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

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

German writers on peace and war

Arthur Schopenhauer: Beasts of prey in the human race

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Arthur Schopenhauer
From Councils and Maxims
Translated by T. Bailey Saunders

Does not all history show that whenever a king is firmly planted on a throne, and his people reach some degree of prosperity, he uses it to lead his army, like a band of robbers, against adjoining countries? Are not almost all wars ultimately undertaken for purposes of plunder? In the most remote antiquity, and to some extent also in the Middle Ages, the conquered became slaves, – in other words, they had to work for those who conquered them; and where is the difference between that and paying war-taxes, which represent the product of our previous work?

All war, says Voltaire, is a matter of robbery; and the Germans should take that as a warning.

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