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Anatole France: To avert the danger of peace breaking out…


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

Anatole France: Selections on war


Anatole France
Satire published posthumously
Translated by J. Lewis May


We are easier in our minds at Tours. We are not afraid now that the war is going to finish up all of a sudden. Nevertheless, the weakness of the Central Empires is disturbing. Turkey has ceased to fight. Her troops are giving in. Her Pashas are selling themselves for money. Austria is surrendering unconditionally, and is begging her adversaries to come and take her. She is still pouring forth prayers; but even now she has ceased to exist. She is broken in pieces, and no one knows which particular piece of her is breathing forth these supplications to her conquerors. Germany is not quite so weak, and her resistance is encouraging; but she may come crashing down any day and she makes no secret about it. And then peace may break out.

To avert that peril I put forward a proposal which is perhaps a bold one, but which will command the approval of all patriots. I wish to bring it before our Government. I demand that, with all due circumspection, the Allies should provide the Germans, Austrians and Turks with the means necessary to enable them to continue the war, – munitions, money and even men. The Allies have plenty of blacks at their disposal; they could easily divert some of them in favour of their unfortunate adversaries. In this manner the danger of peace might be averted for a considerable period.

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