Home > Uncategorized > George Gissing: Letter to a son killed in war: War is a horrible thing that ought to be left to savages

George Gissing: Letter to a son killed in war: War is a horrible thing that ought to be left to savages

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

George Gissing: Selections on war

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George Gissing
To his son Walter (later killed in World War One)
December 29, 1899

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I suppose you sometime hear people talk of the war which is going on. You must understand (as auntie no doubt will tell you), that War is a horrible thing that ought to be left to savages – a thing to be ashamed of and not to glory in. Never suppose that victories in war are something to be proud of. It is disgraceful to talk about them. Some day people will be astonished that such things could be done. What we ought to be proud of is peace and kindness – not fighting and hatred.

You are getting old enough now to understand these things, and that is why I speak of them.

Give my love to all, dear boy, and think often of your affectionate father.

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