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Gabriel Marcel: Modern war is sin itself, the suicide of the human race


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

French writers on war and peace

Gabriel Marcel: War depersonalizes enemy, dehumanizes self

Gabriel Marcel: War is disaster from which no counterbalancing advantage can be reaped


Gabriel Marcel
From Man Against Mass Society
Translated by G. S. Fraser

Between the physical destruction wrought by the atomic bomb and the spiritual destruction wrought by techniques of human degradation there exists, quite certainly a secret bond; it is precisely the duty of reflective thinking to lay bare that secret.


Whatever attempts there may have been in the past to justify war, or at least to recognize a certain spiritual value in war, we ought to proclaim as loudly as possible that war with the face it wears today is sin itself. But at the same time we cannot fail to recognize that war is becoming more and more an affair of technicians: it presents today the double aspect of destroying whole populations without distinction of age or sex, and of tending more and more to be conducted by a small number of individuals, powerfully equipped, who direct operations from the safe depths of their laboratories. The fate of war and that of technical advancement, in our time, whether or not this conjunction is a merely accidental one, seems to be inextricably linked; and it can be asserted even that, at least in our present phase of history, everything that gives a new impetus to technical research at the same time renders war more radically destructive, and bends it more and more inexorably to what, at the breaking point, would be quite simply the suicide of the human race.

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