Home > Uncategorized > Sinclair Lewis: Inevitable war with Canada, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Japan, or perhaps Staten Island

Sinclair Lewis: Inevitable war with Canada, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Japan, or perhaps Staten Island

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

American writers on peace and against war

Sinclair Lewis: Selections on war

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Sinclair Lewis
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)

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It seemed worse than futile, it seemed insane, to risk martyrdom in a world where…every statesman and clergyman praised Peace and brightly asserted that the only way to get Peace was to get ready for War.

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When the inevitable war should come, when the government should decide whether it was Canada, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Japan, or perhaps Staten Island that was “menacing her borders,” and proceed to defend itself outwards, then the best women flyers of the Corps were to have Commissions in an official army auxiliary. The old-fashioned “rights” granted to women by the Liberals might (for their own sakes) be taken from them, but never had they had more right to die in battle.

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Mary took her sixth solo flight on a November morning gray and quiet under snow clouds. She had never been very talkative with the ground crew but this morning she said it excited her to think she could leave the ground “like a reg’lar angel” and shoot up and hang around that unknown wilderness of clouds. She patted a strut of her machine, a high-wing Leonard monoplane with open cockpit, a new and very fast military machine, meant for both pursuit and quick jobs of bombing . . . quick jobs of slaughtering a few hundred troops in close formation.

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In his two years of dictatorship, Berzelius Windrip daily became more a miser of power. He continued to tell himself that his main ambition was to make all citizens healthy, in purse and mind, and that if he was brutal it was only toward fools and reactionaries who wanted the old clumsy systems. But after eighteen months of Presidency he was angry that Mexico and Canada and South America (obviously his own property, by manifest destiny) should curtly answer his curt diplomatic notes and show no helpfulness about becoming part of his inevitable empire.

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