Home > Uncategorized > Michel Corday: In war fathers bury their sons

Michel Corday: In war fathers bury their sons

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

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Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

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Michel Corday
From The Paris Front (1934)
Translator not identified

1915

– During the last few years a prominent manufacturer in the Rue d’Avron has been loudly complaining of German competition, declaring that it could not last, that we must have a war without delay. He had four sons. The war broke out. Three sons were killed, the fourth was carefully posted ten miles behind the line. But even there a shell reached him and killed him. His father and mother have committed suicide.

– Certainly one of the great tragedies of the time is that one is not allowed to express one’s horror of war in itself. One is supposed to be proud of it and consider it noble.

– This war will demonstrate the idiocy of war. For it will prove to have entailed death and destruction without result.

– Tales are going around about the cruel effects of poison gas – pneumonia lasting four days, filling the lungs with pus, and involving death.

– The 14th. The newspaper La Liberté, in one and the same issue, displays savage satisfaction over our aerial raid on Trier, expressing the hope that ancient monuments have been destroyed and plenty of civilian residents killed – and yet, over an article about a raid of German aeroplanes on the coast of Kent, it has the headline of “The Pirates.”

– I remember the remark made at Gabriel Voisin’s by a naval officer just before the war. He war glorifying war, declaring it essential to industry: “Without war, what would they make, sir? Lifts?” The scorn with which he shot out those words at me would have to be seen to be believed.

– From the newspapers. Near Lieusaint, some children were playing at war. They burnt themselves with flaming paper, which was supposed to be poison gas, and were bruised by stones, which were meant to represent hand-grenades. That is how the world is preparing for the future – for the “lasting peace.”

– A tax on war profits has been suggested. A Socialist Minister has made a violent effort to secure the rejection of the proposal, asserting that it would discourage the enterprise of manufacturers.

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