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

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


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

German writers on peace and 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: Nowadays the real power is peace


Heinrich Mann
From The Little Town
Translated by Winifred Ray

“These people seem to you somewhat capricious, somewhat unruly. But if they were humble, I should not care to be their deputy, for I should despise them – nor their master, for the master is even more despicable than the slave from whose degradation he profits….No!” he shouted to a group of citizens, some of whom, including Salvatori, Mancafede and Baron Torroni, were backing Lieutenant Cantinelli’s appeal for an increase of the armed force.

“No, gentlemen! The less force is exercised in the world the better!”


“The root of the disaster is this: that I desired progress too ardently to take heed for the preservation of what we had already possessed. The minds of most men are, however, concerned above all for preservation. So, through my fault, the people were divided, and so, alas! there ensued civil war.”


“What remains?” he answered. “I do not wish to speak of the works which remain. But love remains. Others who knew me will love the town as I have loved it. And, above all, it is more honorable, whether in a man or in a nation, to desire good and perish half-way than to go on living without blame because without deeds.”

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