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Roger Nimier: Those who fall in love with war will surely die in her arms


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

French writers on war and peace

Roger Nimier: Selections on war


Roger Nimier
From The Blue Hussar
Translated by Jacques Le Clercq

The war over, there was no reason for me to die for years to come. When a man’s been lucky enough to forget himself for a while, he lacks the curiosity to renew the acquaintance.

Maximilian was dead, a fact which roused my hatred. I felt a sense of horror when I remembered his laughing eyes – that attractive, somewhat ingenuous look of those who fall in love with war, and will surely die in her arms. What a wretched survivor I made.


These were Frantz, Darmun, Laudenbach. But there were especially the Frenchmen, militiamen whose frivolity in no way lessened their desperate condition; they knew what imperious necessity put weapons into their hands. There were men completely without hope, they belonged to that somber race which often reddens the muddy waters of history.


“At least we were civilized, you understand. We left all our corpses piled up.”


…The Krauts didn’t look they they were going to give up; they felt very Wagnerian, it suited them. As for the democracies, they were delighted with the war; it saved them from bankruptcy, and made their industry boom. And there were still sixty million six hundred and two thousand Germans left. It was fun to count from eighty million to zero. Theirs was an ideal, an absorbing ideal, but as for our ideal, we were left holding the bag. Here we were, sitting in Germany like on a poisonous toadstool, or on the belly of a woman who couldn’t whelp. There was some talk of us going to the Russian front; I think they organized a brigade in January….

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