Home > Uncategorized > Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War

Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War

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

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

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Mark Twain
Vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, 1901-1910
From Man’s Place in the Animal World (1896)

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The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses. Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one who gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out, as the Hessians did in our Revolution, and as the boyish Prince Napoleon did in the Zulu war, and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.

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Mai is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” – with his mouth.

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