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Alfred Neumann: Empire destroys peace, converts liberalism into harvest of blood


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

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war


Alfred Neumann
From Another Caesar (1934)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

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“Louis, genuine Bonapartism was the destiny of the first half of the century, and not for France alone. Spurious Bonapartism, taking its rise at the middle of this nineteenth century, will be the destiny of the second half of that century; and the Third Republic, which in due time will be its unhappy heir, will suffer from it – as, unquestionably, will Europe at large…You are liberal-minded, and will destroy liberalism; for, as a professedly liberal emperor, smiling and amiable, you will establish yourself as a tyrant, in order to keep yourself firmly seated in the saddle – as an avowed or masked tyrant. And your corrupted liberalism will have further evil effects, for it has shown itself to be manageable and practical, and will perhaps make even the twentieth century unhappy; you desire peace, you even love peace; your nature is unwarlike, and your heart, your good heart, is something your promptings may perhaps resist, yet it will never grow hard. You have coined the lying, the blasphemous formula that the empire is peace; but therewith you corrupt and destroy peace, for therewith you breed a pretentious nationalism, which soon, Louis, very soon, will be swept away by your traditional uniform and the longing for glory which should have been kept in the Napoleonic museum. The compromise which you have undertaken will be wrecked upon the dreadful desire for glory, for the glory which, sooner or later, the populace will demand from you as your dowry to France. With your relics of the War God, you will be forced to adopt a warlike policy, in order to divert the storm of disappointment from home affairs to foreign affairs…You, a man who hates bloodshed, will sow the seeds of bloodshed and will reap the harvest of blood; you will open the dreadful, the hateful drama of victor and vanquished, the interminable interchange of triumph and revenge, which will endure for generation after generation, and will annihilate them, or save remnants for the ensuing annihilation…”

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