Home > Uncategorized > Ernest Hemingway: Nothing sacred about war’s stockyards

Ernest Hemingway: Nothing sacred about war’s stockyards


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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war


Ernest Hemingway
From A Farewell to Arms (1929)


“Yes, they give the battalions in the front line as much as they can but the ones in back are very short. They have eaten all the Austrians’ potatoes and chestnuts from the woods. They ought to feed them better. We are big eaters. I am sure there is plenty of food. It is very bad for the soldiers to be short of food. Have you ever noticed the difference it makes in the way you think?”

“Yes,” I said. “It can’t win a war but it can lose one.”

“We won’t talk about losing. There is enough talk about losing. What has been done this summer cannot have been done in vain.”

I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates…

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    you need those waRs…waRs kills civilians better, and makes the air as fresh as methane…ask youRselves what aRe your neighboRs good foR, when they cannot look you in the eyes and say, “wrong fuels, back in line” but not mention “meRely pRactice-Killing, civilians must be thinned”…

    while indige-Amers have no education, no hospitals of consequence, no univeRsal care, no home rebuilding moRtgages that hires fRom w.i. the Res? what have theRest of US w.o. Revolution in the CHEM tRAILS heavy metals and strontium-90 Radionuclide micRons?

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