Home > Uncategorized > William Dean Howells to Henry James: The most stupid and causeless war

William Dean Howells to Henry James: The most stupid and causeless war

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

American writers on peace and against war

William Dean Howells: Selections on war

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From letters of William Dean Howells to Henry James
Members of the Anti-Imperialist League

WilliamDeanHowells

April 17, 1898

Of course I am distracted by the noises of the most stupid and causeless war that was ever imagined by a kindly and sensible nation. If there could be anything worse than the Zola trial it would be our behavior to Spain…The strange thing is that nobody, except the newspapers and the politicians, want war. It will set every good cause back and heaven knows when people will want to read novels again; one jingo journal has amusingly promised the public relief from mine if the war comes.

July 31, 1898

We are in sight of peace. Our war for humanity has unmasked itself as a war for coaling stations, and we are going to keep our booty to punish Spain for putting us to the trouble of using violence in robbing her.

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