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German writers on peace and war

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

German and other German-language writers on peace and war

Berthold Auerbach: Practicing for mutual manslaughter

Walter Benjamin: Self-alienated mankind experiences its own destruction as aesthetic pleasure

Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt: Christianity and War

Heinrich Böll: Every death in war is a murder – a murder for which someone is responsible

Heinrich Böll: I saw the fateful gleam in his eyes too late

Heinrich Böll: I’m going to die soon and before the war is over. I shall never know peace again.

Wolfgang Borchert: It was war; stories from a primer

Wolfgang Borchert: Only one thing to do, say No!

Bertolt Brecht: Selections on war

Bertolt Brecht: For its material and moral beneficiaries, war can look forward to a prosperous future

Bertolt Brecht: German Miserere

Bertolt Brecht: I won’t let you spoil my war for me

Bertolt Brecht: In war the attacker always has an alibi

Bertolt Brecht: Maimed soldiers are anti-war demonstrators

Bertolt Brecht: One’s only got to make a war to become a millionaire. It’s amazing!

Bertolt Brecht: Picture-book generals more dangerous, less brave, than serial killers

Bertolt Brecht: To hear the big fellows talk, they wage war from fear of God and for all things bright and beautiful

Bertolt Brecht: The upper classes sacrifice for the soldiers

Bertolt Brecht: War Song

Bertolt Brecht: Wherein a holy war differs from other wars

Alfred Döblin: The law and the police are at the service of the war state and its slavery

Alfred Döblin: The old grim cry for war

Alfred Döblin: War is not ineluctable fate

Alfred Döblin: We march to war, Death folds his cloak singing: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

Georg Ebers: Each one must bring a victim to the war

Lion Feuchtwanger: Selections on war

Lion Feuchtwanger: The demand for perpetual peace must be raised again and again

Lion Feuchtwanger: The future national state: A military power beyond conception

Lion Feuchtwanger: The privilege, the courage of fighting for peace

Lion Feuchtwanger: Service at the front gave him a burning hatred for militarism

Lion Feuchtwanger: There is no greater crime than an unnecessary war

Lion Feuchtwanger: War to make the world safe for democracy

Johann Gottlieb Fichte: The inexorable law of universal peace

Bruno Frank: Mercenaries lay coffinless in their thousands; terribly easy for princes to carry on their wars

Stefan George: Monsters of lead and iron, tubes and rods escape their maker’s hand and rage unruly

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: I have not a warlike nature nor warlike tastes

Goethe: “O wisdom, thou speakest as a dove!”

Goethe: Withdraw hands from your swords

Friedrich Melchior von Grimm: History lauds brutal warriors, views the peaceful with contempt

Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen: Soldiers and peasants

Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen: Study and let war alone

Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen: The war-god Mars sat over all Europe

Hans Habe: Constituent battles of the Third World War. You can’t pick your battlefields once war is in progress.

Hans Habe: Hiroshima-born realization of man’s destructibility by man

Hans Habe: John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered

Peter Handke: The horror unleashed by NATO’s first war

Gerhart Hauptmann: American politics and warships

Willi Heinrich: If the women had their own way there would be the death penalty for making or bearing arms

Willi Heinrich: “It’s quite enough that I know it”

Willi Heinrich: A people proud of its war dead has learned nothing from war

Johann Gottfried von Herder: Selections on war

Johann Gottfried von Herder: Disturbing the peace of the world for domestic benefits

Johann Gottfried von Herder: Divine law ordains more doves and sheep than lions and tigers

Johann Gottfried Herder: Hardly dare name or write the terrible word “war”

Johann Gottfried Herder: Peace, not war, is the natural state of mankind

Johann Gottfried von Herder: War springs from war and gives rise to another in turn

Stefan Heym: The whole scene was immersed in the silence of absolute death

Stefan Heym: The world market…making new wars

Friedrich Hölderlin: Celebration of Peace

Ödön von Horváth: We must prepare them to be warriors. Just that.

Immanuel Kant: Prescription for perpetual peace

Hans Hellmut Kirst: Selections on war and peace

Hans Hellmut Kirst: Each thinks it’s in the right, each wants peace and only wishes to defend itself

Hans Hellmut Kirst: Goose-Stepping for NATO

Hans Hellmut Kirst: It was as if the whole world had become simply one vast graveyard

Hans Hellmut Kirst: “Just a dirty, rotten business from beginning to end”

Hans Hellmut Kirst: Nothing – absolutely nothing – can justify war

Karl Kraus: Selections on war

Karl Kraus: Aphorisms and obloquies on war

Karl Kraus: This is world war. This is my manifesto to mankind.

Karl Kraus: The evolution of humanitarian bombing

Karl Kraus: The Last Days of Mankind

Karl Kraus: The Warmakers

Karl Kraus: War renders unto Caesar that which is God’s

Karl Kraus: In war, business is business

Karl Kraus: Wire dispatches are instruments of war

Karl Kraus: The vampire generation; prayer in wartime

Wilhelm Lamszus: The Human Slaughter-House

Emil Ludwig: Dialogue on “humanitarian war”

Heinrich Mann: Mission of letters in a world in rubble with 10 million corpses underground

Heinrich Mann: Nietzsche, war and the butchery of ten to twenty million souls

Heinrich Mann: “No! The less force exercised in the world the better!”

Heinrich Mann: Nowadays the real power is peace

Thomas Mann: Selections on war

Thomas Mann: By nature evil and harmful, war is destructive even to the victor

Thomas Mann: Dirge for a homeland wasted by war

Thomas Mann: Parallel, oracle and warning

Thomas Mann: Tolstoy, a force that could have stopped war

Thomas Mann: War is a blood-orgy of egotism, corruption, and vileness

Thomas Mann: William Faulkner’s love for man, protest against militarism and war

Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Arnold Schoenberg: Peace on Earth

Luise Mühlbach: Battle-field writes names of its heroes in blood

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war

Alfred Neumann: Debunking the glory of twenty murderous years, the greatest mass-murderer in history

Alfred Neumann: Empire destroys peace, converts liberalism into harvest of blood

Alfred Neumann: European hegemony emerges from piled-up corpses, out of recent graves

Alfred Neumann: Four thousand miles of fratricidal murder

Alfred Neumann: Modern war, the murderous happiness of the greatest number

Alfred Neumann: The morals and manners of the War God

Alfred Neumann: Sacred recalcitrance toward the black hatred of war

Alfred Neumann: Scandalous was the idea of winning happiness through war, of making profit out of war

Alfred Neumann: The stench of burning flesh. That happens sometimes.

Alfred Neumann: Ten million lives for one man’s glory; the emperor changes his hat

Alfred Neumann: This is how it happens in history. Soldiers become thieves, thieves become murderers.

Alfred Neumann: Twilight of a conqueror

Alfred Neumann: The ultima ratio of all dictatorships: war

Alfred Neumann: War and the stock market

Alfred Neumann: War, the Great Incendiary, the everlasting prototype of annihilation

Alfred Neumann: War is not ambiguous after all, but a horribly intelligent affair

Alfred Neumann: The War Minister

Alfred Neumann: War nights were never silent

Alfred Neumann: War: Sad, hate-filled, hopeless and God-forsaken

Alfred Neumann: War’s arena, a monstrous distortion, a blasphemous coupling of life and death

Novalis: Celebrating a great banquet of love as a festival of peace

Samuel von Pufendorf: Perverted animals wage wars for superfluities

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

Erich Maria Remarque: After the war: The day of great dreams for the future of mankind was past

Erich Maria Remarque: All learning, all culture, all science is nothing but hideous mockery so long as mankind makes war

Erich Maria Remarque: The front begins and we become on the instant human animals

Erich Maria Remarque: It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation

Erich Maria Remarque: Like a dove, a lonely white dove of assurance and peace

Erich Maria Remarque: Now, for the first time, I feel it; I see it; I comprehend it fully: Peace.

Erich Maria Remarque: On every yard there lies a dead man

Erich Maria Remarque: Peace?

Erich Maria Remarque: Their fighting and their dying have been coupled with murder and injustice and lies and might; they have been defrauded

Erich Maria Remarque: War dreams

Erich Maria Remarque: The war has ruined us for everything

Erich Maria Remarque: War, mass production of corpses

Erich Maria Remarque: War turns us into thugs, into murderers, into God only knows what devils

Erich Maria Remarque: A war veteran’s indictment

Erich Maria Remarque: War was everywhere. Everywhere, even in the brain and the heart.

Erich Maria Remarque: War’s conqueror worms

Erich Maria Remarque: We want to be men again, not war machines!

Erich Maria Remarque: We were making war against ourselves without knowing it

Erich Maria Remarque: What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when the war is over?

Erich Maria Remarque: With the melting came the dead

Erich Maria Remarque: Worse than a slaughterhouse

Jean Paul Richter: The arch of peace

Jean Paul Richter: The fathers of war

Jean Paul Richter: The Goddess of Peace

Rainer Maria Rilke: War is always a prison

Joseph Roth: Black and red, death fluttered over them

Joseph Roth: His son was dead. His world had ended.

Joseph Victor von Scheffel: The Muses heal what Mars has wrought

Joseph Victor von Scheffel: The wood of peace

Friedrich Schiller: Beauty, peace and reconciliation

Friedrich Schiller: The citizen is naught, the soldier all; rude hordes, lawless grown in lengthy war

Friedrich Schiller: Oh, blessed peace, may the day of grim War’s ruthless crew never dawn

August Wilhelm Schlegel: Aristophanes, tragedian of peace

Arthur Schnitzler: Cannot praise war in general and oppose individual wars

Arthur Schnitzler: Political reaction is the consequence of victorious wars; revolution the consequence of lost ones

Arthur Schnitzler: Remold the structure of government so that war becomes impossible

Arthur Schnitzler: War, making fathers pay wages to their sons whom we sent to their deaths

Arthur Schopenhauer: Are not almost all wars undertaken for purposes of plunder?

Arthur Schopenhauer: Beasts of prey in the human race

Albert Schweitzer: On nuclear weapons in NATO’s hands

Anna Seghers: War enthusiasm, brewed from equal parts of age-old memories and total oblivion

Hermann Sudermann: Militarism and its terminus

Hermann Sudermann: War irrigates the soil with blood, fertilizes it with corpses

Bertha von Suttner: Selections on peace and war

Bertha von Suttner: All Souls’ Day. Field of honor gives way to wasteland of broken hearts

Bertha von Suttner: Among these ills the most dreadful of all – War

Bertha von Suttner: Armaments, without fighting each other the nations would all come to ruin in making preparations for war

Bertha von Suttner: Education hardens children against natural horror which terrors of war awaken

Bertha von Suttner: Higher unity in which every war will appear impious fratricide

Bertha von Suttner: Mounting doubts about war

Bertha von Suttner: Outgrowing the old idolatry for war

Bertha von Suttner: The Protocol of Peace

Bertha von Suttner: Vengeance! War breeds more war.

Bertha von Suttner: War’s sophistry. At last the monster creeps out.

Ernst Toller: Corpses In The Woods

Georg Trakl: Night beckons to dying soldiers, the ghosts of the killed are sighing

Kurt Tucholsky: Murder in disguise

Kurt Tucholsky: The Trench

Kurt Tucholsky: The White Spots

Jakob Wassermann: Was there ever since the world began a just cause for war?

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

Franz Werfel: Advent of air war and apocalyptic visions

Franz Werfel: Cities disintegrated within seconds in the Last War

Franz Werfel: Don’t you hear the roar of the bombers, the clatter of heavy machine guns that envelop the globe?

Franz Werfel: How describe in a few words a world war?

Franz Werfel: Leaders’ fear of their people drives them to war

Franz Werfel: To a Lark in War-Time

Franz Werfel: Twenty thousand well-preserved human skulls of the Last War

Franz Werfel: Waging currish, cowardly war to plunder the poor

Franz Werfel: War behind and in front, outside and inside

Franz Werfel: War is the cause and not the result of all conflicts

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

Arnold Zweig: Conducting the business of murder with embittered reluctance

Arnold Zweig: The costs of war are spiritual and moral desolation, economic catastrophes and political reaction

Arnold Zweig: Education Before Verdun

Arnold Zweig: The final trump in the struggle for world markets: the Gun

Arnold Zweig: From the joy of the slayer to being dimly aware of the man on the other side

Arnold Zweig: In the war you’ve lost all the personality you’ve ever had

Arnold Zweig: Keep the war going to the last drop of – other – people’s blood

Arnold Zweig: The meaning, or rather the meaninglessness, of war

Arnold Zweig: Mere existence of armies imposes upon mankind the mentality of the Stone Age

Arnold Zweig: Military strips nation of all that is worthy of defense

Arnold Zweig: Never again! On reading Barbusse

Arnold Zweig: No joy to be born into world of war

Arnold Zweig: Of course, one had to shoot at crowds of civilians, men, women and children

Arnold Zweig: Only the wrong people are killed in a war

Arnold Zweig: The plague has always played a part in war

Arnold Zweig: Pro-war clerks and clerics are Herod’s mercenaries

Arnold Zweig: Reason is the highest patriotism and militarism is evil its very essence

Arnold Zweig: They won no more ground than they could cover with their corpses

Arnold Zweig: War a deliberate act, not an unavoidable natural catastrophe

Arnold Zweig: War, a gigantic undertaking on the part of the destruction industry

Arnold Zweig: War of all against all, jaded multitudes of death

Arnold Zweig: War transforms rescue parties into murder parties

Arnold Zweig: War was in the world, and war prevailed

Arnold Zweig: War’s brutality, folly and tyranny practiced even on its own

Arnold Zweig: War’s communion, hideous multiplication of human disasters

Arnold Zweig: War’s hecatomb from the air, on land and at sea

Arnold Zweig: Whole generation shed man’s blood, whole generation to be poured forth in vats of blood

Stefan Zweig: Selections on peace and war

Stefan Zweig: The army of the spirit, not the army of force

Stefan Zweig: The bloody cloud-bank of war will give way to a new dawn

Stefan Zweig: The fear of opposing military hysteria

Stefan Zweig: The fruits of peace, the drive toward war

Stefan Zweig: “How much rottenness there is in war”

Stefan Zweig: I would never have believed such a crime on the part of humanity possible

Stefan Zweig: Idea of human brotherhood buried by the grave-diggers of war

Stefan Zweig: The idealism which sees beyond blood-drenched battlefields

Stefan Zweig: Opposition to war, a higher heroism still

Stefan Zweig: Origin of the Nobel Peace Prize

Stefan Zweig: Propaganda is as much war matériel as arms and planes

Stefan Zweig: Romain Rolland and the campaign against hatred

Stefan Zweig: A single conscience defies the madness of war

Stefan Zweig: Stendhal, in war but not of it

Stefan Zweig: War, the ultimate betrayal of the intellectuals

Stefan Zweig: The whole world of feeling, the whole world of thought, became militarized

Stefan Zweig: World war and Romain Rolland, the conscience of the world

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