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Lion Feuchtwanger: The future national state: A military power beyond conception


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

Lion Feuchtwanger: Selections on war


Lion Feuchtwanger
From The Oppermanns (1933)
Translated by James Cleugh


“I believe that the war was only a curtain-raiser. The century of the great conflict has just begun. It will be a century of destruction. The final generations of the white race will attack each other without mercy. The thunder will mate with the ocean, and fire with the earth. Man will have to develop brains with horns to cope with this struggle. Such will be the character, as I see it, of the future national state. A military power beyond conception, a judiciary power with severe, restrictive laws, and a school system to educate senseless brutes in the ecstasy of self-sacrifice; such is the outlook.”


His military service, that senseless subservience to the will of others, had been the most disagreeable period of his life. He had endeavoured to wipe it out of his memory, it made him ill to think of it. Now, at sight of those brown uniforms, the unwelcome recollection was reawakened.


The wave dissolves, the feelings and thoughts of mankind dissolve like the wave. But it is given to man to make the impossible possible. No one can step into the same wave twice, yet man has made it possible. Man can say: “Stand still, wave.” Man can hold on to the ephemeral, he can change it into a tangible thing; into the written word, cut it into stone, make it eternal.

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