Home > Uncategorized > Anatole France and Michel Corday: War is a crime, for which victory brings no atonement

Anatole France and Michel Corday: War is a crime, for which victory brings no atonement

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

Anatole France: Selections on war

Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

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Michel Corday
From Under the Rose (1926)
Translated by J. Lewis May

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“War is a crime, for which victory brings no atonement.”

“Man is not more intelligent to-day than he was of old…He has more industry, not more brains. He makes war with more devices, but not with more intelligence, than the savage.”

“It is a certain fact that men will continue to be cruel and blood-thirsty so long as they go on eating the flesh of animals. Killing animals and killing men – there is but a step betwixt the two.”

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It was toward the end of 1919 that Anatole France conceived the idea of writing a novel to be entitled The Cyclops – a tragi-comic satire on mankind after the style of The Revolt of the Angels and Penguin Island

“How comes it that they find a Cyclops in Trinacria, just as in the fabulous times? The explanation is that the Cyclopes, who had disappeared before civilization, reappear now that war has plunged the world back into barbarism.”

In November of that same year [1921] he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; and on that occasion he was interviewed by certain journalists to whom he made known his intention to write a book against war.

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The last time he put in an appearance at the Academy, a certain Marshal told him he read, admired and loved his work, and then added: “You’ll never be so anti-militarist as I am, for, you see, I know what military people are.”

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Later generations must know the unparalleled violence, the savage hatred and envy, the mad injustice with which the writings and the memory of Anatole France were assailed as soon as he had breathed his last…Truly it is a tremendous piece of irony that the war, the war which Anatole France so bitterly hated, should have loaded his memory with this missing link in the chain of monsters – the unadulterated cad.

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