Home > Uncategorized > Ernest Hemingway: “Down with the officers. Viva la Pace!”

Ernest Hemingway: “Down with the officers. Viva la Pace!”


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)


“What will you do about him, Tenente?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can’t you just put him down as taken prisoner?”

“I don’t know.”

“You see if the war went on they would make bad trouble for his family.”

“The war won’t go on,” a soldier said. “We’re going home. The war is over.”

“Everybody’s going home.”

“We’re all going home.”

“Come on, Tenente,” Piani said. He wanted to get past them.

“Tenente? Who’s a Tenente? A basso gli ufficiali! Down with the officers!”

Piani took me by the arm. “I better call you by your name,” he said. “They might try and make trouble. They’ve shot some officers.” We worked up past them.

“I won’t make a report that will make trouble for his family.” I went on with our conversation.

“If the war is over it makes no difference,” Piani said. “But I don’t believe it’s over. It’s too good that it should be over.”

“We’ll know pretty soon,” I said.

“I don’t believe it’s over. They all think it’s over but I don’t believe it.”

Viva la Pace!” a soldier shouted out. “We’re going home!”

“It would be fine if we all went home,” Piani said. “Wouldn’t you like to go home?”


“We’ll never go. I don’t think it’s over.”

Andiamo a casa!” a soldier shouted.

“They throw away their rifles,” Piani said. “They take them off and drop them down while they’re
marching. Then they shout.”

“They ought to keep their rifles.”

“They think if they throw away their rifles they can’t make them fight.”

In the dark and the rain, making our way along the side of the road I could see that many of the troops still had their rifles. They stuck up above the capes.

“What brigade are you?” an officer called out.

Brigata di Pace” some one shouted. “Peace Brigade!” The officer said nothing.

“What does he say? What does the officer say?”

“Down with the officer. Viva la Pace!”

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