David Garnett: War is the worst of the epidemic diseases which afflict mankind
From The Flowers of the Forest (1955)
War is the worst of the epidemic diseases which afflict mankind and the great genetrix of many of the others. While it lasts it impairs the power of rational judgement; millions are crippled and die and the accumulated riches of empires are destroyed by fanaticism and fear; cruelty and callousness are infectious and these toxins of the spirit make the unconscionable claim that all personal life, happiness, art and human expression must be subordinated to war, or serve it.
“I suppose you think that the war is over and that we shall go back to the kind of world you lived in before it. But the war isn’t over. The hate and evil is greater now than ever. Very soon war will break out again and overwhelm you. It makes me sick to see you rejoicing like a butterfly in the last rays of sun before the winter. The crowd outside thinks that Germany is crushed for ever. But the Germans will soon rise again. Europe is done for; England most of all the countries. This war isn’t over. Even if the fighting should stop, the evil will be worse because the hate will be dammed up in men’s hearts and will show itself in all sorts of ways which will be worse than war. Whatever happens there can be no Peace on Earth.”