Home > Uncategorized > Michel Corday: Future description of these horrors ought to make any return of war impossible

Michel Corday: Future description of these horrors ought to make any return of war impossible

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

Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

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

1917

– A friend rang me up on the telephone to reproach me for my extreme views, for wanting an immediate peace – immediate, after forty months! – and for not realising that it needs at least five months to prepare public opinion for such a step. My reply was: “The masses share my views, for they are all tired of it, to a man.” But, he retorted, it is not a question of the masses, but of the two hundred thousand people who lead them.

– Tristan tells me that, before the United States came into the war, he saw the following pacifist cartoon in an American paper. Schwab, the steel king, was handing some guns to Wilson: “Buy these guns from me!”

“But I have no enemies!”

“Never mind! Just you buy these guns, and I will soon find you some enemies!”

– C- portrays the ramifications of the great steel firms (they also have their Internationale!) which used to spread alarmist rumours before the war, in subsidised papers, to increase the demand for armaments. Thus, Krupp used to bribe the Figaro. And if these transactions are brought to light and proved after the war, what profound disgust will overtake the nations under the spell of fine phrases but only to serve base interests!

– A priest of the Saint-Germain quarter mentions the bloodthirstiness of the old dowagers, eighty or ninety years of age, who exclaim, as they poke the fire, “We must keep on killing them, killing them.” Those who have lost a grandson insist that their neighbour’s grandson shall die as well. The war has let loose such a flood of wickedness and cruelty as we have never seen before.

– Troops in the trenches are often replaced owing to fear of fraternisation with the enemy. What a light that throws upon the war!

– I have been told of the effects of poison gases, which even burn their way through clothing and infect half of the victuals brought up to the trenches (so that they have to throw them away), – poison gases whose baneful effect remains pitilessly active even after long intervals…After that, you realise, if you keep your ears open, that the people know nothing about the war, and that the future description of these horrors ought to make any return of war impossible.

– Who could possibly count the people who have made fortunes out of the war, apart from the recognised army contractors? It would be simpler to count the exceptions – those whose wages have dropped; the liberal professions, civil servants, soldiers whose only resources are their pay or their family separation allowances…Those are the only victims. But they are dumb.

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  1. Charles
    February 8, 2013 at 1:51 am

    It is this Americans opinion that the advancement of the human race is being hampered by these acts of barbarism .We are stifling the growth of the human race with this continual experimentation with war.There,s is a definite possibility that a accident could eliminate mankind as we know it.War should be criminalized and we need not go to counties and disrupt the lives of millions of people to maintain peace,it,s absurd.We are truly the most powerful nation on earth and the leadership should be towards peaceful stability,rather than the idiocy of war.What else do the elites of the world want.

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