Alfred Döblin: War is not ineluctable fate
From Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929)
Translated by Eugene Jolas
Keep awake, keep awake, for there is something happening in the world. The world is not make of sugar. If they drop gas-bombs, Ill have to choke to death; nobody knows why they are dropped, but that’s neither here not there, we had time to prepare for it.
If war comes along and they conscript me, and I don’t know why, and the war’s started without me, well, then it’s my fault, it serves me right. Keep awake ‘mid the strife, we’re not alone in this life. Let it hail and storm, there’s no way of guarding against it, but we can defend ourselves against many other things. So I will not go on shouting as I once did: Fate, Fate! It’s no use revering it merely as Fate, we must look at it, grasp it, down it, and not hesitate.