Alfred Neumann: War is not ambiguous after all, but a horribly intelligent affair
From Empire (1936)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul
…War is a damnably uncertain business. The sun, nearing the horizon far behind, throws an ensanguined light upon the disastrous waters, so that just before the rim dips, one might fancy that the good earth was bleeding out of many wounds. War is not ambiguous after all, but a horribly intelligent affair. Who has won the day? In the gathering darkness, Kepi rides back to San Martino. As far as his staff can make out, from the embankment which has been so hotly contested he looks neither to right nor left into the hollows where corpses lie in heaps, covered by the shades of night…
Are you so keen for the coming of the morrow, which will drink blood once more, and which can only thus reel into history, heavy, bloated, between long lines of corpses, finding its way by a horrible chance into the great affirmation or the great negation? Minié rifles against Lorenz rifles, rifles on both sides as the material for the decision that still hangs in the wind. How can one endure this indeterminate waiting, which is also bloodstained, also vile, and which one would gladly spew out like this evil day equally devoid of affirmation and negation?