David Garnett: Criminal to welcome war
From Golden Echo (1953)
“One evening, sitting round the fire, we suddenly became serious. Hugh Popham said that he was glad the war had come, and particularly glad we had come into it. I do not know what the others said, but everyone there was in agreement with him.
I remember my reply clearly. I said it was criminal to welcome war; that millions of men would die, millions who had no quarrel with each other and could know nothing of the quarrel in which they lost their lives and all the belligerent countries would suffer ruin, whether they won or lost.
I poured out my views on the futility of war, thinking of Tolstoy and War and Peace. I said we were fighting to preserve the Tsar’s Government in Russia, in an attempt to postpone an inevitable revolution. Suddenly I had said all that was in me and I heard Hugh Popham make some comment in a tone of nausea. But I believed that whatever the impression I produced, in the long run what I had said was true, that I was right and that Hugh and the others were wrong.