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American writers on peace and against war

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

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

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

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

Sherwood Anderson: War destroys brotherhood

Joel Barlow: War after war his hungry soul require, each land lie reeking with its people’s slain

Edward Bellamy: We have no wars now, and our governments no war powers

Stephen Vincent Benét: The dead march from the last to the next blind 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

Robert Bly: War, writers and government money

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

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

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

Charles Chesnutt: Justice, Peace – the seed and the flower of civilisation

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

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

Malcolm Cowley: By day there are only the dead

Stephen Crane: An Episode of War

Stephen Crane: There was crimson clash of war

Stephen Crane: War Is Kind

F. Marion Crawford: The world dreads the very name of war, lest it should become universal once it breaks out

Richard Harding Davis: Destruction versus civilization, soldiers and engineers

John William De Forest: Uncivil war

Emily Dickinson: I many times thought Peace had come

John Dos Passos: Selections 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?

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

W.E.B. Du Bois: Work for Peace

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Birds of peace and deadened hearts

Finley Peter Dunne: A great nation at war (in the vernacular)

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

Eugene Field and Thorne Smith: Bacchus disables Mars

F. Scott Fitzgerald: War comes to Princeton

Harold Frederic: War inflicts stifling political conformity

Henry Blake Fuller: Killed and wounded on the fields of hate

Margaret Fuller: America, with no prouder emblem than the Dove

Hamlin Garland: Cog in a vast machine for killing men

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

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

Nathaniel Hawthorne on war: Drinking out of skulls till the Millennium

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

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

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Hymn to Peace

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Not so enamored of the drum and trumpet

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

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

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

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

Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion 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

Jack London: War

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals the blast of War’s great organ shakes the skies!

Amy Lowell: A pattern called a war. Christ! What are patterns for?

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

Archibald MacLeish: The disastrous war, the silent slain

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.”

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?

Herman Melville: Trophies of Peace

Herman Melville: War-pits and rattraps. Soldier sold to the army as Faust sold himself to the devil.

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

William Vaughn Moody: Bullet’s scream went wide of its mark to its homeland’s heart

Marianne Moore: I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war

Christopher Morley: No enthusiasm for hymns of hate

Eugene O’Neill: The hell that follows war

Edgar Allan Poe: The Valley of Unrest

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.

James Whitcomb Riley: Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war –

Edwin Arlington Robinson: Though your very flesh and blood the Eagle eats and drinks, you’ll praise him for the best of birds

Edgar Saltus: Soldiers and no farmers; imperial sterility…and demise

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

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

Thorne Smith: Make statues of war’s wholesale butchers before they strike

Frank Stockton: Battles of annihilation, the Anglo-American War Syndicate

Frank Stockton: The Great War Syndicate: “On to Canada!”

Henry David Thoreau: Taxes enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood

Mark Twain: Selections on war

Mark Twain: Grotesque self-deception of 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: 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: 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: An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable 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

Thorstein Veblen: Habituation to war entails a body of predatory habits of thought

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

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: Nobler than the sword’s shall be the sickle’s accolade

John Greenleaf Whittier: The Peace Convention at Brussels

John Greenleaf Whittier: The stormy clangor of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease

Ella Wheeler Wilcox: A Plea To Peace

Thomas Wolfe: His imperial country at war, possessed of the inspiration for murder

Thomas Wolfe: Santimony and cant of war

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Reblogged this on I Ain't Marchin' Anymore and commented:
    A useful assortment,with an important slice of Bierce and Twain….

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