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Archive for July, 2014

Franz Werfel: War is the cause and not the result of all conflicts

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

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel
From Star of the Unborn (1946)
Translated by Gustave O. Arlt

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War was not the result but the cause of all conflicts. War was the subconscious craving for bloodshed, no matter on what pretexts it was waged. War was Adam’s son, the Cain in man. In frightful passion the roosters tore to shreds the hens whose blood they had seen.

***

We did not shrink from audacious calculations regarding the strange universes of star nebulae but we managed only to penetrate a scant three miles into the interior of the earth. This proves beyond a doubt that man stands much less in awe of the world around him than of the world within him and that he is much less afraid of the distant infinite than of the immediate infinite enclosed within himself.

***

An old proverb say: “Veritas vincit,” truth is victorious. Unfortunately this adage is an idealistic overestimate and misjudges life’s realities. By the end of the days of mankind, of course, truth will have conquered. Until then, however, the opposite is usually the case: “Victoria verifacit,” victory makes truth.

Every historical era reflects the face of the most recent victor…

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Franz Werfel: Leaders’ fear of their people drives them to war

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

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel
From Star of the Unborn (1946)
Translated by Gustave O. Arlt

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“And for what reason was the First World War fought, Seigneur? What was it all about?”

As I formulated my answer I was uncomfortably aware that I was not doing justice to the Second World War…

“Well, now that you ask this question, my dear Monsieur, it’s not so easy to say why the two World Wars that took place in my lifetime were really fought. It was all mixed up with a murky hogwash about unemployment and ersatz-religions. You know, the more fraudulent a religion, the more fanatically its adherents strike out in all directions. My former contemporaries had firmly made up their minds that they didn’t want to have any souls or any personalities; they wanted to be egoless atoms in a material macrocomplex…And so most people of both groups didn’t have the slightest idea why they had to kill each other. They really did it out of fear. But they were less afraid of each other than of their own leaders, and these leaders, again, were so afraid of the people whom they led or misled that they forced them to kill each other.”

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Siegfried Sassoon: Repression of War Experience

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon
Repression of War Experience

Now light the candles; one; two; there’s a moth;
What silly beggars they are to blunder in
And scorch their wings with glory, liquid flame —
No, no, not that, — it’s bad to think of war,
When thoughts you’ve gagged all day come back to scare you;
And it’s been proved that soldiers don’t go mad
Unless they lose control of ugly thoughts
That drive them out to jabber among the trees.

Now light your pipe; look, what a steady hand.
Draw a deep breath; stop thinking; count fifteen,
And you’re as right as rain…
Why won’t it rain?…
I wish there’d be a thunder-storm to-night,
With bucketsful of water to sluice the dark,
And make the roses hang their dripping heads.
Books; what a jolly company they are,
Standing so quiet and patient on their shelves,
Dressed in dim brown, and black, and white, and green,
And every kind of colour. Which will you read?
Come on; O do read something; they’re so wise.
I tell you all the wisdom of the world
Is waiting for you on those shelves; and yet
You sit and gnaw your nails, and let your pipe out,
And listen to the silence: on the ceiling
There’s one big, dizzy moth that bumps and flutters;
And in the breathless air outside the house
The garden waits for something that delays.
There must be crowds of ghosts among the trees, —
Not people killed in battle, — they’re in France, —
But horrible shapes in shrouds — old men who died
Slow, natural deaths, — old men with ugly souls,
Who wore their bodies out with nasty sins.

….

You’re quiet and peaceful, summering safe at home;
You’d never think there was a bloody war on!…
O yes, you would…why, you can hear the guns.
Hark! Thud, thud, thud, — quite soft…they never cease—
Those whispering guns — O Christ, I want to go out
And screech at them to stop — I’m going crazy;
I’m going stark, staring mad because of the guns.

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Robert Graves: War’s ultimate victors, the rats

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

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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The first trenches we went into on arrival were the Cuinchy brick-stacks…

Cuinchy-bread rats. They came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses, and multiplied exceedingly. While I fought here with the Welsh, a new officer joined the Company and, in token of welcome, was given a dug-out containing a spring-bed. When he turned in that night, he heard a scuffling, shone his torch on the bed, and found two rats on his blanket tussling for the possession of a severed hand…

We planned our rushes from shell-hole to shell-hole, the opportunities being provided by artillery or machine-gun fire, which would distract the sentries. Many of the craters contained the corpses of men who had been wounded and crept in there to die. Some were skeletons, picked clean by the rats.

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UN: Over 4,600 Killed, Wounded, 100,000 Displaced In Ukraine War

Azeri Press Agency
July 28, 2014

UN says over 1,100 killed, nearly 3,500 wounded in Ukraine since mid-April

Baku: 1,129 people have been killed and 3,442 wounded in eastern Ukraine since the start of the Kiev’s military operation in April, according to UN estimates, APA reports quoting RT news.

The report also states that these are the minimum casualty toll estimates by the UN monitoring mission and WHO.

The report says that the cause of the rising death toll is intensified artillery shelling of the civilian residential areas and the so-called “collateral damage” of the armed actions in the heavily-populated areas.

Also, 100,000 people were forcibly displaced in eastern Ukraine.

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Franz Werfel: Twenty thousand well-preserved human skulls of the Last War

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

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel
From Star of the Unborn (1946)
Translated by Gustave O. Arlt

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“This is the Monument of the Last War,” said someone near me, and I craned my neck to see something in the broad excavation within or below the railing that might resemble an equestrian statue or a group of heroically muscle-bound figures à la Rodin. But I discovered nothing of the sort. Finally my unfortunately naked eye settled upon a spherical, rusty framework, about six feet in diameter. At first I could not make the slightest sense out of this sphere consisting of warped metal bands. Then it suddenly dawned on me that it must be an ancient celestial globe, manufactured long after my death but still in darkest antiquity. As my eyes became more and more accustomed to the ruddy twilight in the excavation, which now seemed to me to resemble not so much a mine as the basin of a great pond from which the water had been drained, I perceived that the dilapidated and warped celestial globe surmounted a gigantic pedestal made of skulls, similar to but larger than the so-called cairns which are founds in valleys of the Styrian and Carpathian Alps. My understanding of the psychology of the present had by now become so keen that I clearly felt the mythical horror that the sight of this foundation of skulls must have provoked in the hearts of these contemporaries who had deleted the word “death” from their vocabulary.

***

“{M]any, many more eons passed and many changes took place in the constellations before man finally…attained that mild freedom and dignity which made war and the concept of physical hostility an absurd nightmare that modern man regards as a tissue of lies of eccentric historians rather than as a hellishly real torment to which his own race was subject millennia ago…

“And this monument of hammered metal, erected upon the twenty thousand well-preserved human skulls of the Last War…”

At the words “human skulls” many children began to cry and wail. Their mothers tried to quiet them by soft words or by singing lullabies. A sorrowful buzzing ran through the crowd. The great throng retreated shyly from the fenced space about the monument as though no one had the courage to bear the sight of human skulls.

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NATO Restructures Georgia’s Civilian Sector As Well

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 25, 2014

Third Phase of NATO PDP Program Launched

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NATO-Georgia Professional Development Programme (PDP) has moved to a new phase. Starting of a new stage of the PDP program has been solemnly marked today. Deputy Minister of Defence Tamar Karosanidze attended the event. She addressed the audience and stressed importance of the program.

Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia William Lahue, representatives of non-governmental organizations and Diplomatic Corps accredited to Georgia attended the presentation of a new phase of the program.

This part of the program aims at the implementation of system reforms in the public sector and supporting realization of priorities of Georgia with regard to NATO. Special attention will be attributed to security sector as well. The following stage of the PDP Program envisages the recommendations based on assessment of the second phase.

Within the frames of the program, organizational development and system reforms will be supported in different public organizations within the frames of the program. The third phase also envisages development of the capabilities of professional development organizations operating in Georgia’s public agencies and streamlining public servants’ skills through special programs and practical consultations.

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German Military Delegation Visits Georgian General Staff

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 22, 2014

German delegation visits General Staff

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The delegation of German Armed Forces Command and General Staff College pays a three -day working visit to Georgia. The German guests visit Georgia in frames of 2014 Bilateral Cooperation Plan between Georgian and German Defence Ministries.

Today, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of GAF, Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia hosted the German Delegation led by Real Admiral Karsten Shneider. The sides discussed bilateral cooperation issues in defence sphere and talked about the future plans. Exchanging experience in education field and deepening cooperation between Germany and Georgia were considered at the meeting as well.

Within the visit to Georgia the delegation members will meet with Rector of the National Defence Academy Zurab Agladze and talk about the further development of cooperation between Georgian and German military institutions.

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Erckmann-Chatrian: In war belligerents conspire against their own citizens

July 27, 2014 1 comment

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

Erckmann-Chatrian: In a century the war gods will be recognized as barbarians

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Erckmann-Chatrian
The Story of the Plebiscite
Told By One of the Seven Million Who Voted “Yes”
(1872)
Translator unknown

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I am writing this story for sensible people. It is my own story during the calamitous war we have just gone through. I write it to show those who shall come after us how many evil-minded people there are in the world, and how little we ought to trust fair words…

Could anyone have imagined that there are so many deceivers in the world? No, indeed; it requires to be seen with one’s own eyes to be believed.

In the end we have had to pay dearly. We have given up our hay, our straw, our corn, our flour, our cattle; and that was not enough. Finally, they gave up us, our own selves…

***

What a miserable thing is war! The Germans have lost more men than we have; but we will not be so cruel as to rejoice over this.

***

The less you speak the more you think; and your indignation, your disgust, your hatred for violence, force, and injustice is ever on the increase. You conceive a horror for those who have been the cause of such sufferings…Abject wretches alone accept injustice as a final dispensation; and we have ever God over us all, who forbids us to believe that murder, fire, and robbery may and ought to prevail over right and conscience.

***

“There now,” said George, “look at that ! ” Placiard was passing the house arm-in-arm with a Landwehr officer, followed by a few men; they were making requisitions and entered the house opposite.

“There is the Plebiscite in flesh and blood. Now that scoundrel is working for his Imperial Majesty William I., for the Germans have their emperor as we have had ours: they will soon learn the cost of glory; each has his turn!”

George exclaimed: “How miserable to be surprised and deluged as we have been daily by six hundred thousand Germans, and to have our hands bound like culprits, without arms, munitions, orders, chiefs or anything! Ah! the deputies of the majority who voted for war would not demand compulsory service; they feared to arm the nation. They would not risk the bodies of their own sons…Miserable self-seekers! they are the cause of our ruin! their names should he exposed in every commune, to teach our children to execrate them.’*

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Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

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

American writers on peace and against war

Nathanael West: Selections on war

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

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FITZSIMMONS

Do you play cribbage?

GERALD

Rather!

FITZSIMMONS

Then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be popular. Only don’t talk shop.

GERALD

Shop?

FITZSIMMONS

The war.

GERALD
(Puzzled frown)

Really, I don’t understand.

FITZSIMMONS
(Smiling wryly)

Good. You’ll be very well liked. My trouble is that I don’t like cribbage.

GERALD
(Quite innocently)

Then why did you choose the army as a career?

FITZSIMMONS

I didn’t. I’m in the soap business. I supplied all the army posts. Years ago I joined up – out of sheer patriotism.

GERALD
(The snob shows slightly)

Oh, I see…you’re a reserve officer.

FITZSIMMONS

And a Colonial from a very unfashionable colony – Canada.

GERALD
(Throwing a dog a bone)

I’ve heard some reserve officers make excellent soldiers.

FITZSIMMONS

Very few. They haven’t the proper military slant.

GERALD

Yes – of course – tradition and training are extremely important.

FIZTSIMMONS

Much more than intelligence!

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Wildred Owen: Rushed in the body to enter hell and there out-fiending all its fiends and flames

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

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

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Wilfred Owen
Spring Offensive

Halted against the shade of a last hill,
They fed, and, lying easy, were at ease
And, finding comfortable chests and knees
Carelessly slept. But many there stood still
To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge,
Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world.
Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled
By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge,
For though the summer oozed into their veins
Like the injected drug for their bones’ pains,
Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass,
Fearfully flashed the sky’s mysterious glass.

Hour after hour they ponder the warm field —
And the far valley behind, where the buttercups
Had blessed with gold their slow boots coming up,
Where even the little brambles would not yield,
But clutched and clung to them like sorrowing hands;
They breathe like trees unstirred.

Till like a cold gust thrilled the little word
At which each body and its soul begird
And tighten them for battle. No alarms
Of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste —
Only a lift and flare of eyes that faced
The sun, like a friend with whom their love is done.
O larger shone that smile against the sun, —
Mightier than his whose bounty these have spurned.

So, soon they topped the hill, and raced together
Over an open stretch of herb and heather
Exposed. And instantly the whole sky burned
With fury against them; and soft sudden cups
Opened in thousands for their blood; and the green slopes
Chasmed and steepened sheer to infinite space.

Of them who running on that last high place
Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell’s upsurge,
Or plunged and fell away past this world’s verge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.

But what say such as from existence’ brink
Ventured but drave too swift to sink.
The few who rushed in the body to enter hell,
And there out-fiending all its fiends and flames
With superhuman inhumanities,
Long-famous glories, immemorial shames —
And crawling slowly back, have by degrees
Regained cool peaceful air in wonder —
Why speak they not of comrades that went under?

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Charles Yale Harrison: We have learned who our enemies are

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

American writers on peace and against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

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Charles Yale Harrison
From Generals Die In Bed (1928)

We have learned who our enemies are – the lice, some of our officers, and Death.

Of the first two we speak continually, the last we rarely refer to.

Strangely, we never refer to the Germans as our enemy. In the week-old newspaper which comes from the base we read of the enemy and the Hun, but this is newspaper talk and we place no stock in it. Instead we call him Heinie and Fritz. The nearest we get to unfriendliness is when we call him “square-head.” But our persistent and ever present foe is the louse.

***

Six days in reserve near the light artillery, six days in supports, six days in the front trenches – and then out to rest. Five or six days out on rest and then back again; six days, six days, rest.

Endlessly in and out. Different sectors, different names of trenches, different trenches, but always the same trenches, the same yellow, infested earth, the same screaming shells, the same comet-tailed “minnies” with the splintering roar. The same rats, fat and sleek with their corpse-filled bellies, the same gleaming gimlet eyes. The same lice which we carry with us wherever we go. In and out, in and out, endlessly, sweating, endlessly, endlessly…Somewhere it is summer, but here are the same trenches. The trees here are skeletons holding stubs of stark, shell-amputated arms towards the sky. No flowers grow in this wasteland.

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Maxim Gorky: War permits destruction of every kind: losing limbs fighting for our country

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From The Specter (1938)
Translated by Alexander Bakshy

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“They cut off Dudarov’s leg for the ‘glory of the Church and the country,’ as the children recite at school. And now they’re beginning all over again to blow off the heads and legs and arms of the peasants…”

***

“We are already practically a colony. Our metal industry is almost sixty-seven per cent in French hands. French capital controls seventy-seven percent of our ship-building industry. The stock capital of our banks amounts to five hundred and eighty-five million, and of these four hundred and thirty-four are foreign capital, including two hundred and thirty-two million rubles representing the French investment.”

“We are fighting because M. Poincaré is eager for revanche for 1871, and because he wants to recover the mineral-bearing lands seized by the Germans forty-three years ago. Our army is playing the role of mercenaries – ”

***

Three square windows, blanketed with snow, let in a very little light…

“I hope it lasts all winter, so that it will kill the Germans,” the gendarme growled; looking around, he added: “You burned the partition?”

“We used the partition for coffins.”

“You’ll have to answer for the destruction of somebody else’s property.”

“We’ll answer for it. It’s easy to answer in this obvious matter – war permits destruction of every kind.”

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Edgar Quinet: The soul of man has vanished, nations and races are doomed to combat and destroy each other

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

Edgar Quinet
From address delivered at the Congress of Peace in Geneva in 1867
Translated by Constance Garnett

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In the worst days of the ancient Caesarism, when every one was dumb except the sovereign, there were men who left their refuge in the wilderness to utter a few words of truth in the face of the fallen peoples. For sixteen years I have been living in the wilderness, and I in my turn should like to break the deadly silence to which our age has grown accustomed.

You have no conscience…it is dead, crushed under the heel of the mighty, it has disowned itself. For sixteen years I have been seeking traces of it and have not found it.

It was the same under the Caesars in the ancient world. The soul of man has vanished. The peoples aided their own enslavement, applauded it, showing neither regret nor remorse. As the conscience of mankind vanished, it left an emptiness which was felt in everything as it is now, and to fill it a new god was needed.

Who will in our day fill the abyss opened by modern Caesarism?

In the place of the worn-out, abolished conscience has come night; we wander in the darkness not knowing whence to seek aid, to whom to turn. All have helped to bring about our fall: church and law-court, the nations and society…Deaf is the earth, deaf conscience, deaf the peoples; right has perished with conscience; only might rules…

What have you come for, what are you seeking in these ruins of ruins? You answer that you are seeking peace. Whence do you seek it? You are lost among the broken ruins of the fallen edifice of justice. You seek peace, you are mistaken, it is not here. Here is war. In this night without dawn, nations and races are doomed to combat and destroy each other at hazard in obedience to the will of the rulers who have fettered their hands and their minds in bondage.

The nations will rise again only when they are conscious of the depth of their fall!

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Charles Yale Harrison: War’s whispered reminder, you must come back to my howling madness

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

American writers on peace and against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

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Charles Yale Harrison
From Generals Die In Bed (1928)

For the past few days it has been raining ceaselessly. We are soaked and chilled.

It is near dawn..

As the smudge of gray appears in the east, the odors of the trenches rise in a miasmal mist on all sides of us. The soaked earth here is nothing but a thin covering for the putrescence which lies underneath; it smells like a city garbage dump in mid-August. We are sunk in that misery which men fall into through utter hopelessness.

***

At last we come to a narrow-gauge railhead. It is still dark. We are ordered to halt. The heat of our exhausted bodies loosens the foul trench odors which cling to us. We never escape the ominous thunder. It is the link which binds us to our future. Out on rest, miles behind the lines, we hear it. It is a reminder to us that the line is still there; that we must return. We lie prostrate, still…

Nearby the tiny narrow-gauge engine puffs energetically, giving off little clouds of white feathery steam which float slowly over us. We look about us with hungry eyes.

Smoke that is not the harbinger of death!

A field which is not the hiding place of thousands of men lurking in trenches to tear each other apart!

The dark, silent, brooding sky above us which does not pour shrieking, living steel upon our heads…!

Who can describe the few moments of peace and sunshine in a soldier’s life? The animal pleasure in feeling the sun on a naked body. The cool, caressing, lapping water. The feeling of security, of deep inward happiness…

In the distance the rumble of the guns is faint but persistent like the subdued throbbing of violins in a symphony. I am still here, it says. You may sleep quietly at night in sweet-smelling hay, you may lay sweating under a tree after drill and marvel at the fine tracings on a trembling leaf over your head, but I am here and you must come back to my howling madness, to my senseless volcanic fury.

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Robert Graves: Even its opponents don’t survive war

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

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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My mother used to tell us stories of inventors and doctors who gave their lives to the service of humanity…She kept off the subject of war as much as possible; always finding it difficult to explain how it was God permitted wars. The Boer War clouded my early childhood…

One of my last recollections at Charterhouse is a school debate on the motion ‘that this house is in favour of compulsory military service.’ The Empire-Service League, with Earl Roberts of Kandahar, V.C., as its President, sent down a propagandist in support. Only six votes out of one hundred and nineteen were noes. I was the principle opposition speaker against the motion, having recently resigned from the Officers’ Training Corps in revolt against the theory of implicit obedience to orders. And during a fortnight spent the previous summer at the O.T.C. camp near Tidworth on Salisbury Plain, I had been frightened by a special display of the latest military fortifications: barbed-wire entanglements, machine-guns, and field artillery in action. General, later Field-Marshall, Sir William Robertson, who had a son at the school, visited the camp and impressed upon us that war with Germany must inevitably break out within two or three years, and that we must be prepared to take our part in it as leaders of the new forces which would assuredly be called into being. Of the six noes, Nevill Barbour and I are, I believe, the only ones who survived the war.

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Thomas Mann: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Nathanael West: One live recruit is better than a dozen dead veterans

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

American writers on peace and against war

Nathanael West: Selections on war

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

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FITZSIMMONS

We’ve been trying to take the Pepper Mill for months with that plan. We’ve held up the advance on the whole front. We’ve been hurled back again and again…routed…destroyed!

KILBRECHT

An attack is never entirely wasted. Experience under fire, you know, has moral value.

FRENIQUE

Marvelous training.

JARVIS

After all, we are turning a rabble of bookkeepers and farmers into an army of battle-tried soldiers.

FITZSIMMONS

What’s left of them.

FRENIQUE
(As though they should be glad)

They died for France!

FITZSIMMONS

Sure – only one live recruit is better than a dozen dead veterans.

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John Greenleaf Whittier: The stormy clangor of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease

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

American writers on peace and against war

John Greenleaf Whittier: Selections on peace and war

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John Greenleaf Whittier
From Worship

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Red altars, kindling through that night of error,
Smoked with warm blood beneath the cruel eye
Of lawless Power and sanguinary Terror,
Throned on the circle of a pitiless sky;

Beneath whose baleful shadow, overcasting
All heaven above, and blighting earth below,
The scourge grew red, the lip grew pale with fasting,
And man’s oblation was his fear and woe!

Feet red from war-fields trod the church aisles holy,
With trembling reverence: and the oppressor there,
Kneeling before his priest, abased and lowly,
Crushed human hearts beneath his knee of prayer.

Not such the service the benignant Father
Requireth at His earthly children’s hands
Not the poor offering of vain rites, but rather
The simple duty man from man demands.

For Earth He asks it: the full joy of heaven
Knoweth no change of waning or increase;
The great heart of the Infinite beats even,
Untroubled flows the river of His peace.

Types of our human weakness and our sorrow!
Who lives unhaunted by his loved ones dead?
Who, with vain longing, seeketh not to borrow
From stranger eyes the home lights which have fled?

Then shall all shackles fall; the stormy clangor
Of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease;
Love shall tread out the baleful fire of anger,
And in its ashes plant the tree of peace!

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C.P. Snow: Worse than Genghiz Khan. Has there ever been a weapon that someone did not want to let off?

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

C.P. Snow: Selections on war

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C.P. Snow
From The New Men (1954)

C. P. Snow

In was his own uniquely flat expression of delight: but his face was rosy, he did not look like a man of seventy-three. He was reveling in his victory, the hot room, the mildly drunken night.

“If this country gets the super bomb,” he said cheerfully, “no one will remember me.”

He swung his legs under his chair.

“It’s funny about the bomb,” he said. If we manage to get it, what do we do with it then?”

This was not the first time that I heard the question: once or twice recently people at Barford had raised it. It was too far away for the scientists to speculate much, even the controversialists like Mounteney, but several of them agreed that we should simply notify the enemy that we possessed the bomb, and give some evidence: that would be enough to end the war. I repeated this view to Bevill.

“I wonder,” he said.

“I wonder,” he repeated. “Has there ever been a weapon that someone did not want to let off?”

I said, though the issue seemed remote, that this was different in kind. We had both seen the current estimate, that one fission bomb would kill three hundred thousand people at a go.

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Bevell. “Think of what we’re trying to do with bombing. We’re trying to kill men, women and children. It’s worse than anything Genghiz Khan did.”

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Charles Yale Harrison: Bombardment, maniacal congealed hatred

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

American writers on peace and against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

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Charles Yale Harrison
From Generals Die In Bed (1928)

The air screams and howls like an insane woman.

We are getting it in earnest now. Again we throw ourselves face downward on the bottom of the trench and grovel like savages before this demoniac frenzy.

The conclusion of the explosions batters against us.

I am knocked breathless.

I recover and hear the roar of the bombardment.

It screams and rages and boils like an angry sea. I feel a prickly sensation behind my eyeballs.

A shell lands with a monster shriek in the next bay. The concussion rolls me over on my back. I see the stars shining serenely above us. Another lands in the same place. Suddenly the stars revolve. I have been tossed into the air.

I begin to pray.

“God – God – please…”

I remember that I do not believe in God. Insane thoughts race through my brain. I want to catch hold of something, something that will explain this mad fury, this maniacal congealed hatred that pours down on our heads. I can find nothing to console me, nothing to appease my terror. I know that hundreds of men are standing a mile or two from me pulling gun lanyards, blowing us to smithereens. I know that and nothing else.

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George Bernard Shaw: War and the sufferings of the sane

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

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
From Preface to Heartbreak House (1919)

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The Sufferings of the Sane

The mental distress of living amid the obscene din of all these carmagnoles and corobberies was not the only burden that lay on sane people during the war. There was also the emotional strain, complicated by the offended economic sense, produced by the casualty lists. The stupid, the selfish, the narrow-minded, the callous and unimaginative were spared a great deal. “Blood and destruction shall be so in use that mothers shall but smile when they behold their infantes quartered by the hands of war,” was a Shakespearean prophecy that very nearly came true; for when nearly every house had a slaughtered son to mourn, we should all have gone quite out of our senses if we had taken our own and our friend’s bereavements at their peace value. It became necessary to give them a false value; to proclaim the young life worthily and gloriously sacrificed to redeem the liberty of mankind, instead of to expiate the heedlessness and folly of their fathers, and expiate it in vain. We had even to assume that the parents and not the children had made the sacrifice, until at last the comic papers were driven to satirize fat old men, sitting comfortably in club chairs, and boasting of the sons they had “given” to their country.

No one grudged these anodynes to acute personal grief; but they only embittered those who knew that the young men were having their teeth set on edge because their parents had eaten sour political grapes. Then think of the young men themselves! Many of them had no illusions about the policy that led to the war: they went clear-sighted to a horribly repugnant duty. Men essentially gentle and essentially wise, with really valuable work in hand, laid it down voluntarily and spent months forming fours in the barrack yard, and stabbing sacks of straw in the public eye, so that they might go out to kill and maim men as gentle as themselves. These men, who were perhaps, as a class, our most efficient soldiers (Frederick Keeling, for example), were not duped for a moment by the hypocritical melodrama that consoled and stimulated the others. They left their creative work to drudge at destruction, exactly as they would have left it to take their turn at the pumps in a sinking ship. They did not, like some of the conscientious objectors, hold back because the ship had been neglected by its officers and scuttled by its wreckers. The ship had to be saved, even if Newton had to leave his fluxions and Michael Angelo his marbles to save it; so they threw away the tools of their beneficent and ennobling trades, and took up the blood-stained bayonet and the murderous bomb, forcing themselves to pervert their divine instinct for perfect artistic execution to the effective handling of these diabolical things, and their economic faculty for organization to the contriving of ruin and slaughter. For it gave an ironic edge to their tragedy that the very talents they were forced to prostitute made the prostitution not only effective, but even interesting; so that some of them were rapidly promoted, and found themselves actually becoming artists in wax, with a growing relish for it, like Napoleon and all the other scourges of mankind, in spite of themselves. For many of them there was not even this consolation. They “stuck it,” and hated it, to the end.

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Maxim Gorky: World war and racial conflict on an obscure, infinitesimal planet

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From The Specter (1938)
Translated by Alexander Bakshy

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How insignificant were the little affairs of the Nogaitzevs, the Frolenkovs, and the peasants of the village of Pesochnoye compared with the drama being enacted in the north of France, threatening the downfall of Paris, “the Athens of the world.” Should the Germans win, not only would the French be economically impoverished for the second time, but they would be brought to their knees…Yes, Such a blow would affect the future of all Europe, and consequently the fate of all humanity. Quite possibly the Germans, omitting revolution, would create their own Napoleon and set out to conquer the whole of Europe. At the same time, Japan would start the conquest of Asia. The future of humanity was menaced with racial conflict and struggle. And if one bore in mind that all this was taking place on an infinitesimal planet lost in a limitless universe of thousands of gigantic constellations, of millions of planets, among them the earth quite probably the only speck of dust upon which man had been granted life – and then not more than fifty or sixty years to the individual –

***

“A lot of us here can’t understand the cause of this war. Of course, as you said last night,the Germans don’t like the Russians. But what Germans are they? A merchant, particularly a big, wholesale merchant – he doesn’t need to like people. Forgive our way of looking at things, but a commercial man likes commerce. A manufacturer likes manufacturing. Frolenkov likes building boats. For instance, he’s got an idea about building a barge for shallow water so that it would float on the surface without drawing water – understand? Every one has to like his own work. Now, I sell geese. My geese live and are fed in the Minchuk and Lithuanian districts. That is close to the Germans.”

“Some people are here are saying the Czar is trying to punish the Germans for interfering with us in the Turkish War. They say his grandfather stretched out his hand for Constantinople, and the Germans stopped him. Then the English were hand in glove with the Germans, but now they are against them. So they said to the Czar: Go ahead and take Constantinople, only beat the Germans. And the French – they spoke right out. They said: Take what you like, only rid us of the Germans.”

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Thorne Smith: Make statues of war’s wholesale butchers before they strike

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

American writers on peace and against war

Eugene Field and Thorne Smith: Bacchus disables Mars

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Thorne Smith
From Night Life of the Gods (1931)

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“…I have succeeded in achieving complete cellular petrification through atomic disintegration…”

“It’s all very interesting,” said Alfred, “but I can’t see any commercial possibilities for the thing – no practical application.”

“Oh, you can’t,” exclaimed the scientist. “How about putting an end to the activities of objectionable individuals? Think of what it could do for humanity. If I had made this discovery previous to the World War I could have turned a flock of statesmen to stone, and then there wouldn’t have been any war. And the economic as well as artistic waste entailed by eventually making statues of those self-same wholesale butchers would have been eliminated. The majority of statesmen should be born statues, anyway.”

Alfred’s face began to glow avariciously.

“Got it!” he cried. “Got it! The United States government would give you millions in cold cash for the use of your discovery. We could play up the bloodless side of the thing. That sort of drip is popular right now. Victory without death, you know. Do you want me to get in touch with the right parties and arrange for a demonstration?”

“We haven’t quite finished with our own little demonstration here,” Mr. Hawk replied darkly. “But why don’t you sell it to Mussolini first? He’d put his country in hock to see himself as a statue and to experience while still alive something approaching the adulation of posterity.”

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Vercors: Are war crimes only committed by the vanquished?

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

Vercors
From Les Animaux dénaturés (1952)
Translated by Rita Barisse

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“Imagine…if what constitutes the essence of man comes to be legally defined, will not our obligations towards man be defined by the same stroke: since anything that threatened that essence would automatically be a menace to humanity. All the rights and duties of man, of social groups, of societies and nations, towards one another, in all latitudes, of all creeds, would for the first time be founded on the very nature of Man, on the irrefutable elements that distinguish him from the Beast. No longer would those rights and duties rely on utilitarian and hence destructible conventions, on philosophical and hence assailable theories, or on arbitrary, hence corruptible and changing traditions – let alone on the blind fury of passions.

“For do we not often see that what is a crime for one group of people is none for their neighbors or their foes? – who may even extol it as a duty or an honor, as we could see in the case of the Nazis? And was it not useless to create in Nuremberg a mere law which was not, in its very foundation, acknowledged equally by all? For today we find that, in the name of German traditions, the friends of the condemned drag the law from its lofty eminence as a safeguard of Human Rights down to the disgraceful level of a safeguard of Human Might – and we cannot crush them with the proof of their abject mistake. That is why today we see the Nuremberg laws, in spite of all the hopes that went into their making, gradually dissolving into shadows, and in those shadows new crimes prepared…”

***

“Humanity is not a state we suffer. It’s a dignity we must strive to win. A dignity full of pain and sorrow. Won, no doubt, at the price of tears…”

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Franz Werfel: Cities disintegrated within seconds in the Last War

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

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel
From Star of the Unborn (1946)
Translated by Gustave O. Arlt

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“The other objects that you see here, Seigneur,” the Bridegroom expatiated eagerly, “are found much more frequently when excavations for new houses are made. They, too, date back to primitive times, but to later eras than the bow and arrow or the powder-gun. The scholars call them ‘trans-shadow-disintegrators.’ If you look more closely you can easily distinguish the clumsy trans-shadow-disintegrators of primitive wars from the more advanced, slender ones of the Last War.”

Although I could not exactly distinguish the pea-shooters from each other, I stepped closer, feigning a polite interest. The Bridegroom indeed seemed to be a great bellologist, a student of the science of war. His slightly bloated face glowed with the agitation of his monomania. Undoubtedly the younger generation was no longer as dispassionate as their elders…

“The longest and the thinnest of the trans-shadow-disintegrators,” Bridegroom Io-Do continued with growing zeal, “were directed against cities that were built high up over the surface of the earth. Did you ever know any cities like that, Seigneur?”

“I never knew any other kind,” I answered truthfully.

“The skyscrapers in these cities were a thousand to two thousand stories high,” Io-Do went on enthusiastically. “Is that right, Seigneur?”

“In my time they only managed to get up about a hundred stories,” I explained modestly. “The Empire State Building was the highest one I knew. Still, the skyline of New York was fairly respectable, especially for people coming from Europe, which had cities like Paris and Vienna that were splendid but never went in for tall buildings. It is not unlikely, however, Monsieur, that later history may have seen buildings that extended up into the stratosphere. I don’t know.”

“Well, that proves it,” the war-mad Bridegroom interrupted, drawing rash conclusions with youthful indiscreetness, “that proves that mankind is indebted to the trans-shadow-disintegrator alone for the boon of no longer living high up over the surface in the terror of the atmosphere, pitilessly exposed to the rays of the sun and the stars, but in the homely lap of the lithosphere. The trans-shadow-disintegrators, you know, cleaned up that skyline of yours in a hurry, in fact, in a matter of seconds. And to think that there are still people who deny the contribution of former wars to the progress of the race…”

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Maxim Gorky: What we needed was a successful war – with anybody at all

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From The Specter (1938)
Translated by Alexander Bakshy

Portrait of Maxim Gorky and Feodor Chaliapin

“I’m sick and tired of it. Just like a goose – gabble, gabble, gabble. Now there is a crime for you. We want a war. As far back as 1908 Isvolski declared to Suvorin that what we needed was a successful war – with anybody at all. And today this is a conviction with the majority of the ministers, the monarchists, and other – Nihilists.”

***

“We Russians are much too prone to kneel, not only to the Czar and the government, but to those who preach to us. Do you remember –

“Master, at thy name
Let us humbly bend the knee.”

“That’s not quoted right,” declared the man in the corner, with relish.

“Observing the flexibility of the knee, Japan took advantage of it, and was followed up by the Germans, who compelled us to sign a trade-treaty profitable to them alone. This treaty is due to expire in 1914. The government is increasing the army, strengthening the navy, and encouraging war industries. This is forethought. Balkan wars have never yet been fought without our participation. It seems to me not improbable that in the year of the tercentennial jubilee, the autocracy will present the country with a fine war.”

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C.P. Snow: Hope it’s never possible to develop superbomb

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

C.P. Snow: Selections on war

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C.P. Snow
From The New Men (1954)

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“As a matter of fact, some of these scientists believe they can present us with a great big bang. Like thousands of tons of T.N.T. That would be a futurist war, if you like. That old boy the other day said we ought to be ready to put some money on it.”

It sounded like the gossip I had heard in Cambridge, and I said so.

“Ought you have heard?” said Bevill, who thought of science in nothing but military terms. “These chaps will talk. Whatever you do, you can’t stop them talking. But they’re pushing on with it. I’ve collected three appreciations already. Forget all I tell you until you have to remember – that’s what I do. But the stuff to watch is what they call a uranium isotope.”

He said the words slowly as though separating the syllables for children to spell. “U. 235,” he added, as though domesticating a foreign name. To each of the three of us, the words and symbols may as well have been in Hittite, though Rose and I would have been regarded as highly educated men.

The Minister went on to say that, though the scientists ‘as usual’ were disagreeing among themselves, some of them believed that making a ‘superbomb’ was not only a matter of a series of techniques. They also believed that whichever side got the weapon first would win the war.

“These people always think that it’s easier to win wars than I do,” he added imperturbably.

***

It still did not seem significant. That winter, one or two of us who were in the secret discussed it, but, although we looked around the room before we spoke, it did not catch hold of us as something real.

Once Francis Getliffe, whom I had known longer than the other scientists, said to be:

“I hope it’s never possible.”

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Siegfried Sassoon: War, remorse and reconciliation

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon

Remorse

Lost in the swamp and welter of the pit,
He flounders off the duck-boards; only he knows
Each flash and spouting crash, – each instant lit
When gloom reveals the streaming rain. He goes
Heavily, blindly on. And, while he blunders,
“Could anything be worse than this?” – he wonders,
Remembering how he saw those Germans run,
Screaming for mercy among the stumps of trees:
Green-faced, they dodged and darted: there was one
Livid with terror, clutching at his knees. . .
Our chaps were sticking ’em like pigs…”O hell!”
He thought – -“there’s things in war one dare not tell
Poor father sitting safe at home, who reads
Of dying heroes and their deathless deeds.”

Reconciliation

When you are standing at your hero’s grave,
Or near some homeless village where he died,
Remember, through your heart’s rekindling pride,
The German soldiers who were loyal and brave.

Men fought like brutes; and hideous things were done;
And you have nourished hatred, harsh and blind.
But in that Golgotha perhaps you’ll find
The mothers of the men who killed your son.

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Pierre Boulle: The long reach of war profiteers

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

Pierre Boulle
From La face (1956)
Translated by Xan Fielding

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Guillaume Vauban – there was nothing he did not know about him! “Good-for-nothing” – wasn’t that what Widow Durasse had called him? “Utterly rotten” would have been nearer the truth! A slimy character, always violent when he drank, he thought he could do exactly as he liked simply because his father had made a fortune during the war and had influential connections. He had been mixed up in all sorts of dirty business. The last time, a year ago, he had even had a brush with the police. If it had not been for his father he would probably have been put in jail.

Jean Berthier tried hard not to listen, but the little he heard of this droning monologue had the pestilential stink of dishonesty and double-dealing. It amounted to this: high finance, in the person of Vauban, was at the root of it all; all the others were mere puppets in his hands. In his heedless desire to convince him, Laigle gradually revealed the truth in all its hideous details…So the play he had seen three months before, which he had regarded as utterly libelous, was based on true facts after all. That world actually existed, and was now making proposals to him…”

“But you can’t refuse, Jean. It’s such a small thing to ask you to do…Think of your future, think of your wife. Vauban would never forgive you if you refused. And he’s a man with a lot of power.”

This was sheer blackmail: promises followed by threats…

“The accused’s father, gentleman, whom we were all prepared to pity, whose suffering we would all have shared had he adopted a decent attitude – I have no compunction about mentioning his name here today in order to reprove his conduct. He never hesitated to employ every underhanded scheme he could think of. I must put the jury on their guard against the impudent stratagems of the gang he directs.”

“Under his control this arrogant, mercenary gang, whose members, I regret to say, include a number of well-known public figures, have done all they could to obstruct the course of justice, sowing doubt and disorder in certain simple minds, and tipping the scales with their ill-gotten gold to further an iniquitous cause.”

“Secret weapons have been introduced into this case for the most iniquitous purposes, by the foulest and most underhand means imaginable. These weapons have been leveled against the forces of law and order, including myself. The powers of Evil have tried to corrupt us and press us into the service of their loathsome cause. I am sorry to say, gentlemen, that among us there are some who weakened and succumbed…”

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July 4th: American writers on peace and against war

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

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Conrad Aiken: Vast symphonic dance of death

Stephen Vincent Benét: The dead march from the last to the next blind war

Ambrose Bierce: Warlike America

Ambrose Bierce: Killed At Resaca

Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Robert Bly: War, writers and government money

Randolph Bourne: Selections on war

Randolph Bourne: The War and the Intellectuals

Randolph Bourne: War and the State

Randolph Bourne: Willing war means willing all the evils that are organically bound up with it

Randolph Bourne: Conscience and Intelligence in War

Randolph Bourne: Twilight of Idols

Randolph Bourne: Below the Battle

Louis Bromfield: NATO, Permanent War Panic and America’s Messiah Complex

William Cullen Bryant: Christmas 1875

William Cullen Bryant: Emblem of the peace that yet shall be, noise of war shall cease from sea to sea

Stephen Crane: There was crimson clash of war

Stephen Crane: War Is Kind

John Dos Passos: Three Soldiers

John Dos Passos on Randolph Bourne: War is the health of the state

Theodore Dreiser and Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

W.E.B. Du Bois: Work for Peace

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Birds of peace and deadened hearts

William Faulkner: There is only the question: When will I be blown up?

William Faulkner: To militarists, all civilians, even their own, are alien intruders

Frank Harris: Soulless selfishness of war; Anglo-Saxon domineering combativeness greatest danger to Humanity

Frank Harris: Henri Barbusse and the war against war

Nathaniel Hawthorne on war: Drinking out of skulls till the Millennium

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

Ernest Hemingway: All armies are the same

Ernest Hemingway: Beaten to start with, beaten when they took them from their farms and put them in the army

Ernest Hemingway: Combat the murder that is war

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

Ernest Hemingway: “If everybody would not attack the war would be over”

Ernest Hemingway: “It doesn’t finish. There is no finish to a war.”

Ernest Hemingway: Nothing sacred about war’s stockyards

Ernest Hemingway: Perhaps wars weren’t won any more. Maybe they went on forever.

Ernest Hemingway: There are people who would make war, there are other people who would not make war

Ernest Hemingway: Who wins wars?

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Hymn to Peace

Julia Ward Howe: Mother’s Day Proclamation 1870

William Dean Howells: Editha

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

Henry James: Beguiled into thinking war, worst horror that attends the life of nations, could not recur

William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

William James: The Philippine Tangle

Sidney Lanier: Death in Eden

Sidney Lanier: War by other means

Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion of War

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

Jack London: War

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

Edgar Lee Masters: “The honor of the flag must be upheld”

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Herman Melville: Trophies of Peace

H.L. Mencken: New wars will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men

William Vaughn Moody: Bullet’s scream went wide of its mark to its homeland’s heart

Eugene O’Neill: The hell that follows war

Edgar Allan Poe: The Valley of Unrest

Edwin Arlington Robinson: Though your very flesh and blood the Eagle eats and drinks, you’ll praise him for the best of birds

Edgar Saltus: Soldiers and no farmers; imperial sterility…and demise

Carl Sandburg: Ready to Kill

Carl Sandburg: What it costs to move two buttons one inch on the war map

George Santayana on war and militarism

Upton Sinclair: How wars start, how they can be prevented

Henry David Thoreau: Taxes enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood

Mark Twain: Selections on war

Mark Twain: Grotesque self-deception of war

Mark Twain: The War Prayer

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

Mark Twain: Only dead men dare tell the whole truth about war

Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War

Mark Twain: An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war

Mark Twain on Western military threat to China: I am a Boxer

Thorstein Veblen: Habituation to war entails a body of predatory habits of thought

John Greenleaf Whittier: Disarmament

John Greenleaf Whittier: If this be Peace, pray what is War?

John Greenleaf Whittier: The Peace Convention at Brussels

John Greenleaf Whittier: Nobler than the sword’s shall be the sickle’s accolade

Thomas Wolfe: Santimony and cant of war

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John Greenleaf Whittier: Disarmament

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

American writers on peace and against war

John Greenleaf Whittier: Selections on peace and war

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John Greenleaf Whittier
Disarmament (1871)

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“Put up the sword!” The voice of Christ once more
Speaks, in the pauses of the cannon’s roar,
O’er fields of corn by fiery sickles reaped
And left dry ashes; over trenches heaped
With nameless dead; o’er cities starving slow
Under a rain of fire; through wards of woe
Down which a groaning diapason runs
From tortured brothers, husbands, lovers, sons
Of desolate women in their far-off homes,
Waiting to hear the step that never comes!
O men and brothers! let that voice be heard.
War fails, try peace; put up the useless sword!

Fear not the end. There is a story told
In Eastern tents, when autumn nights grow cold,
And round the fire the Mongol shepherds sit
With grave responses listening unto it
Once, on the errands of his mercy bent,
Buddha, the holy and benevolent,
Met a fell monster, huge and fierce of look,
Whose awful voice the hills and forests shook.
“O son of peace!” the giant cried, “thy fate
Is sealed at last, and love shall yield to hate.”
The unarmed Buddha looking, with no trace
Of fear or anger, in the monster’s face,
In pity said: “Poor fiend, even thee I love.”
Lo! as he spake the sky-tall terror sank
To hand-breadth size; the huge abhorrence shrank
Into the form and fashion of a dove;
And where the thunder of its rage was heard,
Circling above him sweetly sang the bird
“Hate hath no harm for love,” so ran the song;
“And peace unweaponed conquers every wrong!”

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Alexander Herzen: War, duel between nations; duel, war between individuals

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

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

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Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett

Alexander_Herzen

…In a duel everything remains secret and concealed. It is an institution belonging to that pugnacious period when blood was still so fresh on men’s hands that the wearing of deadly weapons was looked on as a sign of nobility and exercise in the art of killing as an official duty.

So long as the world is governed by military men duels will not be abolished; but we may boldly demand that the choice should be left to us when we should bow the head to an idol we do not believe in, and when show ourselves free men in our full stature and – after battling with the gods and powers of this world – dare to challenge the bloody, mediaeval order…

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Maxim Gorky: When “cause of freedom for man” means money for armaments

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From The Specter (1938)
Translated by Alexander Bakshy

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“Here comes Aristide the traitor,” said Marina.

On the rostrum stood a debonair individual, also with a large head, his brown hair carelessly rumpled; he had a thick-set body, rather heavy and a little stooped. The thick cheeks of his wide face were puffy. Alternately opening his lively, smiling eyes very wide and screwing them up tightly, he stretched out his neck and nodded to a deputy in the front row of seats. Then he grinned, and began to talk in a conversational, chatty manner, his left hand caressing the lapel of his coat or the edge of the reading-stand, his right hand gently wafted in the air as if dispersing an invisible smoke. He talked fluently, his strong voice slightly husky. Clean-cut words chased one another jovially, tenderly, with pathos and sorrow, tinged with the merest trace of irony. He was attentively listened to. Many heads nodded approval. There were short, interested exclamations. One felt that his friendly smiles evoked responsive smiles from his listeners. One deputy, completely bald, wriggled his gray ears like a hare. Briand raised his voice, and arched his eyebrows. His eyes distended. His cheeks flushed. Samghin caught a particularly sizzling phrase:

“Our country, our beautiful France, our supreme love, has dedicated herself to the cause of freedom for man. But let us not forget that liberty is achieved by struggle.”

“Money for armaments,” said Marina, consulting her watch.

Briand was applauded, but there were also shouts of protest.

“I’ve had enough of this. I have forty minutes for lunch. Would you like to go with me?”

“Very much.”

“So that’s the man,” she said, as they emerged into the street. “The son of an innkeeper, once a Socialist, like his friend, Millerand, who, not so long ago, gave orders to shoot down strikers.”

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