Home > Uncategorized > Bertolt Brecht: I won’t let you spoil my war for me

Bertolt Brecht: I won’t let you spoil my war for me


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

Bertolt Brecht: Selections on war


Bertolt Brecht
From Mother Courage and Her Children (1939)
Translated by Eric Bentley


MOTHER Courage: …What is it, were you attacked? On the way back? I bet it was that soldier who got drunk on my liquor. I should never have let you go…They’re worse than animals.

CHAPLAIN: I reproach them with nothing. At home they never did these shameful things. The men who start the wars are responsible, they bring out the worst in people.


MOTHER COURAGE: I won’t let you spoil my war for me. Destroys the weak, does it? Well, what does peace do for ’em, huh? War feeds its people better.

She sings:

If war doesn’t suit your disposition
When victory comes, you will be dead.
War is a business proposition:
But not with cheese, with steel instead!


Followed by two soldiers with halberds, EILIF enters. His hands are fettered. He is white as chalk.

CHAPLAIN: What happened to you?

EILIF: Where’s mother?

CHAPLAIN: Gone to town.

EILIF: They said she was here. I was allowed a last visit.

COOK (to the SOLDIERS): Where are you taking him?

A SOLDIER: For a ride.

The other soldier makes the gesture of throat cutting.

CHAPLAIN: What has he done?

SOLDIER: He broke in on a peasant. His wife is dead.

CHAPLAIN: Eilif, how could you?

EILIF: It’s no different. It’s what I did before.

COOK: That was in war time.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 20, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Reblogged this on maha's place.

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