McKinley, it was not political, and it cannot in candor be made the popular opportunity for suppressing the freedom of speech. It is very significant also that Mr. Roosevelt should inform us that such tragic episodes will merely result in the accession of men to the presidency who are merciless and resolute. How is such a deplorable change to come about? How shall we descend from a Washington to an Alexander of Farnese? And why should he tell us that the one lurid moment of anarchistic triumph would be followed by centuries of despotism? Is the republic on so rocking a foundation as this?

And how is that despotism to come about? Will he be a party to it, or will he in any supreme moment of moral trial return to the apothegms of his books and say, as he has often said, “We have work to do and the only question is whether we will do it well or ill?” It is now his time to invoke the humanitarian spirit and turn from power and glory if he would give the world the moral impulse that men of his own race gave to the world centuries ago. Otherwise, if centralization in government continues and the people are more generally deprived of the chance to obey the better instructions of their natures what may be expected? Not merely a return to the method of selecting presidential electors by the legislatures, as was formerly done, and the rise of a man merciless and resolute to the presidency. A greater reaction than this may be expected.

There is a commonplace optimism which insists that either everything is for the best or that the right is predestined to triumph. Both propositions are false. Very many things are for the worse. Whole nations have gone down to destruction as the result of the excesses, the follies and the villainies of aristocracies.

That nothing can be hoped for from the present administration; that its ideals are wholly wrong; that its desires are selfish, reactionary and despotic, and that it is capable of any perfidy, is a pardonable pessimism. The optimism to be cherished consists in the belief that democracy is not the battle cry of a fraction of men, but that it is a passion, a philosophy, an ineradicable aspiration of the human heart. Armies and navies may be created and the people may be taxed to support them; expensive flummery and glitter may be maintained out of the sweat of labor. All of this may be used to trample down justice and to despoil a helpless race. And yet in the heart of the humblest man there remains the belief that he has a right in this world to live, to labor, to earn and be free. The most ignorant tribes of the Filipinos are equal in intelligence to the natives of Britain in the days of the glorious Julius. Who knows what use the Filipinos may make of our ideals and the spirit of freedom which vibrates in their hearts today? And who knows what will be the relative positions of the Philippine islands and what we now call the United States 1,000 years hence? The thought should teach humility. For did Augustus imagine that the unconquerable Belgae would found a great republic, or that the savages in the worthless islands north of Gaul would produce those great luminaries of civilization before whom Cicero and Virgil pale their ineffectual fires?

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Gulf State Gendarmes: West Backs Holy Alliance For Control Of Arab World And Persian Gulf

May 25, 2011 2 comments

May 25, 2011

Gulf State Gendarmes: West Backs Holy Alliance For Control Of Arab World And Persian Gulf
Rick Rozoff

The standard-bearers of Anglo-American imperialism in the current epoch, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, met in London on May 25 to discuss the world’s two ongoing wars of aggression, those in Afghanistan and Libya, both under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dominated by Washington and London.

As well as joining a barbecue for American and British troops in the prime minister’s haunts, in the gardens of Number 10 Downing Street, the two potentates called for continuing to bomb Libya back to the Paleolithic Age.

Displaying what passes for sophisticated humor in the contemporary deadened age, Cameron told the press, “It was…probably the first time in history, as we stood behind that barbecue, that I can say a British prime minister has given an American president a bit of a grilling.”

Correspondents chuckled as Libyan, Afghan and Pakistani civilians writhe in their death throes from the bombs and Hellfire missiles delivered by Cameron’s and Obama’s warplanes.

Waxing as reflective as he is capable of doing, the British prime minister added: “Barack and I came of age in the 1980s and ’90s. We saw the end of the Cold War and the victory over communism. We saw the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein and the world coming together to liberate that country. Throughout it all, we saw presidents and prime ministers standing together for freedom.”

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in triumphalism and unbridled militarism, more like.

British, French, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Qatari and United Arab Emirate warplanes have flown over 8,000 sorties and more than 3,000 combat missions against Libya since NATO took control of the war on March 31, before which the U.S. and Britain fired at least 160 cruise missiles into the nation. Hours before Cameron and Obama enjoyed their barbecue, NATO warplanes launched a one-hour bombardment of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the most ferocious attack in more than two months, killing 19 people and injuring over 130 others.

The third plenipotentiary of Anglo-American global power projection, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland – who succeeded former NATO secretary general Javier Solana in the post – was in Washington last week to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and plan more onerous joint sanctions against Syria, with Clinton stating “we discussed additional steps that we can take to increase pressure and further isolate the Assad regime,” exemplifying the diplomatic finesse the world has come to expect from the foreign policy executrix of the world’s sole military superpower.

A week before, the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), whose six member states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, to a one hereditary monarchies, emirates and theocracies, but accounting for 45 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves – are the West’s main allies and proxies in the Arab world and the Persian Gulf, issued a joint declaration demanding that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi abdicate power in favor of the rebel Transitional National Council financed and armed by NATO and GCC nations and advocating the easing out of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in favor of a more pliant and reliable client.

The EU and GCC, with not a scintilla of apparent irony given the above, also demanded that Iran “play a constructive role and stop interfering in the internal affairs of GCC member states and other countries in the region.” On March 14 the first of 1,500 troops from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the other GCC states entered Bahrain, two days after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates left the kingdom, to back up the Al Khalifa dynasty against opponents of the religious minority-dominated autocracy.

The following week Kuwait deployed naval forces off Bahrain “to protect the territorial waters of the kingdom” as part of the GCC’s Peninsula Shield Force military intervention.

In announcing the penultimate round of sanctions against Syria in late April, President Obama included Iran, claiming “Iran’s actions in support of the Syrian regime place it in stark opposition to the will of the Syrian people.” The will of the Bahraini people is another matter.

Since April the GCC, of which Yemen is not a member, has been pressuring the Yemeni government to accept its alleged mediation efforts to effect a change of regime, an initiative backed by the U.S. and its NATO allies. As German foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke recently informed the press, “We call on President Saleh not to seek to wait out the situation, and to seriously consider and accept the mediation offer made by the Gulf Cooperation Council.” He added that “The European Union might take new measures to up pressure on the regime ‘should President Saleh stubbornly hang on.'” [1]

During his meeting with Prime Minister Cameron on the same day, President Obama chimed in by stating, “We call upon President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power.”

On May 23 European Union foreign ministers levied more stringent sanctions against Belarus, Iran, Libya and Syria, four nations – hardly surprisingly – also targeted by the U.S. for regime change.

Neither the U.S. nor its NATO allies in the European Union have breathed a word about introducing sanctions against the kings and emirs of the GCC states.

Qatar and its GCC partners were the prime movers behind the action by the Arab League, of which they constitute barely a quarter of the members, to call for a United Nations resolution against Libya on March 12. A week later the U.S., Britain, France and their NATO allies began the bombardment of the country.

Diminutive Qatar, an absolute monarchy with a population under 1.7 million, was the first country to recognize the rebel regime in Libya, the first Persian Gulf state to join a NATO combat mission by supplying French-made Mirage fighter jets and U.S.-origin C-17 Globemasters for the war effort and set up a satellite television channel – Ahrar TV – as the mouthpiece for the Transitional National Council, as well as providing it with French-made MILAN missile launchers. Qatar is also managing oil exports from rebel-controlled Libya.

A news source in Azerbaijan published the following account on March 28, nine days after the war against Libya was launched:

“NATO’s operation, worth about $300-500 million a day, on sweeping the sky over Libya opens a new historical era: the beginning of colonial conquests by the Persian Gulf states. At the same time NATO acts as a ‘soldier of fortune’ – a professional mercenary, ensuring colonial conquest itself.

“The defeat of Colonel Qaddafi’s ground forces by NATO aviation has opened possibilities for the opposition for restoration of oil exports from Libya. As a result, according to a representative for the economy and oil of the ‘transitional government’ of the opposition, Ali Tarkhuni, the opposition has already reached an agreement on oil exports under the supervision of Qatar.” [1]

On April 14 President Obama hosted the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, at the White House and praised his guest for “the leadership” he demonstrated in promoting “democracy in the Middle East,” particularly in Libya, adding:

“Qatar has not only supported [the campaign against Libya] diplomatically but has also supported it militarily and we are very appreciative of the outstanding work that the Qataris have done side by side with other international coalition members.” The emir responded by thanking Obama for “the position the U.S. has taken in support of the democratization process that has taken place in Tunisia and in Egypt and what is attempting to take place in Libya.”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is one of 49 official Troop Contributing Nations supplying forces for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (Bahrain, though not in that category, also has military personnel assigned to NATO in the war zone), announced last week that it will be the first Arab nation to send an ambassador to NATO headquarters in Brussels. The UAE is also the only other Arab state providing warplanes for the now 68-day attack against Libya.

Along with its fellow GCC member states Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, the UAE is a member of the NATO Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnership established in 2004. NATO has conducted conferences, sent leading military commanders and deployed warships to all six GCC nations, including Saudi Arabia and Oman, not yet full members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. The Alliance’s ever-expanding role in the Persian Gulf is designed to contain and when the opportunity arises confront Iran.

Two years ago French President Nicolas Sarkozy travelled to the UAE to open his nation’s first military base in the Middle East, in the Abu Dhabi emirate, where he stated to his host: “Be assured that France is on your side in the event your security is at risk.”

In the middle of April, starting on the day Obama met with Qatar’s Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, NATO foreign ministers met in Berlin to plan the intensification of the war against Libya, with Hillary Clinton stating that the bloc’s members were “sharing the same goal, which is to see the end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya.” The NATO foreign ministers signed a declaration pledging continuation of the war which was also signed by representatives of Jordan, Qatar, Morocco, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, all members of NATO partnership programs: The Mediterranean Dialogue, Partnership for Peace and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

Ten days ago Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri announced that his nation intends to join the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the GCC reciprocated by confirming that it was considering the request and a parallel one by Jordan. Neither country is near the Persian Gulf but both are monarchies.

At the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, the monarchies in Russia, Austria and Prussia created what became known as the Holy Alliance to unite the European continent under a coalition of kings, czars and emperors exploiting a patina of religiosity to forever fend off the reappearance of republicanism. Of forces they couldn’t control.

The self-proclaimed champions of Euro-Atlantic values gathered under the banner of NATO have now found their fitting complement: The kingdoms and emirates of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A kinship indeed exists, as the majority of nations bombing Libya on both sides are monarchies: Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as NATO partner Sweden which has assigned eight Gripen warplanes for the war and Canada once removed.

Last September the Financial Times reported that Washington planned to sell $123 billion worth of arms to GCC states – $67.8 billion to Saudi Arabia, $35.6 billion to the United Arab Emirates, $12.3 billion to Oman and $7.1 billion to Kuwait – in addition to incorporating the Gulf states into the global U.S. missile shield system.

The White House later confirmed a $60 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, the largest foreign arms transaction in American history.

The U.S., Britain, France, Italy and their NATO allies have revealed their plans for control of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf: A comprehensive military alliance with the royal families of the Arab world.

1) Agence France-Presse, May 25, 2011
2) NATO conquered from Gaddafi control over Libyan oil for Qatar
Azerbaijan Business Center, March 28, 2011

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Victor Hugo: The Face Of Cain, Hunters Of Men, Sublime Cutthroats


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Victor Hugo: Selections on war


Victor Hugo
From William Shakespeare (1864)
Translated by Melville B. Anderson

Behold the rising of the new constellation! It is now certain that what has hitherto been the light of the human race begins to pale its ineffectual fire, and that the ancient beacons are flickering out.

From the beginning of human tradition men of force alone have glittered in the empyrean of history; theirs was the sole supremacy. Under the various names of king, emperor, chief, captain, prince, – epitomized in the word “hero,” – this apocalyptic group shone resplendent. Terror raised acclamations to salute them, dripping with the blood of victories. They were followed by a train of tumultuous flames; their dishevelled light gleamed portentous upon the children of men. If they lit the sky, it was with flames. They seemed to wish to extend their sway over the Infinite.

Amid their glory was heard the crash of ruin.

That red glare – was it the purple? was it blood? was it shame? Their light suggested the face of Cain. They hated one another. They exchanged flashing bolts. At times these vast stars crashed together amid volleys of lightning. Their look was furious. Their radiance stretched into sword-blades. All this hung terrible above us.


Already certain kinds of despots are no longer possible. The Pharaoh is a mummy, the Sultan is a phantom, the Caesar is a counterfeit. This stylite of the Trajan columns is anchylosed upon its pedestal; its head is covered with the excrement of the free eagles; it is nonentity rather than glory; this laurel garland is bound on with grave-clothes.

The period of the men of violence is past. They have been glorious, certainly, but with a glory that melts away. That species of great men is soluble in progress. Civilization rapidly oxidizes these bronzes…A Louis XIV invading the Palatinate would, in our day, be regarded as a robber. Already in the last century these truths began to dawn. Frederick II in the presence of Voltaire felt and owned himself something of a brigand. To be, materially, a great man, to be pompously violent, to reign by virtue of the sword-knot and the cockade, to forge a legal system upon the anvil of force, to hammer out justice and truth by dint of accomplished facts, to possess a genius for brutality, – this is to be great, if you will, but it is a coarse way of being great.

Glory advertised by drumbeats is met with a shrug of the shoulder. These sonorous heroes have, up to the present day, deafened human reason, which begins to be fatigued by this majestic uproar. Reason stops eyes and ears before those authorized butcheries called battles. The sublime cutthroats have had their day. Henceforth they can remain illustrious and august only in a certain relative oblivion. Humanity, grown older, asks to be relieved of them. The cannon’s prey has begun to think, and, thinking twice, loses its admiration for being made a target.


The greatest warrior of modern times is not Napoleon, it is Pitt. Napoleon waged war; Pitt created war. It is Pitt who willed all the wars of the Revolution and of the Empire. He is their fountainhead. Replace Pitt by Fox, and that outrageous battle of twenty-three years would be deprived of its motive-power; there would be no coalition. Pitt was the soul of the coalition; and, he dead, his soul still animated the universal war.

Here is what Pitt cost England and the world; we add this bas-relief to his pedestal:

First, the expenditure of men. From 1791 to 1814, France, constrained and forced, wrestling alone against Europe confederated by England, expended in slaughter for military glory…five millions of men; that is, six hundred men per day. Europe, including France, expended sixteen millions six hundred thousand men; that is, two thousand men destroyed daily for a period of twenty-three years.

Secondly, the expenditure of money. Unfortunately, we have no authentic account, except the account of England. From 1791 to 1814, England, in order to get France crushed by Europe, incurred a debt of twenty milliards three hundred and sixteen millions four hundred and sixty thousand and fifty-three francs. Divide this sum by the number of men killed, at the rate of two thousand per day for twenty-three years, and you arrive at the result that each corpse stretched on the field of battle cost England alone fifty pounds sterling.

Add the figures for all Europe, – numbers unknown, but enormous.

With these seventeen millions of men the European population of Australia might have been formed. With the eight hundred millions of English pounds sterling shot from the cannon’s mouth, the face of the earth might have been changed, civilization planted everywhere, and ignorance and poverty suppressed throughout the world.

England pays eight hundred millions sterling for the two statues of Pitt and of Wellington. It is fine to have heroes, but it is a costly luxury. Poets are less expensive.

The discharge of the warrior is signed. His splendor is fading in the distance. Nimrod the Great, Cyrus the Great, Sennacherib the Great, Sesostris the Great, Alexander the Great, Pyrrhus the Great, Hannibal the Great, Frederick the Great, Caesar the Great, Timour the Great, Louis the Great,  still other Greats, – all this greatness is passing away.


The hunters of men, the trailers of armies, Nimrod, Sennacherib, Cyrus, Rameses, Xerxes, Cambyses, Attila, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Alexander, Caesar, Bonaparte, – all these vast, ferocious men are vanishing.

Slowly they flicker out; now they touch the horizon; mysteriously the darkness attracts them; they have kinship with the shades, – hence their fatal descent; their resemblance to the other phenomena of night draws them on to this dreadful union with blind immensity – submersion of all light. Oblivion, that shadow of darkness, awaits them.

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Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est

May 24, 2011 2 comments


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

Leo Tolstoy: Selections on war


Leo Tolstoy
From Two Wars (1898)
Translator not identified

Two wars are at the present time being waged in the Christian world. One, it is true, has been ended, while the other is still going on; but they were waged at one and the same time, and the contrast between the two is striking. The first, now ended, was an old, vainglorious, stupid, cruel, untimely, obsolete, pagan war, the Spanish-American War, which by the murder of one set of men decided how and by whom another set of men was to be ruled. The second war, which is still going on, and which will be ended only when all wars shall end, is a new, self-sacrificing, sacred war. It is based on nothing but love and reason – the war against war. As Victor Hugo expressed it at one of the congresses, the best and most advanced part of Christian humanity declared war long ago against the other coarse and savage part of the same Christian humanity.


The other day I received a letter from Colorado, from a Mr. Jesse Glodwin, who asked me to send him “a few words or thoughts, expressive of my sentiments, in regard to the noble work of the American nation and the heroism of her soldiers and sailors.” This gentleman is, with the vast majority of the American nation, fully convinced that the action of the Americans (they beat a few thousand nearly unarmed men – in comparison with the armament of the Americans, the Spaniards were nearly unarmed) is unquestionably a “noble work,” and that those people who, having killed a large number of their neighbors, for the most part survived and were well and comfortably fixed in life, were heroes.

The Spanish-American War, to say nothing of the horrible things which the Spaniards had done in Cuba, and which served as the pretext for the war, resembles this: A decrepit and doting old man, who was brought up in the traditions of false honor, in order to settle a misunderstanding that arose between him and a young man, challenges this young man, who is in the full possession of his strength, to fisticuffs. The young man, who, to judge from his past and from what he has said more than once, should be above such a settlement of the question, accepts the challenge with knuckles in his clenched fist, jumps upon the decrepit and doting old man, knocks out his teeth, and breaks his ribs. He then ecstatically tells his exploits to a vast public of just such young men as he is, and this public rejoices and praises the hero who has maimed the old man.

Such is the one war that has occupied the minds of all in the Christian world. Nobody speaks of the other war. Hardly anyone knows anything about it. The other war is like this: All the states deceive the people, saying, “All of you who are ruled by me are in danger of being conquered by other nations. I look after your well being and security, and so demand that you shall annually give me millions of rubles, the fruits of your labors, which I am going to use for rifles, cannons, powder, and ships for your defense. I demand, besides, that you shall enter the organizations instituted by me, where they will make of you senseless pieces of an immense machine – the army – which I manage. While connected with this army you will cease being men and having your own wills, but will do everything I want you to do. What I want to do first of all is to rule. The means I use for ruling is murder, and so I am going to teach you to commit murder.”

The common people submit to this deception, give up their money for their own enslavement, and themselves enslave one another in spite of the obvious insipidity of the assertion that they are in danger of attack from the governments of other states; in spite of the degradation of that slavery to which men are subjected when they enter the army; and in spite of the cruelty of the business to which they are called. (The governments of other states assert that they, in spite of their desire for peace, are in the same danger.)

And here there appear people who say:

“What you say of the threatening danger and of your concern about protecting us against it is a deception. All the states affirm that they want peace, and at the same time arm themselves against one another. Besides, according to the law that you profess, all men are brothers and it makes no difference whether we belong to this state or to another, and so the attack of other states upon us, with which you frighten us, has no terror and no meaning for us. But the main thing is that, according to the law given to us by God, and which you, who demand of us a participation in murder, also profess, we are clearly forbidden to commit murder or even any acts of violence. We cannot and will not take part in your preparations for murder, will not give you any money for the purpose, and will not join the gangs you establish. You corrupt the reason and the conscience of men by changing them into instruments of violence, who are submissive to every evil man taking this instrument into his hands.”

In this consists the second war, which has for a long time been waged with the representatives of rude force….


People praise the Spanish and American heroes of that savage war, who, wishing to distinguish themselves in the eyes of men and to receive rewards and glory, have killed a very large number of men, or who have died themselves in the process of slaying their neighbors. But no one speaks or knows of these heroes of the war against war; they are not seen or heard by anyone. They have died by being beaten with rods, in stinking cells, or in oppressive exile, and still to their very last breath they remain faithful to the good and to truth.


They say, “These are useless sacrifices. These men will perish, but the structure of life will remain the same.” In the same way, I think, people spoke of the uselessness of Christ’s sacrifice and of the sacrifices of all the martyrs for the sake of truth. The people of our time, especially the scholars, have become so dense that they do not understand, and in their denseness cannot even understand, the significance and the influence of spiritual force. A charge of ten thousand pounds of dynamite sent into a crowd of living men – that they understand, and in that they see strength. But an idea, a truth, which has been realized, which has been introduced into life to the point of martyrdom, which has become accessible to millions, is not force according to their conception, because it does not boom and you do not see broken bones and puddles of blood.

Scholars (it is true, bad scholars) use all the power of their erudition to prove that humanity lives like a herd, which is guided only by economic conditions, and that reason is given to it only for amusement. Governments know what it is that moves the world, and so, from a sense of self-preservation, unerringly and zealously monitor the manifestation of spiritual forces, on which depends their existence or their ruin.


Such is the second war, which is being waged in our time, and such are its consequences. Its consequences are of importance, and not for the Russian government alone. Every government that is based on the army and on violence is struck in the same way by this weapon. Christ said, “I have conquered the world.” He really has conquered the world, if people will only believe in the power of the weapons that He has given to them.

The weapons are reason and conscience – for each man to follow his own reason and conscience.

This is so simple, so certain, and so obligatory for every single man. “You want to make me a participant in murder. You demand of me money for the preparation of the implements of murder, and you want me to become a participant in the organized gathering of murderers,” says a rational man, who has not sold or dimmed his conscience. “But I confess the same law with you, in which not only murder, but even every hostility, has long ago been forbidden, and so I cannot obey you.”

It is this means, which is so simple, that will conquer the world.


Cathargo Delenda Est (1899)
Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole


People complain of the evil conditions of life in our Christian world. But is it possible for it to be otherwise, when all of us acknowledge not only that fundamental divine law proclaimed some thousands of years ago, “Thou shalt not kill,” but also the law of love and brotherhood of all men, and yet, notwithstanding this, every man in the European world practically disavows this fundamental divine law acknowledged by him, and at the command of president, emperor, or minister, of Nicholas or William, arrays himself in a ridiculous costume, takes an instrument of murder and says, “Here I am, ready to injure, ruin, or kill any one I am ordered to”?

What must a society be like which is composed of such men? Such a society must be dreadful, and indeed it is so!


La Vita Internationale and L’Humanite nouvelle have sent me the following letter :

“Sir, With the object of furthering the development of humanitarian ideas and civilization, La Vita international (of Milan), with the support of L’Humanite nouvelle (of Paris and Brussels), has deemed it necessary to concern itself with the difficult problem which has of late arisen in all its gravity and importance, owing to the delicate question about which France and the whole world has become so ardently impassioned, we mean the problem of war and militarism. With this aim in view, we beg all those in Europe that take part in politics, science, art, and the labor movement, and even those that occupy the foremost positions in the army, to contribute to this most civilizing task by replying to the following questions :

1. Is war among civilized nations still required by history, law, and progress?
2. What are the intellectual, moral, physical, economical, and political effects of militarism?
3. What, in the interests of the world’s future civilization, are the solutions which should be given to the grave problems of war and militarism?
4. What means would most rapidly lead to these solutions?”

I cannot conceal the feelings of disgust, indignation, and even despair which were aroused in me by this letter. Enlightened, sensible, good Christian people, who inculcate the principle of love and brotherhood, who regard murder as an awful crime, who, with very few exceptions, are unable to kill an animal, all these people suddenly, provided that these crimes are called war, not only acknowledge the destruction, plunder, and killing of people to be right and legal, but themselves contribute toward these robberies and murders, prepare themselves for them, take part in them, are proud of them.

Moreover, always and everywhere one and the same phenomenon repeats itself, viz., that the great majority of people, all working-people, those same people who carry out the robberies and murders, and on whom the burden falls neither devise, nor prepare, nor desire these things, but take part in them against their will, merely because they are placed in such a position and are so instigated that it appears to them, to each individual, that they would suffer more were they to refuse. Whereas those who devise and prepare for these plunders and murders, and who compel the working-people to carry them out, are but an insignificant minority, who live in luxury and idleness, upon the labor of the workers.

This deceit has already been going on for a long time, but lately the insolence of the impostors has reached its extremest development, and a great share of what labor produces is being taken away from the workers, and used for making preparations for plundering and killing. In all the constitutional countries of Europe the workers themselves all, without exception, are called upon to take part in these robberies and murders; international relations are purposely always more and more complicated, and this leads on to war; peaceful countries are being plundered without the least cause; every year, in some place or other, people murder and rob; and all live in constant dread of general mutual robbery and murder.

It seems evident that, if these things are done, it can only be because the great mass of people are deceived by the minority to whom this deceit is advantageous, and therefore that the first task of those who are anxious to free people from the evils caused by this societies like the Quakers, Mennonites, and Nazarenes, and recently by the Dukhobors, of whom a whole population of fifteen thousand are now for the third year resisting the powerful Russian government, and, notwithstanding all the sufferings to which they have been subjected, do not submit to its demands that they should take part in the crimes of military service.

But the enlightened friends of peace not only refrain from recommending this method, but cannot bear the mention of it; when it is brought before them they pretend not to have noticed it, or, if they cannot help noticing it, they gravely shrug their shoulders and express their pity for those uneducated and unreasonable men who adopt such an ineffectual, silly method, when such a good one exists, namely, to sprinkle salt on the bird one wishes to catch, i.e., to persuade the governments, who only exist by violence and deceit, to forsake both the one and the other.

They tell us that the misunderstandings which arise between governments will be settled by tribunals or arbitration. But the governments do not at all desire the settlement of misunderstandings. On the contrary, if there be none they invent some, it being only by such misunderstanding with the governments that they are afforded a pretext for keeping up the army upon which their power is based. Thus the enlightened friends of peace strive to divert the attention of the working, suffering masses from the only method that can deliver them from the slavery in which they are held (from their youth upward), first by patriotism, next by oaths administered by the mercenary priests of a perverted Christianity, and lastly, by the fear of punishment.

In our days of close and peaceful relations between peoples of different nationalities and countries, the deceit called patriotism (which always claims the preeminence of one state or nationality over the rest, and which is therefore always involving people in useless and pernicious wars) is too evident for reasonable people of our age not to free themselves from it; and the religious deceit of the obligation of the oath (which is distinctly forbidden by that very gospel which the governments profess) is, thank God, ever less and less believed in. So that what really prevents the great majority from refusing to take part in military service is merely fear of the punishments which are inflicted by the governments for such refusals. This fear, however, is only a result of the government deceit, and has no other basis than hypnotism.

The governments may and should fear those who refuse to serve, and, indeed, they are afraid of them because every refusal undermines the prestige of the deceit by which the governments have the people in their power. But those who refuse have no ground whatever to fear a government that demands crimes from them. In refusing military service every man risks much less than he would were he to enter it.

The refusal of military service and the punishment of imprisonment and exile is only an advantageous insurance of oneself against the dangers of the military service. In entering the service every man risks having to take part in war (for which he is being prepared), and during war he may be like a man sentenced to death, placed in a position in which under the most difficult and painful circumstances he will almost certainly be killed or crippled, as I have seen in Sevastopol, where a regiment marched to a fort where two regiments had already been destroyed, and stood there until it too was entirely exterminated. Another, more profitable, chance is that the man who enters the army will not be killed, but will only fall ill and die in the unhealthy conditions of military service. A third chance is that, having been insulted by his superior, he will be unable to contain himself, will answer sharply, will break the discipline, and will be subjected to punishment much worse than that to which he would have been liable had he refused military service.

The best chance, however, is that instead of the imprisonment or exile to which a person refusing military service is liable, he will pass three or five years of his life amid vicious surroundings, practising the art of killing, being all the while in the same captivity as in prison, and in humiliating submission to depraved people. This in the first place.

Secondly, in refusing military service, every man, however strange it may seem, can yet always hope to escape punishment upon his refusal being that last exposure of the government’s deceit which will render any further punishment for such a deed, the punishment of one who refuses to participate in their oppression, impossible. So that submission to the demands of military service is evidently only submission to the hypnotizing of the masses, the utterly futile rush of Panurge’s sheep into the water, to their evident destruction.

Moreover, besides the consideration of advantage, there is yet another reason which should impel every man to refuse military service who is not hypnotized and is conscious of the importance of his actions. No one can help desiring that his life should not be an aimless and useless existence, but that it should be of service to God and man; yet frequently a man spends his life without finding an opportunity for such service. The summons to accept the military service presents precisely such an opportunity to every man of our time.

Every man, in refusing to take part in military service or to pay taxes to a government which uses them for military purposes, is, by this refusal, rendering a great service to God and man, for he is thereby making use of the most efficacious means of furthering the progressive movement of mankind toward that better social order which it is striving after and must eventually attain. But not only is it advantageous to refuse participation in the military service, and not only should the majority of the men of our time so refuse; it is, moreover, impossible not to refuse, if only they are not hypnotized. To every man there are some actions which are morally impossible, as impossible as are certain physical actions. And the promise of slavish obedience to strangers, and to immoral people who have the murder of men as their acknowledged object, is, to the majority of men, if only they be free from hypnotism, just such a morally impossible action. And therefore it is not only advantageous to and obligatory on every man to refuse to participate in the military service, but it is also impossible for him not to do so if only he be free from the stupefaction of hypnotism.

“But what will happen when all people refuse military service, and there is no check nor hold over the wicked, and the wicked triumph, and there is no protection against savage people against the yellow race who will come and conquer us?”

I will say nothing about the fact that, as it is, the wicked have long been triumphing, that they are still triumphing, and that while fighting one another they have long dominated the Christians, so that there is no need to fear what has already been accomplished; nor will I say anything with regard to the dread of the savage yellow race, whom we persistently provoke and instruct in war, that being a mere excuse, and one-hundredth part of the army now kept up in Europe being sufficient for the imaginary protection against them. I will say nothing about all this, because the consideration of the general result to the world of such or such actions cannot serve as a guide for our conduct and activity.

To man is given another guide, and that an unfailing one, the guide of his conscience, following which he indubitably knows that he is doing what he should do. Therefore, all considerations of the danger that threatens every individual who refuses military service, as well as what menaces the world in consequence of such refusals – all these are but a particle of that enormous and monstrous deceit in which Christian mankind is enmeshed, and which is being carefully maintained by the governments who exist by the power of this deceit.

If man act in accordance with what is dictated to him by his reason, his conscience, and his God, only the very best can result for himself as well as for the world.

People complain of the evil conditions of life in our Christian world. But is it possible for it to be otherwise, when all of us acknowledge not only that fundamental divine law proclaimed some thousands of years ago, “Thou shalt not kill,” but also the law of love and brotherhood of all men, and yet, notwithstanding this, every man in the European world practically disavows this fundamental divine law acknowledged by him, and at the command of president, emperor, or minister, of Nicholas or William, arrays himself in a ridiculous costume, takes an instrument of murder and says, “Here I am, ready to injure, ruin, or kill any one I am ordered to”?

What must a society be like which is composed of such men? Such a society must be dreadful, and indeed it is so!

Awake, brethren! Listen neither to those villains who, from your childhood, infect you with the diabolic spirit of patriotism, opposed to righteousness and truth, and only necessary in order to deprive you of your property, your freedom, and your human dignity; nor to those ancient impostors who preach war in the name of a cruel and vindictive God invented by them, and in the name of a perverted and false Christianity; nor, even less, to those modern Sadducees who, in the name of science and civilization, aiming only at the continuation of the present state of things, assemble at meetings, write books, and make speeches, promising to organize a good and peaceful life for people without their making any effort! Do not believe them. Believe only the consciousness which tells you that you are neither beasts nor slaves, but free men, responsible for your actions, and therefore unable to be murderers either of your own accord or at the will of those who live by these murders.

And it is only necessary for you to awake in order to realize all the horror and insanity of that which you have been and are doing, and, having realized this, to cease that evil which you yourselves abhor, and which is ruining you. If only you were to refrain from the evil which you yourselves detest, those ruling impostors, who first corrupt and then oppress you, would disappear like owls before the daylight, and then those new, human, brotherly conditions of life would be established for which Christendom weary of suffering, exhausted by deceit, and lost in insolvable contradictions is longing. Only let every man without any intricate or sophisticated arguments accomplish that which to-day his conscience unfailingly bids him do, and he will recognize the truth of the Gospel words:

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

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William Cowper on war and man’s inhumanity to man: Homo homini lupus


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

William Cowper: Selections on peace and war



William Cowper
From The Task (1782)

But war’s a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.


War and the chase engross the savage whole;
War followed for revenge, or to supplant
The envied tenants of some happier spot,
The chase for sustenance, precarious trust!


Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war
Might never reach me more! My ear is pained,
My soul is sick with every day’s report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled.
There is no flesh in man’s obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man. The natural bond
Of brotherhood is severed as the flax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not coloured like his own, and having power
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed,
Make enemies of nations who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And worse than all, and most to be deplored
As human nature’s broadest, foulest blot,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that mercy with a bleeding heart
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush
And hang his head, to think himself a man?

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Africa: Battleground For NATO’s 21st Century Strategic Concept

May 20, 2011

Africa: Battleground For NATO’s 21st Century Strategic Concept
Rick Rozoff

The war by major North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states against Libya is in its third month and has been conducted under the official auspices of NATO for the past fifty days.

According to the military bloc’s daily online tally [1], Alliance military aircraft have flown over 7,200 missions and more than 2,800 combat flights since NATO inaugurated so-called Operation Unified Protector on March 31.

The world’s only military alliance stands to match or exceed the 78-day duration of its air war against Yugoslavia in 1999 if not to deploy troops in Libya in what could expand into protracted combat and occupation roles like those in Afghanistan and adjoining nations where the Pentagon and NATO will mark the tenth anniversary of their invasion this October 7.

Recently Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko “Pointed out that the operation in Libya is becoming the first actual litmus test for NATO’s new strategic concept,” [2] a reference to the latest Strategic Concept adopted by the 28-nation alliance at its summit in Lisbon, Portugal last November, the first in this century and since that endorsed at the Washington summit in 1999 when NATO was waging its first war (against Yugoslavia) and incorporating its first post-Cold War recruits (the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland).

The war against Libya was also the test case for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the first overseas military command launched by the Pentagon since the end of the Cold War (its predecessor, Central Command, was created in 1983), whose Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn was in charge of bombing runs and cruise missile attacks in and a naval blockade of Libya from March 19-30.

The activation of AFRICOM as an independent command on October 1, 2008 and the expansion of NATO into Africa were integrally, inevitably related developments, as the top military chief of U.S. European Command, to which almost the entire African continent and the nascent AFRICOM were for years assigned, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe are and for almost 60 years have been the same person, currently America’s Admiral James Stavridis.

In what may have imminent and menacing implications for the ongoing conflict in Libya, Africa is also the laboratory for the 25,000-troop NATO Response Force, intended to be deployable within five days throughout the world and to sustain operations, including combat missions, for up to six months. In other words, the world’s first international military strike force. The NATO Response Force was an initiative of then-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld which was endorsed by the Alliance at its 2002 summit in the Czech Republic, the latter only having been brought into NATO three years before.

In 2006 NATO held a large-scale two-week military exercise in the west African island nation of Cape Verde codenamed Steadfast Jaguar with almost 8,000 troops from 25 of the Alliance’s 26 members at the time. Fighter jets, attack helicopters, warships including the Sixth Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney and American special forces were also employed in NATO’s first war games in Africa. To indicate the groundbreaking significance of the event, the bloc’s secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the North Atlantic Council – the ambassadors of all NATO member states – traveled to Cape Verde to inspect the exercise.

In the words of Scheffer: “You see here the new NATO, the NATO that has the capacity to be expeditionary. In the 21st century you have to be prepared to project stability over long distances….” Associated Press at the time cited then-NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European Command Marine General James Jones (later the Obama administration’s first National Security Advisor) as envisioning the role of the NATO Response Force as one that “could entail naval patrols to protect tankers off the coast of West Africa or security for storage and production facilities in areas such as the oil-rich Niger Delta.” Immediately after assuming the dual commands in January 2003 Jones laid the groundwork for the permanent deployment of U.S. and NATO military assets in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea off the continent’s western shores. [3]

Steadfast Jaguar was the first joint infantry-air force-naval operation conducted for and by the global NATO strike force. In the words of a Washington Times report during the war games, “The aim is to help transform the Brussels-based alliance from a static, Europe-centered, defensive organization into a security body with global ambitions and reach.”

In a feature entitled “NATO tests expeditionary force,” the Alliance website stated that the exercise was designed to “test the readiness of NATO’s cutting-edge Response Force to carry out missions anywhere required at very short notice,” and that “the Response Force will give the Alliance the ability to deploy up to 25,000 troops within five days anywhere in the world.”

NATO has also penetrated Africa in recent years by airlifting over 30,000 African Union troops to the Darfur region of western Sudan from 2005-2007 and since then thousands of Ugandan and Burundian forces into the Somali capital of Mogadishu for combat operations in support of the isolated, largely nominal Transitional Federal Government.

Starting in 2008 NATO has established a permanent naval presence off the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea with Operation Allied Provider, Operation Allied Protector and since 2009 and into the indefinite future Operation Ocean Shield.

Reports emanating from the region disclose that NATO warships recently intercepted a vessel allegedly bringing weapons to Eritrea as part of operations to enforce a naval blockade against the small Horn of Africa nation, the result of a United Nations Security Council resolution passed in December 2009 – with China abstaining and Libya, now the victim of the same, voting against it – that imposed an arms embargo and travel bans against one of perhaps as few as four African nations, including besieged Libya, not recruited as junior partners to AFRICOM through regular multinational military endeavors like Operation Flintlock, Operation Africa Endeavor, Natural Fire drills and training exercises led by the crews of American warships assigned to the Africa Partnership Station program.

As always, NATO activities parallel those of the Pentagon. African Standby Force brigades now operational in East and West Africa and planned for the north, south and center of the continent are assisted and overseen by both AFRICOM and NATO. In February of 2010 an Alliance website published this account of the bloc’s expanding role in Africa:

“Joint Command Lisbon is the operational lead for NATO/AU [African Union] engagement, and has a Senior Military Liaison Officer at AU HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. NATO also supports staff capacity building through the provision of places on NATO training courses to AU staff supporting AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia], and support to the operationalisation of the African Standby Force – the African Union’s vision for a continental, on-call security apparatus similar to the NATO Response Force.” [4]

And as the AFRICOM website announced in January ahead of this year’s Africa Endeavor exercise to be held in June, a planning conference in Mali “brought together more than 180 participants from 41 African, European and North American nations and observers from [the] Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Eastern African Standby Force and NATO to plan interoperability testing of communications and information systems of participating nations.” [5]

The following month an article appeared in a Kenyan publication claiming that Ramtane Lamamra, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, “confirmed that Nato is to sign a military cooperation agreement with the AU” with special emphasis to be placed on consolidating the African Standby Force. [6]

As the Russian deputy foreign minister was quoted asserting above, it has taken less than four months from the adoption of NATO’s new Strategic Concept to its initial implementation in North Africa.

The following are extracts from Strategic Concept: For the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [7], endorsed at the NATO summit late last November:

“The citizens of our countries rely on NATO to defend Allied nations, to deploy robust military forces where and when required for our security, and to help promote common security with our partners around the globe.”

“NATO has a unique and robust set of political and military capabilities to address the full spectrum of crises – before, during and after conflicts. NATO will actively employ an appropriate mix of those political and military tools to help manage developing crises that have the potential to affect Alliance security, before they escalate into conflicts; to stop ongoing conflicts where they affect Alliance security; and to help consolidate stability in post-conflict situations where that contributes to Euro-Atlantic security.”

“Instability or conflict beyond NATO borders can directly threaten Alliance security.”

“Some NATO countries will become more dependent on foreign energy suppliers and in some cases, on foreign energy supply and distribution networks for their energy needs.”

The new Strategic Concept calls for plans to “develop and maintain robust, mobile and deployable conventional forces to carry out both our Article 5 responsibilities and the Alliance’s expeditionary operations, including with the NATO Response Force” and to “develop the capacity to contribute to energy security.”

The blueprint for a 21st century global expeditionary NATO also affirms:

“Crises and conflicts beyond NATO’s borders can pose a direct threat to the security of Alliance territory and populations. NATO will therefore engage, where possible and when necessary, to prevent crises, manage crises, stabilize post-conflict situations and support reconstruction. Where conflict prevention proves unsuccessful, NATO will be prepared and capable to manage ongoing hostilities.”

“Unique in history, NATO is a security Alliance that fields military forces able to operate together in any environment; that can control operations anywhere through its integrated military command structure; and that has at its disposal core capabilities that few Allies could afford individually.”

After launching a full-scale war against a European nation for the first time since the end of World War II in Yugoslavia in 1999 and joining the U.S. in Afghanistan two years later in what is now the longest war in the world, NATO is putting its new global military doctrine into brutal and deadly effect in Africa.

2) Voice of Russia, May 17, 2011
3) Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Plans
Stop NATO, January 22, 2009
4) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
February 24, 2010
New Colonialism: Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones
Stop NATO, May 5, 2010
5) U.S. Africa Command, January 31, 2011
6) Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners
Stop NATO, February 20, 2011

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Maxim Gorky on Romain Rolland, war and humanism

May 19, 2011 2 comments


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

Romain Rolland: Selections on war


Maxim Gorky
From About Romain Rolland (1926)
Translated by Olga Shartse

There never was, I believe, an epoch when people in Europe lived in as tragic a state of helplessness, self-abnegation and lack of faith as they are living in now, blinded by the horrors of the slaughter of 1914-1918…

Can one find a period in the past when people worked so strenuously, with such absorption, on devising means of mutual extermination? And there was never an epoch so wretchedly poor in attempts to create an ideology of humanism, and of charity. In our days of dehumanization it is actually considered mauvais ton to speak of humanism. And if, from habit, it is anyway shouted: “Take pity on man,” it is shouted with hatred and a threat of vengeance.


Sinister days. The hollow sounds of destruction are heard everywhere, and there is much spiteful sadness everywhere…


People say that Romain Rolland is a Don Quixote. To my mind that’s the best thing that one can say about anybody. In the great game played by the forces of history with no compassion for us people, a man who craves fairness is also a force, and as such he is capable of opposing the spontaneity of this game.


Romain Rolland was the first writer in Europe to raise his voice against the war. He was hated by many for it. No wonder – who can love a man for the truth?

In L’âme enchantée his heart tells him that soon another, kinder truth the world has long needed will be born. He feels that a new woman will be born to replace the one that is now helping to destroy this world – a woman who understands that she must stimulate culture and therefore she wants to enter the world proudly as its lawful mistress, the mother of men created by her and answerable to her for their acts.

Rolland and Gorky

Rolland and Gandhi

Rolland and Rabindranath Tagore

Romain Rolland
To Maxim Gorky (1917)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

At Geneva, in January, 1917, A. V. Lunacharski delivered a lecture on the life and works of Maxim Gorki. The following tribute to Gorki was read before the lecture.

About fifteen years ago, in Paris, Charles Péguy, myself, and a few others, used to meet in a little ground-floor shop in the rue de la Sorbonne. We had just founded the “Cahiers de la Quinzaine.” Our editorial office was poorly furnished, neat and clean; the walls were lined with books. A photograph was the only ornament. It showed Tolstoy and Gorki standing side by side in the garden at Yasnaya Polyana. How had Péguy got hold of it? I do not know, but he had had several reproductions made, and each of us had on his desk the picture of these two distant comrades. Under their eyes part of Jean Christophe was written.

One of the two men, the veteran apostle, has gone, on the eve of the European catastrophe whose coming he foretold and in which his voice has been so greatly needed. The other, Maxim Gorki, is at his post, and his free-spirited utterances help to console us for Tolstoy’s silence.

Gorki has not proved one of those who succumbed to the vertigo of events. Amid the distressing spectacle of the thousands of writers, artists, and thinkers who, within a few days, laid down their role as guides and defenders of the masses, to follow the maddened herds, to drive these herds yet more crazy by their own cries, to hasten the rush into the abyss, Maxim Gorki was one of the rare exceptions, one of those whose reason and whose love of humanity remained unshaken. He dared to speak on behalf of the persecuted, on behalf of the gagged and enslaved masses. This great artist, who shared for so long the life of the unfortunate, of the humble, of the victims, of the outcasts of society, has never denied his sometime companions. Having become famous, he turns back to them, throwing the powerful light of his art into the dark places where wretchedness and social injustice are hidden away. His generous soul has known suffering; he does not close his eyes to the sufferings of others.

Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco…

Consequently, in these days of trial (trial which we greet, because it has taught us to take stock of ourselves, to estimate the true value of hearts and of thoughts), in these days when freedom of the spirit is everywhere oppressed, we must cry aloud our homage to Maxim Gorki. Across the battlefields, across the trenches, across a bleeding Europe, we stretch forth our hands to him. Henceforward, in face of the hatred which rages among the nations, we must affirm the union of New Europe. To the fighting “Holy Alliances” of the governments, we counterpose the brotherhood of the free spirits of the world!

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Kurt Tucholsky: The White Spots


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts


Kurt Tucholsky: The Trench

Kurt Tucholsky: Murder in disguise


Kurt Tucholsky
The White Spots (1919)
Translated by Harry Zohn

In the Dorotheenstrasse in Berlin stands a building that was formerly the Military Academy. At a man’s height there is a granite border that runs around the house, slab after slab.

These slabs look peculiar: they have white spots; the brown granite is light in many places – what can it be?

White spots, is that what they are? They ought to be reddish ones. This is where the German casualty lists were posted in the “great” years.

This is where those terrible sheets of paper were posted, new ones almost every day, with names, names, names…I own a copy of Number One of these documents; on it the outfits are still carefully noted, there are few dead on this first list; Number One was very brief. I don’t know how many more appeared after it – but there were well over a thousand. Name after name – and each time it meant that a human life had been snuffed out or that a human being was “missing,” crossed out for the time being, or wounded, or maimed.

That’s where they were posted, where these whites spots are now. Hundreds of silent people crowded around them, people who had their dearest ones out there and who were trembling that they might read one name among all the thousands. What did they care about all the Müllers and Schulzes and Lehmanns who appeared on these lists! Let thousands upon thousands perish – as long a he wasn’t among them. And it was on this mentality that the war battened. And it was because of this mentality that it could go on like this for four long years. Had we all risen – all as one man – who knows how long it would have lasted.

People have said that I don’t know the way a German can die; I know it well enough. But I also know how a German woman can weep – and I know how she weeps today, now that she slowly, excruciatingly slowly, realizes what her man has died for. What he has died for….

Am I rubbing salt on wounds? I should like to burn the celestial fire into wounds. I should like to cry out to the mourners: He died for nothing, for a madness, for nothing, nothing, nothing!

In the course of the years the white spots will gradually be washed away by the rain and disappear. But those other spots cannot be effaced. There are traces engraved on hearts that will not go away. And each time I pass the Military Academy, with its brown granite and white spots, I silently say to myself: Promise it to yourself. Make a vow. Be active. Work. Tell the people. Liberate them from national madness, you, with your small power. You owe it to the dead. The white spots cry out. Do you hear them? They cry: No more wars!

Die Flecke

In der Dorotheenstraße zu Berlin steht das Gebäude der ehemaligen Kriegsakademie. Unten, in guter Mannshöhe, läuft eine Granitlage um das Haus herum, Platte an Platte.

Diese Platten sehen seltsam aus; sie sind weißlich gefleckt, der braune Granit ist hell an vielen Stellen…was mag das sein?

Ist er weißlich gefleckt? Aber er sollte rötlich gefleckt sein. Hier hingen, während der großen Zeit, die deutschen Verlustlisten.

Hier hingen, fast alle Tage gewechselt, die schrecklichen Zettel, die endlosen Listen mit Namen, Namen, Namen…Ich besitze die Nr. 1 dieser Dokumente: da sind noch sorgfältig die Truppenteile angegeben, wenig Tote stehen auf der ersten Liste, sie waren sehr kurz, diese Nr. 1. Ich weiß nicht, wie viele dann erschienen sind – aber sie gingen hoch hinauf, bis über die Nummer tausend. Namen an Namen – und jedesmal hieß das, dass ein Menschenleben ausgelöscht war oder ›vermißt‹, für die nächste Zukunft ausgestrichen, oder verstümmelt, leicht oder schwer.

Da hingen sie, da, wo jetzt die weißen Flecke sind. Da hingen sie, und vor ihnen drängten sich die Hunderte schweigender Menschen, die ihr Liebstes draußen hatten und die zitterten, dass sie diesen einzigen Namen unter allen den Tausenden hier läsen. Was kümmerten sie die Müllers und Schulzes und Lehmanns, die hier aushingen! Mochten Tausende und Tausende verrecken – wenn er nur nicht dabei war! Und an dieser Gesinnung ertüchtigte der Krieg.

Und an dieser Gesinnung hat es gelegen, dass es vier lange Jahre so gehen konnte. Wären wir alle für einen aufgestanden, alle wie ein Mann –: wer weiß, ob es so lange gedauert hätte. Man hat mir gesagt, ich wisse nicht, wie der deutsche Mann sterben könne. Ich weiß es wohl. Ich weiß aber auch, wie die deutsche Frau weinen kann – und ich weiß, wie sie heute weint, da sie langsam, qualvoll langsam erkennt, wofür er gestorben ist. Wofür…

Streue ich Salz in Wunden: Aber ich möchte das himmlische Feuer in Wunden brennen, ich möchte den Trauernden zurufen: Für nichts ist er gestorben, für einen Wahnsinn, für nichts, für nichts, für nichts.

Im Laufe der Jahre werden ja diese weißen Flecke allmählich vom Regen abgewaschen werden und schwinden. Aber diese andern da, die kann man nicht tilgen. In unsern Herzen sind Spuren eingekratzt, die nicht vergehen. Und jedesmal, wenn ich an der Kriegsakademie mit ihrem braunen Granit und den weißen Flecken vorbeikomme, sage ich mir im stillen: Versprich es dir. Lege ein Gelöbnis ab. Wirke. Arbeite. Sags den Leuten. Befreie sie von dem Nationalwahn, du mit deinen kleinen Kräften. Du bist es den Toten schuldig. Die Flecke schreien. Hörst du sie?

Sie rufen: Nie wieder Krieg –!

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Austin Dobson: Before Sedan

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts


Austin Dobson
Before Sedan (1873)

“The dead hand clasped a letter”

Here is this leafy place,
Quiet he lies,
Cold, with his sightless face
Turned to the skies;
‘Tis but another dead;
All you can say is said.

Carry his body hence, –
Kings must have slaves;
Kings climb to eminence
Over men’s graves:
So this man’s eye is dim; –
Throw the earth over him.

What was the white you touched,
There, at his side?
Paper his hand had clutched
Tight ere he died:
Message or wish, may be; –
Smooth the folds out and see.

Hardly the worst of us
Here could have smiled! –
Only the tremulous
Words of a child; –
Prattle, that has for stops
Just a few ruddy drops.

Look. She is sad to miss,
Morning and night,
His – her dead father’s – kiss;
Tries to be bright,
Good to mamma, and sweet.
That is all. “Marguerite.”

Ah, if beside the dead
Slumbered the pain!
Ah, if the hearts that bled
Slept with the slain!
If the grief died; – But no; –
Death will not have it so.

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Amiel on war

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881)
From the Journal
Translated by Mrs. Humphry Ward

By far the greater number of human beings can only conceive action, or practise it, under the form of war – a war of competition at home, a bloody war of nations abroad, and finally war with self. So that life is a perpetual combat….

War is a brutal and fierce means of pacification; it means the suppression of resistance by the destruction or the enslavement of the conquered….Conflict is the result of the selfishness which will acknowledge no other limit than that of external force.

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NATO Continues Killing Spree in Africa And Asia

May 15, 2011 3 comments

May 15, 2011

NATO Continues Killing Spree in Africa And Asia
Rick Rozoff

On May 13 President Barack Obama welcomed North Atlantic Treaty Organization secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen to the White House and the two pledged to continue the world’s two major wars, those in Afghanistan and Libya. There are over 150,000 foreign troops engaged in the nearly ten-year war in Afghanistan, at least 130,000 of them serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Since taking command of the war against Libya on March 31 the military bloc has conducted almost 7,000 air missions, including over 2,600 combat flights. Obama and Rasmussen also announced that the U.S. will host next year’s NATO summit.

In a column in the same day’s Wall Street Journal, Rasmussen said, “NATO’s operational commitments have changed beyond recognition in the past 20 years, and we have never been busier.” Indeed.

NATO troops killed a 12-year-old girl and injured four other girls ages 8 to 15 in Afghanistan’s Kunar province on May 15, according to the provincial police chief. The day before NATO forces killed a 15-year-old boy, the son of an Afghan soldier, in a night raid in Nangarhar province, resulting in a demonstration by local Afghans that was fired upon by government forces with four protesters killed, including a 14-year-old boy.

On May 12 NATO troops killed a 12-year-old girl and a policeman, her relative, also in Nangarhar province. According to the girl’s father: “They (foreign troops) hurled a hand grenade at my daughter after she ran out of the room in a panic. She was killed on the spot.” [1]

Two weeks before NATO and Afghan government troops attacked a Pakistani checkpoint in the South Waziristan Agency. Three Afghan soldiers were killed and two Pakistani security personnel were injured. “Pakistani security forces said they returned fire when they came under attack from Afghan and Nato forces….” [2]

According to a leader of a Pakistani opposition party: “The NATO attack was not accidental but a calculated and planned move to target Pakistan so as to hide its failure in Afghanistan. The violation of Pakistani territory indicated that the US was planning to push the war inside Pakistan.” [3]

U.S. drone missile attacks killed eight people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency on May 12, after which “locals said the dead were innocent people.” [4] Two days before “U.S. drone aircraft fired two missiles at a vehicle, killing at least five people and injuring seven others” in South Waziristan. “The identities of the deceased were not known immediately.” [5]

The U.S. had enough Hellfire missiles left over to launch a drone attack in Yemen earlier this month, missing the intended target and killing two other people instead.

Late last month three NATO helicopters fired on Iranian fishermen 750 kilometers north of the Somali capital of Mogadishu in the Indian Ocean, wounding three Iranians and killing three Somalis in the second such attack in two days. Iran’s minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Mohamed Ali “condemned the NATO attack and demanded an apology from the international forces.” [6]

On May 13 NATO aircraft bombed the Libyan city of Brega, killing 16 civilians, including 11 clerics who were there on a peace mission, and wounding 45 others.

The same day Alliance warships, part of a 20-ship flotilla enforcing a naval blockade of Libya, shelled a Red Crescent Society building in rebel-held Misrata as well as bombing the outskirts of the nearby town of Zlitan.

The preceding day Libyan state television reported that a NATO air strike hit the North Korean embassy in Tripoli. Several other sites were targeted in the capital hours after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi made his first television appearance since a NATO strike on April 30 killed one of his sons and three of his grandchildren.

General Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, which was in charge of the air war and naval operations against Libya from March 19-30, spoke in Uganda on May 11 and advocated the deployment of more troops for the ongoing armed conflict in Somalia, offering American assistance for the effort. Since last year NATO has airlifted thousands of Ugandan troops into and out of the Somali capital, where three Ugandan soldiers were killed and as many wounded three days after Ham’s statement.

On May 14 Djibouti, where the Pentagon has its only permanent military base in Africa and at least 2,500 troops assigned to its Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa based there, announced it would deploy two battalions to Somalia to join 9,000 Ugandan and Burundian forces there.

There will be far more innocent people, including children, killed in Africa, Asia and the Arabian Peninsula before the NATO summit convenes in the U.S. next year.

1) Pajhwok Afghan News, May 12, 2011
2) Dawn News, April 27, 2011
3) News International, April 28, 2011
4) The Nation, May 13, 2011
5) Online News International, May 10, 2011
6) Press TV, April 24, 2011

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1862: Dostoevsky on the new world order

May 15, 2011 4 comments


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

Fyodor Dostoevsky: Selections on war


Fyodor Dostoevsky
From Winter Notes on Summer Impressions (1862)
Translated by Kyril Fitzlyon

The immense town [London], forever bustling by night and by day, as vast as an ocean, the screech and howl of machinery, the railways built above the houses (and soon to be built under them), the daring of enterprise, the apparent disorder which in actual fact is the highest form of bourgeois order, the polluted Thames, the coal-saturated air, the magnificent squares and parks, the town’s terrifying districts such as Whitechapel with its half-naked, savage and hungry population, the City with its millions and its world-wide trade, the Crystal Palace, the World Exhibition…

The Exhibition is indeed amazing. You feel the terrible force which has brought these innumerable people, who have come from the ends of the earth, altogether into one fold; you realize the grandeur of the idea; you feel that something has been achieved here, that here is victory and triumph. And you feel nervous. However great your independence of mind, a feeling of fear somehow creeps over you. Can this, you think, in fact be the final accomplishment of an ideal state of things? Is this the end, by any chance? Perhaps this really is the ‘one fold’? Perhaps we shall really have to accept this as the whole truth and cease from all movement thereafter?

It is all so solemn, triumphant, and proud that you are left breathless. You look at those hundreds of thousands, at those millions of people obediently trooping into this place from all parts of the earth – people who have come with only one thought in mind, quietly, stubbornly and silently milling round in this colossal palace, and you feel that something final has been accomplished here – accomplished and completed. It is a Biblical sight, something to do with Babylon, some prophecy out of the Apocalypse being fulfilled before your very eyes.

You feel that a rich and ancient tradition of denial and protest is needed in order not to yield, not to succumb to impression, not to bow down in worship of fact, and not to idolize Baal, that is, not to take the actual for the ideal…


The Crystal Palace


[If] you had seen how proud the mighty spirit is which created that colossal decor and how convinced it is of its victory and its triumph, you would have shuddered at its pride, its obstinacy, its blindness, and you would have shuddered, too, at the thought of those over whom that proud spirit hovers and reigns supreme. In the presence of such immensity, in the presence of the unbounded pride of the dominating spirit, and of the triumphant finality of the world created by that spirit, the hungry soul often quails, yields and submits, seeks its salvation in gin and debauchery and succumbs to a belief in the rightness of the existing order…

In London you no longer see the populace. Instead you see a loss of sensibility, systematic, resigned and discouraged. And you feel, as you look at all those social pariahs, that it will be a long time before the prophecy is fulfilled for them, a long time before they are given palm branches and white robes, and for a long time yet they will continue to appeal to the Throne of the Almighty, crying: ‘How long, oh Lord?’


From Meditations About Europe (1876)
Translated by Boris Brasol

Everybody predicts lasting peace; everywhere, clear horizons, alliances and new energies are being discerned. Even in the fact that in Paris a republic has been established, people perceive peace; moreover, even in the fact that that republic has been established by Bismarck – even in this, people perceive peace. In the accord of the great Oriental powers people unhesitatingly see great pledges for peace, while some of our newspapers begin to observe even in the present Herzegovina disturbance unmistakable symptoms of the stability of European peace, instead of the former apprehension.

Peace “to the very finish” is altogether impossible there [France]. Acclaiming the republic, everybody in Europe has been asserting that it is needed by both France and Europe by the fact alone that only its existence will render the “revanche” war with Germany impossible, and that the republic alone – among all the governments that have been only recently claiming power in France – will neither risk nor desire it. And yet all this is a mirage: the republic has been proclaimed precisely for the purpose of war, if not with Germany, then with a still more dangerous adversary, communism.

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Nikolai Nekrasov: In War


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war


Nikolai Nekrasov (1821-1878)
In War
Translator not identified

Hearing the terrors of the war, sore troubled,
By each new victim of the combat torn –
Nor friend, nor wife I give my utmost pity,
Nor do I for the fallen hero mourn.
Alas! the wife will find a consolation.
The friend by friend is soon forgot in turn.

But somewhere is the one soul that remembers –
That will remember unto death’s dark shore,
Nor can the tears of a heart-stricken mother
Forget the sons gone down on fields of gore.
One soul there is that like the weeping willow
Can never raise its drooping branches more.

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Central Asia: Part Of NATO’s Global Chain To Ring In Russia And China
May 14, 2011

Kyrgyzstan. Are you tired of NATO?
By Daniyar Karimov
[Edited by RR]


Not long ago, various experts asserted that NATO’s life was short. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Alliance seemed to lose its enemy and original basis of unity. However, it turned out that it was too early to bury NATO. The military bloc has rapidly increased the number of its members with the incorporation of the countries of the former socialist bloc and eventually began to claim the status of a global gendarmerie. At first, Yugoslavia, and then Iraq and Afghanistan tested it. Today, Libya is conducting a firmness test….


The Tien Shan [mountain range] seems, slowly but surely, to be becoming a part of the global chain which NATO uses to gradually ring in its main potential opponents – Russia and China.

Alliance, do not hurry to “go away”

The demonstration killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan has made many experts believe in the theories of the close completion of the antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan. In the next three years, NATO plans to curtail military operations in the country and pass the initiative to the local military services. The North Atlantic Alliance is withdrawing its troops, leaving increased drug trafficking and strong transnational groups in Afghanistan, which feel comfortable at the “great heroin road”.

However, despite its antagonists’ expectations, the Alliance is not going to leave Central Asia. The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Mr. James Appathurai openly spoke about it during his visits to southern post-Soviet republics. “We intend to end the military operation in Afghanistan in 2014, but it doesn’t mean that there will be not a single NATO solder in Central Asia on January 1, 2015,” Mr. Appathurai said during a recent visit to Bishkek. “We have long-term obligations to Afghanistan and we do not intend to leave a security vacuum after withdrawal of troops.”

NATO intends to consolidate in Central Asia just not to leave the “hallowed place” empty. But it’s going to present itself not in the role of an invader but in another, but very close, one. The Alliance, as Brussels’ high-ranking emissary said, was planned to have in the country both military forces or instructors and their representative offices, which would help to improve ties and bring Central Asia and the Atlantic military bloc together.

In Kyrgyzstan, NATO interests are associated with a representative office of the alliance, which is to be opened here, and with another three lines of “cooperation”. All these facts, alas, create another reason for Kyrgyzstan’s partners in CSTO and SCO to doubt the sincerity of official Bishkek.

The main issue for NATO is the military base in the Manas airport. It’s being considered as an American one for a long time, as there are mainly Pentagon representatives there. But according to some experts, this base deals not only with military operations but also with intelligence support. American diplomats tried to attribute such theories to banal rumors. However, an unforgettable incident, when an Iranian terrorist was removed from a plane of the Kyrgyz airlines in the spring of 2010, brought all their attempts to naught. Recall, he admitted that he was going to meet with CIA agents at the Manas Transit Center.

As early as during Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s presidency, Washington managed to make an agreement with Bishkek on the use of the Manas air base till 2014. However, the White House could not secure itself against Kyrgyz instability. The fate of the so-called Transit Center was uncertain after the “April revolution”. A lobby of pro-American groups in the team of interim president Roza Otunbayeva helped the U.S. to keep its positions in Kyrgyzstan. She also does not hide her sympathy to the West.

High-ranking foreign officials became frequent guests in Bishkek, due to favour of the head of the interim government of the KR [Kyrgyz Republic]. Tien Shan has never before seen such a great number of VIP persons. The plan worked out: Bishkek, vainly overestimating its geopolitical importance, graciously allowed the Americans to stay. However, it is clear that the decision on the TC [Transit Center] was temporary and Kyrgyz authorities will over and over discuss the Pentagon’s presence in the KR.

According to some reports, U.S. and NATO representatives discussed the base issue at multiple meetings with Kyrgyz politicians. Roza Otunbayeva is not an exception: being the president of the country, she allows the western guests to expect temporary but more or less close cooperation. And, apparently, official Bishkek successfully plays this card.

According to sources close to the president for the transition period, James Appathurai paid not just a courtesy visit to Kyrgyzstan but also discussed the future of the Manas military base with Roza Otunbayeva at a behind closed doors meeting. However, she is not the only one with whom the West is trying to negotiate to keep the outpost on the outskirts of the Kyrgyz capital. NATO is obviously trying to find points of cooperation with a favorite in the upcoming presidential race – Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev.

Even if the Pentagon officially agrees to withdraw its military troops from Kyrgyzstan, which seems to be doubtful now, NATO will not abandon the Manas outpost. The United States will be replaced by another member of the alliance – Turkey. Recall, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey discussed the possibility of establishing a public Transit Center at the place of the so-called Transit Center. Will the new-old center serve only commercial goals?

“Blue” integration

“Our bilateral relations with Kyrgyzstan depend not only on Afghanistan,” said James Appathurai during this visit to Bishkek. “The country is very important for us. It is on the road of democratic reforms and we want to support it.”

Kyrgyzstan’s efforts in the sphere of democratic reforms, coordinated with NATO, lead to a question on the development of the defense potential of the country. Kyrgyz military forces willingly cooperate with Turkey; Roza Otunbayeva asks the North Atlantic Alliance to assist in improving the country’s southern borders and border troops. By the way, at first she discussed it with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during her visit to Brussels two months ago. A few days ago she discussed it with James Appathurai. However, the alliance, according to official sources, expressed its readiness to assist in capital repairs of the missile and artillery equipment warehouses of the Defence Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic, “paying main attention to the southern region of the country.” Apparently, NATO is unwilling to openly conquer the Fergana, not to irritate Kyrgyzstan’s neighbors.

At the same time, James Appathurai did not exclude Kyrgyzstan’s participation in the NATO program Process of Analysis and Military Planning. “The program includes military reforms that would bring armed forces of the republic in line with the Alliance.” This, by the way, will prepare the army to participate in peacekeeping operations of the Atlantic bloc. The NATO Special Representative stressed the need “to achieve compatibility” of Kyrgyzstan and NATO in this field, the same as observed in co-operation on the Afghanistan issue.

However, as usual, neither society nor the ruling circles have a single position on the issue of NATO’s approach to Kyrgyzstan. There is a fanatic “for” and an equal radical “against.” Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Academy under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the KR Nur Omarov expressed a more conservative opinion. “We ought to avoid unfriendliness, which some members of the alliance feel in relation to Central Asian partners and the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization],” he stressed. “The establishment of a NATO Special Representative Office in Bishkek will contribute to strengthening the alliance’s cooperation with the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] and the CSTO. NATO shall focus all its efforts in Central Asia on the reduction of potential conflicts.”

While there is no consent among the parties, the Kyrgyz elite continues its geopolitical games. In Kyrgyzstan, it is called multi-directionality. “We’ll continue cooperation with NATO,” said Roza Otunbayeva after her meeting with the NATO Secretary General. “We have a right to improve the potential of the republic and we’ll continue to do it, using all available methods.”

Atlantic weeble wobble

To justify military multi-directionality, official Bishkek is trying to play the role of global peacekeeper. “The countries of Central Asia may become a bridge for the development of NATO’s cooperation with the SCO and the CSTO,” said the Director of the Diplomatic Academy under the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry, Zhumagul Saadanbekov.

But now, there is no opportunity to bring NATO and the CSTO together, even within the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]. Perhaps it is because the main participants of these military-political blocs did not come to an agreement on the most topical issues of global security – missile defense. The U.S. suspended missile deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic but found a new place for the missile defense deployment – Romania.

Not long ago, various experts asserted that NATO’s life was short. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Alliance seemed to lose its enemy and original basis of unity. However, it turned out that it was too early to bury NATO. The military bloc has rapidly increased the number of its members with the incorporation of the countries of the former socialist bloc and eventually began to claim the status of a global gendarmerie. At first, Yugoslavia, and then Iraq and Afghanistan tested it. Today, Libya is conducting a firmness test, giving analysts a new reason to speculate about the imminent end of the alliance. It is well known that some members of the alliance do not participate in the operation against the Gaddafi regime.

A report of the International Independent Investigation Commission of Kimmo Kiljunen, which found crimes against humanity in the Osh events, forced the local elite to think whether it would face the fate of Arab leaders against whom Europe is trying to initiate hearings in the International Court of Justice. However, Kyrgyzstan, of course, is not a key country in NATO’s plans. The bloc sets bag for the whole Central Asia and Caucasus.

Probably, Brussels and the capitals of NATO’s main members can identify its real goals in Central Asia. By the way, five of the bloc’s members are in the top ten of countries with the largest military budgets (the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Italy), another two members in that category are alliance-friendly countries Japan and Saudi Arabia.

The countries which won’t become members of the alliance have only three places in the “military ten”. They are China, which took second place in world military spending, Russia (7th place), and India (10th place). In games of the members of the “military ten”, Kyrgyzstan can obtain only [a badminton] birdie role. Who is the next to play?

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Vsevolod Garshin: Four Days


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war


Vsevolod Garshin
Four Days (1877)
Translated by Bernard Isaacs


Before me lies the man I have killed. What did I kill him for?

He lies there dead and gory. What fate had cast him here? Who is he? Perhaps he, too, like me, has an old mother. How long will she sit on the doorstep of her squalid little clay hut in the evenings, looking northward to see whether her beloved son, her breadwinner and worker, is coming home?

Had I given up all that I loved, all that was dear to me, had I made this thousand-mile march out here, suffering from hunger, cold and the blazing heat, did I lie now here in such agony, merely for the sake of taking that poor man’s life? What useful military objective had I achieved apart from this murder?

His face had gone. It had slid off the bones. The ghastly skull, fixed in the eternal grin of death, was more repulsive to me than ever before, although I had often had occasion to handle skulls and anatomize whole heads.

This skeleton in uniform with shining buttons made me shudder. “That is war,” I thought, “there is its image.”


I remember running through the woods, forcing our way through the hawthorn bushes, while the bullets whizzed around us, snapping off branches. The shooting became heavier. Red flashes spurted here and there on the edge of the wood. Sidorov, a young soldier of Company One (“What is he doing in our skirmish line?” I found myself wondering), suddenly slumped down on the ground and looked back at me in silence with great frightened eyes. Blood trickled from his mouth. Yes, I remember that clearly.

I also remember how, in the dense undergrowth, within almost a stone’s throw from the edge of the wood, I first saw him…..He was a huge fat Turk, but I went straight for him, weak and thin though I was. There was a report, and something flew past me, something enormous, it seemed to me; there was a ringing in my ears.

“He is shooting at me,” came the thought. With a scream of terror he recoiled against a thick hawthorn bush. He could have gone round it, but in his fear he did not know what he was doing and flung himself upon the prickly branches. I struck out, and knocked the rifle out of his hands, then struck again and felt my bayonet sinking into something soft. There was a queer sound, something between a snarl and a groan.

Then I ran on. Our men were shouting “hurrah!”, dropping, shooting. I remember firing several shots after I had come out of the woods into a clearing. Suddenly the cheers sounded louder and we all moved forward again. I should have said “our men” instead of “we,” because I was left behind. I thought it rather odd. Still more odd was it when all of a sudden everything disappeared, and all the shouting and the shooting were silenced. I heard nothing, and saw only a patch of blue; it must have been the sky. Then that went too.

I have never been in such a queer position before. I am lying, I believe, on my stomach, and see nothing in front of me but a small patch of earth. A few blades of grass, an ant, its head lowered, crawling along with one of them, bits of rubbish from last year’s grass — that is my whole world. And I see it with only one eye, as the other one is pressed hard up against something — no doubt the branch on which my head is resting. I am terribly uncomfortable, and want to shift my position, and simply can’t understand why I am not able to do so. Time passes. I hear the chirr of grasshoppers, the hum of bees. Not a sound more. At last, with an effort, I disengage my right arm from under my body, and pushing away from the ground with both hands, I make an effort to get up on my knees.

A pain, intense and swift as lightning, shoots through my whole body from knees to chest and head, and I fall back. Again darkness, a void.

I wake up. Why do I see the stars shining so brightly in the blue-black Bulgarian sky? Am I not in my tent? What made me crawl out of it? I make a movement and feel an excruciating pain in the legs.

Yes, I have been wounded. Is it dangerous or not? Both my right and left legs are clotted with blood. When I touch them the pain gets worse. It’s like a toothache – a continuous gnawing pain. There is a ringing in my ears, and my head is weighted with lead. Dimly I realize that I have been hit in both legs. What’s the matter? Why didn’t they pick me up? Have the Turks beaten us?

I begin to recollect what happened to me, at first vaguely, then ever more clearly, and come to the conclusion that we have not been beaten at all. Because I dropped (I do not actually remember that, but I do remember everyone running forward while I wasn’t able to, and being left behind with something blue before my eyes) – I dropped in the clearing, just on top of the mound.

Our little battalion commander had pointed out that clearing to us. “Make for that, boys!” he had cried in his ringing voice. And we had made it, so we could not have been defeated. Then why hadn’t they picked me up? It was an open spot here, they could not have missed me. Besides, I probably wasn’t the only one lying there.

They had been shooting so rapidly, I must turn my head and have a look. I can do that more comfortably now, because when I had come to myself that time and seen the ant with the blade of grass crawling along head downwards, I had tried to get up and had dropped again not in my former position but on my back. That’s why I can see the stars.

I raise myself and sit up. It’s a hard thing to do with both my legs crippled. I had almost given it up in despair, but managed it at last with tears of pain springing to my eyes.

Overhead is a bit of blue-black sky with a big star and several small ones shining in it surrounded by something dark and tall. It’s the bushes. I’m in the undergrowth – they have overlooked me!

I can feel the roots of my hair crawling on my head.

But what could I be doing in the undergrowth when I was wounded in the clearing?

I must have crawled over here dazed with pain. The odd part about it is I cannot stir a limb now, while before I had been able to drag myself over to these bushes. Perhaps I had been hit only once then, and the second bullet had got me here.

Faint pink circles began to swim before my eyes. The big star faded and some of the smaller ones vanished. It was the moon rising. How good it was at home now!

Strange sounds reach my ears. It’s like someone moaning. Yes, it’s a moan.

Is it someone else lying next to me overlooked, someone with crippled legs or a bullet in his stomach? No, the moans sound so near, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone near me….My God, why it’s me myself! Low piteous moans; is the pain really as bad as that? It must be. Only I do not realize it, my head is so leaden and clouded. I had better lie down again and go to sleep – to sleep, sleep….Would I ever wake up, though? Who cares.

Just as I am preparing to lie down a broad pale strip of moonlight clearly illumines the place where I am lying, and I see something dark and big lying within five paces of me. The moon picks out bright spots on it here and there. These are buttons or accoutrement. It’s a dead body or a wounded man.

I don’t care what it is – I’m going to lie down….No, it cannot be! Our men could not have retreated. They are here, they have driven back the Turks and are holding these positions. Then why is there no murmur of talk, no crackle of camp-fires? It must be that I am too weak to hear anything. They must be here, I am sure.

“Help! Help!”

Wild, hoarse, frantic cries burst from my throat, but remain unanswered. They resound loudly in the night air. All else is silence. Only the grasshoppers keep up their ceaseless chirp. The round face of the moon looks down on me sorrowfully. If he were wounded he would have come to from such a cry. It is a corpse. One of ours or a Turk? Ah, my God! What difference does it make? And sleep descends upon my burning eyes.

I lie with closed eyes, although I have long been awake. I do not want to open them, as I can feel the sunlight through my closed eyelids; if I open them the glare of the sun will hurt. And I had better not move either.

Yesterday (was it yesterday?) I was wounded; a day has passed; more days will pass, and I shall die. Who cares.

I had better not stir. Let my body lie still. If only I could stop my brain working, too! But nothing can check it. Thoughts and memories throng in my head. That is not for long, though; soon the end will come. All that will remain will be a few lines in the newspapers saying that we had sustained few casualties – so many wounded, volunteer Private Ivanov killed. They will not even write the name; just – one killed. One private, like that wretched little dog.

A vivid scene leaps to my mind. It was long ago; but then my whole life, that life I had lived before I lay here with shot up legs, was so long ago….I was walking down the street, and the sight of a crowd of people made me stop. They were standing in silence, looking at a bleeding ball of white that was whimpering piteously. It was a pretty little dog that had been run over by a horse tram. It was dying, as I am now. A janitor pushed through the crowd, picked the dog up by the scruff of its neck and carried it away. The crowd dispersed.

Would someone carry me away? No, I am – to lie here and die. And how beautiful life is! That day (when the accident occurred to the dog) I was happy. I walked along drunk with joy, and had good reason to be.

Ah, aching memories, leave me alone, do not torment me! The joy that was, the anguish that is…let the anguish alone remain; it is easier to bear than memories which compel comparisons. Ah, what agony! You are worse than wounds!

It is becoming hot, though. The sun is blazing. I open my eyes and see the same bushes, the same sky, only now in daylight. And there is my neighbour. It’s a Turk, a corpse. What a huge man! I know him, it’s that same man….

Before me lies the man I have killed. What did I kill him for?

He lies there dead and gory. What fate had cast him here? Who is he? Perhaps he, too, like me, has an old mother. How long will she sit on the doorstep of her squalid little clay hut in the evenings, looking northward to see whether her beloved son, her breadwinner and worker, is coming home?

And I? And I too….I would gladly change places with him. How happy he must be not to hear anything, not to feel the pain of his wounds, nor the deadly anguish, nor the thirst….The bayonet had pierced him to the heart. There was a big black hole in his uniform with blood round it. I had done that.

I had not meant to. I had had no grudge against any one when I went to fight. The thought that I would have to kill anybody had not occurred to me somehow. I had merely seen myself putting my own chest out to meet the bullets. And I had gone and done so.

And now what? Ah, fool, fool! And this poor fellah (he was wearing Egyptian uniform) – he was still less to blame. Until they were packed into a steamer like herrings in a barrel and shipped to Constantinople, he had never heard of Russia or of Bulgaria. He had been told to go, so he had gone. If he had not he would have been bastinadoed, or some pasha perhaps would have shot him down with a revolver. He had made the long and gruelling march from Stambul to Rustchuk. We had attacked, he had defended himself. But seeing what formidable men we were – men who had kept pushing on and on in face of his patented English Peabody-Martini rifle – terror had struck his heart. And when he had wanted to retreat, some little fellow, whom he could have killed with one blow of his dark fist, had rushed at him and plunged his bayonet into his heart.

Was it his fault?

Was it my fault, for that matter, although I did kill him? This thirst is terrible.

Thirst! Who knows what that word means! Even when we were going through Rumania, marching fifty versts a day under a terrific heat of over a hundred degrees, I had never felt what I am feeling now. Ah, I wish somebody would come!

My God! Why, he must have some water in that huge flask of his! How can I get to it, though. At what cost? But get to it I must.

I begin to crawl. My legs drag, my weakened arms barely push my inert body forward. The corpse lies within fifteen feet of me, but for me this is more – not more, but worse – than fifteen miles. But crawl up to it I must. My throat burns. Besides, you’ll only die quicker without water. As it is, you stand some chance.

And I crawl forward. My legs drag over the ground, and every movement is agony.

I scream, scream and weep with pain, but crawl on. At last I reach the body. There is the flask…it has water in it – a lot of water! It must be at least half full.

Oh, that water will last me a long time – it will last me till I die!

You are saving my life, my poor victim! Leaning on one elbow, I begin to unstrap the flask, when suddenly I lose my balance and fall face downward on my saviour’s chest. He is beginning to give off a strong smell of putrefaction.

I drink my fill. The water is tepid, but it is still drinkable and there is a lot of it. It will keep me alive a few more days. I remember reading in The Physiology of Everyday Life that a man could live without food for over a week, so long as he had water. It gave the story of a suicide who had killed himself by starvation. It had taken him a long time to kill himself because he had had water to drink.

What of it? What if I do live another five or six days? Our men have retreated, the Bulgarians have run away. There is no road near by. All the same I’ll die. Only instead of three days’ agony I have given myself a week. Would it not be better to put an end to it? Next to my neighbour lies his rifle, an excellent English fire-arm. I need only stretch my hand out; then – in a flash – it will all be over. The cartridges lie there, too, all in a heap. He had not had time to use them up.

Well, should I get done with it, or wait? Wait for what? Rescue? Death? Wait until the Turks come and start flaying me, stripping the skin off my wounded legs?

Better to put an end to it myself.

But I must not lose heart; I must hold on, fight till my last ounce of strength. If they find me, I am saved. Perhaps my bones are uninjured; they will patch me up. I’ll see my country, my mother, Masha….

God, don’t let them learn the whole truth! Let them think I was killed on the spot.

What will happen to them when they find out that I had been suffering for two, three, four days!

I feel dizzy; that journey to my neighbour has taken it out of me. And that horrible smell, too. How black he has gone…what will he be like tomorrow or the day after? I am lying here only because I haven’t the strength to drag myself away. I’ll have a rest and crawl back to my old place; the wind, by the way, is blowing from that direction and will carry the stink away from me.

I am lying utterly exhausted. The sun is burning my face and hands. I have nothing to cover myself up with. I wish it were night already; it will be the second, I believe.

My thoughts wander, and I drop off.

I slept a long time, because when I woke up it was already night. Everything is the same: my wounds hurt, my neighbour lies there as huge and still as ever. I can’t help thinking about him. Had I given up all that I loved, all that was dear to me, had I made this thousand-mile march out here, suffering from hunger, cold and the blazing heat, did I lie now here in such agony, merely for the sake of taking that poor man’s life? What useful military objective had I achieved apart from this murder?

Murder, murder. . . . And who? I!

When I had decided to go and fight, my mother and Masha had not tried to dissuade me, although they had cried over me. Blinded by an idea, I had not seen those tears. I had not realized (now I do) what I had done to those I love.

What’s the use of looking back now! The past is gone and done with.

And how queerly many of my acquaintances had regarded my behaviour! “The man is crazy! He doesn’t know what he’s letting himself in for!” How could they say that? Row do such words tally with their notions of heroism, love of country and other such things? To them I was the embodiment of all those virtues. And yet they called me “crazy.”

And so I went to Kishinev; I was loaded up with a knapsack and all kinds of military equipment. And I went off with thousands of others, among whom you would hardly find more than a few odd men like me, who had volunteered. The rest would have stayed at home if it had depended upon them. Yet they go as we “intelligent ones” go, marching thousands of miles and fighting just as well, if not better than we do. They perform their duties despite the fact that they would immediately drop the whole thing and go away if they only had the chance.

A keen morning wind springs up. The bushes begin to stir, and a sleepy bird takes wing. The stars grow dim. The dark-blue sky pales and becomes flecked with soft fleecy clouds; grey shadows rise from, the earth. It is the third day of my….What can I call it? Life? Agony?’

The third….How many more remained? At any rate very few. I have grown very weak, and I don’t think I’ll be able to move away from the corpse. Soon we shall be on even terms and won’t be objectionable to each other.

I must have a drink. I will drink three times a day – morning, noon and evening.

The sun has risen. Its huge disk, criss-crossed with the black branches of the underbrush, is red, like blood. It is going to be hot today, I think. What is going to happen to you, neighbour? God knows you are hideous enough as it is!

Yes, he was hideous. His hair had begun to fall out. His skin, which was naturally dark, had become blanched and yellow; the bloated face had drawn it so tight that it had split behind the ear. Worms were swarming there. His booted feet were swollen, and huge blisters pushed out between the hooks. His whole body had distended enormously. What would the sun do to him today?

Lying so close to him was unbearable. I must crawl away at all cost. But could I do it? I can still lift my hand to open the flask and have a drink, but shifting my heavy, inert body? But I must move away, no matter how little – be it even at the rate of half a pace an hour.

I spend the whole of that morning moving away. The pain is bad, but what does it matter now! I no longer remember, I cannot even imagine, what the sensation of a healthy man is. In fact I seem to have got used to the pain. That morning I manage, after all, to crawl away about fifteen feet, and find myself on the old spot. But I was not to enjoy the fresh air for long – if you can call it fresh air within six or seven paces of a decaying corpse. The wind has shifted round and the stench is nauseating. I have a gripping pain in the pit of my empty stomach. The fetid contaminated air keeps flowing over me in sickening waves.

In despair, I start crying….

Utterly worn out and stupefied, I lay almost unconscious. Suddenly….Could it be the fancy of an excited imagination? Hardly. Yes, it was a sound of voices. The tramp of horses’ hoofs, human voices. I was about to cry out, but checked myself. What if they were Turks? What then? To these tortures would be added others more horrible, tortures the mere reading about which in the newspapers makes one’s hair stand up on end. They would skin me alive, roast my wounded legs. I might even expect worse; they were so diabolically ingenious. Were it really better to end my life in their hands than to die here? But what if they are our own men? Damn those bushes! Why have you grown all round me in such a thick wall? I can see nothing through them; only in one place a small gap between the branches allows me a glimpse of a hollow in the distance. There is a brook there, I believe – the brook from which we drank before going into battle. Yes, and there is the great slab of sandstone thrown across the brook. They will probably ride over it. The murmur of voices ceases. I cannot make out what language they are speaking – my hearing has grown weaker. God! If it’s our men….I’ll shout to them; they will hear me at that distance, surely. Better than running the risk of falling into the clutches of the bashibazouks. But where are they so long? I am in an agony of suspense; I don’t even smell the corpse, although the stench of it is as bad as ever.

All of a sudden I catch sight of Cossacks at the crossing of the stream! Blue uniforms, red-striped trousers, lances. Half a sotnia of them. At the head a black-bearded officer on a magnificent horse. No sooner had the unit crossed the stream than he turned back in his saddle and shouted: “Forward, at the trot!”

“Stop, for God’s sake, stop! Help, brothers, help!” I shout, but the tramp of the heavy horses, the clatter of sabres and the noisy talk of the Cossacks are louder than my hoarse cries-they do not hear me!

Damnation! Exhausted, I fall face downwards on the ground and begin to sob. I have upset the flask and from it flows the water-my life, my salvation, my respite from death. By the time I notice it there is hardly more than half a glass of water left; all the rest has drained away into the dry thirsty earth.

What words can describe the numb stupefaction that came over me after that frightful experience? I lay motionless with half-closed eyes. The wind kept shifting, now blowing fresh clean air upon me, now overpowering me with putrid whiffs. My neighbour that day had become hideous beyond description. Once, when I opened my eyes to glance at him, I was appalled. His face had gone. It had slid off the bones. The ghastly skull, fixed in the eternal grin of death, was more repulsive to me than ever before, although I had often had occasion to handle skulls and anatomize whole heads.

This skeleton in uniform with shining buttons made me shudder. “That is war,” I thought, “there is its image.”

Meanwhile the blazing sun beats down relentlessly. My hands and face are scorched. I have finished the rest of the water. I was suffering so keenly from thirst that I had swallowed it all in a gulp, although I had decided to take only a sip. Ah, why hadn’t I shouted to the Cossacks when they were so close to me! Even if they had been the Turks it would still be better than this. At most they would have tortured me for an hour, or perhaps two hours; as it is I don’t know how long I will have to lie here in this agony. Oh, Mother, darling! Tear your grey hair, beat your head against the wall, curse the day you gave birth to me, curse the world for having invented the scourge of war!

But you and Masha will probably never hear of the tortures I am undergoing.

Farewell, Mother, farewell, my sweetheart, my love! Oh, the anguish, the pain! My heart cries out.

Again that white little dog! The janitor had had no pity for it; he had knocked its head against a wall and flung it into the dust hole. But it was still alive. It had suffered the whole day. But I am still more wretched, because I have been suffering for three whole days. Tomorrow will be the fourth, after that the fifth, then the sixth….Death, where are you? Come, come and take me!

But death does not come and does not take me. And I lie under that terrible sun with not a drop of water to cool my burning throat, while the corpse poisons the air around me. It has decomposed completely. Masses of swarming worms drop from it. When he is consumed and only his bones and uniform remain, it will be my turn. And I will be just like that.

The day passes, then the night. No change. Then comes morning. No change.

Another day passes….

The bushes stir and rustle, as if holding a whispered conversation. “You will die, sure, sure, sure!” they murmur. “You’ll not see, see, see!” answer the bushes from the other side.

“You can’t see them here!” a loud voice sounds close by.

With a start I come to myself in an instant. The kindly blue eyes of Yakovlev, our lance-corporal, gaze upon me out of the bushes.

“Spades!” he shouts. “There are two more here – one of ours and one of theirs.”

“Don’t bring spades, don’t bury me, I’m alive!” I want to shout, but only a faint moan escapes my parched lips.

“Good heavens! I think he’s alive! Mr. Ivanov, d’you hear me, sir? Boys! Come over here, quick, the gentleman is alive! Call the surgeon!”

Half a minute later water, vodka and some other drink were being poured down my throat. Then everything disappeared.

The stretcher moves forward with a measured swing. The rhythmic movement lulls me. I come to myself and doze off again. My dressed wounds do not hurt me; a delightful languor flows through my body.

“Ha-a-alt! Lower stretchers! Relieving squad, fall in! Stretchers, up! Forward!”

These commands are being issued by Pyotr Ivanovich, our medical officer, a tall, thin, very kind-hearted man. He is so tall that by turning my eyes in hp direction I can always see his head with its long straggly beard and his shoulders towering above the heads of the four tall soldiers who are carrying the stretcher on their shoulders.

“Pyotr Ivanovich!” I whisper.

“What is it, my dear boy?” he asks, bending over me.

“What did the doctor tell you, Pyotr Ivanovich? Will I die soon?”

“Die – who ever told you that! You’re not going to die. All your bones are whole.

You’re a lucky fellow! No bones or arteries affected. I can’t understand how you managed to survive these three and a half days. What did you eat?”


“And drink?”

“I took the flask from the Turk. I can’t talk now, Pyotr Ivanovich. I’ll tell you later.”

“Why, of course, my dear chap. Go to sleep.”

Sleep again, oblivion….

I come to myself in the divisional hospital. Doctors and nurses are standing over me, and among them I see the familiar face of an eminent St. Petersburg professor; he is bending over my legs. His hands are bloody. He is not long at it. Then he turns to me, saying:

“Well, you can thank your lucky stars, young man! You’re going to live. We’ve taken away one of your legs, though; but that’s nothing. Are you able to speak?”

I was, and I told them everything I have described here.

Categories: Uncategorized

Radio Interview: NATO’s Attack On Africa

May 11, 2011

Unusual Sources
Brendan Stone

NATO’s Attack on Africa

“There are two full-fledged wars in the world right now, and both of them are commanded by NATO.”

Summary: Rick Rozoff draws parallels between the attack on Libya and NATO’s earlier war on Yugoslavia. But more than that, NATO’s attack represents an attack on Africa itself, and the idea that anyone can be independent of U.S. hegemony

On-Line Listening:

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Paul Vaillant-Couturier: The Song of Craonne

May 12, 2011 1 comment

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts


Paul Vaillant-Couturier
The Song of Craonne (1917)
Translated by Mark K. Jensen

When at the end of a week’s leave
We’re going to go back to the trenches,
Our place there is so useful
That without us we’d take a thrashing.
But it’s all over now, we’ve had it up to here,
Nobody wants to march anymore.
And with hearts downcast, like when you’re sobbing
We’re saying good-bye to the civilians,
Even if we don’t get drums, even if we don’t get trumpets
We’re leaving for up there with lowered head.

Good-bye to life, good-bye to love,
Good-bye to all the women,
It’s all over now, we’ve had it for good
With this awful war.
It’s in Craonne up on the plateau
That we’re leaving our skins,
‘Cause we’ve all been sentenced to die.
We’re the ones that they’re sacrificing.

Eight days in the trenches, eight days of suffering,
And yet we still have hope
That tonight the relief will come
That we keep waiting for.
Suddenly in the silent night
We hear someone approach.
It’s an infantry officer
Who’s coming to take over from us.
Quietly in the shadows under a falling rain
The poor soldiers are going to look for their graves.

Good-bye to life, good-bye to love,
Good-bye to all the women,
It’s all over now, we’ve had it for good
With this awful war.
It’s in Craonne up on the plateau
That we’re leaving our hides
‘Cause we’ve all been sentenced to die.
We’re the ones that they’re sacrificing

On the grands boulevards it’s hard to look
At all the rich and powerful whooping it up
For them life is good
But for us it’s not the same
Instead of hiding, all these shirkers
Would do better to go up to the trenches
To defend what they have, because we have nothing
All of us poor wretches
All our comrades are being buried there
To defend the wealth of these gentlemen here

Those who have the dough, they’ll be coming back,
‘Cause it’s for them that we’re dying.
But it’s all over now, ’cause all of the grunts
Are going to go on strike.
It’ll be your turn, all you rich and powerful gentlemen,
To go up onto the plateau.
And if you want to make war,
Then pay for it with your own skins.

La Chanson de Craonne

Quand au bout d’huit jours le r’pos terminé
On va reprendre les tranchées,
Notre place est si utile
Que sans nous on prend la pile
Mais c’est bien fini, on en a assez
Personne ne veut plus marcher
Et le cœur bien gros, comm’ dans un sanglot
On dit adieu aux civ’lots
Même sans tambours, même sans trompettes
On s’en va là-haut en baissant la tête

Refrain :

Adieu la vie, adieu l’amour,
Adieu toutes les femmes
C’est bien fini, c’est pour toujours
De cette guerre infâme
C’est à Craonne sur le plateau
Qu’on doit laisser sa peau
Car nous sommes tous des condamnés
Nous sommes les sacrifiés

Huit jours de tranchée, huit jours de souffrance
Pourtant on a l’espérance
Que ce soir viendra la r’lève
Que nous attendons sans trêve
Soudain dans la nuit et le silence
On voit quelqu’un qui s’avance
C’est un officier de chasseurs à pied
Qui vient pour nous remplacer
Doucement dans l’ombre sous la pluie qui tombe
Les petits chasseurs vont chercher leurs tombes


C’est malheureux d’voir sur les grands boulevards
Tous ces gros qui font la foire
Si pour eux la vie est rose
Pour nous c’est pas la même chose
Au lieu d’se cacher tous ces embusqués
Feraient mieux d’monter aux tranchées
Pour défendre leur bien, car nous n’avons rien
Nous autres les pauv’ purotins
Tous les camarades sont enterrés là
Pour défendre les biens de ces messieurs là


Ceux qu’ont le pognon, ceux-là reviendront
Car c’est pour eux qu’on crève
Mais c’est bien fini, car les trouffions
Vont tous se mettre en grève
Ce s’ra vot’ tour messieurs les gros
D’monter sur le plateau
Et si vous voulez faire la guerre
Payez-la de votre peau.

Categories: Uncategorized

Georges Duhamel: The Fleshmongers, War’s Winnowing Basket


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Georges Duhamel: Selections on war


Georges Duhamel
The Fleshmongers
From Civilization, 1914-1917 (1918)
Translated by E. S. Brooks

[Duhamel was a French army surgeon from 1914-1918]


Sacred human flesh – holy substance that serves thought, art, love, all that is great in life – you are nothing but a vile, malodorous paste that one takes in one’s hands with disgust, to judge whether or not it is fit for killing!


They have been summoned to appear at noon, but many of them will have to wait until nightfall.

They are assembled before the door of the building, collected together like a dark pool; there are splashes of them in the garden where a few groups are strolling about.

It is an afternoon in February. The heavy, troubled sky stretches away unbroken. It is swollen with such sad thoughts that it cannot concern itself with the little happenings here below. The wind is surly. It must know what is going on up there, but it tells nothing. It does not even convey the low rumblings of the guns; we are too far away; we must forget.

The wind is entangled between the buildings; it turns on itself like a wild animal caught in a trap.

The men pay no attention to the wind, nor to the sky, nor to the harsh winter light: they are thinking of themselves.

They do not know one another; they have nothing in common but the reason that has brought them together. They have a troubled, worn-out air, and yet they are unable to seem indifferent. To any one who looks at them carefully, however, there is something that unites them: it is a sort of absence of physical well-being, an unhealthy look about their bodies – too much fat, or too little, eyes lighted up by fever, at times an all too evident infirmity, more often gray skins, irradiated by poor blood. Never a joyous relaxing of healthy muscles: the whole assembly are as heavy as machines.

Some of the men, depressed at being part of a herd, and because it’s a relief to one’s pride, have begun to talk; others, also from pride, are silent.

There are clerks among them, professional men, workmen, intellectuals, veiling with an eyeglass glances that are full of bitterness and wearing their hair long.

All of them are smoking. It has never been more evident that tobacco is a remedy for the soul against itself.

From time to time two or three men approach the grill of the garden and disappear for a few moments. They come back, wiping their mouths, their breath heavy with the strong odor of spirits.

Several times an hour the gate opens. A gendarme appears and calls out some names. Those who are called cut through the crowd as if they were drawn by wires. The corners of their mouths are a little tightened. They assume an unconcerned, or weary, or grumbling air; and pass through under the archway.

They no longer see the February sky, they no longer breathe the wind, intoxicated with its odors of the cold: they are crowded together in an evil-smelling corridor, the walls of which, painted in nameless colors, secrete a slimy sweat. They kick their heels there for some time, then another door opens. A gendarme counts them off by the dozen, like fruit, or like animals, and pushes them into the great hall where the business is going on.

Immediately a violent odor of man assails their nostrils. At first they do not discern very clearly whence comes the strange agitation that reigns in this place. But no time is given them to reflect.

And then what good would it do to reflect? Does not one immense groan rise from the whole sick land – an appeal, the death-rattle of a drowning people?

What good would it do to reflect? Does the frenzied whirlwind reflect which, roaring on its way, ravages the old world? No, truly, the times are not suited to reflection.

You must undress quickly and take your place in line.

The hall is vast and hostile. Its walls are decorated with maxims, with the busts of unknown men; in the center there is a table like that of a court of justice.

A personage is enthroned there who lifts aloft a rather disdainful white head, in which one distinguishes fatigue and obstinacy. Obscure supernumeraries are waiting upon him. Before the table are two spiritless men in white blouses, one old and withered, the other still young and with an absorbed face.

The men advance in lines toward each of the white blouses; they walk one behind the other, like suppliants before the altar of an angry God. They do not know what to do with their arms.

They are not the flower of the race: long ago the finest men of the country went to live over there, in mud up to their waists, as quick to peril as cats.

For a long time there has lain in the farmer’s winnowing-basket nothing but common straw and dust; and it is this he is ransacking with eager hands in the hope of finding a few scattered grains.

The men are not cold: a roaring furnace flings along the floor a breath as hot as the sirocco. Many are trembling, however, and they have goose-flesh, like people who are not used to being naked. They stand first on one leg, then on the other, place their hands flat against their hips, then let them fall, ashamed of their own touch. But other distresses await them: they soon cease to reach for their pockets or to assume attitudes. In a corner near the entrance a gendarme is manhandling a wretched little clerk who is slow in undressing; he never thought he would have to take off his socks and drawers; he is obliged to, and in despair he draws out two dirty feet.

The personages in blouses perform their tasks with a sort of feverish haste, like men who work by the piece.

A few summary questions, and at once they stretch out their hands, they touch, they feel.

The subject is rather pale. A warm dew pearls his temples. He stammers and speaks entreatingly. Then, when he is questioned again, he replies with confidence.

“You have nothing wrong with you? Do you cough?”


“No doubt you also have palpitations’?”

“Yes, a good many palpitations.”

“And pains in your joints?”

“Yes, pains in my joints, particularly.”

“Your digestion isn’t good?”

“No, my digestion is never good.”

The man seems quite reassured. He replies with a sort of enthusiasm, like some one who is at last understood. But suddenly the old doctor shrugs his shoulders and uncovers the trap:

“Evidently you have everything the matter with you. Well, you shall be sent into active service.”

The man staggers slightly and groans, in a colorless voice:

“But surely you know very well-”

“You have too many things the matter with you. Well, you have nothing at all the matter with you. Go along! Active service.”

The man in the other white blouse is struggling with a fat old fellow with a wrinkled abdomen, who is hiding part of his body with both hands. He explains something in a low voice and escapes precipitately to put on his stiff-bosomed shirt and a coat which is decorated with the palms of the Academy.

At times one of the assistants coughs, and at once a storm of coughing sweeps over the assembly like a gust of wind.

A big, jovial fellow with gray hair comes out of the shadow. With a sort of disgust every one makes way for him. In consequence he addresses his neighbors: “Well, what of it? It’s nothing but skin-spots.”

Behind him, sunk down on a bench, an elongated individual who might be of any age between twenty and sixty is carefully undressing himself. His face is pitiful, he seems submerged to the very lowest depths of human distress. He takes off an unbelievable number of garments and pieces of knitted underwear, and finally pathetic things appear – flannel chest-protectors, sachets, scapulars, clusters of medals. He arranges all these things on the bench; the clothes fall and are trodden underfoot by the new arrivals. The ageless man turns quite pale, as if they were walking over the secrets of his life, his very pride.

The sound of a discussion interrupts the humming silence. The old doctor exclaims, in a furious voice:

“I tell you I hear nothing!”

With his two hands he leans on the shoulders of a puny little fellow, as frail as a toothpick, who seems overwhelmed.

With one word the puny little man is precipitated into active service, and he goes off far more anxious, more shivery, more terrified than he will ever be out in the open field facing the machine guns.

At the other end of the room, however, a new phenomenon is occurring.

“I tell you I can march!” protests a decayed voice, wasted by some unknown malady.

“No,” replies the young doctor, “be reasonable and go back to your family. We will take you later when you are quite well.”

“If you don’t want me it’s because I’m done for. But I tell you I have reasons for going to the front, instead of staying at home to be bawled at every day.”

A brief silence falls over everything; the echo of a drama is prolonged in it. The man is manifestly very ill. His chest is horrible to see and heaves with an agitated breathing. He can scarcely hold himself up on his swollen legs, which are veined with purple.

“Rejected!” cries the judge.

And the unfortunate man returns to his clothes, his shoulders drooping, his glance dazed like that of a slaughtered ox.

The man following is a fatalist: he refuses to discuss his lot.

“That isn’t going to prevent you from serving!”

“Oh, the devil! Do whatever you like!”

“Well, then, active service!”

“If you like! I don’t give a hang!”

And he retires immediately, bound over, like one who has staked his future on a toss.

All who pass leave in the hall a little of the strong odor they have of unwashed men. It’s a strange fact, but they all have a fetid breath; on this day, at least, they have eaten too quickly, digested their food poorly, smoked too much, drunk too much. From all these mouths there comes forth the same hot, sour breath which betrays the same emotion, the same derangement of the mechanism.

Little by little the atmosphere of the hall thickens. The lamps, which have been lighted early, seem padded with a sticky mist that makes everything damp. But above all, in this air there is something more secret, something more troubled, less evident; it is like an overcharge of nerves, a dust of broken wills, a detritus of the imagination, left behind here by these men who strip themselves naked, who are afraid, who wish, who don’t wish, who agonizingly measure their resistance and the sacrifices they must make, who struggle, tugging at their oars, against the rushing flood of destiny.

The men in the blouses continue to toil heroically, in the midst of these human bodies. They never cease feeling, handling, judging. They dig the tips of their fingers into the flesh of the shoulders, into the flanks, into the fat of the buttocks; they pinch the biceps between the thumb and the middle finger, move the joints, look at the teeth and the insides of the eyelids, pull the hair, tap the chest, as custom-house men tap a barrel. Then they make the men walk from left to right and from right to left, they make them lean over, straighten up, kneel down.

At times it is as if a little fresh air ran through the room. Two well-built young men protest their conscription! One can hardly understand how they happen to be there at all. The entire tribunal looks at them in amazement; they are like nuggets in the midst of a handful of mud.

They pass with a proud, slightly forced smile. Once more there begin to file past pathetic uglinesses, despairs, incurable and violated timidities. This tribunal makes one think of a rugged cliff against which, like sea-birds driven by the tempest, these bewildered beings come to wound themselves.

The doctors show signs of exhaustion. The older of the two, who is a little deaf, plunges into the work like a wild boar in the underbrush. The younger one is in a visible state of suffering and irritation. He has the troubled, anxious look of one who is doing a work which he hates and to which he cannot reconcile himself.

And always the human flesh flows past; from the same corner of the room keeps arriving the uninterrupted file of human bodies, advancing with soft steps over the floor.

Sacred human flesh – holy substance that serves thought, art, love, all that is great in life – you are nothing but a vile, malodorous paste that one takes in one’s hands with disgust, to judge whether or not it is fit for killing!

A persistent and general headache sets in.

The company goes on with its duties as if in a dream, with the silences, the slow moments, the black intervals of bad dreams. Two hours more pass in this way.

Then, abruptly, we hear some one say: “There are the last ten!”

They come in and take off their clothes in their turn. They have waited so long that they seem crushed with weariness, stupefied, prostrated. They accept the decisions without opposition, like the blow of a fist on the neck; and they go out hastily, without speaking to one another, without looking at one another.

The members of the tribunal wash their hands, like Pontius Pilate; they sign the papers ceremoniously, and disperse.

It is night. The wind has fallen. A fog, reeking with factory smoke, still covers the town. At the foot of a street-lamp one of the last men to be judged is vomiting, convulsively, the glasses of wine he has drunk during the afternoon. The street is dark and deserted.

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Karl Kraus: The Last Days of Mankind


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts


Karl Kraus: Selections on war


Karl Kraus
From The Last Days of Mankind (Die letzten Tage der Menschheit) (1918)
Translated by Max Knight and Joseph Fabry

Optimist: In war, one cannot avoid having subordinates overreact when it comes to law and order. That’s unfortunate, but in times such as these every consideration must be given to the single thought of winning the war.

Militarism means more power for the government, and this leads to….

Grumbler: …military dictatorship. In war, everyone pulls rank on everyone else. The military outranks the government, and the government sees no other way out of its humiliation than to turn corrupt. When the government official takes orders from the military man, he accepts the schoolbook myth of heroes whose time is long past, and which, in our time, cannot be allowed to rule over life and death. Military governments make the goat the gardener and the gardener the scapegoat for the resulting destruction.

Optimist: I don’t know how you justify such gloom. You generalize just as you did in peacetime. You let a few unavoidable incidents stand for the total picture. You mistake occasional annoyances for serious symptoms. These are great times and you quibble about minor troubles.

Grumbler: The troubles will grow with the times.

Optimist: We live in a soul-stirring age that lifts even the humblest man beyond himself.

Grumbler: The little thieves who haven’t yet been caught will become the big thieves beyond anyone’s reach.

Optimist: Even the little man will gain from the war…

Grumbler: …his cut. He will hold out his hand and point to the scars he doesn’t have.

Optimist: Just as his government accepts this unavoidable, defensive war for the sake of honor, so also does the individual citizen. Because of the blood that is shed now, the world will one day be covered with…

Grumbler: …filth.

Optimist: Which you always suspect behind everything. Don’t you see that you are behind the times? Stay in your corner, if you wish, grumbling. The rest of us are marching forward into an era of reawakened spirit. A great new era has dawned!

Grumbler: I knew it when it was this small, and it will become so again.

Optimist: How can you still deny greatness? Don’t you hear the cheering? Don’t you see the enthusiasm? Can any feeling heart remain unmoved? Yours is the only one. Can you really believe that this emotional upsurge of the masses won’t bear fruit, that this exciting prelude will have no sequel. Those rejoicing today…

Grumbler: …will be weeping tomorrow.

Optimist: The suffering of the individual means little. As little as his individual life. The sights of mankind are raised. Man no longer lives only for material gain but also…

Grumbler: …for medals.

Optimist: Man does not live by bread alone.

Grumbler: He must also wage war to have it rationed.

Optimist: There will always be bread. But we also live by hope in the final victory, which is never in doubt, and for which we…

Grumbler: …will all starve to death.

Optimist: What lack of faith! How ashamed you will be someday! Don’t stand aside when triumphs are celebrated! The gates of the soul are wide open. The memory of the days when we on the homefront were privileged to take part in the feats and sufferings of our glorious army, even if only by reading the daily front reports, will leave in your soul…

Grumbler: …no scars.

Optimist: The nations will learn from this war…

Grumbler: …how to wage more wars in the future.

Optimist: The bullet has left the barrel, and mankind will feel…

Grumbler: …it go in one ear and out the other.

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Livy: On the political utility of starting unprovoked wars

May 9, 2011 1 comment


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace


Livy (59 BC–AD 17),
From History of Rome, Book 3
Translated by Reverend Canon Roberts

Gaius Terentilius Harsa was a tribune of the plebs that year….[H]e spent several days in haranguing the plebeians on the overbearing arrogance of the patricians. In particular he inveighed against the authority of the consuls as excessive and intolerable in a free commonwealth, for whilst in name it was less invidious, in reality it was almost more harsh and oppressive than that of the kings had been, for now, he said, they had two masters instead of one, with uncontrolled, unlimited powers, who, with nothing to curb their licence, directed all the threats and penalties of the laws against the plebeians. To prevent this unfettered tyranny from lasting for ever, he said he would propose an enactment that a commission of five should be appointed to draw up in writing the laws which regulated the power of the consuls. Whatever jurisdiction over themselves the people gave the consul, that and that only was he to exercise; he was not to regard his own licence and caprice as law.


The Sibylline Books were consulted by the “duumviri,” and a prediction was found of dangers which would result from a gathering of aliens, attempts on the highest points of the City and consequent bloodshed. Amongst other notices, there was a solemn warning to abstain from all seditious agitations. The tribunes alleged that this was done to obstruct the passing of the Law, and a desperate conflict seemed imminent.


As though to show how events revolve in the same cycle year by year, the Hernici [Roman allies] reported that the Volscians and Aequi, in spite of their exhaustion, were equipping fresh armies….On this information being laid before the senate, orders were given for a levy….

The tribunes, even in face of the consuls, filled the Forum with their shouts declaring that the story of a Volscian war was a prearranged comedy, the Hernici had been prepared beforehand for the part they were to play; the liberties of the Roman were not being repressed by straightforward opposition, but were being cunningly fooled away. It was impossible to persuade them that the Volscians and Aequi, after being almost exterminated, could themselves commence hostilities; a new enemy, therefore, was being sought for; a colony which had been a loyal neighbour was being covered with infamy. It was against the unoffending people of Antium that war was declared; it was against the Roman plebs that war was really being waged. After loading them with arms they would drive them in hot haste out of the City, and wreak their vengeance on the tribunes by sentencing their fellow-citizens to banishment. By this means – they might be quite certain – the Law would be defeated; unless, while the question was still undecided, and they were still at home, still unenrolled, they took steps to prevent their being ousted from their occupation of the City, and forced under the yoke of servitude. If they showed courage, help would not be wanting, the tribunes were unanimous. There was no cause for alarm, no danger from abroad….

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Eça de Queiroz: Afghanistan


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Eça de Queiroz: The English in Egypt, a case study


José Maria de Eça de Queiros
From Afghanistan and Ireland (1880)
Translated by Ann Stevens

In their troubled Indian Empire the English are attempting to discover whether there is any truth in the eighteenth-century witticism that ‘History is like an old woman who keeps on repeating herself.’

Fate, or Providence, or whatever Being it is up there that directed the events of the Afghan campaign in 1847, is simply making a slavish copy now, thus apparently showing an exhausted imagination.

In 1847 the English, ‘for a reason of State, a need for scientific frontiers, the security of the Empire, a barrier to the Russian domination of Asia…’ and other vague things that the politicians concerned with India solemnly mutter as they twist their mustaches – invaded Afghanistan, and proceeded to annihilate ancient tribes, destroy towns, lay waste cornfields and vineyards; finally they took possession of the holy city of Kabul: they turned out a terrified old Emir from the seraglio and installed another of a more submissive race, whom they had brought with them ready in their baggage, along with some slave-girls and carpets; and as soon as the newspaper correspondents cabled the victory, the army camped beside the streams and in the gardens of Kabul, undid their belts and smoked the pipe of peace…And that is exactly what is happening in 1880.

At the moment, precisely as in 1847, energetic leaders, native Messiahs, are travelling through this territory and with fine words like Homeland and Religion, are inciting their brethren to a holy war: the tribes are assembling, feudal families hasten to offer their mounted troops, rival princes join forces in their hereditary hatred for the foreigner, and in a short time all will be a-glimmer with the lights of encampments on the hill-tops overlooking the narrow paths which form the route to India….And when the bulk of the English army appears on the approaches to Kabul, with a mass of artillery, and makes its hurried way through narrow passes in the mountains or along the dry river beds, with its long caravans of camels, the savage horde falls upon them and annihilates them.

So it was in 1847 and so it is again in 1880. The disbanded remains of the army then seek refuge in one of the frontier cities, which might be Ghazni or Kandahar; the Afghans rush in pursuit, and set siege to them, a slow siege, an Oriental, leisurely siege: the besieged general, who in these Asiatic wars can always communicate with the outside world, cables to the Viceroy of India, indignantly demanding reinforcements, sugar and tea! (This is literally true: it was General Roberts who made this gluttonous appeal a few days ago; the Englishman without his tea fights only half-heartedly.) Then the Indian government spends millions of pounds like water and hastily sends off enormous parcels of restorative tea and white mountains of sugar and ten or fifteen thousand men. Enormous black war-transports leave England, like great steam-powered Noah’s arks, carrying camping equipment, numerous horses, parks of artillery, a complete, awesome invading force. So it was in 1847, and so it is in 1880.

This host disembarks in Hindustan, joins up with other columns of Indian troops, and is led day and night to the frontier in express trains at a speed of 40 miles an hour; then an exhausting march begins with fifty thousand pack-camels, telegraphists, hydraulic machines, and an eloquent company of newspaper men. One morning Kandahar of Ghazni is sighted; and in a flash the poor Afghan army is wiped out, dispersed in the dust of the plain, with its melodramatic scimitars and its venerable culverins of the same model that fired in former days at Diu. Ghazni is liberated! Kandahar is liberated! Hurrah! Immediately a patriotic song is made of this, and the exploit is popularized all over England by an engraving where the liberating general and the besieged general can be seen passionately shaking hands in the foreground, amid rearing horses and grenadiers as handsome as Apollo who are nobly breathing their last! So it was in 1847, so it must be in 1880.

In the meantime, on hill-tops and narrow paths, thousands of men who either defended their homeland or died for the sake of the scientific frontier, lie there, food for the crows – which is not, in Afghanistan, a respectable rhetorical image: there it is the crows which clean up the streets in the cities, eating the filth, and on the battlefield purify the air by devouring the remains of the defeated.

And what is eventually left after so much blood and agony and mourning? A patriotic song, an idiotic engraving in a few dining rooms, later on a line of prose in a page of some chronicle…

A consoling philosophy of wars!

In the meantime England enjoys the prestige of ‘the great victory of Afghanistan’ for a short while – certain of having to begin once more in ten or fifteen years, because they can neither conquer and annex a vast kingdom, as large as France, nor allow the existence of a few million hostile fanatics at their side. Their policy, therefore, is to weaken them periodically with a devastating invasion: such violence is required of a great Empire. Far better to possess only a little garden with a cow for milk and a couple of lettuces for summer snacks…

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Bertolt Brecht: German Miserere


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Bertolt Brecht: Selections on war


Bertolt Brecht
German Miserere (1943)
Translated by Eric Bentley

Once upon a time our leaders gave us orders
To go out and conquer the small town of Danzig
So we invaded Poland and with our tanks and bombers
We conquered all of Poland in a few days.

Once upon a time our leaders gave us orders
To go out and conquer the large town of Paris
So we invaded France and with our tanks and bombers
We conquered all of France in a few days.

Once upon a time our leaders gave us orders
To conquer the moon and the floor of the ocean
And it’s going badly with us in Russia
And the foe is strong and we are far from home.

God preserve us and lead us back again home
lead us back again home.


Germany, You Blond Pale Creature (1920)
Translated by Christopher Middleton

Germany, you blond pale creature
With wild clouds and a gentle brow
What happened in your silent skies?
You have become the carrion pit of Europe.

Vultures over you!
Beasts tear your good body
The dying smear you with their filth
And their water
Wets your fields. Fields!

How gentle your rivers once
Now poisoned by purple anilin
With their bare teeth children root
Your cereals up, they’re

But the harvest floats into the
Stinking water.
Germany, you blond pale creature
Neverneverland. Full of
Departed souls. Full of dead people.
Nevermore nevermore will it beat—
Your heart, which has gone
Mouldy, which you have sold
Pickled in chili saltpetre2
In exchange
For flags.

Oh carrion land, misery hole!
Shame strangles the remembrance of you
And in the young men whom
You have not ruined
America awakens.


Legend of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arch Triumphal
Translator unknown

We came from the heights, from the depths we came
To slay him.
We set snares to catch him: they stretched
From Moscow to the city of Marseilles.
We stationed our cannon to keep him in range
No matter wherever he ran
When he saw us.

For four years we gathered;
Our work we abandoned to stand
In the crumbling cities; we called out, the one to the other,
In so many tongues, from the heights to the depths we called out
To tell where he was:
Then in the fourth year we slew him.

Those who were there were as follows:
The ones he was specially born to see standing
Around at the hour of his death:
Yes: all of us.
The woman who’d given him birth,
Who spoke not a word as we led him away.
Let her womb be ripped out!

But when we had slain him
We handled him so that his face was forgotten
Under our pummelling fists.
In that way we blotted him out
To make of him nobody’s son.

So we then dug him out from under the metal.
We carried him home to our city
And buried him under a huge stone, an
Arch, which we named
The Arch Triumphal:
It weighed one thousand hundredweight, so
The Unknown Soldier
Would never, no matter what happened, stand up
On Doomsday,
Or be hauled up into the light,
With his blotted out face before God,
Or point at us, making us known,
And hale us to judgement.


From A German War Primer (1938)
Translated by Lee Baxendall, H.R. Hayes, Lesley Lendrum and John Willett

It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is: they have
Already eaten.

The lowly must leave this earth
Without having tasted
Any good meat.

For wondering where they come from and
Where they are going
The fine evenings find them
Too exhausted.

They have not yet seen
The mountains and the great sea
When their time is already up.

If the lowly do not
Think about what’s low
They will never rise.

Meat has become unknown. Useless
The pouring out of the people’s sweat.
The laurel groves have been
Lopped down.
From the chimneys of the arms factories
Rises smoke.

The forests still grow.
The fields still bear
The cities still stand.
The people still breathe.

Every month, every day
Lies open still. One of those days
Is going to be marked with a cross.

The merchants cry out for markets.
The unemployed were hungry. The employed
Are hungry now.
The hands that lay folded are busy again.
They are making shells.

Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.

The common folk know
That war is coming.
When the leaders curse war
The mobilization order is already written out.

Are of different substance.
But their peace and their war
Are like wind and storm.

War grows from their peace
Like son from his mother
He bears
Her frightful features.

Their war kills
Whatever their peace
Has left over.

They want war.
The man who wrote it
Has already fallen.

This way to glory.
Those down below say:
This way to the grave.

Is not the first one. There were
Other wars before it.
When the last one came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.

Reigns in the army.
The truth of this is seen
In the cookhouse.
In their hearts should be
The selfsame courage. But
On their plates
Are two kinds of rations.

That their enemy is marching at their head.
The voice which gives them their orders
Is their enemy’s voice and
The man who speaks of the enemy
Is the enemy himself.

The married couples
Lie in their beds. The young women
Will bear orphans.

It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Maria Abdy: May the gentle Dove of Peace extend her snowy pinions o’er us

Joseph Addison: Already have our quarrels fill’d the world with widows and with orphans

Joseph Addison and Richard Steele: It is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms

George Ade: The dubious rights granted a people “liberated” through war

Aelian: A parable of two cities

Aelian: That is the benefit of peace

Aeschines: Following a policy of war after war; war, the destroyer of popular government

Aeschines: Peace does not feed laziness

Aeschylus: Ares, father of tears, mows the field of man

Aeschylus: The unpeopled land laments her youth

Aesop: The lies of lupine liberators

Conrad Aiken: The history of war is the history of mankind, seven thousand million dead on the field of battle

Conrad Aiken: Vast symphonic dance of death

Lucy Aikin: Gentle Peace with healing hand returns

Lucy Aikin: Sickening I turn on yonder plain to mourn the widows and the slain

Mark Akenside: The hidden plan whence every treaty, every war began

Mark Akenside: Statesmanship versus war

Alain: Why is there war?

Alciphron: Content with a life of peace. Evading conscription is best.

Mark Aldanov: War was the only subject she avoided

Richard Aldington: Selections on war

Richard Aldington: All the decay and dead of battlefields entered his blood and seemed to poison him

Richard Aldington: The Blood of the Young Men

Richard Aldington: The criminal cant and rant of war

Richard Aldington: How can we atone for the lost millions and millions of years of life, how atone for those lakes and seas of blood?

Richard Aldington: How well the premeditated mass murder of war is organized

Richard Aldington: It is so important to know how to kill

Richard Aldington: It was a war of missiles, murderous and soul-shaking explosives, like living in the graveyard of the world

Richard Aldington: Pools and ponds of blood, the huge black dogs of hell

Richard Aldington: Why so sentimental? Why all this fuss over a few million men killed and maimed?

Julius Myron Alexander: The Flag of Peace

Vittorio Alfieri: The infamous trade of soldier, the sole basis of all arbitrary authority

Vittorio Alfieri: Thousands immolated on the altar of despotism, slaves born but to fertilize the soil

Grant Allen: I cannot contribute to making peaceable Canadian citizens throw themselves into the devouring whirlpool of militarism

Grant Allen: War and blood money

James Allen: A Prayer for Peace

James Lane Allen: Then white and heavenly Peace again. Eteocles and Polyneices In America

American writers on peace and against war

Yehuda Amichai: Knowledge of peace passes from country to country, like children’s games

Amiel on war

Ammianus Marcellinus: Empowering the military…with foreseeable results

Ammianus Marcellinus: War’s landscape: discolored with the hue of dark blood

Anacreon: Rather art and love than lamentable war

Hans Christian Andersen: Art, not arms, rules the world. War, an allegory

Sherwood Anderson: War destroys brotherhood

Leonid Andreyev: The Red Laugh

Antiphanes: War and personal destiny

Apollodorus: Why do you devote all your thought to injuring one another by making war?

Appian: Drawing the sword for mutual slaughter. The tears of fratricide.

Appian: War fueled by blood and gold, excuse for expenditure of one, expropriation of the other

Louis Aragon: Selections on war

Louis Aragon: Caravans of Peace

Louis Aragon: Children scattering flowers will some day scatter deadly flowers, grenades

Louis Aragon: The military: parasite and defender of parasitism

Louis Aragon: The peace that forces murder down to its knees for confession

Louis Aragon: War and its gloomy procession of storm clouds, sacred rites, illusions and lies

Louis Aragon: War, signal for the coming massacre of the sacrificial herd

Aratus: Justice deserts earth with warning of wars and cruel bloodshed

Arturo Arias: There were bodies everywhere. They didn’t move. They were called corpses.

Aristides on the two types of war: Bad and worse

Aristophanes: Rescuing Peace

Aristotle: How tyrants use war

Aristotle: Leader not praiseworthy in training citizens for conquest and dominion

Aristotle: A man would be regarded as a bloodthirsty monster if he were to make war just to produce battles and slaughter

Aristotle: When they had attained empire they fell, for of the arts of peace they knew nothing

Edwin Arnold: Heaven’s love descending in that loveliest word, PEACE!

Edwin Arnold: My chariot shall not roll with bloody wheels till earth wears the red record of my name

Matthew Arnold: Man shall live in peace, as now in war

Matthew Arnold: New Age. Uphung the spear, unbent the bow.

Matthew Arnold: Tolstoy’s commandments of peace

Arrian: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the fate of conquerors

W.H. Auden: A land laid waste, its towns in terror and all its young men slain

Augustine: To make war on your neighbors, what else is this to be called than great robbery?

Aulus Gellius: Thievery as school for war

Alfred Austin: The White Pall of Peace

Marcel Aymé: A child’s view of war

Bacchylides: Paean on peace

Joanna Baillie: And shall we think of war? 

Joanna Baillie: Do children return from rude jarring war?

Joanna Baillie: Thy native land, freed from the ills of war, a land of peace!

Balzac: Mass executions: Has Europe ever ceased from wars?

Isabella Banks: Absolve our souls from blood shed in our country’s cause

Isabella Banks: The bugle of war, the bugle of peace

Isabella Banks: “Glory, glory, glory!” As if murder were not sin!

Isabella Banks: Lay down weapons, war should cease

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: Peace and Shepherd

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: The storm of horrid war rolls dreadful on

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: War’s least horror is th’ ensanguined field

Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly: The jackals of war

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war

Henri Barbusse: All battles spring from themselves and necessitate each other to infinity

Henri Barbussse: As long as the colors of uniforms cover the flesh of men

Henri Barbusse: The awful power of a dead man

Henri Barbusse: Blood-stained priest of the God of War

Henri Barbusse: Butchery as far as the eye can see

Henri Barbusse: Cold death sits brooding, great and sumptuous bird of prey is in the act of taking wing

Henri Barbusse: Crows eddying round naked flesh with flapping banners and war-cries

Henri Barbusse: The enemy is militarism and no other

Henri Barbusse: Flags and swords, instruments of the cult of human sacrifice

Henri Barbusse: The goddess of slaughter, the world worn out by war

Henri Barbusse: I will wage war, even though I alone may survive

Henri Barbusse: Jesus on the battlefield

Henri Barbusse: Manual laborers of war glutting the cannon’s mouth with their flesh

Henri Barbusse: The mournful hearse of the army razes harshly

Henri Barbusse: Murder enters as invisibly as death itself. Industry multiplies its magic.

Henri Barbusse: The only cause of war is the slavery of those whose flesh wages it

Henri Barbusse: Pay for a glory which is not yours or for ruins that others have made with your hands

Henri Barbusse: “Perhaps it is the last war of all”

Henri Barbusse: Sepulchral sculptor’s great sketch-model, the gate of hell

Henri Barbusse: Soldier’s glory is a lie, like every other fine-looking thing in war

Henri Barbusse: “That’s war. It’s not anything else.”

Henri Barbusse: There will be nothing else on the earth but preparation for war

Henri Barbusse: These murdered souls, covered with black veils; they are you and I

Henri Barbusse: Torture…agony…human sacrifices…

Henri Barbusse: Under Fire

Henri Barbusse: War, as hideous morally as physically

Henri Barbusse: War befouls the country as it does faces and hearts

Henri Barbusse: “War must be killed; war itself”

Henri Barbusse: War which breeds war, whether by victory or defeat

Henri Barbusse: War’s loathsome horror and lunacy

Henri Barbusse: “We must have a new Ministry: a new public opinion: War.”

Henri Barbusse: The world has come to the end of its strength: it is vanquished by wars

Henri Barbusse: “You understand, I’m against all wars”

Maurice Baring: The greater fools are you who seek the wars

Maurice Baring: Unalterable horror, misery, pain and suffering which is caused by modern war

Maurice Baring: The Wounded

Joel Barlow: War after war his hungry soul require, each land lie reeking with its people’s slain

Charlotte Alington Barnard: Peace Hovers

Thomas Lovell Beddoes: War’s harvest

Aphra Behn: No rough sound of war’s alarms

Aphra Behn: The pen triumphs over the sword

Edward Bellamy: We have no wars now, and our governments no war powers

Hilaire Belloc: After the tempest and destruction of universal war, permanence

Julien Benda: Military mysticism

Stephen Vincent Benét: The dead march from the last to the next blind war

Walter Benjamin: Self-alienated mankind experiences its own destruction as aesthetic pleasure

Arthur Christopher Benson: No carnal triumph of the empurpled sword

Elizabeth Bentley: On the return of celestial peace

Elizabeth Bentley: Terror-striking War shalt be banish’d far

Béranger: When from the miseries of war we wake…

Georges Bernanos: Wars like epidemics, with neither beginning nor end

Giuseppe Berto: Selections on war

Giuseppe Berto: Bombing produced cities of the dead

Giuseppe Berto: A fable: The war was going well, the war was going badly

Giuseppe Berto: It was a good night for an air raid. Somewhere or other there would be terror and death and destruction.

Giuseppe Berto: No one truly survives war

Giuseppe Berto: One of the fruits of war, that people should feel so alone and desolate

Giuseppe Berto: Orphaned by the bombs

Giuseppe Berto: The sound of the bombs whistling, the sounds of human suffering, the groans, the screams, the agonized appeals

Giuseppe Berto: Stop destroying so many good things that existed on earth simply in order to slaughter each other

Giuseppe Berto: Then the war passed over our countryside

Giuseppe Berto: A universal evil has given them the power to kill unknown people, people very like themselves

Giuseppe Berto: War destroys the soul even when it spares the body

Matilda Betham: All the horrid charms of war

Ambrose Bierce: Selections on war

Ambrose Bierce: Warlike America

Ambrose Bierce: Chickamauga

Ambrose Bierce: The Coup de Grâce

Ambrose Bierce: Killed At Resaca

Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Ambrose Bierce: War as parricide

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: All labor’s dread of war’s mad waste and murder

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: I saw a dove fear-daunted

William Black: Better small farms, thriving and prosperous, than splendid ruins that tell of the fierceness of war

William Black: Military glory, the most mean, the most cruel and contemptible thing under the sun!

William Black: When Caesar’s legions turn on him

Robert Blair: Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?

William Blake: Selections on war and peace

William Blake: Be withdrawn cloudy war, troops of warriors depart, nor around our peaceable city breathe

William Blake: Groaning among the happier dead

William Blake: O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue to drown the throat of war!

William Blake: O go not forth in Martyrdoms & Wars

William Blake: To peaceful arts shall envy bow

Susanna Blamire: When the eye sees the grief that from one battle flows, small cause of triumph can the bravest feel

Mathilde Blind: All vile things that batten on disaster follow feasting in the wake of war

Mathilde Blind: Reaping War’s harvest grim and gory

Mathilde Blind: Widowing the world of men to win the world

Alexander Blok: The kite, the mother and endless war

León Bloy: The Sword

Robert Bly: War, writers and government money

Boethius: Provoking death’s destined day by waging unjust and cruel wars

Heinrich Böll: Every death in war is a murder – a murder for which someone is responsible

Heinrich Böll: I’m going to die soon and before the war is over. I shall never know peace again.

Wolfgang Borchert: It was war; stories from a primer

Wolfgang Borchert: Only one thing to do, say No!

George Borrow: Prisoners of war: misery on one side, disgrace on the other

James Boswell: On War

James Boswell: Who profits by war?

Pierre Boulle: The long reach of war profiteers

Randolph Bourne: Selections on war

Randolph Bourne: The War and the Intellectuals

Randolph Bourne: War and the State

Randolph Bourne: Willing war means willing all the evils that are organically bound up with it

Randolph Bourne: Conscience and Intelligence in War

Randolph Bourne: Twilight of Idols

Randolph Bourne: Below the Battle

Jane Bowdler: War’s deadly futility

William Lisle Bowles: Selections on war and peace

William Lisle Bowles: As War’s black trump pealed its terrific blast

William Lisle Bowles: The dread name of the hideous war-fiend shall perish

William Lisle Bowles: The Fiend of War, sated with slaughter

William Lisle Bowles: Grim-visaged War drowns with his trumpet’s blast a brother’s cries

William Lisle Bowles: Oh, when will the long tempestuous night of warfare and of woe be rolled away!

William Lisle Bowles: When her war-song Victory doth sing, Destruction flaps aloft her iron-hurtling wing

Henry Noel Brailsford: Waiting for the horrors of a war that was coming

Henry Noel Brailsford: Who is the happy warrior?

Georg Brandes: Selections on war

Georg Brandes: An Appeal Against Wholesale Murder

Georg Brandes: War, uninterrupted series of horrors, atrocities, and slaughter

Georg Brandes: The World at War

Georg Brandes: The Praise of War

Georg Brandes: Only officers and ammunition-makers wish war

Georg Brandes: Two million men held in readiness to exterminate each other

Georg Brandes: Wars waged by governments fronting for financial oligarchies

Georg Brandes: Abrupt about-face, the glorification of war

Georg Brandes: Giants of bloodshed; military staffs foster war

Georg Brandes: The future will look on war as the present looks on witchcraft, the Inquisition

Georg Brandes: War not fight for ideals but fight for concessions

Bertolt Brecht: Selections on war

Bertolt Brecht: For its material and moral beneficiaries, war can look forward to a prosperous future

Bertolt Brecht: German Miserere

Bertolt Brecht: I won’t let you spoil my war for me

Bertolt Brecht: In war the attacker always has an alibi

Bertolt Brecht: Maimed soldiers are anti-war demonstrators

Bertolt Brecht: One’s only got to make a war to become a millionaire. It’s amazing!

Bertolt Brecht: Picture-book generals more dangerous, less brave, than serial killers

Bertolt Brecht: To hear the big fellows talk, they wage war from fear of God and for all things bright and beautiful

Bertolt Brecht: The upper classes sacrifice for the soldiers

Bertolt Brecht: War Song

Bertolt Brecht: Wherein a holy war differs from other wars

Vera Mary Brittain: August, 1914

British writers on peace and war

Louis Bromfield: NATO, Permanent War Panic and America’s Messiah Complex

Van Wyck Brooks: The truth about war that Mark Twain could only divulge after death

Charles Brockden Brown: Such is the spectacle exhibited in every field of battle

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Exalt the name of Peace and leave those rusty wars that eat the soul

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: War’s human harvest

Robert Browning: Selections on peace and war

Robert Browning: The devil’s doctrine, the paraded shame of war

Robert Browning: Far and wide the victims of our warfare strew the plain

Robert Browning: Peace, in whom depths of wealth lie

Robert Browning: Peace rises within them ever more and more

Robert Browning: They sent a million fighters forth South and North

William Cullen Bryant: Christmas 1875

William Cullen Bryant: Emblem of the peace that yet shall be, noise of war shall cease from sea to sea

Robert Buchanan: The moon gleamed on the dreadful drifts of dead

Edward Bulwer Lytton: The heartless and miserable vanity from which arose wars neither useful nor honourable

Edward Bulwer Lytton: The sword, consecrating homicide and massacre with a hollow name

Robert Burns: I hate murder by flood or field

Robert Burns: Peace, thy olive wand extend and bid wild War his ravage end

Robert Burns: Wars, the plagues of human life

Samuel Butler: Religion of war

Samuel Butler: Valor in modern warfare

Byron: Selections on war

Byron: The age of beauty will succeed the sport of war

Byron: All ills past, present and to come yield to the true portrait of one battle-field

Byron: Blasted below the hot breath of war

Byron: The drying up a single tear has more of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.

Byron: Gore and glory seen in hell alone

Byron: The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away

Byron: I loathe all war and warriors

Byron: I made no wars

Byron: Just ponder what a pious pastime war is

Byron: Such is the absorbing hate when warring nations meet

Byron: The time is past when swords subdued

Byron: War, banquet for wolf and worm

Byron: War cuts up not only branch, but root

Byron: War did glut himself again, all earth was but one thought – and that was death

Byron: War feeds the vultures, wolves and worms

Byron: War returns on its perpetrator

Byron: War’s a brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art

Callimachus: Nurse peace, that he who sows may also reap

Calpurnius Siculus: The unholy War-Goddess shall yield. All wars shall be quelled in Tartarean durance.

Thomas Campbell: Selections on peace and war

Thomas Campbell: Maddening strife and blood-stain’d fields to come

Thomas Campbell: Men will weep for him when many a guilty martial fame is dim

Thomas Campbell: Sending whirlwind warrants forth to rouse the slumbering fiends of war

Thomas Campbell: Shall War’s polluted banner ne’er be furl’d?

Thomas Campbell: The snow shall be their winding-sheet, every turf a soldier’s sepulchre

Thomas Campion: Raving war wastes our empty fields

Thomas Campion: Then bloody swords and armour should not be

Thomas Campion: Upright man needs neither towers nor armour

Albert Camus: Where war lives. The reign of beasts has begun.

Karel Čapek: The War with the Newts

Ernesto Cardenal: They speak of peace and secretly prepare for war

Thomas Carew: Lust for gold fills the world with tumult, blood, and war

Thomas Carew: They’ll hang their arms upon the olive bough

Thomas Carlyle: The works of peace versus battles and war-tumults

Thomas Carlyle: What blood-filled trenches, and contentious centuries, may still divide us!

Catullus: Appalled by fratricide, gods turned from man

Cervantes: Everything then was friendship, everything was harmony

George Chapman: Men’s want of peace, which was from want of love

George Chapman: Peace with all her heavenly seed

Chateaubriand: Would-be master of the world who knew only how to destroy

Thomas Chatterton: Peace, gentlest, softest of the virtues

Geoffrey Chaucer: The city to the soldier’s rage resigned; successless wars and poverty behind

Anton Chekhov: You can’t remember a single year without war

Victor Cherbuliez and Erich Fromm: Wars are outbursts of destructiveness and paranoid suspicion

Charles Chesnutt: Justice, Peace – the seed and the flower of civilisation

G.K. Chesterton: In modern war defeat is complete defeat

Charles Churchill: Thousands bleed for some vile spot where fifty cannot feed

Cicero: All wars, undertaken without a proper motive, are unjust

Cicero: Military commands, phantom of glory and the ruin of one’s own country and personal downfall

Jules Claretie: A sensible man can but have one opinion on the question of war and peace

Claudian: Hell’s numberless monsters plot war

Clement of Alexandria: Gods of war

Clement of Alexandria: Let us gird ourselves with the armour of peace

Caroline Clive: The bloody words of ruffian war

Arthur Hugh Clough: For an impalpable odour of honour armies shall bleed

Arthur Hugh Clough: Ye vulgar dreamers about peace

Humphrey Cobb: Selections on war

Humphrey Cobb: Generals are reassured by the smell of the dead

Humphrey Cobb: Hallucination of fantastic butchery; too much for one man to bear

Humphrey Cobb: The paths of glory lead but to the rats

Humphrey Cobb: Reworking the sixth commandment for war; thou shalt not commit individual murder

Humphrey Cobb: War never settled anything except who was the strongest

Elizabeth Cobbold: Earth’s bosom drenching with her children’s blood

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Selections on peace and war

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: All our dainty terms for fratricide

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: And war still violates the unfinished works of peace

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The demon War and its attendants, maniac Suicide and giant Murder

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Fire, Famine, And Slaughter: A War Eclogue

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: From all sides rush the thirsty brood of War!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: War and all its dread vicissitudes pleasingly agitate their stagnant hearts

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: War is a murderous fiend, by fiends adored

William Collins: Ode to Peace

William Congreve: Cursed ambition wakes the world to war and ruin

William Congreve: No more do youth leave the sacred arts for stubborn arms

Joseph Conrad: Selections on war

Joseph Conrad: Firing into a continent, a touch of insanity in the proceeding

Joseph Conrad: In modern war mankind cannot resist the temptation to use any stealthy, murderous contrivance

Joseph Conrad: Men go mad in protest against “peculiar sanity” of war

Joseph Conrad: Moral cannibals feeding on each other’s misfortunes: ‘It’s a damned bad war, but it’s better than no war at all.’

Joseph Conrad: With earth soaked in blood, all men seek some formula of peace

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

Eliza Cook: Crimson battlefield. When the world shall be spread with tombless dead.

Eliza Cook: I felt a shuddering horror lurk, to think I’d mingled in such work

Eliza Cook: No bloodstain lingers there. The plough and the spear.

Eliza Cook: Not where bullet, sword, and shield lie strown with the gory slain

Eliza Cook: Who can love the laurel wreath, plucked from the gory field of death?

James Fenimore Cooper: Is there a star where war and bloodshed aren’t known?

James Fenimore Cooper: Oppression and injustice the natural consequences of military power uncurbed by restraints of civil authority

James Fenimore Cooper: War’s victory not worth the sacrifice of human life

François Coppée: God preserve us from scientific war, the worst of any

Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

Michel Corday: Blood! Blood! But there is still not enough.

Michel Corday: The everlasting glorification of murder

Michel Corday: War, the most brutal heritage of the past

Michel Corday: In war fathers bury their sons

Michel Corday: War sentiment is general dementia, barbarous and neolithic

Michel Corday: Millions of men killed to cure a single hypochondriac

Michel Corday: War – hell let loose, butchery, a return to barbarism

Michel Corday: War is irreparable loss for the earth and the human race

Michel Corday: The hideous futility of war in itself

Michel Corday: Future description of these horrors ought to make any return of war impossible

Michel Corday: Striking against war

Michel Corday: The Truth is the chief victim of war

Michel Corday: Glorification of slaughter is the beginning of future armaments

Michel Corday: The plague that comes in war’s train\

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

Joseph Cottle: If on the slaughter’d field some mind humane…

Joseph Cottle: Know you their crimes on whom you warfare wage?

Joseph Cottle: Plant the seeds of universal peace

Joseph Cottle: Torn from their cots to wield the murderer’s blade

Joseph Cottle: Warn mankind to shun the hostile spear

Joseph Cottle: War’s noxious breath fills earth with discord, dread, and death

Peter L. Courtier: Ode to Peace

Francis Coutts: Why was no better gift by thee bequeathed than a sword unsheathed?

Abraham Cowley: Like the peace, but think it comes too late

Abraham Cowley: Only peace breeds scarcity in Hell

Abraham Cowley: To give peace and then the rules of peace

Malcolm Cowley: By day there are only the dead

William Cowper: Selections on peace and war

William Cowper on war and man’s inhumanity to man: Homo homini lupus

William Cowper: In every heart are sown the sparks that kindle fiery war

William Cowper: Never shall you hear the voice of war again

William Cowper: O place me in some heaven-protected isle where no crested warrior dips his plume in blood

William Cowper: Peace, both the duty and the prize

William Cowper: They trust in navies and armies

William Cowper: Universal soldiership has stabbed the heart of man

Stephen Crane: An Episode of War

Stephen Crane: There was crimson clash of war

Stephen Crane: War Is Kind

Richard Crashaw: In Hell’s palaces

F. Marion Crawford: The world dreads the very name of war, lest it should become universal once it breaks out

Isabella Valancy Crawford: The Forging of the Sword

William Crowe: On poets who sing of war

William Cunningham: A thousand gifts are thine, Sweet Peace! – which War can never know

Charlotte Dacre: Peace

Charlotte Dacre: War

Rubén Darío: You think the future is wherever your bullet strikes

Alphonse Daudet: Revenge and war

William Davenant : War, the sport of kings, increases the number of dead

John Davidson: Blood in torrents pour in vain, for war breeds war again

John Davidson: The blood of men poured out in endless wars

Richard Harding Davis: Destruction versus civilization, soldiers and engineers

Thomas Day: Wages abhorred war with humankind

John William De Forest: Uncivil war

Daniel Defoe: Mammon and Mars, twin deities

Thomas Dekker: Lands ravaged by soldiers and war

Demosthenes: When war comes home, the fatal weaknesses of states are revealed

Charles Dickens: Waging war to perpetuate slavery

Emily Dickinson: I many times thought Peace had come

Dio Cassius: Weeping and lamenting the fratricide of war

Dio Cassius: When peace was announced the mountains resounded

Dio Chystostom: Greed leads to internal strife and foreign wars

Dio Chrystostom: On the fate of states educated only for war

Diodorus Siculus: Alexander’s first encounter with military glory

Diodorus Siculus: History is more than the recording of wars

Diogenes Laertius: Steel and eloquence

Dionysius of Halicarnassus: Scorn rapine and violence and the profits accruing from war

Alfred Döblin: The law and the police are at the service of the war state and its slavery

Alfred Döblin: The old grim cry for war

Alfred Döblin: War is not ineluctable fate

Alfred Döblin: We march to war, Death folds his cloak singing: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

Austin Dobson: Before Sedan

John Donne: The horror and ghastliness of war

John Donne: War and misery are one thing

John Dos Passos: Selection on war

John Dos Passos: Meat for guns. Shot for saying the war was wrong.

John Dos Passos: The miserable dullness of industrialized slaughter

John Dos Passos: Not wake up till the war was over and you could be a human being again

John Dos Passos: They were going to kill everybody who spoke that language

John Dos Passos: Three Soldiers

John Dos Passos on Randolph Bourne: War is the health of the state

John Dos Passos: What was the good of stopping the war if the armies continued?

Fyodor Dostoevsky: Selections on war

Fyodor Dostoevsky: The desire to rule mankind as slaves leads West to colossal, final war

1862: Dostoevsky on the new world order

Fyodor Dostoevsky: The abysmal cunning of war

Fyodor Dostoevsky: Holocaustal weapons of future wars

Fyodor Dostoevsky: Holy blood was shed, regular wars sprang up

Augusta Theodosia Drane: It needs must be that gentle Peace prevail!

Michael Drayton: All your banks with peace preserved be

Theodore Dreiser: If he went he might be shot, and what would his noble emotion amount to then? He would rather make money, regulate current political, social and financial affairs

Theodore Dreiser: The logic of military victory, an apologue

Theodore Dreiser and Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

Maurice Druon: A contempt for all things military

Maurice Druon: The dual prerogatives of minting coins and waging wars

John Dryden: All your care is to provide the horrid pomp of war

John Dryden: In peace the thoughts of war he could remove

John Dryden and Horace: Happy is he who trumpets summon not to war

John Dryden and Lucretius: Venus and Mars: Lull the world in universal peace

Guillaume de Saluste Du Bartas: Breaking oaths of peace, cover the fields with bloody carcasses

W.E.B. Du Bois: Work for Peace

Georges Duhamel: Selections on war

Georges Duhamel: The demon of war had imprisoned us under his knee

Georges Duhamel: The Fleshmongers, War’s Winnowing Basket

Georges Duhamel: Mosaic of pain stained with mud and blood, the colours of war

Georges Duhamel: No end to war without moral reeducation

Georges Duhamel: No man desires war…but if there’s money to be made…

Georges Duhamel: The possession of the world is not decided by guns. It is the noble work of peace.

Georges Duhamel: The stupid machine of war throws out, from minute to minute, bleeding men

Georges Duhamel: The Third Symphony, a slender bridge across the abyss

Georges Duhamel: War and civilization

Georges Duhamel: War has achieved the mournful miracle of denaturing nature, rendering it ignoble and criminal

Georges Duhamel: Who has taught children of man that war brings happiness?

Georges Duhamel: World where now there are more graveyards than villages

Alexandre Dumas: The dove

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Birds of peace and deadened hearts

Finley Peter Dunne: A great nation at war (in the vernacular)

Maurice Duplay: Colloquy on science and war

Maurice Duplay: Imperative to uproot the passion of war

Marguerite Duras: The civilizing mission

Jean Dutourd: The horrors of war

Edward Dyer: So that of war the very name may not be heard again

Eça de Queiroz: Afghanistan

Eça de Queiroz: The English in Egypt, a case study

J.A. Edgerton: A Song of Peace

J.A. Edgerton: When the cannon’s roar shall be heard no more

Havelock Ellis: War, a relapse from civilisation into barbarism, if not savagery

Paul Éluard: True law of men despite the misery and war

Epictetus: I and mine, the cause of wars

Erasmus: The Complaint of Peace

Erckmann-Chatrian: In a century the war gods will be recognized as barbarians

Erckmann-Chatrian: In war belligerents conspire against their own citizens

Euripides: The crown of War, the crown of Woe

Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Today, war means the annihilation of the human race itself

Eleanor Farjeon: Now that you too join the vanishing armies

Eleanor Farjeon: Peace Poem

William Faulkner: There is only the question: When will I be blown up?

William Faulkner: To militarists, all civilians, even their own, are alien intruders

George Farquhar: What induced you to turn soldier?

Joseph Fawcett: War Elegy

Konstantin Fedin: Is there anyone who doesn’t want this war to be the last one on earth?

Fénelon: War is the most dreadful of all evils by which heaven has afflicted man

Lion Feuchtwanger: Selections on war

Lion Feuchtwanger: The demand for perpetual peace must be raised again and again

Lion Feuchtwanger: The future national state: A military power beyond conception

Lion Feuchtwanger: The privilege, the courage of fighting for peace

Lion Feuchtwanger: Service at the front gave him a burning hatred for militarism

Lion Feuchtwanger: There is no greater crime than an unnecessary war

Lion Feuchtwanger: War to make the world safe for democracy

Johann Gottlieb Fichte: The inexorable law of universal peace

Eugene Field and Thorne Smith: Bacchus disables Mars

Henry Fielding: On the condign fate of Great Men and conquerors

F. Scott Fitzgerald: War comes to Princeton

Gustave Flaubert and George Sand: Monstrous conflicts of which we have no idea; warfare suppressed or civilization perishes

Florus: Scattering the flames of war over the whole world

Florus: World war, something worse than war

Ford Maddox Ford: Millions massacred for picturesque phrases in politicians’ speeches

Ford Maddox Ford: Preparing men likes bullocks for the slaughterhouse

E.M. Forster: The Imperialist is not what he thinks or seems. He is a destroyer.

E.M. Forster: Wars spurred on by persistent talk of war, amplified by the gutter press

Anatole France: Selections on war

Anatole France: Attack the monster that devours our race; make war on war, a war to the death

Anatole France: Barracks are a hideous invention of modern times

Anatole France: Brutal impulse which has led and still leads one half of humanity to destroy the other

Anatole France: Ceaselessly repeating that war is abominable, avoiding all the tortuous intrigues which might provoke it

Anatole France: Country living under shadow of war is easy to govern

Anatole France: Education and War

Anatole France: Emerging painfully from primitive barbarism, war

Anatole France: The ethics of war

Anatole France: Financiers only wanted colonial wars and the people did not want any wars at all

Anatole France: “He left us impoverished and depopulated, but he gave us glory”

Anatole France: How the U.S. Congress deliberates on wars

Anatole France: In civilised nations the glory of massacre is the greatest glory known

Anatole France: Letter to an advocate of “peace with victory”

Anatole France: Military service the most terrible pest of civilised nations

Anatole France: Modern Romans, the Americanization of the world

Anatole France: No one has right to kill, just man will refuse to draw his number for war

Anatole France: Nobel Prize speech

Anatole France: Only two ways out of militarism – war and bankruptcy

Anatole France: Restoring order by means of theft, rape, pillage, murder and incendiarism

Anatole France: To avert the danger of peace breaking out…

Anatole France: The tutelary gods of world war

Anatole France: Wait till the warriors you make gods of swallow you all up

Anatole France: War brings to the victor himself but ruin and misery, is nothing but a horrible and stupid crime

Anatole France: War, burlesque masquerade in which fatuous patriots sing stupid dithyrambs

Anatole France: War debases man beneath the level of ferocious beasts

Anatole France: War is committing all crimes by which an individual dishonours himself: arson, robbery, rape, murder

Anatole France: War is the last redoubt of oligarchy, plutocracy

Anatole France: Wars fought over territorial acquisition, commercial rivalries

Anatole France: “What you call murder and robbery may really be war and conquest, sacred foundations of empires”

Anatole France: Whether civil or foreign, war is execrable

Anatole France: Why should not humanity abolish the law of murder?

Anatole France on Victor Hugo: People to substitute justice and peace for war and bloodshed

Anatole France on Émile Zola, military terrorism and world peace

Anatole France and Michel Corday: The press fans the flames of war’s blast furnace

Anatole France and Michel Corday: Threat of annihilation in gigantic Armageddon

Anatole France and Michel Corday: War is a crime, for which victory brings no atonement

Bruno Frank: Mercenaries lay coffinless in their thousands; terribly easy for princes to carry on their wars

Ivan Franko: Even the dove has the blood of men on its snowy white wings

Harold Frederic: War inflicts stifling political conformity

French writers on war and peace

Fronto: Devotion to peace 

Henry Blake Fuller: Killed and wounded on the fields of hate

Margaret Fuller: America, with no prouder emblem than the Dove

Thomas Fuller: As though there were not enough men-murdering engines

Thomas Fuller: When all the world might smile in perfect peace

Richard Furness: Selections on war

Richard Furness: Death and demons laugh’d in horrid joy

Richard Furness: The plough and the sword

Richard Furness: War and Love

Richard Furness: Whatever monster rose to mar the happiness of earth by war

Richard Furness: Who wasted earth with sword and flame and murdered millions for a name

F. Benjamin Gage: The Sword and the Plough

John Galsworthy: Selections on war

John Galsworthy, 1911: Air war last and worst hideous development of the black arts of warfare

John Galsworthy: Achieving perpetual peace by securing the annihilation of our common enemies

John Galsworthy: Air war leads to reverse evolution

John Galsworthy: Friend becomes foe with war psychosis

John Galsworthy: Grandiloquent phrases are the very munitions of war

John Galsworthy: History, made up of wars and intrigues which have originated in the brains of public men

John Galsworthy: The monstrous injustice of conflating chauvinism with common drunkenness

John Galsworthy: No one who disagrees with me must say anything if we are to save the cause of freedom and humanity

John Galsworthy: On the drawbacks of uttering pro-war cant

John Galsworthy: On the embarrassing consequences of bellicose pontification

John Galsworthy: Only a helpless or wicked God would allow the slaughter of millions

John Galsworthy: The procreative demands of war

John Galsworthy: The pure essence of humanitarian warfare sentiments

John Galsworthy: Rivers of blood and tears. When would killing go out of fashion?

John Galsworthy: Trading in fanatical idiocy at expense of others’ blood and sweat

John Galsworthy: War and the microbe of fatalism

John Galsworthy: The war brought in ugliness

John Galsworthy: The war made us all into barbarians

John Galsworthy: War moves mankind towards the manly and unforgiving vigour of the tiger and the rat

John Galsworthy: “The war! The cursed war!”

John Galsworthy: War, where Christ is daily crucified a million times over

John Galsworthy: Would they never tire of making mincemeat of the world?

Rasul Gamzatov: For women war is never over

Gabriel García Márquez: Five wars and seventeen military coups

Hamlin Garland: Cog in a vast machine for killing men

David Garnett: Criminal to welcome war

David Garnett: War is the worst of the epidemic diseases which afflict mankind

Vsevolod Garshin: Four Days

Théophile Gautier: One could imagine oneself in the Golden Age of Peace

John Gay: Parallel lives. Highwaymen and soldiers.

Stefan George: Monsters of lead and iron, tubes and rods escape their maker’s hand and rage unruly

German writers on peace and war

C. Virgil Gheorghiu: Armies composed of mercenaries fighting for the consolidation of robot society

C. Virgil Gheorghiu: In order to achieve victory the earth has been strewn with the bodies of innocent men, women, and children

C. Virgil Gheorghiu: Third World War, the first true world war in history

André Gide: Transformation of a war supporter

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Flag of Peace

Jean Giono: Led to the slaughterhouse

Jean Giono: Rats and worms were the only living things

Jean Giono: War, nourishment and dismemberment

Jean Giono: War! Who’s the madman in charge of all this? Who’s the madman who gives the orders?

George Gissing: Selections on war

George Gissing: Culpable fatalism: war is assured by perpetual prophecies of statesmen and journalists

George Gissing: Games and war

George Gissing: The imposition of military servitude

George Gissing: Letter to a son killed in war: War is a horrible thing that ought to be left to savages

George Gissing: Lord of Slaughter commands curse of universal soldiering

George Gissing: War turns science into enemy of man

George Gissing: When the next great war comes, newspapers will be the chief cause of it

Ellen Glasgow: Selections on war

Ellen Glasgow: The Altar of the War God

Ellen Glasgow: His vision of the future only an endless warfare and a wasted land

Ellen Glasgow: The Reign of the Brute

Ellen Glasgow: “That killed how many? how many?”

Ellen Glasgow: Then the rows of dead men stared at him through the falling rain in the deserted field

William Godwin: Inventions of a barbarous age, deluging provinces with blood

Ferdynand Goetel: Hands off our home, you tracking murderers! Hands off our brains and hearts!

Ferdynand Goetel: Men ripped up by the Moloch of war

Goethe: “O wisdom, thou speakest as a dove!”

Goethe: Withdraw hands from your swords

Nikolai Gogol: The dove not seeing the hawk. War in the Ukraine

Oliver Goldsmith: Selections on war

Oliver Goldsmith: A thousand hecatombs for mere trumperies. Imperial contest that no honest man can wish either side wins.

Oliver Goldsmith on war: Hundreds of thousands killed without consequence

Oliver Goldsmith: I am an enemy to nothing in this good world but war

Oliver Goldsmith: To make one man happy is more truly great than having ten thousand captives groaning at the wheels of his chariot

Oliver Goldsmith: War and its servile press

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

Maxim Gorky on Romain Rolland, war and humanism

Maxim Gorky to H.G. Wells: Cleanse from the hearts of children the blood-stained rust of horrible and senseless war

Maxim Gorky: The fatal consequences of ignoring military protocol

Maxim Gorky: Generals and substitutes for monkeys

Maxim Gorky: Henri Barbusse and the mass of lies, hypocrisy, cruelty, dirt and blood called war

Maxim Gorky: Military museum; soaking the dirt and dust of the earth with copious blood

Maxim Gorky: Military Tower of Babel

Maxim Gorky: Only time to train cannon fodder, not soldiers

Maxim Gorky: Perfidious Albion at war

Maxim Gorky: “That’s what war is for – to seize foreign land or depopulate one’s own”

Maxim Gorky: The true motives of war

Maxim Gorky: War and Civilization

Maxim Gorky: War, cunning in its stupidity

Maxim Gorky: War permits destruction of every kind: losing limbs fighting for our country

Maxim Gorky: What in war is honorable, in peacetime is criminal

Maxim Gorky: What we needed was a successful war – with anybody at all

Maxim Gorky: When “cause of freedom for man” means money for armaments

Maxim Gorky: With arming of vast hordes of people, what can I get out of the war?

Maxim Gorky: World war and racial conflict on an obscure, infinitesimal planet

Edmund Gosse: War and the brutalities of the real thing

Remy de Gourmont: Getting drunk at the dirty cask of militarism

Remy de Gourmont: If they wage war, in what state must the world be?

Albert-Paul Granier: The deadweight cortege of death grinds past

Robert Graves: Selections on war

Robert Graves: Accommodations for a million men killed in war

Robert Graves: A certain cure for lust of blood

Robert Graves: Even its opponents don’t survive war

Robert Graves: The grim arithmetic of war

Robert Graves: Men at arms and men of letters, the birth of English pacifism in the First World War

Robert Graves: Military madness degenerating into savagery

Robert Graves: Peace

Robert Graves: Recalling the last war, preparing for the next

Robert Graves: War follows its victims back home

Robert Graves: War should be a sport for men above forty-five only

Robert Graves: War’s path of death, decay and decomposition

Robert Graves: War’s ultimate victors, the rats

Robert Graves: When even war’s gallows humor fails

Thomas Gray: Clouds of carnage blot the sun; weave the crimson web of war

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Graham Greene: He carried the war in his heart, infecting everything

Graham Greene: A hundred English Guernicas

Graham Greene: Letter On NATO Threat To Cuba

Graham Greene: None of us can hate any more – or love. You have to feel something to stop a war.

Robert Greene: Then the stormy threats of wars shall cease

Fulke Greville: The shames of peace are the pride of war

Nordahl Grieg: War is contempt for life

Jorge Guillén: The monsters have passed over

Nicolás Guillén: Come, dove, come tell me the tale of your woe

Pentti Haanpää: War suits only such people as want to die

Thomas Hardy: Selections on war

Thomas Hardy: All-Earth-gladdening Law of Peace, war’s apology wholly stultified

Thomas Hardy: As war-waste classed

Thomas Hardy: The battle-god is god no more

Thomas Hardy: Channel Firing

Thomas Hardy: How long must your wroth reasonings trade on lives like these?

Thomas Hardy: The Man He Killed

Thomas Hardy: Vaster battalions press for further strands to argue in the self-same bloody mode

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Do Not Cheer, Men Are Dying

Frank Harris: Soulless selfishness of war; Anglo-Saxon domineering combativeness greatest danger to Humanity

Frank Harris: Henri Barbusse and the war against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

Charles Yale Harrison: Bombardment, maniacal congealed hatred

Charles Yale Harrison: This is called an artillery duel

Charles Yale Harrison: Two kinds of people in the world, those who like wars and those who fight them

Charles Yale Harrison: War and really murdering someone

Charles Yale Harrison: War is a hell that no god, however cruel, would fashion for his most deadly enemies

Charles Yale Harrison: War’s snarling, savage beasts

Charles Yale Harrison: War’s whispered reminder, you must come back to my howling madness

Charles Yale Harrison: We have learned who our enemies are

Charles Yale Harrison: Who can comfort whom in war? The mother of the man who died at the end of my bayonet

Jaroslav Hašek: Bathe in the blood of the enemy and slaughter them all as Herod did the babies

Jaroslav Hašek: Systematized, systematic system for writing of anticipatory war glories

Gerhart Hauptmann: American politics and warships

W. T. Hawkins: A Song of Peace

Nathaniel Hawthorne on war: Drinking out of skulls till the Millennium

William Hazlitt: Selections on war

William Hazlitt: And this is patriotism. Practitioners of eternal war.

William Hazlitt: Difference between a war-expenditure and what ought to be a peace-establishment

William Hazlitt: Effects of war and taxes

William Hazlitt: Harpies of the press. Juggling fiends. Systematic opponents of peace. Ceaseless partisans of interminable hostilities.

William Hazlitt: High-priests of Moloch foam at the mouth at the name of peace

William Hazlitt: Keystone of indestructible war-system: Closing up the avenues to peace, shutting the gates of mercy on mankind

William Hazlitt: Systematic patrons of eternal war

William Hazlitt: Ultima ratio regum: liberals and conservatives united by leaden bullets and steel bayonets

William Hazlitt: War is in itself is a thriving, sensible traffic only to cannibals

Felicia Hemans: Selections on peace and war

Felicia Hemans: Say to the hurricane of war, – “Be still”

Felicia Hemans: Speak not of death, till thou hast looked on such

Felicia Hemans: A thousand voices echo “Peace!”

Felicia Hemans: Thousands doomed to moan, condemned by war to hopeless grief unknown

Felicia Hemans: War and Peace

Felicia Hemans: War has still ravaged o’er the blasted plain

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

Ernest Hemingway: All armies are the same

Ernest Hemingway: Beaten to start with, beaten when they took them from their farms and put them in the army

Ernest Hemingway: Combat the murder that is war

Ernest Hemingway: “Down with the officers. Viva la Pace!”

Ernest Hemingway: “If everybody would not attack the war would be over”

Ernest Hemingway: “It doesn’t finish. There is no finish to a war.”

Ernest Hemingway: Nothing sacred about war’s stockyards

Ernest Hemingway: Perhaps wars weren’t won any more. Maybe they went on forever.

Ernest Hemingway: There are people who would make war, there are other people who would not make war

Ernest Hemingway: Who wins wars?

O. Henry: The ethics of justifiable slaughter

George Herbert: Make war to cease

Johann Gottfried Herder: Hardly dare name or write the terrible word “war”

José-Maria de Heredia: Drunk with dreams that brutal conquests bring

Miguel Hernández: Wretched Wars

Herodian: Accommodating the military, selling an empire

Herodotus: No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace

Robert Herrick: The Olive Branch

Robert Herrick: The olive branch, the arch of peace

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

Alexander Herzen: As soon as a boy can walk, he is given a toy sword to train him to murder

Alexander Herzen: Barracks, the most inhuman condition in which men live. An exhibition of generals.

Alexander Herzen: Blood replaced by tears, the field of battle by forgotten tombs

Alexander Herzen: Chthonic passions, heathen patriotism fuel war

Alexander Herzen: Despotism means military discipline, empires mean war

Alexander Herzen: The frenzied anxiety, the exhausted satiety that lead to war

Alexander Herzen: Inhumanity of army discipline, flunky of a crowned soldier

Alexander Herzen: Middle class idyll impossible with half a million bayonets clamoring for “work”

Alexander Herzen: Six hundred thousand animated machines with bayonets. Military caste divides the people into two nations

Alexander Herzen: The type of military commander in whom everything social and moral, everything human has died out

Alexander Herzen: War and “international law”

Alexander Herzen: War, duel between nations; duel, war between individuals

Alexander Herzen: What the military calls work

Hesiod: Lamentable works of Ares lead to dank house of Hades

Maurice Hewlett: In the Trenches

Maurice Hewlett: Who prayeth peace?

Stefan Heym: Sure it’s a vicious circle, it’s war

Stefan Heym: The whole scene was immersed in the silence of absolute death

Stefan Heym: The world market…making new wars

Nazim Hikmet: The Little Girl

Nazim Hikmet: Sad kind of freedom, free to be an American air base

Martha Lavinia Hoffman: The Song of Peace

James Hogg: Few such monsters can mankind endure: The fields are heaped with dead and dying.

James Hogg: Millions have bled that sycophants may rule

Ludvig Holberg: Military modesty and candor

Friedrich Hölderlin: Celebration of Peace

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Hymn to Peace

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Not so enamored of the drum and trumpet

Homer: Caging the terrible Lord of War

Homer: The great gods are never pleased with violent deeds

Homer: Mars, most unjust, most odious of all the gods

Thomas Hood: As gentle as sweet heaven’s dew beside the red and horrid drops of war

Thomas Hood: Freelance soldiering

A. D. Hope: Inscription for a War

Gerard Manley Hopkins: What pure peace allows alarms of wars?

Horace: Let there be a limit to warfare

Horace: Transcending war

Julia Ward Howe: Mother’s Day Proclamation 1870

William Dean Howells: Selections on war

William Dean Howells: Editha

William Dean Howells: If we have war, every good cause will be set back

William Dean Howells to Henry James: The most stupid and causeless war

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

William Dean Howells: On Mark Twain and war

William Dean Howells to Mark Twain: War for humanity turned into war for coal-stations

William Dean Howells: Warmongers should tremble when they remember that God is just

William Dean Howells: Wilson’s Mexican war, wickeder than that of 1846

Langston Hughes: A mighty army serving human kind, not an army geared to kill

Victor Hugo: Selections on war

Victor Hugo: The black eagle waits with claws outspread

Victor Hugo: The face of Cain, hunters of men, sublime cutthroats

Victor Hugo: War, made by humanity against humanity, despite humanity

Victor Hugo: Glorious war does not exist; peace, that sublime, universal desire

Victor Hugo: Brute war, dire birth of hellish race

Victor Hugo: International Peace Congress 1851

Leigh Hunt: Captain Sword and Captain Pen

Leigh Hunt: The devilish drouth of the cannon’s ever-gaping mouth

Leigh Hunt: Some Remarks On War And Military Statesmen

Aldous Huxley: Selections on war

Aldous Huxley: Absurdity of talking about the defence of democracy by war

Aldous Huxley: All devote themselves methodically and scientifically to general massacre and wholesale destruction

Aldous Huxley: The first of the political causes of war is war itself

Aldous Huxley: How are we to get rid of war when we celebrate militarists?

Aldous Huxley: Imposition of permanent military servitude upon the masses

Aldous Huxley: Manufacturing of arms, an intrinsically abominable practice

Aldous Huxley: Nuclear weapons, establishing world domination for one’s gang

Aldous Huxley: One cannot be ruler of militaristic society without being militarist oneself

Aldous Huxley: Peace of the world frequently endangered in order that oil magnates might grow a little richer

Aldous Huxley: Rhetorical devices used to conceal fundamental absurdity and monstrosity of war

Aldous Huxley: Science, technology harnessed to the chariot of war

Aldous Huxley: Scientific workers must take action against war

Aldous Huxley: Shifting people’s attention in world where war-making remains an almost sacred habit

Aldous Huxley: War is mass murder organized in cold blood

Aldous Huxley: War is not a law of nature, nor even of human nature

Aldous Huxley: War is now the affair of every man, woman and child in the community

Aldous Huxley: War shatters precarious crust of civilization, precipitates vast numbers of human beings into abyss of misery and frenzied diabolism

Jean Ingelow: And the dove said, “Give us peace!”

Jean Ingelow: Methought the men of war were even as gods

Irish writers on peace and war

Washington Irving: The laudable spirit of military emulation. Soldiers, poor animals

Washington Irving: Most pacific nation in the world? Rather the most warlike

Washington Irving: The renown not purchased by deeds of violence and blood

Isocrates: Addicted to war, lusting after imperial power

Isocrates: War zealots plunge state into manifold disasters

Avetik Issahakian: Eternal fabricators of war, erecting pyramids with a myriad skulls

Panaït Istrati: Crusades profit neither those who fight, nor the cause for which they have gone to war

Panaït Istrati: Warmakers and toadeaters

Italian writers on war and militarism

Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz: The word pax, pax, pax

Henry James: Beguiled into thinking war, worst horror that attends the life of nations, could not recur

William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

William James: The Philippine Tangle

Randall Jarrell: In bombers named for girls, we burned the cities we had learned about in school

Robinson Jeffers: Eagle Valor, Chicken Mind

Soame Jenyns: One good-natured act more praises gain than armies overthrown, and thousands slain

Soame Jenyns: The soldier’s scarlet glowing from afar shows his bloody occupation’s war

Jerome: We must seek peace if we are to avoid wars

Samuel Johnson: I to nobler themes aspire

Samuel Johnson: Reason frowns on War’s unequal game

Samuel Johnson: War is heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved

Samuel Johnson: War is the extremity of evil

Mór Jókai: In the soldier’s march to glory each step is a human corpse

Mór Jókai: War’s patriotic pelf: a slaughtered army tells no tales

Henry Jones: Bid discord cease, and open wide the gates of peace

Josephus: Admonition against war

Joseph Joubert on war: All victors will be defeated

Attila József: War stirs its withering alarms, I shudder to see hatred win

Julian: Reforming the evils that war has caused

Justin: There would then assuredly be fewer wars in all ages and countries

Juvenal: Mighty warriors and their tombs are circumscribed by Fate

Juvenal: The spoils of war and the price thereof

Juvenal: War and violence, baser than the beasts

Juvenal: Weigh the greatest military commanders in the balance

Immanuel Kant: Prescription for perpetual peace

Georgi Karaslavov: War’s fratricide, how commonplace and yet how terrible

Frigyes Karinthy: Lost his mind on the battlefield, thought he knew what he was fighting for

Frigyes Karinthy: Started war of self-defense by attacking neighbor

Nikos Kazantzakis: Francis of Assisi

Keats: Days innocent of scathing war

John Keats: The fierce intoxicating tones of trumpets, drums and cannon

Joseph Kessel: In my family, war is in the blood…the blood of others

Joseph Kessel: The monstrous ululation of an air-raid siren

Joseph Kessel: War’s ultimate fratricide, killed for not killing

Ellen Key: Overcoming the madness of a world at war

Harriet King: Life is Peace

Charles Kingsley: Empire, a system of world-wide robbery, and church

Charles Kingsley: Tyrannising it luxuriously over all nations, she had sat upon the mystic beast

Henry Kirke White: Far better music inspire peace than war

Henry Kirke White: The red-eyeballed warrior doomed to ruin

Hans Hellmut Kirst: Goose-Stepping for NATO

Vladimir Korolenko: Final judgment

Zofia Kossak: Every creature has its day. War and crocodiles.

Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky: Man the despoiler, man the slayer

Karl Kraus: Selections on war

Karl Kraus: Aphorisms and obloquies on war

Karl Kraus: This is world war. This is my manifesto to mankind.

Karl Kraus: The evolution of humanitarian bombing

Karl Kraus: The Last Days of Mankind

Karl Kraus: The Warmakers

Karl Kraus: War renders unto Caesar that which is God’s

Karl Kraus: In war, business is business

Karl Kraus: Wire dispatches are instruments of war

Karl Kraus: The vampire generation; prayer in wartime

Alexander Kuprin: Selections on war

Alexander Kuprin: Deciphering the military metaphysic

Alexander Kuprin: The human race has had its childhood – a time of incessant and bloody war

Alexander Kuprin: Mounds and mountains of corpses under which moan the dying

Alexander Kuprin: What is war after all? Perhaps it is nothing more than a mistake made by all, a universal error, a madness.

Alexander Kuprin: The whole science of war exists only because humanity will not, or cannot, or dare not, say, ‘I won’t.’

La Bruyère on the lust for war

La Fontaine: When shall Peace pack up these bloody darts?

José-André Lacour: War’s sanguinary peacock

Jacques de Lacretelle: War’s atavistic brigands

Lactantius: Selections on war

Lactantius: The arms of the nations shall be burnt; and now there shall be no war, but peace and everlasting rest

Lactantius: Duties relating to warfare are accommodated neither to justice nor to true virtue

Lactantius: Justice had no other reason for leaving the earth than the shedding of human blood

Lactantius: No one can befittingly describe the cruelty of this beast, which rages with iron teeth throughout the world

Lactantius: The pernicious and impious madness of deifying warlike generals who have inundated plains with blood

Lactantius: Sacrificing to the gods of war

Lactantius: War, object of execration, and its domestic analogue

Pär Lagerkvist: If such a thing as war can end

Selma Lagerlöf: The Fifth Commandment. The Great Beast is War.

Selma Lagerlöf: The mark of death was on them all

Lamartine: The republic of peace

Charles Lamb: More-wasting War, insatiable of blood

Wilhelm Lamszus: The Human Slaughter-House

Walter Savage Landor: Some stopped revenge athirst for slaughter

Sidney Lanier: Selections on war

Sidney Lanier: Blood-red flower of war, whose odors strangle a people, whose roots are in hell

Sidney Lanier: Death in Eden

Sidney Lanier: Dialogue on the war-flower

Sidney Lanier: War by other means

Sidney Lanier: The wind blew all the vanes in the country in one way – toward war

D. H. Lawrence: Selections on war

D.H. Lawrence: All modern militarism is foul

D.H. Lawrence: Future War, Murderous Weapons, Refinements of Evil

D.H. Lawrence: In 1915 the world ended with the slaughter-machine of human devilishness

D. H. Lawrence: No romance of war. The soul did not heal.

D.H. Lawrence: The price to pay at home for terrible, terrible war

D.H. Lawrence: War adds horror to horror, becomes horrible piratic affair, dirty sort of freebooting

Henry Lawson: And all the nations of the world prepare for war again!

Halldór Laxness: In war there is no cause except the cause of war. A bitter disappointment when it turned out they could defend themselves

Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion of War

Richard Le Gallienne: Is this to be strong, ye nations, your vulgar battles to fight?

Stephen Leacock: In The Good Time After The War

Stephen Leacock: The war mania of middle age and embonpoint

Vernon Lee: Satan’s rules of war

Marie Lenéru: War is not human fate

Leonid Leonov: All the blood that has been shed has turned the air bad

Leonid Leonov: Tell me, is it right to kill – in war or anyhow?

Mikhail Lermontov: Still you’re fighting: Why, what for?

Nikolai Leskov: Immorality

Charles Lever: The self-serving drunken oblivion of war

Sinclair Lewis: Selections on war

Sinclair Lewis: Can’t depend On Providence to supply wars when you need them

Sinclair Lewis: College education makes soldiers more patriotic, flag-waving, and skillful in the direction of slaughter

Sinclair Lewis: The disguised increase, false economizing of war budgets

Sinclair Lewis: Don’t much care what kind of war they prepare for

Sinclair Lewis: For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more…for peace!

Sinclair Lewis: General: State of peace far worse than war

Sinclair Lewis: Get us into war just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going

Sinclair Lewis: Inevitable war with Canada, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Japan, or perhaps Staten Island

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis: The only thing not absurd about wars was that they kill a good many millions of people

Sinclair Lewis: Other Unavoidable Wars to End All Wars

Sinclair Lewis: Pining for a good war

Li Bai: Nefarious War

Libanius: Rulers more popular for granting mercy than possessing multitudes of soldiers

Libanius: War in time of peace

Jack Lindsay: The Scared Men

Jack Lindsay: Who Will Dare Look This Child in the Eyes?

Livy: On the political utility of starting unprovoked wars

William J. Locke: Following war

Jack London: War

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals the blast of War’s great organ shakes the skies!

Federico García Lorca: War goes crying with a million gray rats

Samuel Lover: The demon of war casts his shadows before

Samuel Lover: The trumpet and the sword

Amy Lowell: A pattern called a war. Christ! What are patterns for?

James Russell Lowell: Dante and universal peace

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

Lu Hsün: Ballads among bushes of bayonets, hungry dove amid crumbling walls

Lucan: Over all the world you are victorious and your soldiers die

Lucian: Rejecting war’s seductive appeal

Lucian: War propaganda and its hyperbole

Lucretius: Lull to a timely rest the savage works of war

Emil Ludwig: Dialogue on “humanitarian war”

Lycophron: Ares, who banquets in gory battles

Lysias: Those who wage war imitate tyrants

Thomas Macaulay: Drive for transatlantic dominion leads to endless wars, empty treasuries

Thomas Macaulay: Loving war for its own sake

Thomas Macaulay: The self-perpetuating role of the army

Archibald MacLeish: The disastrous war, the silent slain

Hugh MacDiarmid: A war to save civilization, you say?

Maurice Maeterlinck: Bloodshed, battle-cry and sword-thrust are the joys of barbarians

Albert Maltz: A children’s wartime bestiary

Albert Maltz: Conquering the world but losing your son

Albert Maltz: “Ten thousand dead today. That’s what the war means.”

Bernard Mandeville: How to induce men to kill and die

Heinrich Mann: Mission of letters in a world in rubble with 10 million corpses underground

Heinrich Mann: Nietzsche, war and the butchery of ten to twenty million souls

Heinrich Mann: Nowadays the real power is peace

Thomas Mann: Selections on war

Thomas Mann: By nature evil and harmful, war is destructive even to the victor

Thomas Mann: Dirge for a homeland wasted by war

Thomas Mann: Parallel, oracle and warning

Thomas Mann: Tolstoy, a force that could have stopped war

Thomas Mann: War is a blood-orgy of egotism, corruption, and vileness

Thomas Mann: William Faulkner’s love for man, protest against militarism and war

Marcus Aurelius: Military conquests lead but to the grave

Jacques Maritain: What good one can expect from such a war and its pitiless prolongation?

Christopher Marlowe: Accurs’d be he that first invented war!

Christopher Marlowe: Parricide and filicide. While lions war, poor lambs perish.

José Martí: Oscar Wilde on war and aesthetics

Martial: Let the mad be eager for wars and fierce Mars

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

Roger Martin du Gard: From Nobel Prize in Literature speech

Roger Martin du Gard: All the pageantry of war cannot redeem its beastliness

Roger Martin du Gard: “Anything rather than the madness, the horrors of a war!”

Roger Martin du Gard: Be loyal to yourselves, reject war

Roger Martin du Gard: Deliberately infecting a country with war neurosis

Roger Martin du Gard: “Drop your rifles. Revolt!”

Roger Martin du Gard: General strike for peace

Roger Martin du Gard: A hundredth part of energy expended in war could have preserved peace

Roger Martin du Gard: How make active war on war?

Roger Martin du Gard: Launch against the war-mongers a concerted movement to force the governments to bow to your desire for peace

Roger Martin du Gard: No more dangerous belief can take root in the mind than the belief that war’s inevitable

Roger Martin du Gard: Nothing worse than war and all it involves

Roger Martin du Gard: Romain Rolland

Roger Martin du Gard: Secret commitments which from one day to another may plunge you, every man of you, into the horrors of war

Roger Martin du Gard: A thousand times more honor in preserving peace than waging war

Roger Martin du Gard: Tragedy of war, like that of Oedipus, occurs because warnings are ignored

Roger Martin du Gard: War breeds atmosphere of lies, officials lies

Roger Martin du Gard: War is at our gates, dooming millions of innocent victims to suffering and death

Roger Martin du Gard: War’s “serviceable lie” costs tens of thousands of lives

Roger Martin du Gard: When you refer to war, none of you thinks of the unprecedented slaughter, the millions of innocent victims it involves

Andrew Marvell: War all this doth overgrow

Andrew Marvell: When roses only arms might bear

Gerald Massey: Curst, curst be war, the World’s most fatal glory!

Gerald Massey: Sweet peace comes treading down war’s cruel spears

Philip Massinger: Famine, blood, and death, Bellona’s pages

Philip Massinger: Mustn’t change ploughshares into swords

Edgar Lee Masters: “The honor of the flag must be upheld”

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Edgar Lee Masters: The words, Pro Patria, what do they mean, anyway?

Guy de Maupassant: Selections on war

Guy de Maupassant: The army, murdering those who defend themselves, making prisoners of the rest, pillaging in the name of the Sword

Guy de Maupassant: The Horrible

Guy de Maupassant: How and why wars are plotted

Guy de Maupassant: I do not understand how these murderers are tolerated walking on the public streets

Guy de Maupassant: I only pray that our sons may never see any wars again

Guy de Maupassant: Military hysteria, military presumptuousness

Guy de Maupassant: Why does society not rise up bodily in rebellion at the word “war”?

André Maurois: The killing machine started up with pitiless smoothness

Vladimir Mayakovsky: Hurl a question to their faces: Why are we fighting?

Grenville Mellen: Slaughter rides screaming on the vengeful ball

Herman Melville: Trophies of Peace

Herman Melville: War-pits and rattraps. Soldier sold to the army as Faust sold himself to the devil.

Albert Memmi: So the war had caught up with us, a celebration in honor of death

Menander: Inglorious military vainglory

H.L. Mencken: New wars will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men

George Meredith: Selections on peace and war

George Meredith: All your gains from War resign

George Meredith: Bellona’s mad halloo

George Meredith: The Olive Branch

George Meredith: On the Danger of War

George Meredith: War wife, as good as widowed

George Meredith: War’s rivers of blood no crown for future generations

Dmitry Merezhkovsky : His God is not at all the God of the Christians, but the ancient, pagan Mars

Prosper Mérimée: To the shame of humanity, horrors of war have their charm

Robert Merle: The present war, and all the previous wars, and all the wars to come

Robert Merle: There’s no such thing as a just or sacred war

Leonard Merrick: Strange there weren’t more that didn’t think it a virtue to commit murder if you put on khaki

Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Arnold Schoenberg: Peace on Earth

Alice Meynell: The true slayers are those who sire soldiers

Adam Mickiewicz: The transient glory of military conquerors

Thomas Middleton: Selections on peace and war

Thomas Middleton: All made to make a peace, and not a war

Thomas Middleton: Blood-quaffing Mars, who wash’d himself in gore

Thomas Middleton: Let them that seek Peace, find Peace and enjoy Peace

Thomas Middleton: O thrice-peaceful souls, whom neither threats nor strife nor wars controls!

Thomas Middleton: The Peacemaker

Thomas Middleton: The soldier’s fate

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Conscientious Objector

Milton: Men levy cruel wars, wasting the earth, each other to destroy

John Milton: What can war but endless war still breed?

Milton: Without ambition, war, or violence

Minucius Felix: War and the birth of empire

Octave Mirbeau: Selections on war

Octave Mirbeau: All these wan faces, all these bodies already vanquished – toward what useless and bloody slaughters?

Octave Mirbeau: It was not enough that war should glut itself with human flesh, it was necessary that it should also devour beasts, the earth itself, everything that lived in the calm and peace of labor and love

Octave Mirbeau: An orgy of destruction, criminal and foolish. What was this country, in whose name so many crimes were being committed?

Octave Mirbeau: Stupidly, unconsciously, I had killed a man whom I loved, a man with whom my soul had just identified itself

Octave Mirbeau: A sudden vision of Death, red Death standing on a chariot, drawn by rearing horses, which was sweeping down on us, brandishing his scythe

Octave Mirbeau: War, apprenticeship in man-killing

Mary Russell Mitford: Sheath thy gory blade in peace

Montaigne: Selections on war

Montaigne: Blood on the sword: From slaughter of animals to slaughter of men

Montaigne: God would not favor so unjust an enterprise as insulting and quarreling with another nation for profit

Montaigne: The ignominy of lopsided military conquest

Montaigne: Invasion concerns all men; not so defense: that concerns only the rich

Montaigne: It is enough to dip our pens in ink without dipping them in blood

Montaigne: Monstrous war waged for frivolous reasons

Montaigne: This furious monster war

Montaigne: War, that malady of mankind

Montaigne: War’s fury

Eugenio Montale: Poetry in an era of nuclear weapons and Doomsday atmosphere

Montesquieu: Distemper of militarism brings nothing but public ruin

Montesquieu: Military glory leads to torrents of blood overspreading the earth

Montesquieu: Wars abroad aggravate conflicts at home

Henry de Montherlant: A constant state of crime against humanity

William Vaughn Moody: Bullet’s scream went wide of its mark to its homeland’s heart

George Moore: Murder pure and simple, impossible to revive the methods of Tamburlaine

George Moore: War and disillusionment

Marianne Moore: I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war

Thomas Moore: Famine comes to glean all that the sword had left unreap’d. A banquet, yet alive, for ravening vultures.

Paul Morand: The magic disappearance of ten millions of war dead

Paul Morand: Nations never lay down their arms; death which is still combative

Paul Morand: The War for Righteousness ends in the burying of moral sense

Alberto Moravia: Selections on war

Alberto Moravia: “Ah well, war is war, you know”

Alberto Moravia: Even in uniform and with a chest covered with medals, always a thief and a murderer

Alberto Moravia: That is what war is like, the war is everywhere

Alberto Moravia: Torn colored posters inciting people to war

Alberto Moravia: War destroys all things seen and unseen

Alberto Moravia: War survives in our souls long after it is over

Hannah More: War

Charles Morice: Woe to you enemies of peace

Christopher Morley: No enthusiasm for hymns of hate

Lewis Morris: Selections on war and peace

Lewis Morris: The blight of war surges in waves of blood

Lewis Morris: The evil blight of war torments the race from age to age

Lewis Morris: Filled with love of peace

Lewis Morris: Put off the curse of war

Lewis Morris: Red war, the dungeon, and the stake

Lewis Morris: When the cannons roar and the trumpets blare no longer

Lewis Morris: White-winged Peace triumphs over War’s red rapine

Lewis Morris: Who will free us from the dreadful past of war and hatred?

Lewis Morris: The world rang with the fierce shouts of war and cries of pain

William Morris: No man knew the sight of blood

William Morris: Protecting the strong from the weak, selling each other weapons to kill their own countrymen

William Morris: War abroad but no peace at home

Alfred de Musset: “No, none of these things, but simply peace.”

Lilika Nakos: Selections on war

Lilika Nakos: The dead man, the living, the house; all were smashed to bits

Lilika Nakos: Do I know what makes men kill each other?

Lilika Nakos: Do you think the war will ever end?

Lilika Nakos: The grandmother’s sin

Lilika Nakos: “Surely God didn’t intend this butchery”

Lilika Nakos: “What’s the war got to do with God?”

Thomas Nashe: Swords may not fight with fate

Nikolai Nekrasov: In War

Pablo Neruda: Bandits with planes, jackals that the jackals would despise

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war

Alfred Neumann: Debunking the glory of twenty murderous years, the greatest mass-murderer in history

Alfred Neumann: Empire destroys peace, converts liberalism into harvest of blood

Alfred Neumann: European hegemony emerges from piled-up corpses, out of recent graves

Alfred Neumann: Four thousand miles of fratricidal murder

Alfred Neumann: Modern war, the murderous happiness of the greatest number

Alfred Neumann: The morals and manners of the War God

Alfred Neumann: Sacred recalcitrance toward the black hatred of war

Alfred Neumann: Scandalous was the idea of winning happiness through war, of making profit out of war

Alfred Neumann: The stench of burning flesh. That happens sometimes.

Alfred Neumann: Ten million lives for one man’s glory; the emperor changes his hat

Alfred Neumann: This is how it happens in history. Soldiers become thieves, thieves become murderers.

Alfred Neumann: Twilight of a conqueror

Alfred Neumann: The ultima ratio of all dictatorships: war

Alfred Neumann: War and the stock market

Alfred Neumann: War, the Great Incendiary, the everlasting prototype of annihilation

Alfred Neumann: War is not ambiguous after all, but a horribly intelligent affair

Alfred Neumann: The War Minister

Alfred Neumann: War nights were never silent

Alfred Neumann: War: Sad, hate-filled, hopeless and God-forsaken

Alfred Neumann: War’s arena, a monstrous distortion, a blasphemous coupling of life and death

Martin Andersen Nexø : From warlike giant to hysterical popinjay

Adela Florence Nicolson: Doubtless feasted the jackal and the kite

Paul Nizan: War completely assembled, like a mighty engine

Charles Nodier: Fruitless is the glory of battles

Charles Nodier: Painful to the eyes and the heart of he who cherishes liberty

Nonnos: Brother-murdering blade. Disarming the god of war.

Novalis: Celebrating a great banquet of love as a festival of peace

Alfred Noyes: Selections on war

Alfred Noyes: And the cost of war, they reckoned it In little disks of gold

Alfred Noyes: The Dawn of Peace

Alfred Noyes: Mars and Urania

Alfred Noyes: Medicine driven back in defeat by the nightmare chaos of war

Alfred Noyes: The men he must kill for a little pay. And once he had sickened to watch them slaughter an ox.

Alfred Noyes: Out of the obscene seas of slaughter

Alfred Noyes: Scarecrows that once were men

Alfred Noyes: A shuddering lump of tattered wounds lifted up a mangled head and whined

Alfred Noyes: Slaughter! Slaughter! Slaughter!

Alfred Noyes: They say that war’s a noble thing!

Alfred Noyes: Turning wasteful strength of war to accomplish large and fruitful tasks of peace

Alfred Noyes: The Victory Ball

Alfred Noyes: War, hypocritical word for universal murder

Alfred Noyes: War they tell me is a noble thing

Alfred Noyes: When they talked of war, they thought of sawdust, not of blood

Alfred Noyes: The Wine Press

Sean O’Casey: Battles of war changed for battles of peace

Sean O’Casey: The dead of wars past clasp their colder arms around the newer dead

Sean O’Casey: The Prince of Peace transformed into the god of war

Vladimir Odoevsky: City without a name, system with one

Kenzaburō Ōe: Categorical imperative to renounce war forever

Kenzaburo Ōe: Nuclear war and its lemmings

Liam O’Flaherty: The foul horror of war

Liam O’Flaherty: Sounds from a dead world. Nothing but worms and rats feeding on death.

Georges Ohnet: Pillaging in the wake of victorious armies

Zoé Oldenbourg: War provides a feast for the vultures

John Oldham: The cup and the sword

Eugene O’Neill: The hell that follows war

Amelia Opie: Grant, Heaven, those tears may be the last that war, detested war, shall cause!

Ovid: Golden Age, before weapons were warm and bloodstained from killing

Ovid: Instead of a wolf the timorous ewes dread war

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

Wilfred Owen: Arms and the Boy and Disabled

Wilfred Owen: For torture of lying machinally shelled at the pleasure of this world’s Powers who’d run amok

Wilfred Owen: From gloom’s last dregs these long-strung creatures crept

Wilfred Owen: Multitudinous murders they once witnessed

Wilfred Owen: 1914

Wilfred Owen: The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

Wilfred Owen: Pawing us who dealt them war and madness

Wildred Owen: Rushed in the body to enter hell and there out-fiending all its fiends and flames

Wilfred Owen: Soldier’s Dream

Wilfred Owen: The sons we offered might regret they died if we got nothing lasting in their stead

Wildred Owen: Strange meeting: I am the enemy you killed, my friend

Thomas Parnell: Lovely, lasting peace, appear!

Pascal on war: An assassin if he kills in his own country, a hero if in another

Walter Pater: What are they all now, and the dust of their battles? Deity of Slaughter.

Coventry Patmore: Peace in life and art

Pausanias: Peace cradling Wealth in her arms

Pausanias: Woe to man

Cesare Pavese: Every war is a civil war

Cesare Pavese: A moment of peace, to be reborn into a bloodless world

Thomas Love Peacock: Selections on war and peace

Thomas Love Peacock: Frenzied war’s ensanguined reign

Thomas Love Peacock: The god of battle, the last deep groan of agony

Thomas Love Peacock: I’ll make my verses rattle with the din of war and battle

Thomas Love Peacock: Ne’er thy sweet echoes swell again with war’s demoniac yell!

Thomas Love Peacock: We spilt blood enough to swim in, we orphaned many children and widowed many women

Charles Péguy: Cursed be war, cursed of God

Benjamin Péret: Little song for the maimed

Benito Pérez Galdós: Cannon should be cast into church bells

Benito Pérez Galdós: Good God! why are there wars?

Petrarch: Wealth and power at a bloody rate is wicked, better bread and water eat with peace

Petronius : Dreams of war

David Graham Phillips: Captains of industry, industrial warfare, marauders and renegade generals

Stephen Phillips: Appalled at bloody trophies

Philo: “Ah, my friends, how should you not hate war and love peace?”

Philo: Casting off the warlike spirit in its completeness

Philo: “Nourished” for war and all its attendant evils

Philostratus: War versus love

John Pierpont: Not on the Battle-Field

Pindar: The arts versus war

Pindar: Shall war spread unbounded ruin round?

Harold Pinter: Art, Truth and Politics

Plato: Selections on war

Plato: All wars arise for the sake of gaining money

Plato: A good city has peace, but the evil city is full of wars within and without

Plato: The highest good is not war but peace

Plato: No true statesman looks only, or first of all, to external warfare

Plato: Socrates on the eulogizing of war heroes

Plato: They both hate and are hated. Silver and gold and war.

Plato: The tyrant is always stirring up war, the oligarchy uses force of arms to gain power

Plautus: Military braggadocio

Pliny the Elder: Crime and slaughter and warfare. Humanity’s war against its mother

Pliny the Elder: Curious disease of the sublunary, sanguinary human mind

Plotinus: Let earth be at peace and sea, air and the very heavens

Joseph Mary Plunkett: Till blooms the bud on olive branch, borne by the bird of peace

Plutarch: Selections on war and peace

Plutarch: Advanced and bettered by wars? Only if riches, luxury, dominion are preferred to security, gentleness, independence accompanied by justice.

Plutarch: Entire and universal cessation of war

Plutarch: Lover of peace changed the first month of the year

Plutarch: Motivations and consequences of war

Plutarch: Numa’s guardians of peace

Plutarch: On war and its opponents

Plutarch: The privilege of being wounded and killed in war for the defense of their creditors

Plutarch: Sharpened and whetted to war from their very infancy. So unsocial and wild-beast-like is the nature of ambition and cupidity.

Plutarch: They fought indeed and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and the wealth of other men

Plutarch: Venus, who more than the rest of the gods and goddesses abhors force and war

Edgar Allan Poe: The Valley of Unrest

Polybius: The bestialization of man by war

Polybius: Diplomacy versus war

Polybius: Peace is a blessing for which we all pray to the gods

Ernest Poole: Apply for death certificates here. War’s house of death.

Ernest Poole: The hatred rising in all men has already butchered millions and will butcher millions more!

Ernest Poole: War cuts off the past from the future

Ernest Poole: War was the fashion. War was a pageant, a thing of romance.

Alexander Pope: Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend

Alexander Pope: War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades

Alexander Pope: Where Peace scatters blessings from her dovelike wing

Vladimir Pozner: Mars and Ceres

J.B. Priestley: Insane regress of ultimate weapons leads to radioactive cemetery

Thomas Pringle: After the slaughter, the feast

Thomas Pringle: Resistless swept the ranks of war, the murder-glutted scythe of death

Matthew Prior: A new golden age free from fierce Bellona’s rage

Procopius: A parable

Procopius: Refuge from war

Adelaide A. Procter: Let carnage cease and give us peace!

Propertius: Elegy on war

Marcel Proust: Every day war is declared anew

Prudentius: Cruel warfare angers God

Publilius Syrus: Better plow than weapon

Salvatore Quasimodo: In every country a cultural tradition opposes war

Francisco de Quevedo: Metal against metal: Learning causes peace to be sought after

Francisco de Quevedo: The soldierly virtues of ardor, candor, honor and valor

Edgar Quinet: The soul of man has vanished, nations and races are doomed to combat and destroy each other

Quintilian: War, the antithesis of justice

Quintus Smyrnaeus: In his talons bore a gasping dove. Where never ceased Ares from hideous slaughter.

Quintus Smyrnaeus: Mass murder’s tropes: Dread Ares drank his fill of blood

Quintus Smyrnaeus: While here all war’s marvels were portrayed, there were the works of lovely peace

C.F. Ramuz: Little by little the war spreads

Herbert Read: Bombing Casualties

Herbert Read: The Happy Warrior

Charles Reade: To God? Rather to war and his sister and to the god of lies

Charles Reade: War is sweet to those who have never experienced it

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

Erich Maria Remarque: After the war: The day of great dreams for the future of mankind was past

Erich Maria Remarque: All learning, all culture, all science is nothing but hideous mockery so long as mankind makes war

Erich Maria Remarque: The front begins and we become on the instant human animals

Erich Maria Remarque: It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation

Erich Maria Remarque: Like a dove, a lonely white dove of assurance and peace

Erich Maria Remarque: Now, for the first time, I feel it; I see it; I comprehend it fully: Peace.

Erich Maria Remarque: On every yard there lies a dead man

Erich Maria Remarque: Peace?

Erich Maria Remarque: Their fighting and their dying have been coupled with murder and injustice and lies and might; they have been defrauded

Erich Maria Remarque: War dreams

Erich Maria Remarque: The war has ruined us for everything

Erich Maria Remarque: War, mass production of corpses

Erich Maria Remarque: War turns us into thugs, into murderers, into God only knows what devils

Erich Maria Remarque: A war veteran’s indictment

Erich Maria Remarque: War was everywhere. Everywhere, even in the brain and the heart.

Erich Maria Remarque: War’s conqueror worms

Erich Maria Remarque: We want to be men again, not war machines!

Erich Maria Remarque: We were making war against ourselves without knowing it

Erich Maria Remarque: What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when the war is over?

Erich Maria Remarque: With the melting came the dead

Erich Maria Remarque: Worse than a slaughterhouse

Charles Richardson: The Dawn of Peace

Charlotte Richardson: Once more let war and discord cease

Jean Paul Richter: The Goddess of Peace

James Whitcomb Riley: Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war –

Arthur Rimbaud: Evil

Yannis Ritsos: Peace

Edwin Arlington Robinson: Though your very flesh and blood the Eagle eats and drinks, you’ll praise him for the best of birds

Mary Robinson: Selections on war

Mary Robinson: Anticipate the day when ruthless war shall cease to desolate

Mary Robinson: Dread-destructive power of war

Mary Robinson: Impetuous War, the lord of slaughter

Mary Robinson: The soldier sheds, for gold, a brother’s blood

Mary Robinson: Spread once more the fostering rays of Peace

Mary Robinson: The wise shall bid, too late, the sacred olive rise

Emmanuel Roblès: Respect is first due to the living

Samuel Rogers: War and the Great in War let others sing

Samuel Rogers: What tho’ the iron school of War erase each milder virtue…

Romain Rolland: Selections on war

Romain Rolland: A father’s plea against war

Romain Rolland: The abominable war crimes of intellectuals

Romain Rolland: Above The Battle

Romain Rolland: Against grasping imperialism and inhuman pride, military caste and megalomania of pedants

Romain Rolland: America and the war against war

Romain Rolland: Ara Pacis and Ave, Caesar, Morituri Te Salutant

Romain Rolland: Centuries to recreate what war destroys in a day

Romain Rolland: The collective insanity, the terrible spirit of war

Romain Rolland: Content with having said “No!” to war

Romain Rolland: The enormous iniquity, the ignoble calculations of war

Romain Rolland: Goddess of prey, Anti-Christ, hovering over butcheries with spread wings and hawk’s talons

Romain Rolland: Hatred and holy butchery; the deadly sophistry, carnivorous poetry of war

Romain Rolland on Leo Tolstoy: How is it they are able to retain the lust of destroying their fellows?

Romain Rolland on Henri Barbusse: The isolated bleating of one of the beasts about to die

Romain Rolland: The life that would have been, the life that was not going to be

Romain Rolland: Message to America on the will to conquer the world

Romain Rolland: Not enough that nations are destroyed, they are bidden to glorify Death, to march towards it with songs

Romain Rolland: Our Neighbor the Enemy

Romain Rolland: Pacifism only allowed when it is not effective

Romain Rolland: Peace and war are in the hands of those who hold the purse-strings

Romain Rolland: Real peace demands that the masters of war be eliminated

Romain Rolland: Reawakening of old instincts of national pride, lapping of blood

Romain Rolland: Recurrence of the hell of war

Romain Rolland: To the Murdered Peoples

Romain Rolland: To the undying Antigone; waging war against war

Romain Rolland: Totalizing, to their personal profit, the ruin of all nations

Romain Rolland: War, a divine monster; half-beast, half-god

Romain Rolland: War, a pathological fact, a plague of the soul

Romain Rolland: War and the factories of intellectual munitions and cannon

Romain Rolland: War enriches a few, and ruins the community

Romain Rolland: When we defend war, dare to admit we are defending slavery

Romain Rolland: Where to rebuild the world after war?

Romain Rolland: Youth delivered up to the sword of war

Jules Romains: Selections on war

Jules Romains: Colloquy on God and war

Jules Romains: Communion of saints opposing war’s mutual massacre, human sacrifice

Jules Romains: Condign punishment for war profiteers and professional patriots

Jules Romains: Deadening effects of war on human sensibilities, defeat of civilization by barbarism

Jules Romains: Destruction of war itself, its deletion from the pages of history

Jules Romains: Distinguishing characteristic of modern warfare is that it will never come to an end of itself

Jules Romains: Fraternization versus fratricide, the forbidden subject of peace

Jules Romains: If mankind could put two and two together, there’d be no more war

Jules Romains: Just kill because the more dead there are, the fewer living will remain

Jules Romains: Romantic view of war played a dirty trick on the warriors

Jules Romains: Squalidly degrading everything that the civilization of mankind had created

Jules Romains: Unnatural war will only stop when everybody, on both sides, is killed

Jules Romains: War means a golden age for the munitions makers

Jules Romains: War: symphony of death, vast pudding concocted of corpses

Jules Romains: War turns murder into a public and highly praiseworthy action

Jules Romains: War under modern conditions has need of everything that man produces

Ronsard: Far away from Europe and far from its wars

Isaac Rosenberg: Break of Day in the Trenches

Isaac Rosenberg: Dead Man’s Dump

Isaac Rosenberg: O! ancient crimson curse! On receiving news of the war

Isaac Rosenberg: Soldier: Twentieth Century

Christina Rossetti: They reap a red crop from the field. O Man, put up thy sword.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Shall Peace be still a sunk stream long unmet?

Rousseau: The State of War

Claude Roy: Great wars and those which kill just as effectively

Gabrielle Roy: This was the hope that was uplifting mankind once again: to do away with war

Jules Roy: Any attempt to escape the universal holocaust would mean being hunted and tortured wherever he went

John Ruskin: Peace Song

Russian writers on war

Rutilius Namatianus: Races of demigods who knew not iron-harnessed Mars

Saint-Exupéry: Charred flesh of children viewed with indifference

Miguel de Salabert: I first learned about men from their bombs

Miguel de Salabert: “What have you done with my legs?”

Miguel de Salabert: When they gave me a rifle to carry, I knew my life was over

Sallust: Lust for dominion the reason for war

Edgar Saltus: Soldiers and no farmers; imperial sterility…and demise

Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin: The grandeur, the selflessness of war

George Sand: Trader in uniformed flesh and the religion of self

Carl Sandburg: Ready to Kill

Carl Sandburg: What it costs to move two buttons one inch on the war map

George Santayana: Selections on war

George Santayana on war and militarism

George Santayana: Fatal wars: equally needless, equally murderous

George Santayana: If dreadful outer world became troublesome, it would be necessary to make war on it and teach it a lesson

George Santayana: Only the dead have seen the end of war

George Santayana: Such blind battles ought not to be our battles

George Santayana: We want peace and make war

Jean-Paul Sartre: They lift their heads and look up at the sky, the poisonous sky

Jean-Paul Sartre: When staging a massacre, all soldiers look alike

Jean-Paul Sartre: When the rich fight the rich, it is the poor who die

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

Siegfried Sassoon: Aftermath

Siegfried Sassoon: Arms and the Man

Siegfried Sassoon: At the Cenotaph

Siegfried Sassoon: Atrocities

Siegfried Sassoon: Enemies

Siegfried Sassoon: The foul beast of war that bludgeons life

Siegfried Sassoon: Murdering the livid hours that grope for peace

Siegfried Sassoon: No doubt he loathed the war and longed for peace

Siegfried Sassoon: Our deeds with lies were lauded, our bones with wrongs rewarded

Siegfried Sassoon: Repression of War Experience

Siegfried Sassoon: Their dreams that drip with murder, of glorious war that shatter’d all their pride

Siegfried Sassoon: To Any Dead Officer

Siegfried Sassoon: The Tombstone-Maker

Siegfried Sassoon: The unheroic dead who fed the guns, those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones

Siegfried Sassoon: War, remorse and reconciliation

Siegfried Sassoon: We left our holes and looked above the wreckage of the earth

Scandinavian writers on peace and war

Friedrich Schiller: Beauty, peace and reconciliation

Friedrich Schiller: The citizen is naught, the soldier all; rude hordes, lawless grown in lengthy war

Friedrich Schiller: Oh, blessed peace, may the day of grim War’s ruthless crew never dawn

Arthur Schnitzler: Cannot praise war in general and oppose individual wars

Arthur Schnitzler: Political reaction is the consequence of victorious wars; revolution the consequence of lost ones

Arthur Schnitzler: Remold the structure of government so that war becomes impossible

Arthur Schnitzler: War, making fathers pay wages to their sons whom we sent to their deaths

Olive Schreiner: Give me back my dead!

Olive Schreiner: The bestiality and insanity of war

Albert Schweitzer: On nuclear weapons in NATO’s hands

John Scott: I hate that drum’s discordant sound

Walter Scott: War’s cannibal priest, druid red from his human sacrifice

Senancour: Lottery of war amid heaps of the dead

Seneca the Elder: It is this that drives the world into war

Seneca the Elder: What is this hideous disease, this appalling evil that drove you to shed each other’s blood?

Seneca on war: Deeds punished by death when committed by individuals praised when carried out by generals

Anna Seghers: War enthusiasm, brewed from equal parts of age-old memories and total oblivion

Anna Seward: Fierce War has wing’d the arrow that wounds my soul’s repose

Shakespeare: So inured to war that mothers smile as their children are slain

William Shakespeare: Works of poetry outlast the works of war

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

George Bernard Shaw: The earth is still bursting with the dead bodies of the victors

George Bernard Shaw: Gadarene swine running violently into a hell of high explosives

George Bernard Shaw: Little Minds and Big Battles

George Bernard Shaw: The Long Arm of War

Militarist myopia: George Bernard Shaw’s Common Sense About the War

George Bernard Shaw: Rabid war maniacs reversed the order of nature

George Bernard Shaw: Religion of ruthless competition inevitably leads to war

George Bernard Shaw: The shallowness of the ideals of men ignorant of history is their destruction

George Bernard Shaw: Soldiering is the coward’s art of attacking mercilessly when you are strong, and keeping out of harm’s way when you are weak

George Bernard Shaw: War and frivolous exultation in death for its own sake

George Bernard Shaw: War and the sufferings of the sane

George Bernard Shaw: War Delirium

George Bernard Shaw: War, governments and munitions manufacturers

George Bernard Shaw: War, the Yahoo and the angry ape

George Bernard Shaw: The way of the soldier is the way of death

Mary Shelley: The fate of the world bound up with the death of a single man

Percy Bysshe Shelley: The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Selections on war

Juvenilia: Percy Bysshe Shelley on war

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Earth cleansed of quivers, spears and gorgon-headed shields

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Man fabricates the sword which stabs his peace

Percy Bysshe Shelley: The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths

Percy Bysshe Shelley: The unholy song of war

Percy Bysshe Shelley: War with its million horrors shall live but in the memory of time

William Shenstone: Ah, hapless realms! that war’s oppression feel.

William Shenstone: Let the gull’d fool the toils of war pursue

William Shenstone: War, where bleed the many to enrich the few

Taras Shevchenko: The civilizing mission…at sword’s point

James Shirley: Some men with swords may reap the field and plant fresh laurels where they kill

Mikhail Sholokhov: Selections on war

Mikhail Sholokhov: His entire face a cry, screaming without opening his lips

Mikhail Sholokhov: People worse than wolves. And it was called a heroic exploit.

Mikhail Sholokhov: Visit to a military hospital

Mikhail Sholokhov: War’s bitter harvest

Mikhail Sholokhov: Who was he calling for in his hour of death?

Mikhail Sholokhov: With innumerable hands the soldiers reached out to the phantasmal word “peace”

Silius Italicus: Peace is the best thing that man may know; peace alone is better than a thousand triumphs

Ignazio Silone: Resorting to the bloody diversion of war

Ignazio Silone: They have been warned of wars and rumors of wars

Ignazio Silone: War with today’s hereditary enemy

Victor Domingo Silva: Cain, the fratricide

Simonides: Dirges for the victims of the impetuous War-God

Upton Sinclair: Selections on war

Upton Sinclair: After war, the color revolution cleanup

Upton Sinclair: A banker’s post-war nightmare

Upton Sinclair: Decade of national cynicism, corruption followed “war for democracy”

Upton Sinclair: Gigantic stir of war preparation for global territorial aggrandizement

Upton Sinclair: How wars start, how they can be prevented

Upton Sinclair: The Juggernaut of war flattens out all opposition

Upton Sinclair: The lost people are those who go to be shot, killed in big war (Dante through Vanzetti)

Upton Sinclair: New Lysistratas: Women must refuse to have babies until men stop killing

Upton Sinclair: Spending several times as much money to prepare for an even greater war to end war

Upton Sinclair: U.S. invasion of Russia: nothing but wholesale murder; American army and navy as a world police-force

Upton Sinclair: Using all the machinery and brains of civilization to slaughter one another

Upton Sinclair: The war system, bankers recouping the costs of war propaganda

Upton Sinclair: War’s one-sided boost to the economy

Upton Sinclair: What it costs a woman to keep the world at war

Upton Sinclair: World war as a business enterprise

Edith Sitwell: Dirge for the New Sunrise

Christopher Smart: Rejoice with the dove. Pray that all guns be nailed up.

M. B. Smedley: Where is the ministry of peace?

Charlotte Turner Smith: The lawless soldiers’ victims

Charlotte Turner Smith: Statesmen! ne’er dreading a scar, let loose the demons of war

Charlotte Turner Smith: Thus man spoils Heaven’s glorious works with blood!

Charlotte Turner Smith: To bathe his savage hands in human blood

Horace Smith: Selections on peace and war

Horace Smith: The hero-butchers of the sword

Horace Smith: Manufactured to machines for killing human creatures

Horace Smith: The trade of man-butchery. The soldier and the sailor.

Horace Smith: Weapon gathering dust

Horace Smith: When War’s ensanguined banner shall be furl’d

Sydney Smith: War, hailing official murderers as the greatest and most glorious of human creatures

Thorne Smith: Make statues of war’s wholesale butchers before they strike

Tobias Smollett: War contractors fattened on the blood of the nation

C.P. Snow: Selections on war

C.P. Snow: As final product of scientific civilization, nuclear bomb is its ultimate indictment

C.P. Snow: Even if moral judgments are left out, it’s unthinkable to drop the bomb

C.P. Snow: Hiroshima, the most horrible single act so far performed

C.P. Snow: Hope it’s never possible to develop superbomb

C.P. Snow: Worse than Genghiz Khan. Has there ever been a weapon that someone did not want to let off?

Sophocles: War the destroyer

Charles Hamilton Sorley: The blind fight the blind

Charles Hamilton Sorley: When you see millions of the mouthless dead

Robert Southey: Selections on peace and war

Robert Southey: The Battle of Blenheim

Robert Southey: Preparing the way for peace; militarism versus Christianity

Robert Southey: The Soldier’s Wife

Robert Southey: Wade to glory through a sea of blood

Robert Southey: Year follows year, and still we madly prosecute the war

Wole Soyinka: Africa victim, never perpetrator, of theo/ideological wars

Wole Soyinka: Civilian and Soldier

Spanish writers on war and peace

Stephen Spender: Selections on war

Stephen Spender: Automata controlled by the mechanism of war, meaningless struggle between potential ashes to gain a world of ashes

Stephen Spender: Lecture on Hell: battle against totalitarian war

Stephen Spender: Two Armies

Stephen Spender: Ultima Ratio Regum

Stephen Spender: The War God

Stephen Spender: The Woolfs in the 1930s: War the inevitable result of an arms race.

Edmund Spenser: The first to attack the world with sword and fire

Edmund Spenser: Wars can nought but sorrows yield

Statius: Devilish monster’s tongue at last tells of war. “Whither, unhappy ones, whither are ye rushing to war, though fate and heaven would bar the way?”

Stendhal: Dreaming of the Marshall and his glory…

Stendhal: You’ve got to learn the business before you can become a soldier

Stendhal and Byron: Military leprosy; fronts of brass and feet of clay

Laurence Sterne: Follow Peace

Stesichorus: Thrust wars away

Robert Louis Stevenson: Peace we found where fire and war had been

Arthur E. Stilwell: The Day of Peace

Frank Stockton: Battles of annihilation, the Anglo-American War Syndicate

Frank Stockton: The Great War Syndicate: “On to Canada!”

William Stokes: Selections on peace and war

William Stokes: The Angel of Peace

William Stokes: Can fields of blood redeem mankind from error?

William Stokes: Invocation to the Spirit of Peace

William Stokes: The peace of nations to destroy

William Stokes: The Soldier

Strabo: Ares, the only god they worship

Strabo: Studying war is wickedness

Lytton Strachey: After the battle, who shall say that the corpses were the most unfortunate?

August Strindberg: Progeny of soulless militarism

August Strindberg: What has become of the sacred promise of peace on our earth?

Hermann Sudermann: Militarism and its terminus

Hermann Sudermann: War irrigates the soil with blood, fertilizes it with corpses

Eugène Sue: War, murder by proxy

Suetonius: Caligula and military glory

Suetonius: Not let slip any pretext for war, however unjust and dangerous

Archil Sulakauri: I just can’t believe that people die so simply

Jonathan Swift: Lemuel Gulliver on War

Algernon Charles Swinburne: Death made drunk with war

Algernon Charles Swinburne : A gospel of war and damnation for the bestial by birth

Algernon Charles Swinburne: There shall be no more wars nor kingdoms won

Frank Swinnerton: Aerial bombardment, the most stupid and futile aspect of war

John Addington Symonds: Nation with nation, land with land unarmed shall live as comrades free

Arthur Symons: A great reaction: people will be tired of wars

Tacitus: The robbery, slaughter and plunder that empire calls peace

Hippolyte Taine on the inhuman travesty of war

Anton Tammsaare: War, the greatest enterprise of the modern age

Charles Tennant: Nor shall they learn war

William Tennant: Ode to Peace

William Tennant: While some sing of Mars’s bloody game…

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selections on war and peace

Alfred Lord Tennyson: The brazen bridge of war

Alfred Lord Tennyson: I would the old God of war himself were dead

Alfred Tennyson: Ring out the thousand wars of old, ring in the thousand years of peace

Alfred Tennyson: Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d

Alfred Lord Tennyson: When shall universal peace lie like light across the land?

Tertullian: As a last test of empire, make war on heaven

William Makepeace Thackeray: Millions of innocent hearts wounded horribly

William Makepeace Thackeray: “Pax in bello.” The death of a single soldier.

William Makepeace Thackeray: War taxes men and women alike

Theocritus: May spiders spin their slender webs over weapons of war

Theophrastus: Warmongering’s rumormongering

Dylan Thomas: The Hand That Signed the Paper

Edith Matilda Thomas: Air war: They are not humans.

Edith Matilda Thomas: The Altar of Moloch

James Thomson: Despise the insensate barbarous trade of war

James Thomson: Peace is the natural state of man; war his corruption, his disgrace

James Thomson: Philosophy’s plans of policy and peace

Henry David Thoreau: Taxes enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood

Thucydides: Admonitions against war

Tibullus: War is a crime perpetrated by hearts hardened like weapons

Ernst Toller: Corpses In The Woods

Alexei Tolstoy: The one incontestable result was dead bodies

Leo Tolstoy: Selections on war

Leo Tolstoy: The Law of Love and the Law of Violence

Leo Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est

Leo Tolstoy: Patriotism or Peace

Leo Tolstoy: “Thou Shalt Not Kill”

Leo Tolstoy: Murder and vengeance are not the will of the people

Leo Tolstoy: The Beginning of the End

Leo Tolstoy: Christian cannot be a murderer and therefore cannot be a soldier

Leo Tolstoy: Letter on the Peace Conference

Leo Tolstoy: Idealization of military malefactors is shameful

Leo Tolstoy: Prescription for peace

Georg Trakl: Night beckons to dying soldiers, the ghosts of the killed are sighing

Henri Troyat: Selections on war

Henri Troyat: All humanity passing through a crisis of destructive madness

Henri Troyat: Nothing grand, nothing noble, in the universal slaughter

Henri Troyat: Shedding blood for the motherland: War is ugly and absurd

Henri Troyat: So many men killed, so many towns burned…for a telegram

Henri Troyat: Thoughts stop with a shock: War!

Henri Troyat: Tolstoy’s visceral detestation of war

Henri Troyat: War, that greatest of political crimes

Henri Troyat: “Will a day ever come when there’s no more war, no more lies, no more tragedy!”

Kurt Tucholsky: The White Spots

Kurt Tucholsky: The Trench

Kurt Tucholsky: Murder in disguise

Ivan Turgenev: “Militarism, the soldiery, have got the upper hand”

Mark Twain: Selections on war

Mark Twain: The War Prayer

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

Mark Twain: The basest type of patriotism: support for war and imperialism

Mark Twain: The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date)

Mark Twain: Epitome of war, the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity

Mark Twain: Grotesque self-deception of war

Mark Twain: I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.

Mark Twain: Maxims on battleships and statesmanship

Mark Twain: An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war

Mark Twain: Only dead men dare tell the whole truth about war

Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War

Mark Twain on Western military threat to China: I am a Boxer

Mark Twain: Cecil Rhodes and the civilizing mission: He wants the earth and wants it for his own

Ukrainian writers on war

Lesya Ukrainka: Do you understand that word called war?

Paul Vaillant-Couturier: The Song of Craonne

Armando Palacio Valdés: “He would be better with a pickaxe in his hand, and more useful to his country”

Juan Valera: Thou art the God of peace

Paul Valéry on global conflicts, Europe governed by American commission

César Vallejo: So much love and yet so powerless against death

Jules Vallès: I hate war and its sinister glory

Mario Vargas Llosa: More than enough atomic and conventional weapons to wipe out several planets

Varro: War’s etymologies

Henry Vaughan: Let us ‘midst noise and war of peace and mirth discuss

Henry Vaughan: The Men of War

Henry Vaughan: What thunders shall those men arraign who cannot count those they have slain?

Thorstein Veblen: Habituation to war entails a body of predatory habits of thought

Velleius Paterculus: License of the sword inevitably leads to wars for profit

Roger Vercel: Boats built for men to live in, ships built to kill

Vercors: Are war crimes only committed by the vanquished?

Giovanni Verga: The Mother of Sorrows

Émile Verhaeren: I hold war in execration; ashamed to be butchers of their fellows

Paul Verlaine: The joy of sweet peace without victory

Alfred de Vigny: Selections on war

Alfred de Vigny: Admiration for military commander turns us into slaves and madmen

Alfred de Vigny: The army is a machine wound up to kill

Alfred de Vigny: It is war that is wrong, not we

Alfred de Vigny: War is condemned of God and even of man who holds it in secret horror

Alfred de Vigny: When armies and war exist no more

Virgil: Age of peace

Virgil: Shall impious soldiers have these new-ploughed grounds?

Elio Vittorini: Dialogue between a dead soldier and his brother

Elio Vittorini: Slaughter perpetrated in the world; one man cries and another laughs

Voltaire: Selections on war

Voltaire: Armies composed of well disciplined hirelings who determine the fate of nations

Voltaire: Bellicose father or pacific son?

Voltaire: He did not put a sufficient number of his fellow creatures to death

Voltaire: Million regimented assassins traverse Europe from one end to the other, to get their bread by regular depredation and murder

Voltaire: One country cannot conquer without making misery for another

Voltaire: War

Edmund Waller: Less pleasure take brave minds in battles won

Rex Warner: These guns were sent to save civilisation

Thomas Warton: Not seek in fields of blood his warrior bays

Jakob Wassermann: Was there ever since the world began a just cause for war?

William Watson: Curse my country for its military victory

William Watson: Dream of perfect peace

Isaac Watts: Clamor, and wrath, and war, begone

Albert Durrant Watson: A Prayer for Peace

Edwin Waugh: Who strives to make the world a home where peace and justice meet

Maurice C. Waugh: A Plea for Peace

H.G. Wells: Selections on war

H.G. Wells: The abolition of war will be a new phase in the history of life

H.G. Wells: Armaments: Vile and dangerous industry in the human blood trade

H.G. Wells: Either man will put an end to air war or air war will put an end to mankind

H.G. Wells: For the predetermined losing side, modern wars an unspeakable business

H.G. Wells: Mars will sit like a giant above all human affairs and his speech is blunt and plain

H.G. Wells: Massacres of boys! That indeed is the essence of modern war.

H.G. Wells: Nearly everybody wants peace but nobody thinks out the arrangements needed

H.G. Wells: No more talk of honour and annexations, hegemonies and trade routes, but only Europe lamenting for her dead

H.G. Wells: None so detestable as the god of war

H.G. Wells: A number of devoted men and women ready to give their whole lives to great task of peace

H.G. Wells: The progressive enslavement of the race to military tyranny

H.G. Wells: A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide

H.G. Wells: Universal collapse logically follows world-wide war

H.G. Wells: War is a triumph of the exhausted and dying over the dead

H.G. Wells: War, road to complete extinction or to degradation beyond our present understanding

H.G. Wells: War will leave the world a world of cripples and old men and children

H.G. Wells: When war comes home

H.G. Wells: Why did humanity gape at the guns and do nothing? War as business

H.G. Wells: The world is weary of this bloodshed, weary of all this weeping

H.G. Wells: The young are the food of war

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

Franz Werfel: Advent of air war and apocalyptic visions

Franz Werfel: Cities disintegrated within seconds in the Last War

Franz Werfel: Don’t you hear the roar of the bombers, the clatter of heavy machine guns that envelop the globe?

Franz Werfel: How describe in a few words a world war?

Franz Werfel: Leaders’ fear of their people drives them to war

Franz Werfel: To a Lark in War-Time

Franz Werfel: Twenty thousand well-preserved human skulls of the Last War

Franz Werfel: Waging currish, cowardly war to plunder the poor

Franz Werfel: War behind and in front, outside and inside

Franz Werfel: War is the cause and not the result of all conflicts

Nathanael West: Selections on war

Nathanael West: Every defeat is a victory in a war of attrition

Nathanael West: The noble motives, the noble methods of war

Nathanael West: Not their fault, they thought they had bombed a hospital

Nathanael West: One live recruit is better than a dozen dead veterans

Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

Rebecca West: The dreams of Englishwomen during war

Phillis Wheatley: From every tongue celestial Peace resounds

John Whitehouse: Ode to War

John Greenleaf Whittier: Selections on peace and war

John Greenleaf Whittier: Disarmament

John Greenleaf Whittier: If this be Peace, pray what is War?

John Greenleaf Whittier: The Peace Convention at Brussels

John Greenleaf Whittier: Nobler than the sword’s shall be the sickle’s accolade

John Greenleaf Whittier: The stormy clangor of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease

Ellen Wheeler Wilcox: The Paean of Peace

Ella Wheeler Wilcox: A Plea To Peace

Oscar Wilde: Antidote to war

Oscar Wilde: Crimson seas of war, Great Game in Central and South Asia

Oscar Wilde: Who would dare to praise the barren pride of warring nations?

Helen Maria Williams: Heaven-born peace

Helen Maria Williams: Now burns the savage soul of war

Sarah Williams: Groaning for him they slew

John Wilmot: With war I’ve not to do

Thomas Wolfe: His imperial country at war, possessed of the inspiration for murder

Thomas Wolfe: Santimony and cant of war

Women writers on peace and war

Margaret L. Woods: The forgotten slain

William Wordsworth: Selections on peace and war

William Wordsworth: All merit centered in the sword; battle’s hecatombs

William Wordsworth: Earth’s groaning field, where ruthless mortals wage incessant wars

William Wordsworth: If men with men in peace abide, all other strength the weakest may withstand

William Wordsworth: Peace in these feverish times is sovereign bliss

William Wordsworth: Proclaimed heroes for strewing meadows with carcasses

William Wordsworth: Prophetic harps were singing, “War shall cease”

William Wordsworth: Spreading peaceful ensigns over war’s favourite playground

Wordsworth: We felt as men should feel at vast carnage

Philip Stanhope Worsley: Not with iron steeped in slaughter

Henry Wotton: Pastorale. No wars are seen.

Thomas Wyatt: Children of the gun

Thomas Wyatt: Wax fat on innocent blood: I cannot leave the state to Caesar

Hedd Wynn: War

Xenophon: Begin wars as tardily, end them as speedily as possible

Xenophon: Guile without guilt. Peace and joy reigned everywhere.

Xenophon: Socrates’ war sophistry; civil crimes are martial virtues

Xenophon: War as obsession, warfare as mistress

Ann Yearsley: The anarchy of war

William Butler Yeats: The Rose of Peace

Edward Young: Selections on peace and war

Edward Young: Draw the murd’ring sword to give mankind a single lord

Edward Young: End of war the herald of wisdom and poetry

Edward Young: No more the rising harvest whets the sword, now peace, though long repuls’d, arrives at last

Edward Young: Reason’s a bloodless conqueror, more glorious than the sword

Edward Young: Such a peace that follows war

Marguerite Yourcenar: Fruits of war are food for new wars

Émile Zola: Selections on war

Émile Zola on war mania: A blind and deaf beast let loose amid death and destruction, laden with cannon-fodder

Émile Zola: Bloody pages of history, the wars, the conquests, the names of the captains who had butchered their fellow-beings.

Émile Zola: Encomiums on labor and peace

Émile Zola: The forge of peace and the pit of war

Émile Zola: Haunted by military matters

Émile Zola: The military, necessary apprenticeship for devastation and massacre

Émile Zola: One sole city of peace and truth and justice

Émile Zola: Prescription for a happy life in the midst of universal peace

Émile Zola: To what field of disaster would it be taken to kill men? what harvest of human lives would it reap?

Émile Zola: Vulcan in service to Mars

Émile Zola: War’s vast slaughterhouse

Émile Zola: Why armies are maintained

Émile Zola: Yes, war is dead. The world has reached its last stage. Brothers may now give each other the fraternal kiss.

Zuhair: Accursed thing, war will grind you between millstones

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

Arnold Zweig: Conducting the business of murder with embittered reluctance

Arnold Zweig: The costs of war are spiritual and moral desolation, economic catastrophes and political reaction

Arnold Zweig: Education Before Verdun

Arnold Zweig: The final trump in the struggle for world markets: the Gun

Arnold Zweig: From the joy of the slayer to being dimly aware of the man on the other side

Arnold Zweig: In the war you’ve lost all the personality you’ve ever had

Arnold Zweig: Keep the war going to the last drop of – other – people’s blood

Arnold Zweig: The meaning, or rather the meaninglessness, of war

Arnold Zweig: Mere existence of armies imposes upon mankind the mentality of the Stone Age

Arnold Zweig: Military strips nation of all that is worthy of defense

Arnold Zweig: Never again! On reading Barbusse

Arnold Zweig: No joy to be born into world of war

Arnold Zweig: Of course, one had to shoot at crowds of civilians, men, women and children

Arnold Zweig: Only the wrong people are killed in a war

Arnold Zweig: The plague has always played a part in war

Arnold Zweig: Pro-war clerks and clerics are Herod’s mercenaries

Arnold Zweig: Reason is the highest patriotism and militarism is evil its very essence

Arnold Zweig: They won no more ground than they could cover with their corpses

Arnold Zweig: War a deliberate act, not an unavoidable natural catastrophe

Arnold Zweig: War, a gigantic undertaking on the part of the destruction industry

Arnold Zweig: War of all against all, jaded multitudes of death

Arnold Zweig: War transforms rescue parties into murder parties

Arnold Zweig: War was in the world, and war prevailed

Arnold Zweig: War’s brutality, folly and tyranny practiced even on its own

Arnold Zweig: War’s communion, hideous multiplication of human disasters

Arnold Zweig: War’s hecatomb from the air, on land and at sea

Arnold Zweig: Whole generation shed man’s blood, whole generation to be poured forth in vats of blood

Stefan Zweig: The fear of opposing military hysteria

Stefan Zweig: Romain Rolland and the campaign against hatred

Categories: Uncategorized

Juvenilia: Percy Bysshe Shelley on war

May 3, 2011 1 comment


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Selections on war


Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ambition, power, and avarice, now have hurled
Death, fate, and ruin, on a bleeding world.
See! on yon heath what countless victims lie,
Hark! what loud shrieks ascend through yonder sky;
Tell then the cause, ’tis sure the avenger’s rage
Has swept these myriads from life’s crowded stage:
Hark to that groan, an anguished hero dies,
He shudders in death’s latest agonies;
Yet does a fleeting hectic flush his cheek,
Yet does his parting breath essay to speak –
‘Oh God! my wife, my children – Monarch thou
For whose support this fainting frame lies low;
For whose support in distant lands I bleed,
Let his friends’ welfare be the warrior’s meed.
He hears me not — ah! no — kings cannot hear,
For passion’s voice has dulled their listless ear.
To thee, then, mighty God, I lift my moan,
Thou wilt not scorn a suppliant’s anguished groan.
Oh! now I die – but still is death’s fierce pain –
God hears my prayer – we meet, we meet again.’
He spake, reclined him on death’s bloody bed,
And with a parting groan his spirit fled.
Oppressors of mankind to YOU we owe
The baleful streams from whence these miseries flow;
For you how many a mother weeps her son,
Snatched from life’s course ere half his race was run!
For you how many a widow drops a tear,
In silent anguish, on her husband’s bier!
‘Is it then Thine, Almighty Power,’ she cries,
‘Whence tears of endless sorrow dim these eyes?
Is this the system which Thy powerful sway,
Which else in shapeless chaos sleeping lay,
Formed and approved? – it cannot be – but oh!
Forgive me, Heaven, my brain is warped by woe.’
‘Tis not – He never bade the war-note swell,
He never triumphed in the work of hell –
Monarchs of earth! thine is the baleful deed,
Thine are the crimes for which thy subjects bleed.
Ah! when will come the sacred fated time,
When man unsullied by his leaders’ crime,
Despising wealth, ambition, pomp, and pride,
Will stretch him fearless by his foe-men’s side?
Ah! when will come the time, when o’er the plain
No more shall death and desolation reign?
When will the sun smile on the bloodless field,
And the stern warrior’s arm the sickle wield?
Not whilst some King, in cold ambition’s dreams,
Plans for the field of death his plodding schemes;
Not whilst for private pique the public fall,
And one frail mortal’s mandate governs all.
Swelled with command and mad with dizzying sway;
Who sees unmoved his myriads fade away.
Careless who lives or dies – so that he gains
Some trivial point for which he took the pains.
What then are Kings? – I see the trembling crowd,
I hear their fulsome clamours echoed loud;
Their stern oppressor pleased appears awhile,
But April’s sunshine is a Monarch’s smile –
Kings are but dust–the last eventful day
Will level all and make them lose their sway;
Will dash the sceptre from the Monarch’s hand,
And from the warrior’s grasp wrest the ensanguined brand.
Oh! Peace, soft Peace, art thou for ever gone,
Is thy fair form indeed for ever flown?
And love and concord hast thou swept away,
As if incongruous with thy parted sway?
Alas, I fear thou hast, for none appear.
Now o’er the palsied earth stalks giant Fear,
With War, and Woe, and Terror, in his train; –
List’ning he pauses on the embattled plain,
Then speeding swiftly o’er the ensanguined heath,
Has left the frightful work to Hell and Death.
See! gory Ruin yokes his blood-stained car,
He scents the battle’s carnage from afar;
Hell and Destruction mark his mad career,
He tracks the rapid step of hurrying Fear;
Whilst ruined towns and smoking cities tell,
That thy work, Monarch, is the work of Hell.
‘It is thy work!’ I hear a voice repeat,
Shakes the broad basis of thy bloodstained seat;
And at the orphan’s sigh, the widow’s moan,
Totters the fabric of thy guilt-stained throne –
‘It is thy work, O Monarch;’ now the sound
Fainter and fainter, yet is borne around,
Yet to enthusiast ears the murmurs tell
That Heaven, indignant at the work of Hell,
Will soon the cause, the hated cause remove,
Which tears from earth peace, innocence, and love.

Categories: Uncategorized

Libya: NATO Transitions To Terror Bombing Phase Of War

May 3, 2011

Libya: NATO Transitions To Terror Bombing Phase Of War
Rick Rozoff

On the evening of April 30 a Libyan government spokesman announced that an air strike by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had hit a target in Tripoli, killing leader Muammar Gaddafi’s 29-year-old son Saif al-Arab, three of the former’s grandchildren, all under twelve years of age, and several friends and neighbors.

The attack followed by only a few hours a television address by Gaddafi in which he appealed to NATO nations for a ceasefire and negotiations after six weeks of bombings and cruise missile attacks against his country.

His comments included the questions: “Why are you attacking us? Why are you killing our children? Why are you destroying our infrastructure?”

As he spoke, NATO warplanes struck government buildings near the broadcasting facility where he was speaking, with the transmission going out on three occasions. The government accused NATO of attempting to kill Gaddafi in the attack.

It was the latest in a steadily mounting series of air attacks on and near the Libyan capital, including a bombardment on April 20 that killed seven civilians and wounded 18 in a suburb of Tripoli and an air raid that targeted Gaddafi’s compound among strikes on several military and civilian locations two days later, killing three people and destroying the leader’s office in his Tripoli residence. A Libyan official informed journalists of what was self-evident: “It was an attempt to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi.”

Three days afterward NATO aircraft launched yet another attack against Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia compound in the capital shortly after midnight, the third such strike on the site. In the April 25th bombing 45 people were reported wounded, 15 seriously, and others were unaccounted for.

The intensification of strikes in Tripoli led to Russian Foreign Minister warning that “The no-fly zone does not stipulate hitting ground targets” and “The resolution [UN Security Council Resolution 1973] does not stipulate targeting civilian targets or targets not related to the military.” The Chinese foreign ministry issued similar concerns on the day of the attack.

The following day Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated: “[W]hen the whole of so-called civilized society gangs up on one small country, destroying infrastructure that has been built over generations, is it good or bad? Personally I do not like it….What kind of no-fly zone is this if they are striking palaces every night?”

As to the true intentions behind the West’s war against Libya, he added: “Libya has the biggest oil resources in Africa and the fourth largest gas resources. It raises the question: isn’t that the main object of interest to those operating there?”

On the 27th of last month the Los Angeles Times reported that “Frustrated at their inability to break the military deadlock in Libya…NATO commanders are expanding their air war by launching strikes against military command facilities and other regime buildings used by Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and his top aides.”

An air strike against a broadcasting facility in Tripoli on the 25th, which temporarily knocked Libya’s state television off the air, “was the first sign of the new target list.”

With the assistance of recently deployed U.S. Predator drones transmitting video images for bombing raids and missile attacks as well as wielding Hellfire missiles themselves, which have been used by the U.S. to kill over 2,000 people in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (last month the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated that 957 innocent civilians were killed in 2010), “some NATO officials say the goal is to strike directly at the pillars of the regime, including Kadafi, in the heart of Tripoli.”

The Times of London wrote shortly before President Barack Obama authorized missile attacks by American drones in Libya:

“The Predator, armed with two Hellfires, has a range of 3200km and can stay in the air for 24 hours. The Reaper, with 14 Hellfires or a combination of weapons including two 226kg Paveway II laser-guided bombs, has a range of 5150km and can remain airborne for up to 28 hours. Italy has six of its own Predators, based at Pisa.”

“This is a shift, absolutely,” a senior NATO officer was cited by the Los Angeles Times as saying on April 26. “We’re picking up attacks on…command-and-control facilities. If [Gaddafi] happens to be in one of those buildings, all the better.”

While in the Netherlands on April 21, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signalled a far longer war against Libya than many of her fellow NATO participants may have anticipated, stating: “We’ve been at this a relatively short period of time. I would remind you that the United States and other partners bombed targets in Serbia for 78 days.”

On April 26 the New York Times ran a feature called “NATO Says It Is Broadening Attacks on Libya Targets,” which stated:

“NATO planners say the allies are stepping up attacks on palaces, headquarters, communications centers and other prominent institutions supporting the Libyan government….Officials in Europe and in Washington said that the strikes were meant to reduce the government’s ability…link by link, the command, communications and supply chains required for sustaining military operations.”

The article quoted retired Air Force general John Jumper, who was commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and of Allied Air Forces Central Europe during NATO’s 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999, as acknowledging:

“It was when we went in and began to disturb important and symbolic sites in Belgrade, and began to bring to a halt the middle-class life in Belgrade, that [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic’s own people began to turn on him. They began to question why the whole thing in Kosovo was going on, because it was ruining the country.”

What was ruining the country was an unremitting, merciless aerial onslaught not only, and not so much, against Yugoslav federal and Serbian military targets in the province of Kosovo as against civilian infrastructure – and civilians themselves – throughout the nation, even in opposition-controlled Montenegro and major Serbian cities with opposition governments.

After having exhausted all identified military targets in three days, 1,000 U.S. and NATO aircraft flew 38,000 combat missions over a nation of barely 100,000 square kilometers – roughly one-seventeenth the size of Libya – for another 75 days.

Most everything became a so-called target of opportunity, an excuse for long-range bombers to lighten their load for the flight back to base: Bridges over the Danube River, civilian convoys, factories, power stations, water treatment plants, oil refineries, broadcasting facilities (on April 23 the headquarters of Radio Television of Serbia was bombed, killing 16 employees), the headquarters of pro-government political parties, hospitals (including a maternity ward), apartment complexes, passenger trains, religious processions, a residence of the president and, on May 7, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. The last resulted in three Chinese citizens being killed and 20 wounded.

In a technique recently replicated by the U.S. in northwest Pakistan, Western warplanes waited for rescuers to arrive at the scene of their carnage, then doubled back to attack relief workers.

Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea and cluster bombs, depleted uranium weapons, graphite bombs and other death-dealing ordnance were unleashed by NATO combat aircraft.

In the infamous words of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman:

“It should be lights out in Belgrade: Every power grid, water pipe, bridge, road and war-related factory has to be targeted. Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation…and the stakes have to be very clear: Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.”

This was terror bombing of an entire nation, an entire people.

In the same article the above quote appeared in, Friedman wrote that “if NATO’s only strength is that it can bomb forever, then it has to get every ounce out of that. Let’s at least have a real air war.”

Having failed to bomb Yugoslavia into capitulation in the first round of air attacks, NATO demonstrated how truly “humanitarian” the world’s first putative humanitarian war was.

It is now reprising the role in Libya.

The U.S. and Britain launched over 110 cruise missiles into Libya on the first day of what is now an over six-week war against the country. In the first twelve days at least 160 Tomahawk and other missiles were fired against government military and civilian targets and hundreds of air missions were flown over the nation.

Since NATO assumed command of the war on March 31, almost 5,000 sorties, 2,000 of them (in NATO parlance) strike sorties have been carried out.

Having weeks earlier destroyed scores of military and so-called dual use assets, including non-military targets like trucks, sport-utility vehicles and cars, and sites – storage facilities and broadcasting and telecommunications centers – NATO has been moving in for the kill in the Libyan capital. Literally for the kill.

Failing to induce anyone in Gaddafi’s inner circle to murder him – such calls were made publicly even before the war commenced – NATO has been attempting to execute the task itself.

On the night of May 1 many in the world expected the news that President Obama would address the nation on an undisclosed national security matter to result in his announcing that, not Osama bin Laden, but Muammar Gaddafi had been killed in a military operation.

Obama’s next ad hoc press conference or remarks to the nation may reveal just that development. If they don’t attempt to explain that the destruction of the Chinese or Russian embassy in Tripoli was an accident, that an outdated map had been employed. “Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones due to this unfortunate mishap.”

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Robert Southey: The Battle of Blenheim

May 2, 2011 1 comment


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Robert Southey: Selections on peace and war


Robert Southey
The Battle of Blenheim (1798)

It was a summer evening;
Old Kaspar’s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun;
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found.
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh,
“‘Tis some poor fellow’s skull,” said he,
“Who fell in the great victory.

“I find them in the garden,
For there’s many here about;
And often, when I go to plow,
The plowshare turns them out;
For many thousand men,” said he,
“Were slain in that great victory.”

“Now tell us what ‘twas all about,”
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
“Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.”

“It was the English,” Kaspar cried,
“Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said,” quoth he,
“That ‘twas a famous victory.

“My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

“With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby, died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

“They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

“Great praise the Duke of Marlboro’ won,
And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ‘twas a very wicked thing!”
Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay, nay, my little girl,” quoth he;
“It was a famous victory.

“And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he;
“But ‘twas a famous victory.”

Battle of Blenheim

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William Hazlitt: Systematic patrons of eternal war


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

William Hazlitt: Selections on war


William Hazlitt
On The Late War (1814)

The systematic patrons of eternal war are always returning when they dare to the point from which they set out twenty years ago; the war with them has not yet lost its original character: they have long memories: they never lose sight of their objects and principles. We cannot but admire their candour as well as their consistency, and would wish to imitate it.

It is deemed necessary by the everlasting war-faction to prove in their own justification, “that the march to Paris was not chimerical in 1793,” by carrying it into effect now, and to blot France out of the map of Europe, three-and-twenty years after the event had been announced by that great prophet and politician, Mr Burke.

This splendid reverie is not yet accomplished. The triumph of the Pitt-school over the peace-faction is not yet complete; but we are put in complete possession of what is required to make it so. As the war with them was a war of extermination, so the peace, not to fix a lasting stigma on their school and principles, must be a peace of extermination.

This is what we always said and thought of those principles and that school. This is their triumph, their only triumph – the true crown of their hopes, the consummation of their utmost wishes, nothing short of which can satisfy their proud pretensions, or finish this just and necessary war, as it was begun.

Otherwise, no peace for them; otherwise, they will have failed in both branches of that happy dilemma, hit upon by the beneficent genius of “the great statesman, now no more,” the necessity of destroying France, or being ourselves destroyed in the attempt.

If they succeed in neither experiment, all that they have done is surely lost labour. They have then a right to their revenge, “their pound of carrion-flesh” – “’tis theirs, ’tis dearly bought, and they will have it.” Be it so. But we shall let them feast alone: we are not man-eaters. We shall not join the barbarous yell of this worse than Thracian rout, nor figure in at the close of their dance of death, nor applaud the catastrophe of their twenty years’ tragedy.

We did not approve it in its commencement or progress; nor will we hail its threatened conclusion. We have had, and we will have, no hand in the plot, the execution, the scene-shifting, or the decoration.

We leave the full credit of it to the original authors; and, in spite of all the puffing of the Bayes’s for the Pitt-school, the only answer they will get from us is, “‘Tis an indifferent piece of work: would ’twere done!” Though the torch of The Times blazes over Paris, “fierce as a comet;” though The Sun see the lilied banner of the Bourbons floating before Lord Wellington in the plains of Normandy; though The Courier is is setting out posthaste to break up the negociations at Chatillon; and The Morning Herald sheds tears of joy over the fashionable virtues of the rising generation, and finds that we shall make better manmilliners, better lacqueys, and better courtiers than ever – we remain sceptical as to the success, and more than sceptical as to the necessity of this last cast of our political dicers, and desperate venture of our licensed dealers and chapmen in morality and massacre.

In our opinion, lives enough have been thrown away to prove that the survivors are only born to bear fardels. This is the moral of the piece, if it succeeds on the principles of the Pitt-school and all short of that is mere gratuitous mischief. The war, conducted on those principles and for those purposes, “was not, and it cannot come to good.” Its failure, or its success, must be fatal.

The war, as it was carried on from the first by the Pitt-school, and as they would now revive it, was not a national quarrel, but a question about a political principle. It had no more to do with France or England as geographical denominations, than the wars between the Guelphs and Gibelines.

It was not a war of mercantile advantage, or a trial of strength between two countries which must be decided by the turn of events, by the probable calculation of loss and profit, but a war against an opinion, which could, therefore, never cease, but with the extirpation of that opinion.

Hence there could be neither safety, nor honour, nor justice, in any terms of peace with the French government, because, by the supposition, it was not with its power or its conduct, but with its existence, that we were at war. Hence the impossibility of maintaining the relations of peace and amity with France.

Hence Mr Burke’s regicide war. Hence the ridiculousness asserted by The Courier, of even attempting negociation with this hated power. Hence the various and contradictory aspects which the war assumed after its first out-set, and all of which answered the purpose equally well, because there was another pivot on which the whole turned, the sheet-anchor which never loosed its hold, and which enabled “the pilot to weather the storm.”

It was not a temporary or local question of the boundaries, the possessions, or particular rights of rival states, but a question, in which all states are at all times equally interested, of the internal right of any people to choose its own form of government. Whether this was a just ground of war or not, is another question; but it was the true one – that which gave its character to the war, and accounts for all its consequences.

It was a war of proscription against a great and powerful state, for having set the example of a people ridding itself of an odious and despicable tyranny. It was the question of the balance of power between kings and people; a question compared with which the balance of power in Europe is petty and insignificant.

That what we have here stated, are the real and paramount grounds of this bloody and inveterate contest in the minds of the war-faction is what we apprehend they will not, in their present state of frenzy, deny. They are the only one that always survive the shock of accident and the fluctuation of the circumstances, and which are always recurred to when all others fail, and are constantly avowed in the face of day, whenever the least probability of success attends them.

It has been declared again and again, month after month, and year after year, that no peace should be made with France, till the last remaining effort has been tried to attain this object. We were to bury ourselves with our great war-minister under the ruins of the civilized world, sooner than relax in our exertions or recede from our object. No sacrifices were to be held too dear – no sufferings too great in the prosecution of this sacred cause. No other than the last extremity was to force peace from us. Nothing short of the complete subjugation of France was to satisfy us – nothing short of our own ruin was to drive us to despair. We were like wrestlers struggling on the edge of a precipice, one (or both) of whom must be certain of destruction. Such were the mad, mischievous, and unprincipled terms on which a pampered crew of sycophants have played away the welfare, the repose, the liberties, and happiness of mankind, on which they would now urge us to stake our all again to realize their favourite scheme of the march to Paris, and the annihilation of the French people.

The consequences of the Pitt project were inevitable. From the moment that the existence of France as a nation was declared to be incompatible with that of the surrounding states – that she was denounced as a nuisance which must be abated, and set up as a mark for the vengence of the rest of the world, the struggle necessarily became convulsive and the re-action terrible.

Is it then a matter of wonder, that in this unnatural strife, France, proscribed, hunted down, put out of the pale of nations, endeavoured rather to reduce others to the last extremity than to be reduced to it herself? Or are we entitled to wreak that vengeance upon he which we could not at first execute, because the engine which we had prepared to crush her has recoiled with the greatest violence upon ourselves?

It has been said that we less easily forgive the injuries we do or meditate against others than those we receive from them. There are, we know, persons to whom the celebrated line of the historian, is, at all times, applicable; Odia in longum jaciens, quae conderet, auctaque promeret. We are not surprised to find that the good intentions of those person towards France, though she did not submit to the original tender made to her of their kind interference and paternal care, have not spoiled by keeping. If Titus complained with so much bitterness that he had lost a day to virtue, what must not some modern friend to mankind feel when they reflect that they have lost so many years in the execution of their just and beneficent plans! In spite of Mr Southey’s reasoning in his Carmen Triumphale about joining “the avengers of mankind,” we conceive the wheel has gone once round already, “full circle home,” and that now it had now better stand still.

But it may be said, do we mean to apply these remarks to Bonaparte? As far as relates to the merits of the war-faction. It was they who implicated him with the cause of the French people, as “the child and champion of Jacobinism.” We cannot express or opinion better than in the words of Mr Whitbread, “that England had made Bonaparte, and he had undone himself.” He was the creature of the Pitt-school. Was the iron scourge which he has held over Europe put into his hands by the peace-party? Were the battles of Austerlitz and Jena, were the March to Vienna, the possession of Berlin, the invasion of Spain, the expedition to Russia, and the burning of Moscow the consequences of the signing or the of the breaking of the treaty of Amiens?

The author of the letters of Vetus (who we suppose is silenced by The Times, for asserting that the Bourbons have no more a lawful right to the throne of France, at this moment, than the Stuarts had to the throne of England twenty years after the Revolution of 1688), is of opinion that this war is merely national, merely the old grudge between the two countries; and that the Bourbons, the Republic, and Bonaparte, are equally hostile to England, and we to them.

In this, as in most things else, our opinion is the opposite of his….

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