Home > Uncategorized > H.L. Mencken: New wars will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men

H.L. Mencken: New wars will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men

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

American writers on peace and against war

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H.L. Mencken
From In Defense of Women (1918/1922)

The present series of wars, it seems likely, will continue for twenty or thirty years, and perhaps longer. That the first clash was inconclusive was shown brilliantly by the preposterous nature of the peace finally reached — a peace so artificial and dishonest that the signing of it was almost equivalent to a new declaration of war. At least three new contests in the grand manner are plainly in sight — one between Germany and France…one between Japan and the United States for the mastery of the Pacific, and one between England and the United States for the control of the sea. To these must be added various minor struggles, and perhaps one or two of almost major character: the effort of Russia to regain her old unity and power, the effort of the Turks to put down the slave rebellion (of Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, etc.) which now menaces them, the effort of the Latin-Americans to throw off the galling Yankee yoke, and the joint effort of Russia and Germany (perhaps with England and Italy aiding) to get rid of such international nuisances as the…Polish republic, the petty states of the Baltic, and perhaps also most of the Balkan states. I pass over the probability of a new mutiny in India, of the rising of China against the Japanese, and of a general struggle for a new alignment of boundaries in South America. All of these wars, great and small, are probable; most of them are humanly certain. They will be fought ferociously, and with the aid of destructive engines of the utmost efficiency. They will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men…

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