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William James: The horrors of a war of conquest


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

American writers on peace and against war

William James: Selections on war


William James
From his correspondence


Now I feel much less interested in the success of the Germans, first because I think it’s time that the principle of territorial conquest were abolished….I should think there would be some chance of the peace being kept between them hereafter – the French will have gained an insight they never had of the horrors of a war of conquest, and some degree of loathing for it in the abstract; and they will not have to fight to regain their honor.


I suspect that England, irresolute and unhandsome as is the figure she makes externally, is today in a healthier state than any country in Europe. She is renovating herself socially, and although she may be eclipsed during these days of militarismus, yet when they depart, as surely they must some time, from sheer exhaustion, she will be ready to take the lead by influence.

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