Maxim Gorky to H.G. Wells: Cleanse from the hearts of children the blood-stained rust of horrible and senseless war
From letter to H.G. Wells
End of December 1916, beginning of January 1917
I have just finished reading the proofs of the Russian translation of your latest book, Mr. Britling Sees It Through, and would like to express my admiration, for you have written a splendid book! Without doubt it is the finest, most courageous, truthful and humane book written in Europe in the course of this accursed war. I am sure that later, when we again become more human, the English will be proud that the first voice of protest, and such intense protest, against the barbarism of war was raised in England, and all honest and wise people will pronounce your name with gratitude. Your book is among those that will live for many years…Perhaps I am expressing all this in a somewhat primitive way, but I want simply to say to you: at a time of universal barbarism and cruelty, your book is an important and truly humane work.
More than any other children, those in Russia need to learn about the world with its great men and their works for the happiness of mankind. We must cleanse from the hearts of children the blood-stained rust of this horrible and senseless war; we must restore to those hearts a faith in mankind and respect for it. We must reawaken the social romanticism of which Mr. Britling speaks so splendidly to Letty, and about which he wrote to Heinrich’s parents in Pomerania.