Home > Uncategorized > Alfred Neumann: Scandalous was the idea of winning happiness through war, of making profit out of war

Alfred Neumann: Scandalous was the idea of winning happiness through war, of making profit out of war

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

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war

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Alfred Neumann
From Empire (1936)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

184712-e1396646576143

War, he said, is a horrible and shameful thing; the cruellist and bloodiest form of chance; scandalously inconsistent with contemporary endeavors to promote the reign of reason and ensure general happiness; scandalous, therefore, was the idea of winning happiness through war, of making profit out of war. For war brought about the most unreasonable and unsocial distribution of happiness and good fortune; allotting them to the group of successful fame-hunters, title-hunters, and war-profiteers; but not to the common soldiers, whose misfortunes were recorded in the swollen casualty lists, whose only chance of good luck was to get home without being too abominably mutilated, and who never really knew for what cause they were being sacrificed…

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Eighteen days slipped by over the unending plain of the Po, the eternal enemy of warfare. The countryside was fighting against the war, fighting with its caltrops, its cloudbursts, and, between storms, with its burning sun…

Even so much will only happen – these half-successes and inadequate achievements – if, over the mountain of corpses that are heaped up on the interminable day, the tricolour waves…The commander’s hillock has become one of the centres of slaughter and one of the mounds of corpses; so has the cemetery, where God’s peace used to prevail…

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