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Title: Above the Battle
Author: Rolland, Romain, 1866-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Above the Battle" ***


"The fire smouldering in the forest of Europe was beginning to burst
into flames. In vain did they try to put it out in one place; it only
broke out in another. With gusts of smoke and a shower of sparks it
swept from one point to another, burning the dry brushwood. Already in
the East there were skirmishes as the prelude to the great war of the
nations. All Europe, Europe that only yesterday was sceptical and
apathetic, like a dead wood, was swept by the flames. All men were
possessed by the desire for battle. War was ever on the point of
breaking out. It was stamped out, but it sprang to life again. The world
felt that it was at the mercy of an accident that might let loose the
dogs of war. The world lay in wait. The feeling of inevitability weighed
heavily even upon the most pacifically minded. And ideologues, sheltered
beneath the massive shadows of the cyclops, Proudhon, hymned in war
man's fairest title of nobility...."

_"This, then, was to be the end of the physical and moral resurrection
of the races of the West! To such butchery they were to be borne along
by the currents of action and passionate faith! Only a Napoleonic genius
could have marked out a chosen, deliberate aim for this blind, onward
rush. But nowhere in Europe was there any genius for action. It was as
though the world had chosen the most mediocre to be its governors. The
force of the human mind was in other things--so there was nothing to be
done but to trust to the declivity down which they were moving. This
both the governing and the governed classes were doing. Europe looked
like a vast armed camp."_

_Jean-Christophe_, vol. x (1912).

[English translation by Gilbert Cannan, vol. iv, p. 504.]



C. K. OGDEN, M. A.
(Editor of _The Cambridge Magazine_)



_Copyright 1916_

_The Open Court Pub. Co., Chicago._

_First published in 1916._

(_All rights reserved._)



    _"Over the carnage rose prophetic a voice,
    Be not dishearten'd, affection shall solve the problem of
      freedom yet._

          *       *       *       *       *

    _(Were you looking to be held together by lawyers?
    Or by an agreement on a paper? or by arms?
    Nay, nor the world, nor any living thing, will so cohere.)"_

These lines of Walt Whitman will be recalled by many who read the
following pages: for not only does Rolland himself refer to Whitman in
his brief Introduction, but, were it not for a certain _bizarrerie_
apart from their context, the words "Over the Carnage" might perhaps
have stood on the cover of this volume as a striking variant on
_Au-dessus de la Mêlée_.

Yet though the voice comes to us over the carnage, its message is not
marred by the passions of the moment. After eighteen months of war we
are learning to look about us more calmly, and to distinguish amid the
ruins those of Europe's intellectual leaders who have not been swept off
their feet by the fury of the tempest. Almost alone Romain Rolland has
stood the test. The two main characteristics which strike us in all that
he writes are lucidity and common sense--the qualities most needed by
every one in thought upon the war. But there is another feature of
Rolland's work which contributes to its universal appeal. He describes
our feelings and sensations in the presence of a given situation, not
what actually passes before our eyes: he describes the effects and
causes of things, but not the things themselves. Through his work for
the _Agence internationale des prisonniers de guerre_, to which one of
the articles now collected is largely devoted, he is, moreover, in a
position to observe every phase of the great battle between ideals and
between nations which fills him with such anguish and indignation. And
with his matchless insight and sympathy he gives permanent form to our
vague feelings in these noble and inspiring essays.

It will not, however, surprise the vast public who have read
_Jean-Christophe_ to find that while so many have capitulated to the
madness of the terrible year through which we have passed, Rolland has
remained firm, and has surpassed himself. He was prepared. As the
extract placed at the beginning of this volume shows, he was one of the
few who realized only too well the horror he was powerless to prevent.
Yet he made every effort to open the eyes of Europe and especially of
the young, so many of whom had learned to look up to him as a leader. To
these young men, one of the finest essays in the present collection is
primarily addressed--_O jeunesse héroique du monde_....

Eighteen months have passed and they still endure the terrible ordeal,
the young men of Germany and France, whom he had striven so hard to
bring together; on whose aspirations and failings _Jean-Christophe_ is a
critical commentary. The movements and tendencies of society were there
given a dramatic embodiment, permeated for Rolland by the Life
Force--that struggle between Good and Bad, Love and Hatred, which makes
life worth living. All is set down with the clear analysis of feeling
natural to a musical critic. But in spite of his burning words on the
destruction of Rheims, Rolland, as is clear from his other critical and
biographical writings, is more interested in men than in their
achievements. And the men of today interest him most passionately.
"Young men," he has said, "do not bother about the old people. Make a
stepping-stone of our bodies and go forward."

And above all it is the permanent things in life with which he is
concerned. As Mr. Lowes Dickinson puts it, "M. Rolland is one of the
many who believe, though their voice for the moment may be silenced,
that the spiritual forces that are important and ought to prevail are
the international ones; that co-operation, not war, is the right destiny
of nations; and that all that is valuable in each people may be
maintained in and by friendly intercourse with the others. The war
between these two ideals is the greater war that lies behind the present
conflict. Hundreds and thousands of generous youths have gone to battle
in the belief that they are going to a 'war that will end war,' that
they are fighting against militarism in the cause of peace. Whether,
indeed, it is for that they will have risked or lost their lives, only
the event can show."

The forces against such ideals are powerful, but Rolland is not
dismayed. "Come, friends! let us make a stand! Can we not resist this
contagion, whatever its nature and virulence be--whether moral epidemic
or cosmic force." And he appeals not only in the name of humanity but in
the name of that France which he loves so dearly--"la vraie France" of
which Jaurès wrote (in the untranslatable words which Rolland has
quoted), "qui n'est pas résumée dans une époque et dans un jour, ni dans
le jour d'il y a des siècles, ni dans le jour d'hier, mais la France
tout entière, dans la succession de ses jours, de ses nuits, de ses
aurores, de ses crépuscules, de ses montées, de ses chutes, et qui, à
travers toutes ces ombres mêlées, toutes ces lumières incomplètes et
toutes ces vicissitudes, s'en va vers une pleine clarté qu'elle n'a pas
encore atteinte, mais dont le pressentiment est dans sa pensée!"

But though his love for France inspires every word that Rolland has
written, the significance of the present volume is not less apparent to
English readers. Some of the articles and letters now collected have
already appeared in English, for the most part in the pages of _The
Cambridge Magazine_, from which they have been widely quoted in the
press. For help in rendering the translations as adequately as possible
I may also take this opportunity of acknowledging my special
indebtedness to Mr. Roger Fry,[1] who has just issued through the Omega
Workshops a striking translation of some of the most recent French
poetry inspired by the war; to Mr. James Wood, who has himself done part
of the translation, particularly "pro Aris"; and to Mr. E. K. Bennett,
of Caius College, whose version of "Above the Battle" has already been
quoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and others. For the most part,
the articles here collected have not appeared in English before; and
they have been almost inaccessible even in French, as their author
explains in his Preface.




INTRODUCTION BY THE TRANSLATOR                           7

PREFACE                                                 15


II. PRO ARIS                                            23

III. ABOVE THE BATTLE                                   37

PANSLAVISM                                              56

V. INTER ARMA CARITAS                                   76


VII. LETTER TO MY CRITICS                               97

VIII. THE IDOLS                                        107

THINKERS OF CATALONIA                                  122

INTELLECTUALS OF ALL NATIONS                           127

XI. LETTER TO FREDERIK VAN EEDEN                       136

XII. OUR NEIGHBOR THE ENEMY                            142


XIV. WAR LITERATURE                                    153

XV. THE MURDER OF THE ELITE                            168

XVI. JAURÈS                                            181

NOTES                                                  193

INDEX                                                  195



It is my pleasant duty to thank the brave friends who have defended me
during the past year, in the Parisian press:--at the end of October
1914, Amédée Dunois in _l'Humanité_, and Henri Guilbeaux, in the
_Bataille syndicaliste_; in the same paper, _Fernand Deprès_; Georges
Pioch in the _Hommes du Jour_; J. M. Renaitour, in the _Bonnet Rouge_;
Rouanet, in _l'Humanité_; Jacques Mesnil, in the _Mercure de France_,
and Gaston Thiesson, in the _Guerre Sociale_. To these faithful comrades
in the struggle I express my affectionate gratitude.

R. R.

_October, 1915._


A great nation assailed by war has not only its frontiers to protect: it
must also protect its good sense. It must protect itself from the
hallucinations, injustices, and follies which the plague lets loose. To
each his part: to the armies the protection of the soil of their native
land; to the thinkers the defense of its thought. If they subordinate
that thought to the passions of their people they may well be useful
instruments of passion; but they are in danger of betraying the spirit,
which is not the least part of a people's patrimony. One day History
will pass judgment on each of the nations at war; she will weigh their
measure of errors, lies, and heinous follies. Let us try and make ours
light before her!

Children are taught the Gospel of Jesus and the Christian ideal.
Everything in the education they receive at school is designed to
stimulate in them intellectual understanding of the great human family.
Classical education makes them see, beyond the differences of race, the
roots and the common trunk of our civilization. Art makes them love the
profound sources of the genius of a people. Science makes them believe
in the unity of reason. The great social movement which renews the
world, reveals the organized effort of the working classes all round
them to unite their forces in the hopes and struggles which break the
barriers of nations. The brightest geniuses of the earth, like Walt
Whitman and Tolstoi, chant universal brotherhood in joy and suffering,
or else like our Latin spirits, pierce with their criticism the
prejudices of hatred and ignorance which separate individuals and

Like all the men of my time, I have been brought up on these thoughts; I
have tried in my turn to share the bread of life with my younger or less
fortunate brothers. When the war came I did not think it my duty to deny
these thoughts because the hour had come to put them to the test.

I have been insulted. I knew that I should be and I went forward. But I
did not know that I should be insulted without even a hearing.

For several months no one in France could know my writings except
through scraps of phrases arbitrarily extracted and mutilated by my
enemies. It is a shameful record. For nearly a year this has gone on.
Certain socialist or syndicalist papers may have succeeded here and
there in getting some fragments through,[2] but it was only in the month
of June 1915 that for the first time my chief article, the one which was
the object of the most violent criticism, "Above the Battle," dating
from September 1914, could be published in full (almost in full), thanks
to the malevolent zeal of a maladroit pamphleteer, to whom I am indebted
for bringing my words before the French public for the first time.

A Frenchman does not judge his adversary unheard. Whoever does so judges
and condemns himself: for he shows that he fears the light. I place
before the world the texts they have slandered.[3] I shall not defend
them. Let them defend themselves!

One single word will I add. For a year I have been rich in enemies. Let
me say this to them: they can hate me, but they will not teach me to
hate. I have no concern with them. My business is to say what I believe
to be fair and humane. Whether this pleases or irritates is not my
business. I know that words once uttered make their way of themselves.
Hopefully I sow them in the bloody soil. The harvest will come.


_September, 1915._


_Saturday, August 29, 1914._[4]

I am not, Gerhart Hauptmann, one of those Frenchmen who regard Germany
as a nation of barbarians. I know the intellectual and moral greatness
of your mighty race. I know all that I owe to the thinkers of old
Germany; and even now, at this hour, I recall the example and the words
of _our_ Goethe--for he belongs to the whole of humanity--repudiating
all national hatreds and preserving the calmness of his soul on those
heights "_where we feel the happiness and the misfortunes of other
peoples as our own_." I myself have labored all my life to bring
together the minds of our two nations; and the atrocities of this
impious war in which, to the ruin of European civilization, they are
involved, will never lead me to soil my spirit with hatred.

Whatever pain, then, your Germany may give me, whatever reasons I may
have to stigmatize as criminal German policy and the means it employs, I
do not attach responsibility for it to the people which is burdened with
it and is used as its blind instrument. It is not that I regard, as you
do, war as a fatality. A Frenchman does not believe in fatality.
Fatality is the excuse of souls without a will. War springs from the
weakness and stupidity of nations. One cannot feel resentment against
them for it; one can only pity them. I do not reproach you with our
miseries; for yours will be no less. If France is ruined, Germany will
be ruined too. I did not even raise my voice when I saw your armies
violating the neutrality of noble Belgium. This flagrant breach of
honor, which incurs the contempt of every upright conscience, is quite
in the political tradition of your Prussian kings; it did not surprise

But when I see the fury with which you are treating that magnanimous
nation whose only crime has been to defend its independence and the
cause of justice to the last, as you Germans yourselves did in 1813 ...
that is too much! The world is revolted by it. Keep these savageries for
us Frenchmen, your true enemies! But to wreak them against your
victims, against this small, unhappy, innocent Belgian people ... how
shameful is this!

And not content to fling yourselves on living Belgium, you wage war on
the dead, on the glories of past ages. You bombard Malines, you burn
Rubens, and Louvain is now no more than a heap of ashes--Louvain with
its treasures of art and of science, the sacred town! What are you,
then, Hauptmann, and by what name do you want us to call you now, since
you repudiate the title of barbarians? Are you the grandsons of Goethe
or of Attila? Are you making war on enemies or on the human spirit? Kill
men if you like, but respect masterpieces. They are the patrimony of the
human race. You, like all the rest of us, are its depositories; in
pillaging it, as you do, you show yourselves unworthy of our great
heritage, unworthy to take your place in that little European army which
is civilization's guard of honor.

It is not to the opinion of the rest of the world that I address myself
in challenging you, Hauptmann. In the name of our Europe, of which you
have hitherto been one of the most illustrious champions, in the name of
that civilization for which the greatest of men have striven all down
the ages, in the name of the very honor of your Germanic race, Gerhart
Hauptmann, I abjure you, I challenge you, you and the intellectuals of
Germany, amongst whom I reckon so many friends, to protest with all your
energy against this crime which is recoiling upon you.

If you fail to do this, you will prove one of two things: either that
you approve what has been done--and in that case may the opinion of
mankind crush you--or else that you are powerless to raise a protest
against the Huns who command you. If this be so, by what title can you
still claim, as you have claimed, that you fight for the cause of
liberty and human progress? You are giving the world a proof that,
incapable of defending the liberty of the world, you are even incapable
of defending your own, and that the best of Germany is helpless beneath
a vile despotism which mutilates masterpieces and murders the spirit of

I am expecting an answer from you, Hauptmann, an answer that may be an
act. The opinion of Europe awaits it as I do. Think about it: at such a
time silence itself is an act.

_Journal de Genève_, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 1914.


Among the many crimes of this infamous war which are all odious to us,
why have we chosen for protest the crimes against things and not against
men, the destruction of works and not of lives?

Many are surprised by this, and have even reproached us for it--as if we
have not as much pity as they for the bodies and hearts of the thousands
of victims who are crucified! Yet over the armies which fall, there
flies the vision of their love, and of _la Patrie_, to which they
sacrifice themselves--over these lives which are passing away passes the
holy Ark of the art and thought of centuries, borne on their shoulders.
The bearers can change. May the Ark be saved! To the élite of the world
falls the task of guarding it. And since the common treasure is
threatened, may they rise to protect it!

I am glad to think that in the Latin countries this sacred duty has
always been regarded as paramount. Our France which bleeds with so many
other wounds, has suffered nothing more cruel than the attack against
her Parthenon, the Cathedral of Rheims, "Our Lady of France." Letters
which I have received from sorely tried families, and from soldiers who
for two months have borne every hardship, show me (and I am proud of it
for them and for my people) that there was no burden heavier for them to
bear. It is because we put spirit above flesh. Very different is the
case of the German intellectuals, who, to my reproaches for the
sacrilegious acts of their devastating armies, have all replied with one
voice, "Perish every _chef-d'œuvre_ rather than one German soldier!"

A piece of architecture like Rheims is much more than one life; it is a
people--whose centuries vibrate like a symphony in this organ of stone.
It is their memories of joy, of glory, and of grief; their meditations,
ironies, dreams. It is the tree of the race, whose roots plunge to the
profoundest depths of its soil, and whose branches stretch with a
sublime _élan_ towards the sky. It is still more: its beauty which soars
above the struggles of nations is the harmonious response made by the
human race to the riddle of the world--this light of the spirit more
necessary to souls than that of the sun.

Whoever destroys this work, murders more than a man; he murders the
purest soul of a race. His crime is inexpiable, and Dante would have it
punished with an eternal agony, eternally renewed. We who repudiate the
vindictive spirit of so cruel a genius, do not hold a people responsible
for the crimes of a few. The drama which unfolds itself before our eyes,
and whose almost certain _dénouement_ will be the crushing of the German
hegemony, is enough for us.

What brings it home to us most nearly is that not one of those who
constitute the moral and intellectual élite of Germany--that hundred
noble spirits, and those thousands of brave hearts of which no great
nation was ever destitute--not one really suspects the crimes of his
Government; the atrocities committed in Flanders, in the north and in
the east of France during the two or three first weeks of the war; or
(one can safely wager) the voluntary devastations of the towns of
Belgium and the ruin of Rheims. If they came to look at the reality, I
know that many of them would weep with grief and shame; and of all the
shortcomings of Prussian Imperialism, the worst and the vilest is to
have concealed its crimes from its people. For by depriving them of the
means of protesting against those crimes, it has involved them for ever
in the responsibility; it has abused their magnificent devotion. The
intellectuals, however, are also guilty. For if one admits that the
brave men, who in every country tamely feed upon the news which their
papers and their leaders give them for nourishment, allow themselves to
be duped, one cannot pardon those whose duty it is to seek truth in the
midst of error, and to know the value of interested witnesses and
passionate hallucinations. Before bursting into the midst of this
furious debate upon which was staked the destruction of nations and of
the treasures of the spirit, their first duty (a duty of loyalty as much
as of common sense) should have been to consider the problems from both
sides. By blind loyalty and culpable trustfulness they have rushed head
foremost into the net which their Imperialism had spread. They believed
that their first duty was, with their eyes closed, to defend the honor
of their State against all accusation. They did not see that the noblest
means of defending it was to disavow its faults and to cleanse their
country of them....

I have awaited this virile disavowal from the proudest spirits of
Germany, a disavowal which would have been ennobling instead of
humiliating. The letter which I wrote to one of them, the day after the
brutal voice of Wolff's Agency pompously proclaimed that there remained
of Louvain no more than a heap of ashes, was received by the entire
élite of Germany in a spirit of enmity. They did not understand that I
offered them the chance of releasing Germany from the fetters of those
crimes which its Empire was forging in its name. What did I ask of them?
What did I ask of you all, finer spirits of Germany?--to express at
least a courageous regret for the excesses committed, and to dare to
remind unbridled power that even the Fatherland cannot save itself
through crime, and that above its rights are those of the human spirit.
I only asked for _one_ voice--a _single_ free voice.... None spoke. I
heard only the clamor of herds, the pack of intellectuals giving tongue
on the track whereon the hunter loosed them, and that insolent
Manifesto, in which, without the slightest effort to justify its crimes,
you have unanimously declared that they do not exist. And your
theologians, your pastors, your court-preachers, have stated further
that you are very just and that you thank God for having made you
thus.... Race of Pharisees, what chastisement from on high shall scourge
your sacrilegious pride!... Do you not suspect the evil which you have
done to your own people? The megalomania, a menace to the world, of an
Ostwald or an H. S. Chamberlain,[6] the criminal determination of
ninety-three intellectuals not to wish to see the truth, will have cost
Germany more than ten defeats.

How clumsy you are! I believe that of all your faults _maladresse_ is
the worst. You have not said one word since the beginning of this war
which has not been more fatal for you than all the speeches of your
adversaries. It is you who have light-heartedly furnished the proof or
the argument of the worst accusations that have been brought against
you; just as your official agencies, under the stupid illusion of
terrorizing us, have been the first to launch emphatic recitals of your
most sinister devastations. It is you, who when the most impartial of
your adversaries were obliged, in fairness, to limit the responsibility
of these acts to a few of your leaders and armies, have angrily claimed
your share. It is you who the day after the destruction of Rheims,
which, in your inmost hearts, should have dismayed the best amongst you,
have boasted of it in imbecile pride, instead of trying to clear
yourselves.[7] It is you, wretched creatures, you, representatives of
the spirit, who have not ceased to extol force and to despise the weak,
as if you did not know that the wheel of fortune turns, that this force
one day will weigh afresh upon you, as in past ages, when your great
men, at least, retained the consolation of not having yielded to it the
sovereignty of the spirit and the sacred rights of Right!... What
reproaches, what remorse are you heaping up for the future, O blind
guides--you who are leading into the ditch your nation, which follows
you like the stumbling blind men of Brueghel!

What poor arguments you have opposed to us for two months!

1. _War is war_, say you, that is to say without common measure with the
rest of things, above morals and reason and all the limits of ordinary
life, a kind of supernatural state before which one can only bow without

2. _Germany is Germany_, that is to say without common measure with the
rest of nations. The laws which apply to others do not apply to her, and
the rights which she arrogates to herself to violate Right appertain to
her alone. Thus she can, without crime, tear up written promises, betray
sworn oaths, violate the neutrality of peoples which she has pledged
herself to defend. But she claims in return the right to find, in the
nations which she outrages, "chivalrous adversaries," and that they
should not be so, that they should dare to defend themselves by all the
means and the arms that remain to them, she proclaims a crime!...

One recognizes there indeed the interested teaching of your Prussian
masters! Great minds of Germany, I do not doubt your sincerity, but you
are no longer capable of seeing the truth. Prussian Imperialism has
crushed down over your eyes and conscience, its spiked helmet.

"_Necessity knows no law._" ... Here is the eleventh commandment, the
message that you bring to the universe today, sons of Kant!... We have
heard it more than once in history: it is the famous doctrine of Public
Safety, mother of heroisms and crimes. Every nation has recourse to it
in the hour of danger, but the greatest are those who defend against it
their immortal soul. Fifteen years have passed since the famous trial
which saw a single innocent man opposed to the force of the State.
Fifteen years have passed since we French affronted and shattered the
idol of public safety, when it threatened, as our Péguy says, "the
eternal safety of France."

Listen to him, whom you have killed; listen to a hero of the French
conscience, writers who have the keeping of the conscience of Germany.

"_Our enemies of that time_," wrote Charles Péguy, "_spoke the language
of the_ raison d'Etat, _of the temporal safety of the people and the
race. But we, by a profound Christian movement, by a revolutionary
effort, at unity with traditional Christianity, aimed at no less than
attaining the heights of sacrifice, in our anxiety for the eternal
salvation of this people. We did not wish to place France in the
position of having committed the unpardonable sin._"

You do not trouble yourselves about that, thinkers of Germany. You
bravely give your blood to save the mortal life, but do not bother about
the life eternal. It is a terrible moment, I grant. Your fatherland as
ours struggles for its life, and I understand and admire the ecstasy of
sacrifice which impels your youth, as ours, to make of its body a
rampart against death. "To be or not to be," do you say? No, that is not
enough. To be the great Germany, to be the great France, worthy of their
past, and respecting one another even while fighting, that is what I
wish. I should blush for victory if my France bought it at the price for
which you will pay for your temporary success. Even while the battles
are being fought upon the plains of Belgium and amongst the chalky
slopes of Champagne, another war is taking place upon the field of the
spirit, and often victory below means defeat above. The conquest of
Belgium, Malines, Louvain and Rheims, the carillons of Flanders, will
sound a sadder knell in your history than the bells of Jena; and the
conquered Belgians have robbed you of your glory. You know it. You are
enraged because you know it. What is the good of vainly trying to
deceive yourselves? Truth will be clear to you in the end. You have done
your best to silence her--one day she will speak; she will speak by the
mouth of one of your own in whom will be awakened the conscience of your
race.... Oh, that he may soon appear and that we may hear his voice--the
pure and noble voice of the redeemer who shall set you free! He who has
lived in the intimacy of your old Germany, who has clasped her hand in
the twisted streets of her heroic and sordid past, who has caught the
breath of her centuries of trials and shames, remembers and waits: for
he knows that even if she has never proved strong enough to bear victory
without wavering, it is in her hours of trouble that she reforms
herself, and her greatest geniuses are sons of sorrow.

_September 1914._

       *       *       *       *       *

Since these lines were written I have watched the birth of the anxiety
which little by little is making its way into the consciences of the
good people of Germany. First a secret doubt, kept under by a stubborn
effort to believe the bad arguments collected by their Government to
oppose it--documents fabricated to prove that Belgium had renounced her
neutrality herself, false allegations (in vain repudiated four times by
the French Government, by the Commander-in-Chief, by the Cardinal and
the Archbishop, and by the Mayor of Rheims)--accusing the French of
using the Cathedral of Rheims for military purposes. Lacking arguments,
their system of defense is at times disconcerting in its naïveté.

"Is it possible," they say, "that we should be accused of wishing to
destroy artistic monuments, we, the people above all others who venerate
art, in whom is instilled this respect from infancy, who have the
greatest number of text books and historical collections of art and the
longest list of lectures on æsthetics? Is it possible to accuse of the
most barbarous actions the most humane, the most affectionate, and the
most homely of peoples?"

The idea never strikes them that Germany is not constituted by a single
race of men, and that besides the obedient masses who are born to obey,
to respect the law--all the laws--there is the race which commands,
which believes itself above all laws, and which makes and unmakes them
in the name of force and necessity (_Not_....) It is this evil marriage
of idealism and German force which leads to these disasters. The
idealism proves to be a woman; a woman captive, who like so many worthy
German wives, worships her lord and master, and refuses even to think
that he could ever be wrong.

It is, however, necessary for the salvation of Germany that she should
one day countenance the thought of divorce, or that the wife should have
the courage to make her voice heard in the household. I already know
several who are beginning to champion the rights of the spirit against
force. Many a German voice has reached us lately in letters protesting
against war and deploring with us the injustices which we deplore. I
will not give their names in order not to compromise them. Not very
long ago I told the "Fair"[8] which obstructed Paris that it was not
France. I say today to the German Fair, "You are not the true Germany."
There exists another Germany juster and more humane, whose ambition is
not to dominate the world by force and guile, but to absorb in peace
everything great in the thought of other races, and in return to reflect
the harmony. With that Germany there is no dispute; we are not her
enemies, we are the enemies of those who have almost succeeded in making
the world forget that she still lives.

_October 1914._

Edition des _Cahiers Vaudois_ 10 cahier, 1914 (Lausanne, C. Tarin).


O young men that shed your blood with so generous a joy for the starving
earth! O heroism of the world! What a harvest for destruction to reap
under this splendid summer sun! Young men of all nations, brought into
conflict by a common ideal, making enemies of those who should be
brothers; all of you, marching to your death, are dear to me.[9] Slavs,
hastening to the aid of your race; Englishmen fighting for honor and
right; intrepid Belgians who dared to oppose the Teutonic colossus, and
defend against him the Thermopylæ of the West; Germans fighting to
defend the philosophy and the birthplace of Kant against the Cossack
avalanche; and you, above all, my young compatriots, in whom the
generation of heroes of the Revolution lives again; you, who for years
have confided your dreams to me, and now, on the verge of battle, bid
me a sublime farewell.

Those years of scepticism and gay frivolity in which we in France grew
up are avenged in you; your faith, which is ours, you protect from their
poisonous influence; and with you that faith triumphs on the
battlefield. "A war of revenge" is the cry. Yea! revenge indeed; but in
no spirit of Chauvinism. The revenge of faith against all the egotisms
of the senses and of the spirit--the surrender of self to eternal ideas.

One of the most powerful of the young French novelists--Corporal
X.--writes to me:--

     "What are our lives, our books, compared with the magnitude of the
     aim? The war of the Revolution against feudalism is beginning anew.
     The armies of the Republic will secure the triumph of democracy in
     Europe and complete the work of the Convention. We are fighting for
     more than our hearths and homes, for the awakening of liberty."
     Another of these young people, of noble spirit and pure heart, who
     will be, if he lives, the first art critic of our time--Lieutenant

     "My friend, could you see our Army as I do, you would be thrilled
     with admiration for our people, for this noble race. An enthusiasm,
     like an outburst of the Marseillaise, thrills them; heroic,
     earnest, and even religious. I have seen the three divisions of my
     army corps set out; the men of active service first, young men of
     twenty marching with firm and rapid steps, without a cry, without a
     gesture, like the ephebi of old calmly going to sacrifice. After
     them come the reserve, men of twenty-five to thirty years, more
     stalwart and more determined, who will reinforce the younger men
     and make them irresistible. We, the old men of forty, the fathers
     of families, are the base of the choir; and we too, I assure you,
     set out confidently, resolute and unwavering. I have no wish to
     die, but I can die now without regret; for I have lived through a
     fortnight, which would be cheap at the price of death, a fortnight
     which I had not dared to ask of fate. History will tell of us, for
     we are opening a new era in the world. We are dispelling the
     nightmare of the materialism of a mailed Germany and of armed
     peace. It will fade like a phantom before us; the world seems to
     breathe again. Reassure your Viennese friend,[10] France is not
     about to die; it is her resurrection which we see. For throughout
     history--Bouvines, the Crusades, Cathedrals, the Revolution--we
     remain the same, the knights-errant of the world, the paladins of
     God. I have lived long enough to see it fulfilled; and we who
     prophesied it twenty years ago to unbelieving ears may rejoice

O my friends, may nothing mar your joy! Whatever fate has in store, you
have risen to the pinnacle of earthly life, and borne your country with
you. And you will be victorious. Your self-sacrifice, your courage, your
whole-hearted faith in your sacred cause, and the unshaken certainty
that, in defending your invaded country, you are defending the liberty
of the world--all this assures me of your victory, young armies of the
Marne and Meuse, whose names are graven henceforth in history by the
side of your elders of the Great Republic. Yet even had misfortune
decreed that you should be vanquished, and with you France itself, no
people could have aspired to a more noble death. It would have crowned
the life of that great people of the Crusades--it would have been their
supreme victory. Conquerors or conquered, living or dead, rejoice! As
one of you said to me, embracing me on the terrible threshold: "A
splendid thing it is to fight with clean hands and a pure heart, and to
dispense divine justice with one's life."

You are doing your duty, but have others done theirs? Let us be bold and
proclaim the truth to the elders of these young men, to their moral
guides, to their religious and secular leaders, to the Churches, the
great thinkers, the leaders of socialism; these living riches, these
treasures of heroism you held in your hands; for what are you
squandering them? What ideal have you held up to the devotion of these
youths so eager to sacrifice themselves? Their mutual slaughter! A
European war! A sacrilegious conflict which shows a maddened Europe
ascending its funeral pyre, and, like Hercules, destroying itself with
its own hands!

And thus the three greatest nations of the West, the guardians of
civilization, rush headlong to their ruin, calling in to their aid
Cossacks, Turks, Japanese, Cingalese, Soudanese, Senegalese, Moroccans,
Egyptians, Sikhs and Sepoys--barbarians from the poles and those from
the equator, souls and bodies of all colors.[11] It is as if the four
quarters of the Roman Empire at the time of the Tetrarchy had called
upon the barbarians of the whole universe to devour each other.

Is our civilization so solid that you do not fear to shake the pillars
on which it rests? Can you not see that all falls in upon you if one
column be shattered? Could you not have learned if not to love one
another, at least to tolerate the great virtues and the great vices of
each other? Was it not your duty to attempt--you have never attempted it
in sincerity--to settle amicably the questions which divided you, the
problem of peoples annexed against their will, the equitable division of
productive labor and the riches of the world? Must the stronger forever
darken the others with the shadow of his pride, and the others forever
unite to dissipate it? Is there no end to this bloody and puerile sport,
in which the partners change about from century to century--no end,
until the whole of humanity is exhausted thereby?

The rulers who are the criminal authors of these wars dare not accept
the responsibility for them. Each one by underhand means seeks to lay
the blame at the door of his adversary. The peoples who obey them
submissively resign themselves with the thought that a power higher than
mankind has ordered it thus. Again the venerable refrain is heard: "The
fatality of war is stronger than our wills." The old refrain of the herd
that makes a god of its feebleness and bows down before him. Man has
invented fate, that he may make it responsible for the disorders of the
universe, those disorders which it was his duty to regulate. There is no
fatality! The only fatality is what we desire; and more often, too, what
we do not desire enough. Let each now repeat his _mea culpa_. The
leaders of thought, the Church, the Labor Parties did not desire war ...
That may be.... What then did they do to prevent it? What are they doing
to put an end to it? They are stirring up the bonfire, each one bringing
his faggot.

The most striking feature in this monstrous epic, the fact without
precedent, is the unanimity for war in each of the nations engaged. An
epidemic of homicidal fury, which started in Tokio ten years ago, has
spread like a wave and overflowed the whole world. None has resisted it;
no high thought has succeeded in keeping out of the reach of this
scourge. A sort of demoniacal irony broods over this conflict of the
nations, from which, whatever its result, only a mutilated Europe can
emerge. For it is not racial passion alone which is hurling millions of
men blindly one against another, so that not even neutral countries
remain free of the dangerous thrill, but all the forces of the spirit,
of reason, of faith, of poetry, and of science, all have placed
themselves at the disposal of the armies in every state. There is not
one amongst the leaders of thought in each country who does not proclaim
with conviction that the cause of his people is the cause of God, the
cause of liberty and of human progress. And I, too, proclaim it.

Strange combats are being waged between metaphysicians, poets,
historians--Eucken against Bergson; Hauptmann against Maeterlinck;
Rolland against Hauptmann; Wells against Bernard Shaw. Kipling and
D'Annunzio, Dehmel and de Régnier sing war hymns, Barrès and Maeterlinck
chant paeans of hatred. Between a fugue of Bach and the organ which
thunders _Deutschland über Alles_, Wundt, the aged philosopher of
eighty-two, calls with his quavering voice, the students of Leipzig to
the holy war. And each nation hurls at the other the name "Barbarians."

The academy of moral science, in the person of its president, Bergson,
declares the struggle undertaken against Germany to be "_the struggle of
civilization itself against barbarism_." German history replies with the
voice of Karl Lamprecht that "_this is a war between Germanism and
barbarism and the present conflict is the logical successor of those
against the Huns and Turks in which Germany has been engaged throughout
the ages._" Science, following history into the lists, proclaims through
E. Perrier, director of the Museum, member of the Academy of Sciences,
that the Prussians do not belong to the Aryan race, but are descended in
direct line from the men of the Stone Age called Allophyles, and adds,
"_the modern skull, resembling by its base, the best index of the
strength of the appetites, the skull of the fossilized man in the
Chapelle-aux-Saints most nearly, is none other than that of Prince

But the two moral forces whose weakness this contagious war shows up
most clearly are Christianity and Socialism. These rival apostles of
religious and secular internationalism have suddenly developed into the
most ardent of nationalists. Hervé is eager to die for the standard of
Austerlitz. The German socialists, pure trustees of the pure doctrine,
support this bill of credit for the war in the Reichstag. They place
themselves at the disposal of the Prussian minister, who uses their
journals to spread abroad his lies, even into the barracks, and sends
them as secret agents to attempt to pervert Italy. It was believed for
the honor of their cause for a moment that two or three of them had been
shot rather than take arms against their brothers. Indignant, they
protest; they are all marching under arms! Liebknecht, forsooth, did not
die for the cause of socialism;[12] but Frank, the principal champion of
the Franco-German union, fell under French fire, fighting in the cause
of militarism. These men have courage to die for the faith of others;
they have no courage to die for their own.

As for the representatives of the Prince of Peace--priests, pastors,
bishops--they go into battle in their thousands, to carry out, musket in
hand, the Divine commands: _Thou shalt not kill_, and _Love one
another_. Each bulletin of victory, whether it be German, Austrian, or
Russian, gives thanks to the great captain God--_unser alter Gott, notre
Dieu_--as William II or M. Arthur Meyer says. For each has his own God,
and each God, whether old or young, has his Levites to defend him and
destroy the God of the others.

Twenty thousand French priests are marching with the colors; Jesuits
offer their services to the German armies; cardinals issue warlike
mandates; and the Serb bishops of Hungary incite their faithful flocks
to fight against their brothers in Greater Serbia. The newspapers
report, with no expressions of astonishment, the paradoxical scene at
the railway station at Pisa, where the Italian socialists cheered the
young ordinands who were rejoining their regiments, all singing the
Marseillaise together. So strong the cyclone that sweeps them all before
it; so feeble the men it encounters on its career--and I am amongst

Come, friends! Let us make a stand! Can we not resist this contagion,
whatever its nature and virulence be--whether moral epidemic or cosmic
force? Do we not fight against the plague, and strive even to repair the
disaster caused by an earthquake? Or must we bow ourselves before it,
agreeing with Luzzatti in his famous article[13] that "_In the universal
disaster, the nations triumph_"? Shall we say with him that it is good
and reasonable that "the demon of international war, which mows down
thousands of beings, should be let loose," so that the great and simple
truth, "love of our country," be understood? It would seem, then, that
love of our country can flourish only through the hatred of other
countries and the massacre of those who sacrifice themselves in the
defense of them. There is in this theory a ferocious absurdity, a
Neronian dilettantism which repels me to the very depths of my being.
No! Love of my country does not demand that I shall hate and slay those
noble and faithful souls who also love theirs, but rather that I should
honor them and seek to unite with them for our common good.

You Christians will say--and in this you seek consolation for having
betrayed your Master's orders--that war exalts the virtue of sacrifice.
And it is true that war has the privilege of bringing out the genius of
the race in the most commonplace of hearts. It purges away, in its bath
of blood, all dross and impurity; it tempers the metal of the soul of a
niggardly peasant, of a timorous citizen; it can make a hero of Valmy.
But is there no better employment for the devotion of one people than
the devastation of another? Can we not sacrifice ourselves without
sacrificing our neighbors also? I know well, poor souls, that many of
you are more willing to offer your blood than to spill that of
others.... But what a fundamental weakness! Confess, then, that you who
are undismayed by bullets and shrapnel yet tremble before the dictates
of racial frenzy--that Moloch that stands higher than the Church of
Christ--the jealous pride of race. You Christians of today would not
have refused to sacrifice to the gods of Imperial Rome; you are not
capable of such courage! Your Pope Pius X died of grief to see the
outbreak of this war--so it is said. And not without reason. The Jupiter
of the Vatican who hurled thunderbolts upon those inoffensive priests
who believed in the noble chimera of modernism--what did he do against
those princes and those criminal rulers whose measureless ambition has
given the world over to misery and death? May God inspire the new
Pontiff who has just ascended the throne of St. Peter, with words and
deeds which will cleanse the Church from the stain of this silence.

As for you socialists who on both sides claim to be defending liberty
against tyranny--French liberty against the Kaiser, German liberty
against the Czar, is it a question of defending one despotism against
another? Unite and attack both.

There was no reason for war between the Western nations; French,
English, and German, we are all brothers and do not hate one another.
The war-preaching press is envenomed by a minority, a minority vitally
interested in maintaining these hatreds; but our peoples, I know, ask
for peace and liberty and that alone. The real tragedy, to one situated
in the midst of the conflict and able to look down from the high
plateaus of Switzerland into all the hostile camps, is the patent fact
that actually each of the nations is being menaced in its dearest
possessions--in its honor, its independence, its life. Who has brought
these plagues upon them? Brought them to the desperate alternative of
overwhelming their adversary or dying? None other than their
governments, and above all, in my opinion, the three great culprits, the
three rapacious eagles, the three empires, the tortuous policy of the
house of Austria, the ravenous greed of Czarism, the brutality of
Prussia. The worst enemy of each nation is not without, but within its
frontiers, and none has the courage to fight against it. It is the
monster of a hundred heads, the monster named Imperialism, the will to
pride and domination, which seeks to absorb all, or subdue all, or break
all, and will suffer no greatness except itself. For the Western nations
Prussian imperialism is the most dangerous. Its hand uplifted in menace
against Europe has forced us to join in arms against this outcome of a
military and feudal caste, which is the curse not only of the rest of
the world but also of Germany itself, whose thought it has subtly
poisoned. We must destroy this first: but not this alone; the Russian
autocracy too will have its turn. Every nation to a greater or less
extent has an imperialism of its own, and whether it be military,
financial, feudal, republican, social, or intellectual, it is always the
octopus sucking the best blood of Europe. Let the free men of all the
countries of Europe when this war is over take up again the motto of
Voltaire: "_Ecrasons l'infâme!_"

When the war is over! The evil is done now, the torrent let loose and we
cannot force it back into its channel unaided. Moreover crimes have been
committed against right, attacks on the liberties of peoples and on the
sacred treasuries of thought, which must and will be expiated. Europe
cannot pass over unheeded the violence done to the noble Belgian people,
the devastation of Malines and Louvain, sacked by modern Tillys.... But
in the name of heaven let not these crimes be expiated by similar
crimes! Let not the hideous words "vengeance" and "retaliation" be
heard; for a great nation does not revenge itself, it re-establishes
justice. But let those in whose hands lies the execution of justice show
themselves worthy of her to the end.

It is our duty to keep this before them; nor will we be passive and wait
for the fury of this conflict to spend itself. Such conduct would be
unworthy of us who have such a task before us.

Our first duty, then, all over the world, is to insist on the formation
of a moral High Court, a tribunal of consciences, to watch and pass
impartial judgment on any violations of the laws of nations. And since
committees of inquiry formed by belligerents themselves would be always
suspect, the neutral countries of the old and new world must take the
initiative, and form a tribunal such as was suggested by Mr.
Prenant,[14] professor of medicine at Paris, and taken up
enthusiastically by M. Paul Seippel in the _Journal de Genève_.[15]

"They should produce men of some worldly authority, and of proved civic
morality to act as a commission of inquiry, and to follow the armies at
a little distance. Such an organization would complete and solidify the
Hague Court, and prepare indisputable documents for the necessary work
of justice...."

The neutral countries are too much effaced. Confronted by unbridled
force they are inclined to believe that opinion is defeated in advance,
and the majority of thinkers in all countries share their pessimism.
There is a lack of courage here as well as of clear thinking. For just
at this time the power of opinion is immense. The most despotic of
governments, even though marching to victory, trembles before public
opinion and seeks to court it. Nothing shows this more clearly than the
efforts of both parties engaged in war, of their ministers, chancellors,
sovereigns, of the Kaiser himself turned journalist, to justify their
own crimes, and denounce the crimes of their adversary at the invisible
tribunal of humanity. Let this invisible tribunal be seen at last, let
us venture to constitute it. Ye know not your moral power, O ye of
little faith! If there be a risk, will you not take it for the honor of
humanity? What is the value of life when you have saved it at the price
of all that is worth living for?...

_Et propter vitam, vivendi perdere causas_....

But for us, the artists and poets, priests and thinkers of all
countries, remains another task. Even in time of war it remains a crime
for finer spirits to compromise the integrity of their thought; it is
shameful to see it serving the passion of a puerile, monstrous policy of
race, a policy scientifically absurd--since no country possesses a race
wholly pure. Such a policy, as Renan points out in his beautiful letter
to Strauss,[16] "_can only lead to zoological wars, wars of
extermination, similar to those in which various species of rodents and
carnivorous beasts fight for their existence. This would be the end of
that fertile admixture called humanity, composed as it is of such
various necessary elements._" Humanity is a symphony of great collective
souls; and he who understands and loves it only by destroying a part of
those elements, proves himself a barbarian and shows his idea of harmony
to be no better than the idea of order another held in Warsaw.

For the finer spirits of Europe there are two dwelling-places: our
earthly fatherland, and that other City of God. Of the one we are the
guests, of the other the builders. To the one let us give our lives and
our faithful hearts; but neither family, friend, nor fatherland, nor
aught that we love has power over the spirit. The spirit is the light.
It is our duty to lift it above tempests, and thrust aside the clouds
which threaten to obscure it; to build higher and stronger, dominating
the injustice and hatred of nations, the walls of that city wherein the
souls of the whole world may assemble.

I feel here how the generous heart of Switzerland is thrilled, divided
between sympathies for the various nations, and lamenting that it cannot
choose freely between them, nor even express them. I understand its
torment; but I know that this is salutary. I hope it will rise thence to
that superior joy of a harmony of races, which may be a noble example
for the rest of Europe. It is the duty of Switzerland now to stand in
the midst of the tempest, like an island of justice and of peace, where,
as in the great monasteries of the early Middle Ages, the spirit may
find a refuge from unbridled force; where the fainting swimmers of all
nations, those who are weary of hatred, may persist, in spite of all the
wrongs they have seen and suffered, in loving all men as their brothers.

I know that such thoughts have little chance of being heard today. Young
Europe, burning with the fever of battle, will smile with disdain and
show its fangs like a young wolf. But when the access of fever has spent
itself, wounded and less proud of its voracious heroism, it will come to
itself again.

Moreover I do not speak to convince it. I speak but to solace my
conscience ... and I know that at the same time I shall solace the
hearts of thousands of others who, in all countries, cannot or dare not
speak themselves.

_Journal de Genève_, September 15, 1914.


I do not hold the doctrine expounded by a certain saintly king, that it
is useless to enter into discussion with heretics--and we regard all
those who do not agree with our opinions as heretics nowadays--but that
it is sufficient to brain them. I feel the need of understanding my
enemy's reasons. I am unwilling to believe in unfairness. Doubtless my
enemy is as passionately sincere as I am. Why, then, should we not
attempt to understand each other? For such an understanding, though it
will not suppress the conflict, may perhaps suppress our hatred; and it
is hatred more than anything else that I regard as my enemy.

However much I may feel that the motives actuating the various
combatants are not equally worthy, I have yet come to the conviction,
after reading the papers and letters which, during the last two months,
have arrived in Geneva from every country, that the ardor of patriotic
faith is everywhere the same, and that each of the nations engaged in
this mighty struggle believes itself to be the champion of liberty
against barbarism. But liberty and barbarism do not mean the same thing
to both sides.

Barbarous despotism, the worst enemy to liberty, is exemplified for us
Frenchmen, Englishmen, men of the West, in Prussian Imperialism; and I
venture to think that the register of its methods is plainly set forth
in the devastated route from Liège to Senlis, passing by way of Louvain,
Malines, and Rheims. For Germany, the monster ("_Ungeheuer_," as the
aged Wundt calls it), which threatens civilization is Russia, and the
bitterest reproach which the Germans hurl against France is our alliance
with the Empire of the Czar. I have received many letters reproaching us
with this. In the Munich review, _Das Forum_, I read only yesterday an
article by Wilhelm Herzog challenging me to explain my position with
regard to Russia. Let us consider the question, then. I ask nothing
better. By this means we shall be able to weigh the German danger and
the Russian danger in the balance, and thus show which of the two seems
the more threatening to us. Of the actual events of the present war
between Germany and Russia I will say nothing. All the information we
have comes from Russian or German sources, equally unreliable. To judge
by them it would appear that the same ferocity exists in both camps. The
Germans in Kalish were worthy companions of the Cossacks in Grodtken and
Zorothowo.--It is of the German spirit and of the Russian spirit that I
wish to speak here, for this is the important thing and of this we have
more definite knowledge.

You, my German friends--for those of you who were my friends in the past
remain my friends in spite of fanatical demands from both sides that we
should break off all relations--know how much I love the Germany of the
past, and all that I owe to it. Not less than you, yourselves, I am the
son of Beethoven, of Leibnitz, and of Goethe. But what do I owe to the
Germany of today, or what does Europe owe to it? What art have you
produced since the monumental work of Wagner, which marks the end of an
epoch and belongs to the past? What new and original thought can you
boast of since the death of Nietzsche, whose magnificent madness has
left its traces upon you though we are unscathed by it? Where have we
sought our spiritual food for the last forty years, when our own fertile
soil no longer yielded sufficient for our needs? Who but the Russian
writers have been our guides? What German writer can you set up against
Tolstoi and Dostoievsky, those giants of poetic genius and moral
grandeur? These are the men who have moulded my soul, and in defending
the nation from which they sprang, I am but paying a debt which I owe to
that nation as well as to themselves. Even if the contempt for Prussian
Imperialism were not innate in me as a Latin, I should have learned it
from them. Twenty years ago Tolstoi expressed his contempt for your
Kaiser. In music, Germany, so proud of its ancient glory, has only the
successors of Wagner, neurotic jugglers with orchestral effects, like
Richard Strauss, but not a single sober and virile work of the quality
of _Boris Godunov_. No German musician has opened up new roads. A single
page of Moussorgsky or Strawinsky shows more originality, more potential
greatness than the complete scores of Mahler and Reger. In our
Universities, in our hospitals and Pasteur Institutes, Russian students
and scholars work side by side with our own, and Russian
revolutionaries who have taken refuge in Paris mingle their aspirations
with those of our socialists.

The crimes of Czarism are continually on your lips. We, too, denounce
these crimes; for Czarism is our enemy, and what I wrote but recently, I
repeat now. But it is likewise the enemy of the intellectual élite of
Russia itself. This cannot be said of your intellectuals, who are so
slavishly obedient to the commands of your rulers. A few days ago I
received that amazing "Address to the Civilized Nations" with which the
Imperial army-corps of German intellectuals bombarded Europe; meanwhile
the army-corps of German Commerce (_Bureau des Deutschen Handelstages_)
shelled the markets of the world with circulars ornamented by the figure
of Mercury, the god of lies. This mobilization of the forces of the pen
and of the caduceus, with which in good truth no other country could
compete, has given us additional reason to fear the Empire's powers of
organization, no reason to respect it more. "Civilized Nations" read,
not without amazement, that Address, the truth of which was vouched for
by the names of the most distinguished scientists, thinkers, and artists
in Germany--by Behring, Ostwald, Roentgen, Eucken, Haeckel, Wundt,
Dehmel, Hauptmann, Sudermann, Hildebrand, Klinger, Liebermann,
Humperdinck, Weingartner, etc.--by painters and philosophers, musicians,
theologians, chemists, economists, poets, and the professors of twenty
universities. They learned, not without surprise, that "it is not true
that Germany provoked the war,--it is not true that Germany criminally
violated the neutrality of Belgium,--it is not true that Germany used
violence against the life or the belongings of a single Belgian citizen
without being forced to do so,--it is not true that Germany destroyed
Louvain" (destroyed it? no indeed, she saved it!),--"it is not true that
Germany----" It is not true that day is day and night is night! I
confess that I could not read to the end without that feeling of
embarrassment which I felt as a child, when I heard an elderly man whom
I respected make false statements. I turned aside my eyes and blushed
for him. Thank God! the crimes of Czarism never found a defender amongst
the great artists, scholars, and thinkers of Russia. Are not Kropotkin,
Tolstoi, Dostoievsky, and Gorki, the greatest names in its literature,
the very ones who denounced its crimes!

Russian domination has often been cruelly heavy for the smaller
nationalities which it has swallowed up. But how comes it then, Germans,
that the Poles prefer it to yours? Do you imagine that Europe is
ignorant of the monstrous way in which you are exterminating the Polish
race? Do you think that we do not receive the confidences of those
Baltic nations who, having to choose between two conquerors, prefer the
Russian because he is the more humane? Read the following letter which I
received but lately from a Lett, who, though he has suffered severely at
the hands of the Russians, yet sides ardently with them against you. My
German friends, you are either strangely ignorant of the state of mind
of the nations which surround you, or you think us extremely simple and
ill-informed. Your imperialism, beneath its veneer of civilization,
seems to me no less ferocious than Czarism towards everything that
ventures to oppose its avaricious desire for universal dominion. But
whereas immense and mysterious Russia, overflowing with young and
revolutionary forces, gives us hope of a coming renewal, your Germany
bases its systematic harshness on a culture too antiquated and
scholastic to allow of any hope of amendment. If I had any such
hope--and I once had it, my friends--you have taken great pains to rob
me of it, you, artists and scholars, who drew up that address in which
you pride yourself on your complete unity with Prussian Imperialism.
Know once for all that there is nothing more overwhelming for us Latins,
nothing more difficult to endure, than your militarization of the
intellect. If, by some awful fate, this spirit were triumphant, I should
leave Europe for ever. To live here would be intolerable to me.

Here, then, are some extracts from the interesting letter which I have
received from a representative of those little nationalities which are
being disputed between Russia and Germany. They desire to maintain their
independence, but find themselves obliged to choose between these two
nations, and choose Russia. It is good to hear them speak. We are too
much inclined to listen only to the Great Powers who are now at war. Let
us think of those little barques which the great vessels draw in their
wake. Let us share for a moment the agony with which these little
nationalities, forgotten by the egotism of Europe, await the final issue
of a struggle which will decide their fate. Let England and France heed
those beseeching eyes which are turned towards them; let young Russia,
herself so eager for liberty, help generously to shed its benefits

_October 10, 1914._

       *       *       *       *       *


_30th September, 1914._

SIR:--I desire to thank you for your article, "Above the Battle."...
Although by my education I am more akin to the civilizations of Germany
and Russia than to the civilization of France, yet I respect the French
spirit more, for I am convinced, more than ever today, that it will
furnish the greatly needed solution of the problems of national rights
and liberty.

In your article you quote the words of one of your friends, a soldier
and a writer, who says that the French are fighting not only to defend
their own country but to save the _liberty of the world_. You can hardly
imagine how such words re-echo in the hearts of oppressed nations, what
streams of sympathy are today converging from all corners of Europe upon
France, what hopes depend upon your victory.

And yet many doubts have been expressed with regard to these French and
English assertions because both nations have allied themselves with
Russia, whose policy is contrary to the ideas of right and liberty; and
Germany herself maintains that it is precisely those ideas for which she
is fighting against Russia.

It would be interesting to discover what German writers and professors
really mean when they speak of a Holy War against Russia. Do they wish
to assist Russian revolutionaries to dethrone the Czar?--Every
revolutionary party would refuse indignantly to accept assistance from
Prussian militarism. Do they wish to set free the neighboring countries,
such as Poland, which are oppressed by Russia, by incorporating them
with the German Empire?--It is well known that the Poles who are German
subjects have suffered much more ignoble treatment than the Russian
Poles, though even they have every reason to complain.

The Baltic provinces of Russia alone remain, and here the Germans have
for centuries had their pioneers among the large landowners and the
merchants in the bigger towns. These, no doubt, Russian subjects but of
German nationality, would welcome the German armies with enthusiasm. But
they form only a caste of nobles and of the wealthy middle-classes,
numbering at most a few thousands, whereas the bulk of the population,
the Lettish and Esthonian nations, would regard the absorption of these
provinces into Germany as the worst of calamities. We know well what
German domination means. I am a Lett and can speak with authority, for I
know the deepest feelings and hopes of my own countrymen.

The Letts are akin to the Lithuanians. They inhabit Courland, Livonia,
and a part of the province of Vitebsk. Their intellectual center is
Riga. There are colonies of them in all the principal towns of Russia.
Last year the _Annales des Nationalités_ of Paris devoted two numbers to
these two sister nations. Owing to the geographical situation of their
country, which is only too desirable, they had the misfortune to be
under the yoke of the Germans, before they were under the yoke of the
Russians. To understand how much they suffered under the former it will
be sufficient to say that, in comparison with the Germans, we think of
the Russians as our liberators. By sheer force the Germans kept us for
centuries in a state equivalent to slavery. Only fifty years ago the
Russian Government set us free from this bondage; but, at the same
time, it committed the grave injustice of leaving all our land in the
hands of German proprietors. Nevertheless, within the last twenty or
thirty years, we have succeeded in reclaiming from the Germans a part at
least of our land, and in reaching a considerable level of culture,
thanks to which, we are considered, together with the Esthonians and the
Finns, as the most advanced people in the Russian Empire.

German papers often accuse us of ingratitude, and reproach us with our
lack of appreciation of the advantages of the culture which they boast
of having brought us. We listen to such accusations with a bitter smile,
and in writing the word _Kulturträger_ (bearer of civilization) add an
exclamation mark afterwards, for the behavior of the Germans has brought
the expression into contempt. We have acquired our culture in spite of
their opposition, and against their will. _Even today it is the German
representatives in the Russian Duma who veto the occasional suggestions
on the part of the Government to make reforms in the Baltic provinces._
These provinces are administered in a manner that differs, and differs
for the worse, from that adopted in the other provinces of Russia. We
still submit to laws and regulations which no longer exist in other
parts of Europe--laws which were made in the feudal ages and have been
rigorously maintained amongst us, thanks to the exertions of the big
German landowners, who are always sure of a hearing at the Imperial
Court of St. Petersburg.

Formerly, when we were striving in vain to reconcile our sympathy and
admiration for German thought and art with the narrow, haughty, and
cruel spirit of its representatives amongst us, we explained it all by
saying that the Germans in our provinces were of a peculiar type, and
had little in common with other Germans. But the crimes of which they
have been guilty in Belgium and in France show us our mistake. Germans
are the same everywhere in the work of conquest and domination--wholly
without humanitarian scruples. In Germany, as in Russia, there are two
distinct tendencies--the one, provoked by the ideas of Pangermanism and
Panslavism, is to seek national glory on the field of battle and in the
oppression of the personalities of other nations; the other is to
achieve the same end in the peaceful realms of thought and artistic
creation. Just as the culture of which Goethe was typical has nothing
in common with Prussian militarism, so Tolstoi may be considered as the
representative of that other Russia which is so different from the one
represented by the Russian Government of today. Certainly the gulf
between these two tendencies is less deep in Germany than in Russia, and
this is due to the immense size of Russia, which contains vast numbers
of poor and ignorant human beings whom the Russian Government oppresses
with the utmost brutality. _But it is entirely unjust always to allude
to the Russians as barbarians; and the Germans who invariably make use
of this word when they speak of Russia have less right than any one to
do so._ No one who knows the intellectual world of Germany and Russia
will venture to say that the former is much superior to the latter--they
are simply different. _And I would add that the one fact which makes us
feel more drawn to the intellectual world of Russia than to that of the
Germany of today, is that it would never be capable of justifying and
approving the brutal conduct of its Government, as the German
intellectuals are doing now. It has often been constrained to keep
silence, but it has never raised its voice in defense of a guilty

Let not my testimony in favor of the Russians lead any one to believe
that I am idealizing them, or that my people, the Letts, have enjoyed
any special privileges under their government. On the contrary! I have
suffered more at their hands than at the hands of the Germans, and my
nation knows only too well how heavy is the hand of the Russian
Government, and how suffocating the atmosphere of Panslavism. In 1906 it
was the Lett peasant and intellectual classes who enjoyed most
frequently the privilege of being flogged; it was amongst these classes
that the greatest number of unfortunates were shot, hanged, or
imprisoned for life. And since that dreadful year there are to be found
in all the principal towns of Western Europe colonies of Letts, formed
of refugees who succeeded in escaping from the atrocities of the
punitive expedition sent by the Russian Government against my country.
But this fact is significant: _at the head of the majority of the
military bands commissioned to punish the country were German officers
who had asked for this employment, and showed so great a zeal in
shooting down men and setting fire to houses, that they went even beyond
the intentions of the Russian Government. In those days the places
might count themselves fortunate which were visited by dragoons
commanded by officers of Russian nationality; for where Russian officers
would have ordered the knout, German officers habitually inflicted a
sentence of death._

If my nation had ever to choose between a German and a Russian
government it would choose the latter as the lesser of two evils. I see
in the Lett newspapers that the reservists of my country left for the
war with enthusiasm. I do not imagine that this enthusiasm is due to the
thought that they are fighting for the glory of a nation which, by every
means in its power, seeks to hinder our national development, by
forbidding instruction in our native tongue in primary schools, by
attempting to colonize our land with Russian peasants, by compelling our
own people to emigrate to Siberia and America, by excluding all Letts
from any share in Government employment, etc. This enthusiasm
nevertheless exists, and it is because the war is being waged against
Germany, and because the Letts know that the Germans have long been
aiming at the possession of the Baltic provinces. To prevent this we are
prepared to make any sacrifice. We, who love our national civilization
and know well what Panslavism and Pangermanism mean, are of opinion
that, of the two, Panslavism is less fatal to the civilizations of small
nations. This is really due to the character of the two races.

_German oppression is always systematic, hence always efficacious. In
addition to this, their arrogant contempt for everything that is not
themselves, the calm and calculated method in which they carry out their
system of persecution wherever they dominate, all this makes them

_Russians are less logical by nature; their minds are not so regulated
and they are more inclined to obey the dictates of their hearts; for
this reason they are less to be feared as oppressors. The blows which
they strike are often extremely cruel and painful, but they can repent
from time to time. Their manners are rougher and more brutal_ (I speak
here more especially of civil and military officials), _but on the whole
they are more humane than the Germans, who often conceal feelings of
fierce savagery under the mask of perfect courtesy. In the year 1906,
when there were executions in Russia on a large scale, there were many
cases of suicide amongst Russian officers who could not reconcile their
profession of soldiers with that of a hangman. The officers of German
nationality, on the other hand, carried out their orders with

Nevertheless Russian domination, though preferable to German, is still
very oppressive. I hear the news of Russian victories with mingled
feelings, rejoicing in so far as they are victories for the Allies, yet
dreading the triumph of Russia. After the defeats of the Russo-Japanese
War, when the Russian Government was weakened, it conceded certain
liberal measures and then revoked them almost entirely as its strength
returned. What have we to expect from a victory for Czarism, especially
we who are not Russians, but a savage revival of the crushing ideals of

This is the agonized question which the nations subject to Russia are
asking now. I read in your article that the turn of Czarism will come
after that of Prussianism. In what sense is this to be understood? Is it
your opinion that another war will presently break out against Czarism,
or will it be struck down by the blows of an internal revolution? Is it
even possible that France and England obtained the promise of a reform
in the internal politics of Russia before allying themselves with her?
And is the proclamation to the Poles evidence of this? Will it have any
real effect after the war? And those other nations oppressed by
Russia--the Finns, the Letts, the Lithuanians, the Esthonians, the
Armenians, the Jews...--will they too have justice done them?

These questions are probably devoid of any political significance. Yet
without perceiving in what manner France and England can set us free, we
do direct our hopes towards them. We believe that in some way or other
they will take care in future that their Russian ally shall show herself
worthy of them and of the ideas for which they are fighting, lest the
blood of those who have died in the cause of freedom go to feed the
strength of the oppressors.

Thus, sir, I have ventured uninvited to set forth rather fully to you
the hopes and fears of a nation which has developed itself on a narrow
strip of land between the two abysses of Pangermanism and Panslavism.
Whilst ardently desiring the destruction of the former, we have
everything to fear from the latter. Yet we do not aspire to political
independence. We seek only the possibility of developing freely our
intellectual, artistic, and economic powers, without the perpetual
menace of being absorbed by Russia or Germany. We believe that, in
virtue of the civilization we have acquired in the face of obstacles, we
are worthy of the liberties and rights of man; we are convinced that as
a nation we have qualities which will fit us to play a valuable part in
the great symphony of civilized peoples.

_Journal de Genève_, October 10, 1914.


Once more I address myself to our friends the enemy. But this time I
shall attempt no discussion, for discussion is impossible with those who
avow that they do not seek for but possess the truth. For the moment
there is no spiritual force that can pierce the thick wall of certitude
by which Germany is barricaded against the light of day--the terrible
certitude, the pharisaical satisfaction which pervades the monstrous
letter of a Court preacher who glorifies God for having made him
impeccable, irreproachable, and pure, himself, his emperor, his
ministers, his army, and his race; and who rejoices beforehand in his
"holy wrath" at the destruction of all who do not think as he

True, I am very far from thinking that this monument of anti-Christian
pride represents the spirit of the better part of Germany. I know how
many noble hearts, moderate, affectionate, incapable of doing evil and
almost of conceiving it, go to make up her moral strength; amongst them
are friends that I shall never cease to esteem. I know how many intrepid
minds work ceaselessly in German science for the conquest of the truth.
But I see on the one hand these good people so over-confident, so
tractable, with their eyes shut, ignorant of the facts and unwilling to
recognize anything but what it is the pleasure of their Government that
they shall know; and on the other, the clearest minds of Germany,
historians and savants, trained for the criticism of texts, basing their
conviction on documents which all emanate from one alone of the parties
concerned, and by way of peremptory proof referring us to the _ex-parte_
affirmations of their Emperor, and of their Chancellor, like
well-behaved scholars, whose only argument is _Magister dixit_. What
hope remains of convincing such people that there exists a truth beyond
that master, and that in addition to his White Book we have in our hands
books of every kind and of every color, whose testimony demands the
attention of an impartial judge? But do they so much as know of their
existence, and does the master allow his class to handle the manuals of
his enemies? Our disagreement is not only as regards the facts of the
case; it is due to difference in mind itself. Between the spirit of
Germany today and that of the rest of Europe there is no longer a point
of contact. We speak to them of _Humanity_; they reply with
_Uebermensch_, _Uebervolk_, and it goes without saying that they
themselves are the Uebervolk. Germany seems to be overcome by a morbid
exaltation, a collective madness, for which there is no remedy but time.
According to the view of medical experts in analogous cases such forms
of madness develop rapidly, and are suddenly followed by profound
depression. We can then but wait, and in the meantime defend ourselves
to the best of our ability from the madness of Ajax.

Certainly Ajax has given us plenty of work to do. Look at the ruins
around us! We may bring aid to the victims--yet how little can we
achieve? In the eternal struggle between good and evil the scales are
not evenly balanced. We need a century to re-create what one day can
destroy. The fury of madness, on the other hand, endures only for a day;
patient labor is our lot throughout the years. It knows no pause, even
in those hours when the world seems at an end. The vine-growers of
Champagne gather in their vintage though the bombs of the rival armies
explode around them--and we, too, can do our share! There is work for
all who find themselves outside the battle. Especially for those who
still can write, it seems to me that there should be something better to
do than to brandish a pen dipped in blood and seated at their tables to
cry "Kill! Kill!" I hate the war, but even more do I hate those who
glorify it without taking part. What would we say of officers who
marched behind their men? The noblest rôle of those who follow in the
rear is to pick up their friends who fall, and to bear in mind even
during the battle those fair words so often forgotten--_Inter arma

       *       *       *       *       *

Amidst all the misery which every man of feeling can do his share to
relieve, let us recall the fate of the prisoner of war. But knowing that
Germany today blushes at her former sentimentality, I carefully refrain
from appealing to her pity by whinings, as they call them, about the
destruction of Louvain and Rheims. "War is war." Granted!--then it is
natural that it drags in its train thousands of prisoners, officers and

For the moment I shall say only a word about these, in order to comfort
as far as possible the families who are searching for them, and are so
anxious about their fate. On both sides hateful rumors circulate only
too easily, rumors given currency by an unscrupulous press, rumors which
would have us believe that the most elementary laws of humanity are
trampled under foot by the enemy. Only the other day an Austrian friend
wrote to me, maddened by the lies of some paper or other, to beg me to
help the German wounded in France, who are left without any aid. And
have I not heard or read the same unworthy fears expressed by Frenchmen
as regards their wounded, who are said to be maltreated in Germany? But
it is all a lie--on both sides; and those of us whose task it is to
receive the true information from either camp must affirm the contrary.
Speaking generally (for in so many thousands of cases one cannot, of
course, be sure that there will not here and there be individual
exceptions) this war, whose actual conduct has provoked a degree of
harshness which our knowledge of previous wars in the West would not
have allowed us to expect, is by contrast less cruel to all
those--prisoners and wounded--who are put out of the battle line.

The letters that we receive and documents already published--especially
an interesting account which appeared in the _Neue Zürcher Zeitung_ of
October 18th, written by Dr. Schneeli, who had just been visiting the
hospitals and prisoners' camps in Germany--show that in that country
efforts are being made to reconcile the ideals of humanity with the
exigencies of war. They make it clear that there is no difference
between the care bestowed by the Germans on their own wounded and those
of the enemy, and that friendly relations exist between the prisoners
and their guards, who all share the same food.

I could wish that a similar inquiry might be made and published on the
camps where German prisoners are concentrated in France. In the meantime
accounts which reach me from individuals disclose a similar
situation,[18] and there is plenty of reliable evidence that in Germany
and France alike the wounded of both countries are living in terms of
friendship. There are even soldiers who refuse to have their wounds
dressed or receive their rations before their comrades the enemy have
received similar attention. And who knows if it is not perhaps in the
ranks of the contending armies that the feelings of national hatred are
least violent? For there one learns to appreciate the courage of one's
adversaries, since the same sufferings are common to all, and since
where all energy is directed towards action there is none left for
personal animosity. It is amongst those who are not actively engaged
that there is developed the harsh and implacable brand of hatred, of
which certain intellectuals provide terrible examples.

The moral situation of the military prisoner is therefore not so
overwhelming as might be imagined, and his lot, sad as it is, is less to
be pitied than that of another class of prisoners of whom I shall speak
later. The feeling of duty accomplished, the memory of the struggle,
glorifies his misfortune in his own eyes, and even in those of the
enemy. He is not totally abandoned to the foe; international conventions
protect him; the Red Cross watches over him, and it is possible to
discover where he is and to come to his assistance.

In this work the admirable _Agence internationale des prisonniers de
guerre_, most providentially established some two months after the
commencement of the war, has caused the name of Geneva to be known and
blessed in the most remote corners of France and Germany. It only needs,
like Providence itself, to gain the co-operation of those over whose
interests it watches, that is to say, of the States concerned which have
been somewhat slow in supplying the lists we need. Under the ægis of the
International Committee of the Red Cross, with M. Gustave Ador as
president and M. Max Dollfus as director, some 300 voluntary workers,
drawn from all classes of society, are assisting in its charitable work.
More than 15,000 letters a day pass through its hands. It daily
transmits about 7,000 letters between prisoners and their families, and
is responsible for the safe dispatch of some 4,000 francs on an average.
The precise information which it is able to communicate was very meager
at the start, but soon increased, until a thousand cases could be dealt
with in the course of a single day; and this number rapidly increased
with the arrival of more complete lists from the Governments concerned.

This renewal of intercourse between a prisoner and his family is not the
only beneficial result of our organization. Its peaceful work, its
impartial knowledge of the actual facts in the belligerent countries,
contribute to modify the hatred which wild stories have exasperated, and
to reveal what remains of humanity in the most envenomed enemy. It can
also draw the attention of the different Governments, or at least of the
general public, to cases where a speedy understanding would be in the
interest of both parties--as, for instance, in the exchange of men who
are so seriously wounded that they will be quite unable to take further
part in the war, and whom it is useless and inhuman to keep languishing
far from their friends. Finally, it can effectively direct public
generosity, which often hesitates for want of guidance. It can, for
instance, point out to neutral countries, who are so ungrudging in their
anxiety to aid the sufferings of the combatants, where help is most
urgently needed--for the wounded prisoners, convalescents leaving the
hospital without linen or boots, and with no claims on the enemy for
further support.[19]

Instead of showering gifts (which, no doubt, are never superfluous) on
the armies who can and should be supported by the peoples for whom they
are fighting, neutrals might well reserve the greater part of their
generosity for those who are most destitute, those whose need is the
greatest, for they are feeble, broken, and alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

But there is another class of prisoners on whom I would like interest to
be specially concentrated, for their situation is far more precarious,
unprotected as they are by any international convention. These are the
civil prisoners. They are one of the innovations of this unbridled war,
which seems to have set itself to violate all the rights of humanity. In
former wars it was only a question of a few hostages arrested here and
there as a guarantee of good faith for the pledge of some conquered
town. Never until now had one heard of populations taken bodily into
captivity on the model of ancient conquests--a custom actively revived
since the beginning of this war. Such a contingency not having been
foreseen, no conventions existed to regulate the situation in the laws
of war, if the words have any meaning. And as it would have been awkward
to formulate fresh laws in the midst of the struggle, it seemed more
simple to overlook them. It has been as though these unfortunates did
not exist.

But they do exist, and in thousands. Their number seems about equal on
both sides. Which of the belligerents took the initiative in these
captures? At present certainty is impossible. It seems clear that in the
second half of July Germany ordered the arrest of a number of Alsatian
civilians. To this France replied the day after her mobilization by
declaring prisoners Germans and Austrians then to be found on her
territory. The casting of this vast net was followed by similar action
in Germany and Austria, though, perhaps, with less result. The conquest
of Belgium and the invasion of the North of France brought about a
redoubling of these measures aggravated by violence. The Germans, on
retiring after their defeat on the Marne, methodically made a clean
sweep in the towns and villages of Picardy and Flanders of all persons
capable of bearing arms--500 men at Douai, at Amiens 1,800 summoned
before the citadel on some apparently harmless pretext, and carried off
without even the possibility of returning for a change of clothes.

In many cases the captures had not even the excuse of military utility.
In the village of Sompuis (Marne) on September 10th, the Saxons seized a
helpless village priest of seventy-three, scarcely able to walk, and
five old men of ages from sixty to seventy, one of whom was lame, and
took them away on foot. Elsewhere women and children are taken, happy if
they can remain together. Here a husband, mad with grief, searches for
his wife and son aged three, who have disappeared since the Germans
passed through Quièvrechain (Nord). There it is a mother and her
children taken by the French near Guebwiller; the children were sent
back, but not the mother. A French captain, wounded by the bursting of a
shell, saw his wife also wounded by German bullets at Nomêny
(Meurthe-et-Moselle); since when she has disappeared, taken he does not
know where. An old peasant woman of sixty-three is taken away from her
husband near Villers-aux-Vents (Meuse) by a company of Germans. A child
of sixteen is seized at its mother's house at Mulhouse.

Such action shows an utter lack of human feeling, and is almost more
absurd than cruel. It really appears as though people had been
deliberately separated from all who were dearest to them; and of those
who have so disappeared no trace remains by which they can at present be
found. I am not speaking of Belgium; there the silence is as of the
grave. Of what is taking place there nothing has been heard in the
outer world for three months. Are the villages and towns still in
existence? I have before me letters from parents (in some cases
belonging to neutral nations) begging for news of their children of
twelve or eight years of age, detained in Belgium since hostilities
broke out. I have even found in the lists of these vanished
children--doubtless prisoners of war--youthful citizens of four or two
years of age. Are we to understand that they too could have been

We see the anguish of the survivors. Imagine the distress of those who
have disappeared, deprived of money or the means of obtaining any from
their families. What misery is revealed in the first letters received
from such families interned in France or Germany! A mother whose little
boy is ill, although rich, cannot procure any money. Another, with two
children, requests us to warn her family that if after the war, nothing
more is heard of her, it will mean that she has died of hunger. These
cries of misery seemed in the noise of battle to fall on deaf ears for
the first two months. The Red Cross itself, absorbed in its immense
task, reserved all its help for the military prisoners, and the
Governments seemed to show a superb disdain for their unfortunate
citizens. Of what use are such as cannot serve! Yet these are the most
innocent victims of this war. They have not taken part in it, and
nothing had prepared them for such calamities.

Fortunately a man of generous sympathies (he will not forgive me for
publishing his name), Dr. Ferrière, was touched by the misfortunes of
these outcasts of the war. With a tenacity as patient as it was
passionate, he set himself to construct in the swarming hive of Red
Cross workers a special department to deal with their distress. Refusing
to be discouraged by the innumerable difficulties and the remote chances
of success, he persevered, limiting himself at first to drawing up lists
of the missing, and trying to inspire confidence in their anxious
friends. He then attempted by every means in his power to discover the
place of internment, and to re-establish communications between
relations and friends. What joy when one can announce to a family that
the son or the father has been found! Every one of us at our table--for
I, too, had the honor of sharing in the work--rejoices as though he were
a member of that family. And as luck would have it the first letter of
this kind which I had to write was to comfort some good people in my own
little town in the Nivernais.

Great progress has already been made. The most pressing needs have
obtained a hearing. The Governments have agreed to liberate women,
children under seventeen, and men over sixty. Repatriation began on
October 23rd through the Bureau of Berne, created by the Federal
Council. It remains, if not to deliver the others (we cannot count on
this before the end of the war), at any rate to put them in
communication with their families. In such cases, as in many others,
more can be expected from the charitable efforts of private individuals
than from Governments. The friends with whom we communicated in Germany
or Austria as in France have replied with enthusiasm, all showing a
generous desire to take part in our work. It is such questions
transcending national pride which reveal the underlying fellowship of
the nations which are tearing each other to pieces, and the sacrilegious
folly of war. How friends and enemies are drawn together in the face of
common suffering which the efforts of all humanity would hardly suffice
to alleviate!

When after three months of fratricidal struggle one has felt the calming
influence of this wide human sympathy, and turns once more to the field
of strife, the rasping cries of hate in the press inspire only horror
and pity. What object have they in view? They wish to punish crimes and
are a crime in themselves; for murderous words are the seeds of future
murder. In the diseased organism of a fevered Europe everything vibrates
and reverberates without end. Every word, every action, arouses
reprisals. Him who fans hatred, hatred flares up to consume. Heroes of
officialdom! bullies of the press! the blows which you deal very often
reach your own people, little though you think it--your soldiers, your
prisoners, delivered into the hands of the enemy. They answer for the
harm which you have done, and you escape the danger.

We cannot stop the war, but we can make it less bitter. There are
medicines for the body. We need medicines for the soul, to dress the
wounds of hatred and vengeance by which the world is being poisoned. We
who write--let that be our task. And as the Red Cross pursues its work
of mercy in the midst of the combat, like the bees of Holy Writ that
made their honey in the jaws of the lion, let us try to support its
efforts. Let our thoughts follow the ambulances that gather up the
wounded on the field of battle. May _Notre-Dame la Misère_ lay on the
brow of raging Europe her stern but succoring hand. May she open the
eyes of these peoples, blinded by pride, and show them that they are
but poor human flocks, equal in the face of suffering; suffering at all
times so great that there is no reason to add to the burden.

_Journal de Genève_, October 30, 1914.


(For _King Albert's Book_.[20])

Belgium has just written an Epic, whose echoes will resound throughout
the ages. Like the three hundred Spartans, the little Belgian army
confronts for three months the German Colossus; Leman-Leonides; the
Thermopylæ of Liège; Louvain, like Troy, burnt; the deeds of King Albert
surrounded by his valiant men: with what legendary grandeur are these
figures already invested, and history has not yet completed their story!
The heroism of this people, who, without a murmur, sacrificed everything
for honor, has burst like a thunderclap upon us at a time when the
spirit of victorious Germany was enthroning in the world a conception of
political realism, resting stolidly on force and self-interest. It was
a liberation of the oppressed idealism of the West. And that the signal
should have been given by this little nation seemed a miracle.

Men call the sudden appearance of a hidden reality a miracle. It is the
shock of danger which makes us best understand the character of
individuals and of nations. What discoveries this war has caused us to
make in those around us, even among those nearest and dearest to us!
What heroic hearts and savage beasts! The inner soul, not a new soul,
reveals itself.

In this fearful hour Belgium has seen the hidden genius of her race
emerge. The sterling qualities that she has displayed during the last
three months evoke admiration; it should not surprise any one who, in
the pages of history, has felt, coursing through the ages, the vigorous
sap of her people. Small in numbers and in territory, but one of the
greatest in Europe in virtue of her overflowing vitality. The Belgians
of today are the sons of the Flemings of Courtrai. The men of this land
never feared to oppose their powerful neighbors, the kings of France or
Spain--now heroes, now victims, Artevelde and Egmont. Their soil,
watered by the blood of millions of warriors, is the most fertile in
Europe in the harvests of the spirit. From it arose the art of modern
painting, spread throughout the world by the school of the van Eycks at
the time of the Renaissance. From it arose the art of modern music, of
that polyphony which thrilled through France, Germany, and Italy for
nearly two centuries. From it, too, came the superb poetic efflorescence
of our times; and the two writers who most brilliantly represent French
literature in the world, Maeterlinck and Verhaeren, are Belgian. They
are the people who have suffered most and have borne their sufferings
most bravely and cheerfully; the martyr-people of Philip II and of
Kaiser Wilhelm; and they are the people of Rubens, the people of
Kermesses and of Till Ulenspiegel.

He who knows the amazing epic re-told by Charles de Coster: _The heroic,
joyous, and glorious adventures of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedjak_, those
two Flemish worthies who might take their places side by side with the
immortal Don Quixote and his Sancho Panza--he who has seen that
dauntless spirit at work, rough and facetious, rebellious by nature,
always offending the established powers, running the gauntlet of all
trials and hardships, and emerging from them always gay and
smiling--realizes also the destinies of the nation that gave birth to
Ulenspiegel, and even in the darkest hour fearlessly looks towards the
approaching dawn of rich and happy days. Belgium may be invaded. The
Belgian people will never be conquered nor crushed. The Belgian people
cannot die.

At the end of the story of _Till Ulenspiegel_, when they think he is
dead, and are going to bury him, he wakes up:

     _"Are they," he asks, "going to bury Ulenspiegel the soul, Nele the
     heart of mother Flanders? Sleep, perhaps, but die, no! Come,

     _And he departed, singing his sixth song. But no one knows where he
     sang his last._


_November 17, 1914._

There has reached me, after much delay, at Geneva, where I am engaged on
the International work of Prisoners of War, the echo of attacks against
me in certain newspapers, roused by the articles that I have published
in the _Journal de Genève_, or rather by two or three passages
arbitrarily chosen from those articles (for they themselves are scarcely
known to anybody in France). My best reply will be to collect what I
have written and publish it in Paris. I would not add a word of
explanation, for there is not a line that I did not think it my right
and my duty to set down. Moreover, I think that there is better work to
do at this moment than to defend oneself; there are others to defend,
the thousands of victims who are fighting in France. Time devoted to
polemics is like a theft from these unfortunates, from these prisoners
and families, whose hands seeking each other across space we are trying
to unite at Geneva.

But not content with attacking me personally, they have attacked ideas
and a cause which I believe to be that of the true France; and since my
friends expect me to defend these thoughts which are also theirs, I
profit by the hospitality which is offered me to reply distinctly and
frankly in good French.

I have published four articles: a letter to Gerhart Hauptmann, written
the day after the devastation of Louvain, "Above the Battle," "The
Lesser of Two Evils," and "Inter Arma Caritas." In these four articles I
have stated that of all the imperialisms which are the scourge of the
world, Prussian Military Imperialism is the worst. I have declared that
it is the enemy of European liberty, the enemy of Western civilization,
the enemy of Germany herself, and that it must be destroyed. On this
point I imagine we are agreed.

To what do my critics take exception? Without entering into the
discussion of certain points of detail, such as the appeal made by the
Allies to the forces of Asia and Africa of which I disapprove, and
still disapprove because I see in it a near and grave danger for Europe
and for the Allies themselves, and because this danger is already
materializing in threats of disturbance in the world of Islam--exception
is taken essentially on two grounds:

1. My refusal to include the German people and its military and
intellectual rulers in the same denunciation.

2. The esteem and friendship which I have for the individuals in the
country with which we are at war.

I will reply first of all without ambiguity to this second reproach.
Yes, I have German friends as I have French, Italian, and English
friends, and friends of every race. They are my wealth: I am proud of it
and keep it. When one has had the good fortune to meet in this world
loyal souls with whom one shares one's most intimate thoughts, and with
whom one has formed bonds of brotherly union, such bonds are sacred, and
not to be broken asunder in the hour of trial. He would be a coward who
timidly ceased to own them, in order to obey the insolent summons of a
public opinion which has no right over the heart. Does the love of
country demand this unkindness of thought which is associated with the
name Cornélienne? Cornéille himself has given the answer:

    --_Albe vous a nommé, je ne vous connais plus._
    --_Je vous connais encore, et c'est ce qui me tue._

Certain letters, which I shall reproduce later, will show the grief,
sometimes almost tragic, that such friendships mean in these moments.
Thanks to them, we have at least been able to defend ourselves against a
hatred which is more murderous than war, since it is an infection
produced by its wounds; and it does as much harm to those whom it
possesses as to those against whom it is directed.

This poison I see with apprehension spreading at the present moment.
Amongst the victim populations, the cruelties and ravages committed by
the German armies have brought to birth a desire for reprisals. This,
when once in existence, is not for the press to exasperate, for such a
desire runs the risk of leading to dangerous injustice--dangerous not
only for the conquered but above all for the conquerors. France has, in
this war, the chance of playing the nobler part, the rarest chance that
the world has even seen. A German wrote to me a few weeks ago: "France
has won in this war a prodigious moral triumph. The sympathies of the
whole world are drawn towards her; and, most extraordinary of all,
Germany herself has a secret leaning towards her enemy." All should wish
that this moral triumph may be hers to the end, and that she may remain
to the end just, straightforward, and humane. I could never distinguish
the cause of France from that of humanity. It is just because I am
French that I leave to our Prussian enemies the motto: "_Oderint, dum
metuant._" I wish France to be loved, I wish her to be victorious not
only by force, not only by right (that would be difficult enough), but
by that large and generous heart which is pre-eminently hers. I wish her
to be strong enough to fight without hatred and to regard even those
against whom she is forced to fight as misguided brothers who must be
pitied when they have been rendered harmless.

Our soldiers know it well, and I say nothing here of letters from the
front which tell us of compassion and kindness between the combatants.
But the civilians who are outside the combat, who do not fight, but
talk, who write and embroil themselves in a factitious and lunatic
agitation and are never exhausted; these are delivered over to the winds
of feverish violence. And there is the danger. For they form opinion,
the only opinion that can be expressed (all others are forbidden). It
is for these that I write, not for those who are fighting (they have no
need of us!).

And when I hear the publicists trying to rouse the energies of the
nation by all the stimulants at their disposal for this one object, the
total crushing of the enemy nation, I think it my duty to rise in
opposition to what I believe to be at once a moral and a political
error. You make war against a State, not against a people. It would be
monstrous to hold sixty-five million men responsible for the acts of
some thousands--perhaps some hundreds. Here in French Switzerland, so
passionately in sympathy with France, so eager both in its sympathies
and in the duty of restraining them, I have been able for three months,
by reading German letters and pamphlets, to examine closely the
conscience of the German nation. And I have been able thus to take
account of a good many facts which escape the greater part of the French
people. The first, the most striking, the most ignored, is that there is
not in Germany as a whole any real hatred of France (all the hatred is
turned against England). The especial pathos of the situation lies in
the fact that the French spirit only really began to exercise an
attraction upon Germany some two or three years ago. Germany was
beginning to discover the true France, the France of work and of faith.
The new generations, the young classes that they have just led to the
abattoir of Ypres and Dixmude, numbered the purest souls, the greatest
idealists, those most possessed by the dream of universal brotherhood.
If I say that for many among them the war has been a laceration, "a
horror, a failure, a renunciation of every ideal, an abdication of the
spirit," as one of them wrote on the eve of his death--if I say that the
death of Péguy has been mourned by many young Germans, no one would
believe me. But belief will be a necessity the day I publish the
documents which I have collected.

It is somewhat better understood in France how this German nation,
enveloped in the network of lies woven by its Government, and abandoning
herself thereto with a blind and obstinate loyalty, is profoundly
convinced that she was attacked, hemmed in by the jealousy of the world;
and that she must defend herself at all costs or die. It is among the
chivalrous traditions of France to render homage to the courage of an
adversary. One owes it to that adversary to recognize that in default of
other virtues the spirit of sacrifice is, in the present instance,
almost boundless. It would be a great mistake to force it to extremes.
Instead of driving this blind people to a magnificent and desperate
defense, let us try to open their eyes. It is not impossible. An
Alsatian patriot, to whom one could not impute indulgence for Germany,
Dr. Bucher of Strasbourg, told me not long since, that even though the
German is full of haughty prejudices carefully fostered by his teachers,
he is at any rate always amenable to discussion and his docile spirit is
accessible to arguments. As an example, I would instance the secret
evolution that I see in progress in the thought of certain Germans.
Numbers of German letters that I have read this month begin to utter
agonized questionings as to the legitimacy of the proceedings of Germany
in Belgium. I have seen this anxiety growing, little by little, in
consciences which at first reposed in the conviction of their right.
Truth is slowly dawning. What will happen if its light conquers and
spreads? Carry truth in your hands! Let it be our strongest weapon! Let
us, like the soldiers of the Revolution, whose hearts live again in our
troops, fight not against our enemies, but for them. In saving the
world, let us save them too. France does not break old chains in order
to rivet new.

Your thoughts are fixed on victory. I think of the peace which will
follow. For however insistently the most militarist among you may talk,
venturing as did an article to hold out the delightful promise of a
perpetual war--"a war which will last after this war, indefinitely...."[22]
(it will come to an end, nevertheless--for lack of combatants!) ...
there must come a day when you will stretch out the hand of friendship,
you and your neighbors across the Rhine, if it were only to come to an
agreement, for the sake of your own business. You will have to
re-establish supportable and humane relations: so set to work in such a
manner as not to make them impossible! Do not break down all the
bridges, since it will ever be necessary to cross the river. Do not
destroy the future. A good open, clean wound will heal; but do not
poison it. Let us be on our guard against hatred. If we prepare for war
in peace according to the wisdom of nations, we should also prepare for
peace in war. It is a task which seems to me not unworthy of those among
us who find themselves outside the struggle, and who through the life of
the spirit have wider relations with the universe--a little lay church
which, today more than the other, preserves its faith in the unity of
human thought and believes that all men are sons of the same Father. In
any case, if such a faith merits insult, the insults constitute an honor
that we will claim as ours before the tribunal of posterity.


For more than forty centuries it has been the effort of great minds who
have attained liberty to extend this blessing to others; to liberate
humanity and to teach men to see reality without fear or error, to look
themselves in the face without false pride or false humility and to
recognize their weakness and their strength, that they may know their
true position in the universe. They have illumined the path with the
brightness of their lives and their example, like the star of the magi,
that mankind may have light.

Their efforts have failed. For more than forty centuries humanity has
remained in bondage--I do not say to masters (for such are of the order
of the flesh, of which I am not speaking here; and their chains break
sooner or later), but to the phantoms of their own minds. Such servitude
comes from within. We grow faint in the endeavor to cut the bonds which
bind mankind, who straightway tie them again to be more firmly
enthralled. Of every liberator men make a master. Every ideal which
ought to liberate is transformed into a clumsy idol. The history of
humanity is the history of Idols and of their successive reigns; and as
humanity grows older the power of the Idol seems to wax greater and more

At first the divinities were of wood, of stone, or of metal. Those at
any rate were not proof against the axe or against fire. Others followed
that no material force could reach, for they were graven in the
invisible mind. Yet all aspired to material dominion, and to secure for
them that dominion the peoples of the world have poured out their best
blood: Idols of religions and of nationality: the Idol of liberty whose
reign was established in Europe by the armies of the _sans-culotte_ at
the point of the bayonet. The masters have changed, the slaves are still
the same. Our century has made the acquaintance of two new species. The
Idol of Race, at first the outcome of noble ideas, became in the
laboratories of spectacled savants the Moloch which Germany herself
hurled against France in 1870 and which her enemies now wish to use
against the Germany of today. The latest on the scene is that authentic
product of German science, fraternally allied to the labors of industry,
of commerce, and of the firm of Krupp--the Idol of Kultur surrounded by
its Levites, the thinkers of Germany.

       *       *       *       *       *

The common feature of the cult of all Idols is the adaptation of an
ideal to the evil instincts of mankind. Man cultivates the vices which
are profitable to him, but feels the necessity of legitimizing them;
being unwilling to sacrifice them, he must idealize them. That is why
the problem at which he has never ceased to labor throughout the
centuries has been to harmonize his ideals with his own mediocrity. He
has always succeeded. The crowd has no difficulty here. It sets side by
side its virtues and its vices, its heroism and its meanness. The force
of its passions and the rapid course of the days which carry it along
cause it to forget its lack of logic.

But the intelligent few cannot satisfy themselves with so little effort.
Not that they are, as is often said, less readily swayed by passion.
This is a grave error; the richer a life becomes the more does it offer
for passion to devour, and history sufficiently shows the terrifying
paroxysms to which the lives of religious leaders and revolutionaries
have attained. But these toilers in the spirit love careful work, and
are repelled by popular modes of thought which perpetually break through
the meshes of reasoning. They have to make a more closely woven net in
which instinct and idea, cost what it may, combine to form a stouter
tissue. They thus achieve monstrous _chefs-d'œuvre_. Give an
intellectual any ideal and any evil passion and he will always succeed
in harmonizing the twain. The love of God and the love of mankind have
been invoked in order to burn, kill, and pillage. The fraternity of 1793
was sister to the Holy Guillotine. We have in our time seen Churchmen
seeking and finding in the Gospels the justification of Banking and of
War. Since the outbreak of the war a clergyman of Würtemberg established
the fact that _neither Christ nor John the Baptist nor the apostles
desired to suppress militarism_.[23] A clever intellectual is a conjuror
in ideas. "_Nothing in my hands--nothing up my sleeves._" The great
trick is to extract from any given idea its precise contrary--war from
the Sermon on the Mount, or, like Professor Ostwald, the military
dictatorship of the Kaiser from the dream of an intellectual
internationalism. For such conjurors these things are but child's play.

Let us expose them, by examining the words of this Dr. Ostwald, who has
appeared during the last few months as the Baptist of the Gospel of the
spiked helmet.

Here is the Idol to begin with--_Kultur (made in Germany), with a
capital K "rectiligne et de quatre pointes, comme un chevel de frise,"_
as Miguel de Unamuno wrote to me. All around are little gods, the
children of its loins: _Kulturstaat_, _Kulturbund_, _Kulturimperium_....

_"I am now" (it is the voice of Ostwald[24]) "going to explain to you
the great secret of Germany. We, or rather the Germanic race, have
discovered the factor of Organization. Other peoples still live under
the régime of individualism while we are under that of Organization. The
stage of Organization is a more advanced stage of civilization."_

It is surely clear that, like those missionaries who, in order to carry
the Christian faith to heathen peoples, secure the co-operation of a
squadron and a landing party which straightway establish in the
idolatrous country commercial stores protected by a ring of cannon,
German intelligence cannot without selfishness keep her treasures to
herself. She is obliged to share them.

"_Germany wishes to organize Europe, for Europe has hitherto not been
organized. With us everything tends to elicit from each individual the
maximal output in the direction most favorable for society. That for us
is liberty in its highest form._"

We may well pause to marvel at this way of talking about human "culture"
as though it were a question of asparagus and artichokes. Of this
happiness, and these advantages, this maximal output, this market-garden
culture, this liberty of artichokes subjected to a judicious forcing
process, Professor Ostwald does not wish to deprive the other peoples of
Europe. As they are so unenlightened as not to acquiesce with

"_War will make them participate in the form of this organization in our
higher civilization._"

Thereupon the chemist-philosopher, who is also in his leisure hours a
politician and a strategist, sketches in bold outline the picture of the
victories of Germany and a remodeled Europe--a United States of Europe
under the paternal sceptre of his mailed Kaiser: England crushed, France
disarmed, and Russia dismembered. His colleague Haeckel completes this
joyous _exposé_ by dividing Belgium, the British Empire, and the North
of France--like Perrette of the fable before her pitcher broke.
Unfortunately neither Haeckel nor Ostwald tells us if their plan for the
establishment of this higher civilization included the destruction of
the Halle of Ypres, of the Library at Louvain, of the Cathedral at
Rheims. After all these conquests, divisions, and devastations, let us
not overlook this wonderful sentence of which Ostwald certainly did not
realize the sinister buffoonery, worthy of a Molière: "You know that I
am a pacifist."

However far the high priests of a cult may allow their emotion to carry
them, their profession of faith still retains a certain diplomatic
reserve which does not hamper their followers. Thus the
_Kulturmenschen_. But the zeal of their Levites must frequently disturb
the serenity of Moses and Aaron--Haeckel and Ostwald--by its intemperate
frankness. I do not know what they think of the article of Thomas Mann
which appeared in the November number of the _Neue Rundschau_: "Gedanken
im Kriege." But I do know what certain French intellectuals will think
of it. Germany could not offer them a more terrible weapon against

In an access of delirious pride and exasperated fanaticism Mann employs
his envenomed pen to justify the worst accusations that have been made
against Germany. While an Ostwald endeavors to identify the cause of
_Kultur_ with that of civilization, Mann proclaims: "They have nothing
in common. The present war is that of _Kultur_ (i. e., of Germany)
against civilization." And pushing this outrageous boast of pride to the
point of madness, he defines civilization as Reason (_Vernunft,
Aufklärung_), Gentleness (_Sittigung, Sänftigung_), Spirit (_Geist,
Auflösung_), and Kultur as "a spiritual _organization_ of the world"
which does not exclude "bloody savagery." Kultur is "the sublimation of
the demoniacal" (_die Sublimierung des Dämonischen_). It is "above
morality, above reason, and above science." While Ostwald and Haeckel
see in militarism merely an arm or instrument of which Kultur makes use
to secure victory, Thomas Mann affirms that Kultur and Militarism are
brothers--their ideal is the same, their aim the same, their principle
the same. Their enemy is peace, is spirit ("_Ja, der Geist ist zivil,
ist bürgerlich_"). He finally dares to inscribe on his own and his
country's banner the words, "Law is the friend of the weak; it would
reduce the world to a level. War brings out strength."

    _Das Gesetz ist der Freund des Schwachen,_
    _Möchte gern die Welt verflachen_
    _Aber der Krieg lässt die Kraft erscheinen...._

In this criminal glorification of violence, Thomas Mann himself has been
surpassed. Ostwald preached the victory of Kultur, if necessary by
Force; Mann proved that Kultur is Force. Some one was needed to cast
aside the last veil of reserve and say "Force alone. All else be
silent." We have read extracts from the cynical article in which
Maximilian Harden, treating the desperate efforts of his Government to
excuse the violation of Belgian neutrality as feeble lies, dared to

"_Why on earth all this fuss? Might creates our Right. Did a powerful
man ever submit himself to the crazy pretensions or to the judgment of a
band of weaklings?_"

What a testimony to the madness into which German intelligence has been
precipitated by pride and struggle, and to the moral anarchy of this
Empire, whose _organization_ is imposing only to the eyes of those who
do not see farther than the façade! Who cannot see the weakness of a
Government which gags its socialist press and yet tolerates such an
insulting contradiction as this? Who does not see that such words
defame Germany before the whole world for centuries to come? These
miserable intellectuals imagine that with their display of infuriated
Nietzcheism and Bismarckism they are acting heroically and impressing
the world. They merely disgust it. They wish to be believed. People are
only too ready to believe them. The whole of Germany will be made
responsible for the delirium of a few writers. Germany will one day
realize she has had no more deadly enemy than her own intellectuals.

       *       *       *       *       *

I write here without prejudice, for I am certainly not proud of our
French intellectuals. The Idol of Race, or of Civilization, or of
Latinity, which they so greatly abuse, does not satisfy me. I do not
like any idol--not even that of Humanity. But at any rate those to which
my country bows down are less dangerous. They are not aggressive, and,
moreover, there remains even in the most fanatical of our intellectuals
a basis of native common sense, of which the Germans of whom I have just
spoken seem to have lost all trace. But it must be admitted that on
neither side have they brought honor to the cause of reason, which they
have not been able to protect against the winds of violence and folly.
There is a saying of Emerson's which is applicable to their failure:

"_Nothing is more rare in any man than an act of his own._"

Their acts and their writings have come to them from others, from
outside, from public opinion, blind and menacing. I do not wish to
condemn those who have been obliged to remain silent either because they
are in the armies, or because the censorship which rules in countries
involved in war has imposed silence upon them. But the unheard-of
weakness with which the leaders of thought have everywhere abdicated to
the collective madness has certainly proved their lack of _character_.

Certain somewhat paradoxical passages in my own writings have caused me
at times to be styled an anti-intellectual; an absurd charge to bring
against one who has given his life to the worship of thought. But it is
true that Intellectualism has often appeared to me as a mere caricature
of Thought--Thought mutilated, deformed, and petrified, powerless, not
only to dominate the drama of life, but even to understand it. And the
events of to-day have proved me more in the right than I wished to be.
The intellectual lives too much in the realm of shadows, of ideas.
Ideas have no existence in themselves, but only through the hopes or
experiences which can fill them. They are either summaries, or
hypotheses; frames for what has been or will be; convenient or necessary
formulæ. One cannot live and act without them, but the evil is that
people make them into oppressive realities. No one contributes more to
this than the intellectual, whose trade it is to handle them, who,
biased by his profession, is always tempted to subordinate reality to
them. Let there supervene a collective passion which completes his
blindness, and it will be cast in the form of the idea which can best
serve its purpose: it transfers its life-blood to that idea, and the
idea magnifies and glorifies it in turn. Nothing is more long-lived in a
man than a phantom which his own mind has created, a phantom in which
are combined the madness of his heart and the madness of his head. Hence
the intellectuals in the present crisis have not been overcome by the
warlike contagion less than others, but they have themselves contributed
to spreading it. I would add (for it is their punishment) that they are
victims of the contagion for a longer period: for whilst simple folk
constantly submit to the test of every-day action and of experience, and
modify their ideas without conscious regret, the intellectual finds
himself bound in the net of his own creation and every word that he
writes draws the bonds tighter. Hence while we see that in the soldiers
of all armies the fire of hate is rapidly dying down and that they
already fraternize from trench to trench, the writers redouble their
furious arguments. We can easily prophesy that when the remembrance of
this senseless war has passed away among the people its bitterness will
still be smouldering in the hearts of the intellectuals....

Who shall break the idols? Who shall open the eyes of their fanatical
followers? Who shall make them understand that no god of their minds,
religious or secular, has the right to force himself on other human
beings--even he who seems the most worthy--or to despise them? Admitting
that your _Kultur_ on German soil produces the sturdiest and most
abundant human crop, who has entrusted to you the mission of cultivating
other lands? Cultivate your own garden. We will cultivate ours. There is
a sacred flower for which I would give all the products of your
artificial culture. It is the wild violet of Liberty. You do not care
about it. You tread it under foot. But it will not die. It will live
longer than your masterpieces of barrack and hot-house. It is not
afraid of the wind. It has braved other tempests than that of today. It
grows under brambles and under dead leaves. Intellectuals of Germany,
intellectuals of France, labor and sow on the fields of your own minds:
respect those of others. Before _organizing_ the world you have enough
to do to _organize_ your own private world. Try for a moment to forget
your ideas and behold yourselves. And above all, look at us. Champions
of _Kultur_ and of Civilization, of the Germanic races and of Latinity,
enemies, friends, let us look one another in the eyes. My brother, do
you not see there a heart similar to your own, with the same hopes, the
same egoism, and the same heroism and power of dream which forever
refashions its gossamer web? _Vois-tu pas que tu es moi_? said the old
Hugo to one of his enemies....

The true man of culture is not he who makes of himself and his ideal the
center of the universe, but who looking around him sees, as in the sky
the stream of the Milky Way, thousands of little flames which flow with
his own; and who seeks neither to absorb them nor to impose upon them
his own course, but to give himself the religious persuasion of their
value and of the common source of the fire by which all alike are fed.
Intelligence of the mind is nothing without that of the heart. It is
nothing also without good sense and humor--good sense which shows to
every people and to every being their place in the universe--and humor
which is the critic of misguided reason, the soldier who, following the
chariot to the Capitol, reminds Cæsar in his hour of triumph that he is

_Journal de Genève_, December 4, 1914.


National passions are triumphant. For five months they have rent our
Europe. They think they will soon have compassed its destruction and
effaced its image in the hearts of the last of these who remain faithful
to it. But they are mistaken. They have renewed the faith that we had in
it. They have made us recognize its value and our love. And from one
country to another we have discovered our unknown brothers, sons of the
same mother, who in the hour when she is denied, consecrate themselves
to her defence.

Today, it is from Spain that the voice reaches us, from the thinkers of
Catalonia. Let us pass on their appeal which comes to us from the shores
of the Mediterranean, like the sound of a Christmas bell. Another day
the bells of Northern Europe will be heard in their turn. And soon all
will ring together in unison. The test is good. Let us be thankful.
Those who desired to separate us have joined our hands.

R. R.

_December 31, 1914._


A number of literary and scientific men at Barcelona, as far removed
from amorphous internationalism on the one hand as from mere
parochialism on the other, have banded themselves together _to affirm
their unchangeable belief in the moral unity of Europe_, and to further
this belief as far as the suffocating conditions resulting from the
present tragic circumstances permit.

We set out from the principle that the terrible war which today is
rending the heart of this Europe of ours is, by implication, a _Civil

A civil war does not exactly mean an unjust war; still, it can only be
justified by a conflict between great ideals, and if we desire the
triumph of one or the other of these ideals, it must be for the sake of
the entire European Commonwealth and its general well-being. None of the
belligerents, therefore, can be allowed to aim at the complete
destruction of its opponents; and it is even less legitimate to start
out from the criminal hypothesis that one or another of the parties is
_de facto_ already excluded from this superior commonwealth.

Yet we have seen with pain assertions such as these approved and
deliriously spread abroad; and not always amongst common people, or by
the voices of those who speak not with authority. For three months it
seemed as if our ideal Europe were ship-wrecked, but a reaction is
making its appearance already. A thousand indications assure us that, in
the world of intellect at any rate, the winds are quieting down, and
that in the best minds the eternal values will soon spring up once more.

It is our purpose to assist in this reaction, to contribute to making it
known, and, as far as we are able, to ensure its triumph. We are not
alone. We have with us in every quarter of the world the ardent
aspirations of far-sighted minds, and the unvoiced wishes of thousands
of men of good will, who, beyond their sympathies and personal
preferences, are determined to remain faithful to the cause of this
moral unity.

And above all we have, in the far distant future, the appreciation of
the men who tomorrow will applaud this modest work to which we are
devoting ourselves today.

We will begin by giving the greatest possible publicity to those
actions, declarations, and manifestations--whether they emanate from
belligerent or neutral nations--in which the effort of reviving the
feeling of a higher unity and a generous altruism may become apparent.
Later we shall be able to extend our activities and place them at the
service of new enterprises. We demand nothing more of our friends, of
our press, and of our fellow citizens than a little attention for these
quickenings of reality, a little respect for the interests of a higher
humanity, and a little love for the great traditions and the rich
possibilities of a _unified Europe_.

BARCELONA, _November 27, 1914_.

EUGENIO D'ORS, Member of the Institute; MANUEL DE MONTOLIU, Author;
AURELIO RAS, Director of the Review _Estudio_; AUGUSTIN MURUA,
University Professor; TELESFORO DE ARANZADI, University Professor;
MIGUEL S. OLIVER; JUAN PALAU, publicist; PABLO VILA, Director of _Mont
d'Or_ College; ENRIQUE JARDI, Barrister; E. MESSEGUER, publicist; CARMEN
KARR, Director of the _Residencia de Estudiantes El Hogar_; ESTEBAN
TERRADES, Member of the Institute; JOSE ZULUETA, Member of Parliament;
R. JORI, Author; EUDALDO DURAN REYNALS, Librarian of the _Biblioteca de
Cataluna_; RAFAEL CAMPALANS, Engineer; J. M. LOPEZ-PICO, Author; R.
RUCABADO, Author; E. CUELLO CALOU, University Professor; MANUEL
REVENLOS, Professor of the _Escuela de Funcionarios_; J. FARRAN MAYORAL,
Author; JAIME MASSO TORRENTS, Member of the Institute; JORGE RUBIO
BALAGUER, Director of the _Biblioteca de Cataluna_.

_Translated from the Spanish by R. R._

_Journal de Genève_, January 9, 1915.


In the preceding chapter, in which I put before my readers the fine
manifesto of the Catalonian intellectuals "For the Moral Unity of
Europe," I stated that after this appeal from the Mediterranean South I
would make known those of the North. Amongst the latter here is the
voice of Holland:--

The _Nederlandsche Anti-Oorlog Road_ (Dutch Anti-War Council) is perhaps
the most important attempt that these last months has seen to unify
pacifist thought. Whilst recognizing the value of what has been done for
some years past in favor of peace, the N. A. O. R. is convinced that
"all this work could have been much more effective, and could even have
prevented the present catastrophe, if it had been better taken in hand."
There has been lack of co-operation, wastage of energy, lack of
penetration to the mass of the people. The problem is to discover if
this internal defect cannot be remedied. "Will the world-wide tragedy of
rivalry continue even inside the pacifist movement, or will this war
teach those who are fighting against it the necessity of an energetic
organization and preparation?"

To this task the N.A.O.R. is devoting itself. Founded on October 8,
1914, it had succeeded by January 15th in securing the adhesion of 350
Dutch societies (official, political, of all parties, religious,
intellectual, labor), and its manifestoes brought together the
signatures of more than a hundred of the most illustrious names of the
Netherlands--statesmen, prelates, officers, writers, professors,
artists, business men, etc. It therefore represents a considerable moral

Let it be said at once that the N.A.O.R. does not look for an immediate
end of the war by a peace at any price. On the one hand it declares
itself "it has formed no presumptuous idea of its strength; it has no
naïve confidence in vague peace formulæ, nor even in well-defined mutual
obligations. The universal war of today has, alas! taught it much in
this respect also." And, moreover, it is quite aware that a peace at
any price, under present conditions, would only be a consecration of
injustice. The great public meetings which it has organized on December
15th in the chief towns of the Netherlands have unanimously declared
that such a peace seemed neither possible nor even desirable. I will add
that certain of the articles of the N.A.O.R. suggest, with all the
reserve necessitated by its attitude of neutrality and its profound
desire for impartiality, the direction of its suppressed sympathies.
Especially the following:--

"To repair the harm done by this war to the prestige of law in
international relations. To bow before the law, whether customary or
codified in treaties is a duty, even where sanction is wanting. Reform
will be in vain: if there is not respect for law, and nations refuse to
keep their word, a durable peace is out of the question."

The object of the N.A.O.R. is especially to study the conditions in
which we can realize a just, humane, and durable peace, which will
secure for Europe a long future of fruitful tranquility and of common
work, and to interest the public opinion of all nations in securing such
a peace. I cannot analyze here, owing to lack of space, the various
public manifestoes, the _Appeal to the People of Holland_ (October,
1914), or the _Appeal for Co-operation and the Preparation of Peace_, a
kind of attempt to mobilize the pacifist armies (November). The latter
of these contains ideas which agree in many cases with those of the
_Union of Democratic Control_ (the abolition of secret diplomacy, and a
larger control of foreign affairs by Parliaments; the prohibition of
special armament industries; the establishment of the elementary
principle of international law, that no country shall be annexed without
the consent, freely expressed, of the population). I will content myself
here with publishing the manifesto addressed to the thinkers, writers,
artists, and scientists of all nations. In this manifesto we shall find
support for the tasks which we ourselves have undertaken in working to
keep the thought of Europe sheltered from the ravages of the war, and in
continually recalling it to the recognition of its highest duty, which
is, even in the worst storms of passion, to safeguard the spiritual
unity bf civilized humanity.

R. R.

_February 7, 1915._


Immediately after the European war had broken out, several groups of
intellectuals belonging to the warring nations have advocated the
justice of their country's cause in manifestoes and pamphlets, which
they have scattered in great numbers throughout the neutral states.[25]
And this still goes on; side by side with the war of the sword a no less
vehement war is carried on with the pen.

Those writings have also reached us, the undersigned, all subjects of a
neutral state. We have read them with the greatest interest, as they
enable us to form a clear opinion not only of the frame of mind brought
about by the outbreak of the war among the intellectuals of the warring
nations, but also of the opinions they hold about the causes and the
nature of the present war.

It has not surprised us neutrals to see that the spokesmen of the
opposing nations are equally convinced of the justice of their cause.
Neither has it surprised us that those spokesmen evince such a strong
inclination to advocate their rights before the neutral states. Indeed,
in such a terrible struggle it is a psychologic necessity for all the
nations concerned that they should believe implicitly in the justice of
their cause; they must ardently desire to testify to their faith before
others. Only an unshakable confidence in the absolute justice of their
cause can keep them from wavering or despairing during the gigantic

But we have perceived with great sorrow that the greater part of those
writings are absolutely lacking in the slightest effort to be just
towards opponents; that the meanest and most malicious motives are
ascribed to them.

We respect the conviction of every one of the warring nations that they
are fighting for a just cause. Even if we should have formed an opinion
about the origin of the war, we should yet not think the present a fit
moment to oppose different opinions or arguments to each other. This
should be the work of the future, when scientific research will be able
to consider all the facts quietly, when national passions will have
subsided and the nations will listen with more composure to the verdict
of history.

Yet we think it our duty and we consider it a privilege given to us as
neutrals to utter a serious warning against the systematic rousing of a
lasting bitterness between the now warring parties.

Though fully aware that the late events have irritated the feeling of
nationality to the utmost, yet we believe that patriotism should not
prevent any one from doing justice to the character of one's enemy;
that faith in the virtues of one's own nation need not be coupled with
the idea that all vices are inherent in the opposing nation; that
confidence in the justice of one's own cause should not make one forget
that the other side cherishes that conviction with the same energy.

Besides, no one should forget that the question: "What nations will be
enemies?" depends on political relations, which vary according to
unexpected circumstances. Today's enemy may be tomorrow's friend.

The tone, in which of late not only the papers to which we have referred
above, but also the newspaper press of the warring nations has written
about the enemy, threatens to arouse and to perpetuate the bitterest

To the evils directly resulting from the war, will be added the
regrettable consequence that co-operation between the belligerent
nations in art, science, and all other labors of peace will be delayed
for some time, nay, even made quite impossible. Yet the time will come
after this war, when the nations will have to resume some form of
intercourse, social as well as spiritual.

The fewer fierce accusations have been breathed on either side, the less
one nation has attacked the character of the other: in short, the less
lasting bitterness has been roused, so much the easier will it be
afterwards to take up again the broken threads of international

This rousing of hatred and bitterness is also an impediment in the way
that leads our thoughts towards peace.

Every one who in word or writing rails at the enemy or excites national
passions is responsible for the longer duration of this horrible war.

Therefore, we the undersigned, appeal to all those of the same mind,
especially among those belonging to the warring nations, to co-operate
for this purpose: that in word and writing everything be avoided that
may rouse lasting animosity.

We especially address this appeal to those who influence public opinion
in their own country, to men of science and to artists, to those who
long ago have realized that in all civilized countries there are men and
women with the same notions of justice and morality as they have

May the representatives of all countries--according to the saying of a
Dutch statesmen--remember what unites them and not only what separates

_Signed_:--H.-C. DRESSELHUYS, Secretary-General of the Ministry of
Justice, _President_ of the N.A.O.R. J.-H. SCHAPER, member of the
Second Chamber, _Vice-President_. Madame M. ASSER-THORBEKE, secretary of
the Dutch League for Women's Suffrage. Professor Dr. D. VAN EMBDEN,
Professor of law at Amsterdam. Dr. KOOLEN, member of the Second Chamber.
V.-H. RUTGERS, member of the Second Chamber. Baron de JONG VAN BEEK EN
DONK, _Secretary_ of the N.A.O.R. (and also subscribed to by 130
politicians, intellectuals, and artists, including FREDERIK VAN EEDEN,
WILLEM MENGELBERG, etc.). Office: Theresiastraat, 51, The Hague.

_Journal de Genève_, February 15, 1915.


_January 12, 1915._


You offer me the hospitality of your paper _De Amsterdammer_. I thank
you and accept. It is good to take one's stand with those free souls who
resist the unrestrained fury of national passions. In this hideous
struggle, with which the conflicting peoples are rending Europe, let us
at least preserve our flag, and rally round that. We must re-create
European opinion. That is our first duty. Among these millions who are
only conscious of being Germans, Austrians, Frenchmen, Russians,
English, etc., let us strive to be _men_, who, rising above the selfish
aims of short-lived nations, do not lose sight of the interests of
civilization as a whole--that civilization which each race mistakenly
identifies with its own, to destroy that of the others. I wish your
noble country,[26] which has always preserved its political and moral
independence among the great surrounding states, could become the hearth
of this ideal Europe we believe in--the hearth round which shall gather
all those who seek to rebuild her.

Everywhere there are men who think thus though they are unknown one to
another. Let us get to know them. Let us bring together each and all.
Here I would introduce to you two important groups, one from the North
and one from the South--the Catalonian thinkers who have formed the
society of _Amis de l'Unité Morale de l'Europe_ at Barcelona--I send you
their fine appeal: and the _Union of Democratic Control_ founded in
London and inspired by indignation against this European war, and by the
firm determination to render it impossible for the diplomatists and
militarists to inaugurate another. I am having the programmes and the
first publications sent to you. This Union, whose general Council
contains members of Parliament, and authors like Norman Angell, Israel
Zangwill, and Vernon Lee, has already formed twenty branches in towns in
Great Britain.

Let us try and unite permanently all such organizations, though each has
its racial characteristics and peculiarities, for all aim at
re-establishing the peace of Europe as best they may. With them let us
take stock of our united resources. Then we can act.

       *       *       *       *       *

What shall we do? Try to put an end to the struggle? It is no use
thinking of that now. The brute is loose; and the Governments have
succeeded so well in spreading hatred and violence abroad that even if
they wished they could not bring it back again into control. The damage
is irreparable. It is possible that the neutral countries of Europe and
the United States of America may decide one day to interfere, and
endeavor to put an end to a war which, if it continued indefinitely,
would threaten to ruin them as well as the belligerents. But I do not
know what one must expect from this too tardy intervention.

In any case I see another outlet for our activity. Let the war be what
it may--we can no longer intervene; but at least we must try to make the
scourge productive of as little evil and as much good as possible. And
in order to do this we must get public opinion all the world over to see
to it that the peace of the future shall be just, that the greed of the
conqueror (whoever that may be) and the intrigues of diplomacy, do not
make it the seed of a new war of revenge; and that the moral crimes
committed in the past are not repeated or allowed to stain yet darker
the record of humanity. That is why I hold the first article of the
Union of Democratic Control as a sacred principle: "No Province shall be
transferred from one Government to another without the consent by
plebiscite of the population of such province." We must oppose those
odious maxims which have weighed too long on the populations they
enslave and which quite recently Professor Lasson dared to repeat as a
threat for the future, in his cynical Catechism of Force (_Das
Kulturideal und der Krieg_).[27]

And this principle must be proposed and adopted at once without any
delay. If we waited to announce it until--the war being over--the
congress of the Powers were assembled, we should be suspected of wishing
to make justice serve the interest of the conquered. It is now, when the
forces of the two sides are equal, that we must establish this
primordial right which soars over all the armies.

From this principle we can deduce an immediate application. Since the
whole of Europe is disorganized let us profit by it to set in order
this untidy house! For a long time injustices have been accumulating.
The moment of settling the general account will be an opportunity of
rectifying them. The duty of all of us who feel for the brotherhood of
mankind is to stand for the rights of the small nations. There are some
in both camps: Schleswig, Alsace, Lorraine, Poland, the Baltic nations,
Armenia, the Jewish people. At the beginning of the war Russia made some
generous promises. We have registered them in our minds; let her not
forget them! We are as determined about Poland, torn by the claws of
three imperial eagles, as we are about Belgium crucified. We remember
all. It is because our fathers, obsessed by their narrow realism and by
selfish fears, let the rights of the people of Eastern Europe be
violated, that today the West is shattered, and the sword hangs over the
small nations, over you, my friends, as over the country which is
befriending me, Switzerland. Whoever harms one of us harms all the
others. Let us unite! Above all race questions, which are for the most
part a mask behind which pride crouches and the interests of the
financial or aristocratic classes dissemble, there is a law of humanity,
eternal and universal, of which we are all the servants and guardians;
it is that of the right of a people to rule themselves. And he who
violates shall be the enemy of all.

R. R.

_De Amsterdammer Weekblad voor Nederland_, January
24, 1915.


_March 15, 1915._

While the war tempest rages, uprooting the strongest souls and dragging
them along in its furious cyclone, I continue my humble pilgrimage,
trying to discover beneath the ruins the rare hearts who have remained
faithful to the old ideal of human fraternity. What a sad joy I have in
collecting and helping them!

I know that each of their efforts--like mine--that each of their words
of love, rouses and turns against them the hostility of the two hostile
camps. The combatants, pitted against each other, agree in hating those
who refuse to hate. Europe is like a besieged town. Fever is raging.
Whoever will not rave like the rest is suspected. And in these hurried
times when justice cannot wait to study evidence, every suspect is a
traitor. Whoever insists, in the midst of war, on defending peace among
men knows that he risks his own peace, his reputation, his friends, for
his belief. But of what value is a belief for which no risks are run?

Certainly it is put to the test in these days, when every day brings the
echo of violence, injustice, and new cruelties. But was it not still
more tried when it was entrusted to the fishermen of Judea by him whom
humanity pretends to honor still--with its lips more than with its
heart? The rivers of blood, the burnt towns, all the atrocities of
thought and action, will never efface in our tortured souls the luminous
track of the Galilean barque, nor the deep vibrations of the great
voices which from across the centuries proclaim reason as man's true
home. You choose to forget them, and to say (like many writers of today)
that this war will begin a new era in the history of mankind, a reversal
of former values, and that from it alone will future progress be dated.
That is always the language of passion. Passion passes away. Reason
remains--reason and love. Let us continue to search for their young
shoots amidst the bloody ruins.

I feel the same joy when I find the fragile and valiant flowers of human
pity piercing the icy crust of hatred that covers Europe, as we feel in
these chilly March days when we see the first flowers appear above the
soil. They show that the warmth of life persists below the surface of
the earth, that fraternal love persists below the surface of the
nations, and that soon nothing will prevent it rising again.

I have on several occasions shown how the neutral countries have become
the refuge of this European spirit, which seems driven from the
belligerent countries by the armies of the pen, more savage than the
others because they risk nothing. The efforts made in Holland or in
Spain to save the moral unity of Europe, the burning charity and
untiring help that Switzerland lavishes on prisoners, on wounded, on
victims of both sides, are a great comfort to oppressed souls, who in
every country are suffocating in the atmosphere of hatred forced on
them, and who look for purer air. But I find still more beautiful and
touching the signs of fraternal aid between friends and enemies in
belligerent countries, however rare and feeble they may be.

If there are two countries between which the present war seems specially
to have created an abyss of hatred and misunderstanding, they are
England and Germany. The writers and publicists of Germany, whose orders
are to profess for France rather sympathy and compassion than
animosity, and who are even constrained to distinguish between the
people and the Government of Russia, have vowed eternal hatred against
England. _Hasse England_ has become their _Delenda Carthago_. The most
moderate declare that the struggle cannot be ended except by the
destruction of the _Seeherrschaft_ (naval supremacy) of Britain. And
Great Britain is not less determined to continue the conflict until
German militarism has been totally eradicated. Yet it is precisely
between these two nations that the noblest bonds of mutual assistance
for the misfortunes of the enemy have been formed and maintained.

Two days after the declaration of war there was founded in London by the
Archbishop of Canterbury and by well known persons, such as J.
Allen-Baker, M.P., the Right-Hon. W. H. Dickinson, M.P., Lord and Lady
Courtney of Penwith, the _Emergency Committee for the Assistance of
Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians in Distress_. This work, which
affects a large part of England, consists in paying the repatriation
expenses of destitute civilians, of accompanying German women and girls
on their return journey, of securing hospitality in families for poor
Germans and finding work for them. By the end of December almost £10,000
had been spent in this way. Several sub-committees visit Prisoners'
Camps, facilitate correspondence between the belligerent nations, or
undertake, for Christmas, to convey to interned alien enemies more than
20,000 parcels and 200 Christmas trees. Another English society, already
in existence before the war, the _Society of Friends of Foreigners in
Distress_, regularly looks after 1,800 German and Austrian families.
Finally, the Central Bureau (London) of the International Union of Women
Suffrage Societies has rendered great service to foreigners, paying for
the return journey of between seven and eight thousand women.

In Germany there has been founded at Berlin a similar Bureau for giving
information and assistance to Germans abroad, and to foreigners in
Germany (_Auskunfts-und Hilfsstelle für Deutsche im Ausland und
Ausländer in Deutschland_). Amongst its members may be noted
aristocratic names, and persons well known in the religious and academic
world: Frau Marie von Bülow-Mœrlins, Helene Græfin Harrach, Nora
Freiin von Schleinitz, Professors W. Foerster, D. Baumgarten, Paul
Natorp, Martin Rade, Siegmund-Schultze, etc. At its head is a lady of
deep religious feeling, Dr. Elisabeth Rotten. As will be readily
imagined, an undertaking of this kind has not failed to evoke suspicion
and opposition in nationalist quarters. But it has emerged successful,
and persists; and here are the terms in which it justifies its high
mission against the ravings of German Chauvinism:

"Since the beginning of the war we have recognized the obligation to
interest ourselves in the welfare of foreigners stranded in Germany.
Efforts such as ours are as unpopular in our country as in other
countries. At a time when the whole German people is engaged in
resisting the enemy, it seems superfluous to render to those who belong
to foreign countries more than minimum services to which they are
legally entitled. But it is not only the thought of our kinsmen abroad
which urges us to this work, it is our own desire to render friendly
service (_Freundendienste_) to those who, through no fault of their own,
are in difficulties because of the war. Even in war time, our neighbor
is he who is in need of our help; and love for one's enemy
(_Feindesliebe_) remains a sign whereby those who retain their faith in
the Lord may recognize one another....

"We have been able to reassure German families as to the lot of their
members in enemy countries, and in return to vouch to foreigners for the
fact that their friends in our country will be able to rely on us for
assistance if they need it. We have been able to help as neighbors
(_Naechstendienste_) innocent enemies, in whom we see human brothers and
sisters. Above and beyond this practical aid, we find consolation and
comfort in being able freely to hearken, even in such times as these, to
the voice of humanity, and to the command 'love thy neighbor.' The
tragedy which bursts over the earth on every side, which fills all our
being with a religious respect for human suffering, but also stirs our
love and self-sacrifice, enlarges our hearts and leaves no room except
for feelings of affirmation and benevolent action.

"Our desire to help and to alleviate suffering knows no frontiers. This
need is all the more urgent when we find in the sufferings of others the
traits of what we ourselves also suffer. What unites men goes deeper
into our being than what separates them. That we can tend the wounds
that we are constrained to deal, and that the same is the case in the
enemy's country, gives promise of the brighter days which will come. In
the midst of the tempest which destroys all around us so many things
which we consider worthy of eternal existence, the possibility of such
action strengthens our courage and gives us hope that new bridges will
be rebuilt, on which the men who now find themselves separated, will
once more be closely united in a common effort."

I dedicate these noble words to my friends amongst the people of France,
who have so often, by letter or by message, declared to me their
sympathy for such thoughts and their unchanging faith in humanity. I
dedicate them to all in France who, even in these days, by their justice
and goodness contribute to make their country loved, as much as she
makes herself admired by her arms--to those who assure her of the name
which I read with emotion on a postcard written yesterday, on his way to
Geneva, by a badly wounded German who had been repatriated: the name of
_gutes Frankreich_, "good France," or, as our tender-hearted old writers
used to say, "_Douce_ France."

R. R.

I take this opportunity of recommending to my French readers the
publication of Mme. Arthur Spitzer (Geneva): _Le Paquet du prisonnier de
guerre_. It has contributors in Paris, and was founded in November "to
bring comfort in their misery to such French, Belgians, and English
prisoners as cannot be assisted by their families." It begs all who wish
to send a parcel to a relation or friend who has been taken prisoner, to
send with it, when possible, a similar consignment for some other
prisoner--one of their fellow countrymen without relations, friends, or
resources. May this noble thought of solidarity be extended later, in
more humane times, so that whoever helps a prisoner belonging to his own
country may be willing at the same time to help an enemy prisoner!

R. R.

_Journal de Genève_, March 15, 1915.


The European thought of tomorrow is with the armies. The furious
intellectuals in one camp and the other who insult one another do not
represent it at all. The voice of the peoples who will return from the
war, after having experienced the terrible reality, will send back into
the silence of obscurity these men who have revealed themselves as
unworthy to be spiritual guides of the human race. Amongst those who
thus retire more than one St. Peter will then hear the cock crow, and
will weep saying, "Lord, I have denied thee!"

The destinies of humanity will rise superior to those of all the
nations. Nothing will be able to prevent the reforming of the bonds
between the thought of the hostile nations. Whatever nation should stand
aside would commit suicide. For by means of these bonds the tide of life
is kept in motion.

But they have never been completely broken, even at the height of the
war. The war has even had the sad advantage of grouping together
throughout the universe the minds who reject national hatred. It has
tempered their strength, it has welded their wills into a solid block.
Those are mistaken who think that the ideals of a free human fraternity
are at present stifled! They are but silent under the gag of military
(and civil) dictation which reigns throughout Europe. But the gag will
fall, and they will burst forth with explosive force. I am agonized by
the sufferings of millions of innocent victims, sacrificed today on the
field of battle, but I have no anxiety for the future unity of European
society. It will be realized anew. The war of today is its baptism of

R. R.

_April 10, 1915._


The intellectuals on both sides have been much in evidence since the
beginning of the war; they have, indeed, brought so much violence and
passion to bear upon it, that it might almost be called their war!

It seems to me, however, that attention has not been sufficiently drawn
to the fact that, with a few exceptions, it is only the voice of the
older generation that has been heard--the voice of Academicians, and
Professoren, of distinguished members of the press and the universities,
of poets of established reputations, and the doyens of literature, art,
and science.

As far as France is concerned, the explanation of this is simple: nearly
all those up to the age of forty-eight who are able to bear arms are now
acting instead of talking. In Germany the situation is rather different,
since for various reasons, which I shall not attempt to elucidate, much
of the literary youth of the nation has remained at home, and continues
to publish books. Even those who are at the front contrive to send
articles and poems to the Reviews (for the passion for writing dies hard
in Germany).

It seems to me to be of importance to ascertain what spiritual currents
are influencing the young intellectuals of Germany.[29]

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been pointed out that in all countries the extremest views have
been expressed by writers who have already passed _el mezzo del
cammino_. We shall attempt to find the reason for this at some later
date. At present we are content again to verify this fact in the case of
German writers. Almost all the celebrated and acknowledged poets, all
those who were rich in years and in honor, were swept off their feet at
the beginning of the war. And this fact is all the more curious because
some of them had been up to that time the apostles of peace, of pity,
and of humanitarianism. Dehmel, the enemy of war, the friend of all men,
who said that he did not know to which of the ten nationalities he owed
his intellect, is now writing Battle Songs (_Schlachtenlieder_), and
Songs of the Flag (_Fahnenlieder_), apostrophizing the enemy, praising
and dealing death. (At the age of fifty-one he is learning to bear arms,
and has enlisted against the Russians.) Gerhart Hauptmann, whom Fritz
von Unruh calls "the poet of brotherly love," has shaken off his
neurasthenia, and bids men "mow down the grass which drips with blood."
Franz Wedekind is pouring out invectives against Czarism, Lissauer
against England. Arno Holz is raving deliriously. Petzold desires to be
in every bullet that enters an enemy's heart; whilst Richard Nordhausen
has written an Ode to a Howitzer.[30]

At first the younger writers as well were possessed with the same
madness for war; but, in contact with the sufferings they endured and
inflicted, it quickly disappeared. Fritz von Unruh enlisted as a Uhlan,
and left for the front, crying "Paris, Paris is our goal!" Since the
Battle of the Aisne, in September, he has written "Der Lamm": "_Lamb of
God, I have seen thy look of suffering. Give us peace and rest; lead us
back to the heaven of love, and give us back our dead_." Rudolf
Leonhard sang of war at the beginning, and is still fighting; on
re-reading his poems shortly afterwards, he wrote on the front page:
"_These were written during the madness of the first weeks. That madness
has spent itself, and only our strength is left. We shall again win
control over ourselves and love one another._" Poets, hitherto unknown,
are revealed by the cry of compassion wrung from their anguished hearts.
To Andrea Fram, who has remained at home, it is a grief that he does not
suffer, whilst thousands of others suffer and die. "_All thy love, and
all thy agony, in spite of thy ardent desire, avail not to soothe the
last hour of a single man who is dying yonder._" Upon Ludwig Marck each
minute weighs like a nightmare:--

    Menschen in Not....
    Brüder dir tot....
    Krieg ist im Land....

The poet who writes under the pseudonym of Dr. Owlglass proposed a new
ideal for Germany, on the seventieth anniversary of the birth of
Nietzsche (October 15th): not the superman, but at least--man. And Franz
Werfel realizes this ideal in poems thrilling with a mournful humanity,
which takes part in the sacrament of misery and death:

"_We are bound together not only by our common words and deeds, but
still more by the dying glance, the last hours, the mortal anguish of
the breaking heart. And whether you bow down before the tyrant, or gaze
trembling into the beloved's countenance, or mark down your enemy with
pitiless glance, think of the eye that will grow dim, of the failing
breath, the parched lips and clenched hands, the final solitude, and the
brow that grows moist in the last agony.... Be kind.... Tenderness is
wisdom, kindness is reason[31].... We are strangers all upon this
earth, and die but to be reunited._"[32]

But the one German poet who has written the serenest and loftiest words,
and preserved in the midst of this demoniacal war an attitude worthy of
Goethe, is Hermann Hesse. He continues to live at Berne, and, sheltered
there from the moral contagion, he has deliberately kept aloof from the
combat. All will remember his noble article in the _Neue Zürcher
Zeitung_ of November 3rd, "_O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!_" in which he
implored the artists and thinkers of Europe "to save what little peace"
might yet be saved, and not to join with their pens in destroying the
future of Europe. Since then he has written some beautiful poems, one
of which, an Invocation to Peace, is inspired with deep feeling and
classical simplicity, and will find its way to many an oppressed heart.

    Jeder hat's gehabt
    Keiner hat's geschätzt.
    Jeden hat der süsse Quell gelabt.
    O wie klingt der Name Friede jetzt!

    Klingt so fern und zag,
    Klingt so tränenschwer,
    Keiner weiss und kennt den Tag,
    Jeder sehnt ihn vol Verlangen her....

("Each one possessed it, but no one prized it. Like a cool spring it
refreshed us all. What a sound the word Peace has for us now!

"Distant it sounds, and fearful, and heavy with tears. No one knows or
can name the day for which all sigh with such longing.")

       *       *       *       *       *

The attitude of the younger reviews is curious: for whereas the older,
traditional reviews (those which correspond to our _Revue des Deux
Mondes_ or our _Revue de Paris_) are more or less affected by military
fervor--thus, for instance, the _Neue Rundschau_, which printed Thomas
Mann's notorious vagaries on Culture and Civilization (_Gedanken im
Kriege_)--many of the younger ones affect a haughty detachment from
actual events.

That impassive publication, _Blätter für die Kunst_, over which broods
the invisible personality of Stefan George, published at the end of 1914
a volume of poems of 156 pages, which did not contain a single line
referring to the war. A note at the end affirms that the points of view
of the various authors have not changed on account of recent events, and
anticipates the objection that "this is not the time for poetry," by the
saying of Jean Paul: "No period has so much need of poetry, as the one
which thinks it can do without it."

_Die Aktion_, a vibrating, audacious Berlin review, with an ultra-modern
point of view, totally different from the calm impersonality of _Blätter
für die Kunst_, stated in its issue of August 15, 1914, that it would
not concern itself with politics, but would contain only literature and
art. And if it finds room in its literary columns for the war poems sent
from the field of battle by the military doctors, Wilhelm Klemm and Hans
Kock, it is in consideration of their value as art, and not for the
vivacity of their patriotic sentiments; for it scoffs mercilessly at
the ridiculous bards of German Chauvinism, at Heinrich Vierordt, the
author of _Deutschland, hasse_, at the criminal poets who stir up hatred
with their false stories, and at Professor Haeckel. The dilettantism of
this review is extreme. Its weekly issues contain translations from the
French of André Gide, Péguy, and Léon Bloy, and reproductions of the
works of Daumier, Delacroix, Cézanne, Matisse, and R. de la Fresnaye:
(cubism flourishes in this Berlin review). The issue of October 24th is
devoted to Péguy, and contains, as frontispiece, Egon Schiele's portrait
of the man, who is honored by Franz Pfemfert, the editor, as "the purest
and most vigorous moral force in French literature of today." Let us
hasten to add, however, that, as is often the case on the other side of
the Rhine, they are carried away by their zeal in deploring his death as
of one of their countrymen, and in proclaiming themselves his heirs. But
the pride which admires is at least superior to the pride which

The most important of these young reviews is _Die Weissen Blätter_;
important on account of the variety of questions it deals with, and the
value and number of its contributors, as well as for the
broad-mindedness of its editor--René Schickele. An Alsatian by birth,
he belongs to those who feel most acutely the bitterness of the present
struggle. After an interval of three months _Die Weissen Blätter_, which
almost corresponds to our _Nouvelle Revue Française_, reappeared in
January last with the following declaration, akin to that of the _Revue
des Nations_, at Berne. "_It seems good to us to begin the work of
reconstruction, in the midst of the war, and to aid in preparing for the
victory of the spirit. The community of Europe is at present apparently
destroyed. Is it not the duty of all of us who are not bearing arms, to
live from today onwards according to the dictates of our conscience, as
it will be the duty of every German when once the war is over?_"

By the side of these disinterested manifestoes about actual politics,
appear lengthy historical novels (_Tycho Brahé_ by Max Brod) and
satirical comedies by Carl Sternheim, who continues to scourge the upper
classes of German society, and the capitalists, for _Die Weissen
Blätter_ is open to all questions of the day. But in spite of the actual
differences which must necessarily exist between a German and a French
review, we cannot but point out the frankly hostile attitude of these
writers to all the excesses of Chauvinism. The articles of Max Scheler,
"Europe and the War," show an impartial attitude which is entirely
praiseworthy. The review opens its columns to the loyal Annette Kolb,
who, as the daughter of a German father and of a French mother, suffers
keenly in this conflict between the parts of her nature, and has lately
raised a tempest in Dresden, where in a public lecture she had the
courage to admit her fidelity to both sides, and to express her regret
that Germany should fail to understand France. In the February number,
under the title "Ganz niedrich hängen!" there appeared a violent
repudiation of the _Krieg mit dem Maul_ (the war of tongues); "_If
journalists hope to inspire courage by insulting the enemy, they are
mistaken--we refuse such stimulants. We dare to maintain our opinion,
that the humblest volunteer of the enemy, who from an unreasoned but
exalted sentiment of patriotism, fires upon us from an ambush, knowing
well what he risks, is much superior to those journalists who profit by
the public feeling of the day, and under cover of high-sounding words of
patriotism do not fight the enemy but spit upon him._"

Of all these young writers who are striving to preserve the integrity of
their minds against the force of national passions, the one whose
personality has been most exalted by this tempest, the most eloquent,
courageous, and decided of all is Wilhelm Herzog. He is the editor of
the _Forum_ at Munich, and like our own Péguy, when he began to publish
his _Cahiers de la Quinzaine_, he fills almost the whole of his review
with his own burning articles. The enthusiastic biographer of H. von
Kleist, he sees and judges the events of his own time with the eyes of
that indomitable spirit. The German censor attempts in vain to silence
him and to forbid the publication of the lectures of Spitteler and of
Annette Kolb; his indignation and cries of vengeful irony spread even to
us. He attacks bitterly the ninety-three intellectuals who "_fancy they
are all Ajaxes because they bray the loudest_," those politicians of the
school of Haeckel, who make a new division of the world, those patriotic
bards who insult other nations; he attacks Thomas Mann mercilessly,
scoffs at his sophistry, and defends France, the French Army,[33] and
French civilization against him; he points out that the great men of
Germany (Grünwald, Dürer, Bach, and Mozart amongst others) have always
been persecuted, humiliated, and calumniated.[34] In an article entitled
"_Der neue Geist_,"[35] after having scoffed at the banality that has
reappeared in the German theaters, and the literary mediocrity of
patriotic productions, he asked where this "new spirit" may be found,
and this gives him an opportunity to demolish Ostwald and Lasson.

"_Where is it to be found? In the Hochschulen? Have we not read that
incredibly clumsy_ (unwahrscheinlich plumpen) _appeal of the 99
professors? Have we not appreciated the statements of that double
centenarian_ (des zweihundertjährige Mummelgreises) _mummy Lasson? When
I was studying philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of
Berlin, the theatre in which he lectured was a place of amusement_
(Lachkabinett) _for us--nothing more. And today people take him
seriously! English, French, and Italian papers print his senile
babblings against Holland, as typical of the_ Stimmung _of the German
intellectuals. The wrong that these privy councillors and professors
have done us with their Aufklärungsarbeit can hardly be measured. They
have isolated themselves from humanity by their inability to realize the
feelings of others._"

In opposition to these false representatives of a nation, these cultured
gossips and political adventurers, he extols the silent ones, the great
mass of the people of all nations who suffer in silence; and he joins
with them in "the invisible community of sorrow."

"_One who is suffering and knows that his sorrow is shared by millions
of other beings, will bear it calmly; he will accept it willingly even,
because he knows that he is enriched thereby, made stronger, more
tender, more humane._"[36]

And he quotes the words of old Meister Eckehart: "_Suffering is the
fastest steed that will bear you to perfection._"

       *       *       *       *       *

At the close of this summary review of the young writers of the war, a
place must be found for those whom the war has crushed--they counted
amongst the best. Ernst Stadler was an enthusiastic admirer of French
art and of the French spirit. He translated Francis Jammes, and on the
eve of his death, in November, he was writing to Stefan Zweig from the
trenches about the poems of Verlaine, which he was translating. The
unfortunate George Trakl, the poet of melancholy, was made lieutenant of
a sanitary column in Galicia, and the sight of so much suffering drove
him to despair and death. And there are many hidden tragedies, still
unrevealed. When they are made known, humanity will tremble in
contemplating its handiwork.

I reflected, as doubtless many of my French readers have also done, in
reading through these German writings inspired by the war--writings
through which from time to time there passes a mighty breath of revolt
and sorrow--that our young writers are not writing "literature." Instead
of books they give us deeds, and their letters. And in re-reading some
of their letters I thought that ours had chosen the better part. It is
not for me now to point out the position that this heroic correspondence
will occupy, not only in our history but also in our literature. Into it
the flower of our youth has put all its life, its faith and its genius:
and for some of those letters I would give many of the finest lines of
the noblest poems. Whatever be the result of this war, and the opinion
as to its value later, it will be recognized that France has written on
paper, mud-stained and often blotted with blood, some of its sublimest
pages. Assuredly this war touches us more nearly than it does our
adversaries, for who of us would have the heart to write a play or a
novel whilst his country is in danger and his brothers dying?

But I will make no comparisons between the two nations. For the present
the essential thing is to show that even in Germany there are certain
finer minds who are fighting against the spirit which we hate--the
spirit of grasping imperialism and inhuman pride, of military caste and
the megalomania of pedants. They are but a minority--we have no
illusions about that--and we ought to redouble our efforts on that
account to vanquish the common enemy. Why then should we trouble to make
these generous but feeble voices heard? Because their merit is the
greater for being so little heeded; because it is the duty of those who
are fighting for justice to render justice in their turn to all those
men, even when they dwell in a country in which the state represents the
violation of right by _Faustrecht_, who are defending with us the spirit
of liberty.

_Journal de Genève_, April 19, 1915.


The phrase is not new-coined today;[37] but the fact is. Never in any
period, have we seen humanity throwing into the bloody arena all its
intellectual and moral reserves, its priests, its thinkers, its
scholars, its artists, the whole future of the spirit--wasting its
geniuses as food for cannon.

A great thing, doubtless, when the struggle is great, when a people
fights for an eternal cause, the fervor of which fires the whole nation,
from the smallest to the greatest; when it fuses all the egoisms,
purifies desire, and out of many souls makes one unanimous soul. But if
the cause be suspect or if it is tainted (as we judge that of our
adversaries to be), what will be the situation of a moral élite which
has preserved the sad and lofty privilege of perceiving at least a part
of the truth, and which must nevertheless fight and die and kill for a
faith which it doubts?

Those passionate natures that are intoxicated by fighting or are
voluntarily blinded by the necessities of action are not troubled by
these questions. For them the enemy is a single mass; nothing else
exists for them but this, for they have to break it; it is their
function and their duty. And to each his special duty. But if minorities
do not exist for such men, they do exist for us who, since we are not
fighting, have the liberty and the duty to see every aspect of the
case--we who form part of the eternal minority, the minority which has
been, is, and always will be eternally oppressed. It is for us to hear
and to proclaim these moral sufferings! Plenty of others repeat or
invent the jubilant echoes of the struggle. May other voices be raised
to give the tragic accents of the fight and its sacred horror!

I shall take my examples from the enemy camp, for several reasons:
because the German cause being from the first tainted with injustice,
the sufferings of the few who are just, and the still fewer who have
spiritual perceptions are greater there than elsewhere; because these
evidences appear openly in publications whose boldness the German
censorship has not perceived; because I bow with respect to the heroic
discipline of silence which France in fighting imposes on her
sufferings. (Would to God that this silence were not broken by those
who, trying to deny these sufferings, profane the grandeur of the
sacrifice by the revolting levity of their silly jests in newspapers
which are without either gravity or dignity.)

       *       *       *       *       *

I have shown in the last chapter that a part of the intellectual youth
of Germany was far from sharing the war-madness of its elders. I cited
certain energetic reproofs delivered by these young writers to the
theorists of imperialism. And these writers are not, as one might think
from an article in the _Temps_ (though I gladly pay a tribute to its
honesty), merely a small group as narrow as that of our symbolists. They
count among them writers who appeal to a large public and who do not set
out in any way (except for the group of Stefan George) to write for a
_select few_--they wish to write for all. I stated, too, that the
boldest review of all, Wilhelm Herzog's _Forum_, was read in the German
trenches and received approbation thence.

But what is more astonishing, this spirit of criticism has possessed
some of the combatants and even made its appearance among German
officers. In the November-December number of the _Friedens-Warte_,
published in Berlin, Vienna, and Leipzig, by Dr. Alfred H. Fried, there
occurs "An appeal to the Germanic peoples," addressed, at the end of
October, by Baron Marschall von Biberstein, Landrat of Prussia and
captain in the 1st Foot Guards reserve. This article was written in a
trench north of Arras, where on the 11th of November, Biberstein was
killed. He expresses unreservedly his horror of the war and his ardent
desire that it may be the last: "_That is the conviction of those at the
front who are witnesses of the unspeakable horrors of modern warfare._"
Even more praiseworthy is Biberstein's frankness when he decides to
begin a confession and a _mea culpa_ for the sins of Germany. "_The war
has opened my eyes_," he says, "_to our terrible unlovableness
(Unbeliebtheit). Everything has its cause; we must have given cause for
this hatred; and even in part have justified it.... Let us hope that it
will not be the least of the advantages of this war that Germany will
turn round on herself, will search out and recognize her faults and
correct them._" Unfortunately even this article is spoiled by Germanic
pride which, desiring a world peace, sets out to impose it on the world.
Herein it recalls in some respects the bellicose pacifism of the too
celebrated Ostwald.

But another officer (of whom I spoke in my last chapter) the poet Fritz
von Unruh, first Lieutenant of Uhlans on the western front, has written
dramatic scenes in verse and prose. These have appeared recently under
the title _Before the Decision (Vor der Entscheidung)_. It is a dramatic
poem in which the author has noted his own impressions and his moral
transformations. The hero, who like himself, is an officer of Uhlans,
passes through various centers of the war and remains everywhere a
stranger; his soul is detached from murderous passions, he sees the
abominable reality until his sufferings from it amount to agony. The two
scenes reproduced by the _Neue Zürcher Zeitung_ show us a muddy and
bloodstained trench, where German soldiers, like beasts in a
slaughter-house, die or await death with bitter words--and officers
getting drunk on champagne around a 42mm. mortar, laughing and getting
excited till they fall beneath the weight of sleep and fatigue.

From the first scene I take these terrible words of one of those who
wait in the trenches under fire of the machine guns, a _Dreissigjæhriger_
(man of thirty).

     In my village they are laughing--they drink to each victory. They
     slaughter us like butcher's cattle--and they say "It's war!" When
     it is over, they are no fools, they will feast us for three years.
     But the first cripple won't be grey headed before they will laugh
     at his white hairs.

And the Uhlan, possessed by horror in the midst of the massacre, falls
on his knees and prays:

     Thou who gavest life and takest it--how shall I recognize Thee? (In
     these trenches strewn with mutilated bodies) I find Thee not. Does
     the piercing cry of these thousands suffocated in the terrible
     embrace of Death reach not up to Thee? Or is it lost in frozen
     space? For whom does Thy Springtime blossom? For whom is the
     splendor of Thy suns? For whom, O God? I ask it of thee in the name
     of all those whose mouths are closed by courage and by fear in face
     of the horror of Thy darkness: What heat is left within me? What
     light of truth? Can this massacre be Thy will? Is it indeed Thy

(_He loses consciousness and falls._)

A pain less lyrical, less ecstatic, more simple, more reflective, and
nearer to ourselves marks the sequence of _Feldpostbriefe_ of Dr. Albert
Klein, teacher in the Oberrealschule at Giessen and Lieutenant of the
Landwehr, killed on the 12th of February in Champagne.[38] Passing over
what are, perhaps, the most striking pages from the point of view of
artistic quality and power of thought, I will only give two extracts
from these letters which are likely to be of special interest to French

The first describes for us with an unusual frankness the moral condition
of the German army:

     Brave, without care for his own life! Who is there among us that is
     that? We all know too well our own worth and our own possibilities;
     we are in the flower of our age: force is in our arms and in our
     souls; and as no one willingly dies, no one is brave (_tapfer_) in
     the usual sense of the word: or at least such are very rare. It is
     just because bravery is so rare in life, it is just for that that
     we expend so much religion, poetry, and thought (and this begins
     already at school), in celebrating as the highest fate death for
     one's fatherland, until it attains its climax in the false heroism
     which makes such a sensation about us in newspapers and speeches
     and which is so cheap--and also in the true heroism of a small
     number who do risk themselves and lead on the others.... We do our
     duty, we do what we _ought_; but it is a passive virtue.... When I
     read in the papers the scribblings of those who have a bad
     conscience because they are safely in the rear--when I read this
     talk which makes every soldier into a hero, I feel hurt. Heroism
     is a rare growth, and you cannot build on it a citizen army. To
     keep such an army together the men must respect their superiors,
     and even fear them more than the enemy. And the superiors must be
     conscientious, do their duty well, know their business thoroughly,
     decide rapidly, and have control of their nerves. When we read the
     praises which those behind the line write of us, we blush. Thank
     God, old-fashioned, robust shame is not dead in us.... Ah! my dear
     friends, those who are here don't speak so complacently of death,
     of disease, of sacrifice, and of victory as do those who behind the
     line ring the bells, make speeches, and write newspapers. The men
     here accustom themselves as best they may to the bitter necessity
     of suffering and of death if fate wills; but they know and see that
     many noble sacrifices, innumerable, innumerable sacrifices have
     already been made, and that already for a long while we shall have
     had more than enough of destruction on our side as well as the
     other. It is precisely when one has to look suffering in the face
     as I have that a tie begins to be formed that unites one to those
     over there, on the other side (and one that unites you too with
     them, my friends! Yes, surely you feel it too, don't you?) If I
     come back from here (which I scarcely hope for any more) my dearest
     duty will be to soak myself in the study and the thoughts of those
     who have been our enemies. I wish to reconstruct my nature on a
     wider basis.... And I believe that it will be easier after this war
     than after any other to be a human being.

The second fragment is the account of a touching encounter with a French

     Yesterday evening I was strangely touched. I happened to see a
     convoy of prisoners and I talked to one of them, a colleague of
     mine, Professor of classical philology in the college of F----.
     Such an open-minded, intelligent man, and with such a fine military
     bearing, like all his fellows, although they had just been through
     a terrible experience of machine-gun fire.... It was a proof to me
     of the senselessness of the war. I thought how much one would have
     liked to be the friend of these men, who are so near us in their
     education, their mode of life, the circle of their thought and
     their interest. We started talking about a book on Rousseau and we
     began to dispute like old philologists.... How much we are alike in
     force and worth! And how little truth there is in what our papers
     tell us of the shaken and exhausted conditions of the French
     troops! As true, or rather as untrue, as what the French newspapers
     write about us.... My French colleague showed in his remarks such a
     balanced mind and such understanding and admiration of German
     thought! To think that we were made so clearly to be friends and
     that we had to be separated! I was altogether overcome, and sat
     down crushed by it. I thought and thought and could not escape my
     mood by any sophistry. No end, no end to war, which for nearly six
     months now has swallowed in its gulf men, fortunes, and happiness!
     And this feeling is the same with us as with the other side. It is
     always the same picture: we do the same thing, we suffer the same
     thing, we are the same thing. And it is precisely for this reason
     that we are so bitterly at enmity....

The same accent of troubled anguish, together with a despair which at
moments nearly reaches to madness, and at others breathes a religious
fervor, are seen in the letters of a German soldier to a teacher in
German Switzerland. (We have known of these at the Prisoners' Agency for
three or four months and they were published in _Foi et Vie_ of April
15th.[39] They have been passed over in silence, so we shall persist in
calling attention to them, for they thoroughly deserve it). In these
letters, which cover from the second fortnight of August to the end of
December, we see from the 25th of August onwards the evidence of a
desire for peace among the German soldiers.

     We all, even those who were hottest for the fight at the beginning,
     want nothing now but peace, our officers just as much as
     ourselves.... Convinced as we are of the necessity to conquer,
     warlike enthusiasm does not exist among us; we fulfil our duty, but
     the sacrifice is hard. We suffer in our souls.... I cannot tell you
     the sufferings I endure....

     September 20th. A friend writes to me: "On the 20th to 25th of
     August I took part in big battles; since then I suffer morally even
     to complete exhaustion, both physical and spiritual. My soul finds
     no repose.... This war will show us how much of the beast still
     survives in man, and this revelation will cause us to make a great
     step out of animalism: if not, it is all up with us!"

     November 28th. (_A splendid passage where one almost hears the
     voice of Tolstoi._) What are all the torments of war compared to
     the thoughts that obsess us night and day? When I am on some hill
     from which my view commands the plain, this is the idea which
     ceaselessly tortures me: down there in the valley the war rages;
     those brown lines which furrow the landscape are full of men who
     are facing one another as enemies. And up there on the hill
     opposite you there is, perhaps, a man who, like you, is
     contemplating the woods and the blue sky and perhaps ruminating the
     same thoughts as you, his enemy! This continual proximity might
     make one mad! And one is tempted to envy one's comrades who can
     kill time in sleeping and playing cards.

     December 17th. The desire for peace is intense in every one; at
     least, in all those who are at the front and who are obliged to
     assassinate and be assassinated. The newspapers say that it's
     hardly possible to restrain the warlike ardor of the fighters....
     They lie--consciously or unconsciously. Our chaplains in their
     sermons dispute the legend that our military ardor is
     slackening.... You can hardly believe how such tittle-tattle annoys
     us. Let them be silent, and let them not talk about things of which
     they can know nothing! Or better still, let them come not as
     almoners who keep to the rear, but into the firing-line, rifle in
     hand! Perhaps then they will get to know of the inner changes which
     take place in so many of us. According to these chaplains, any one
     who is without warlike enthusiasm is not a man such as our age
     demands. To me it seems that we are greater heroes than the others,
     we, who without being upheld by warlike enthusiasm, accomplish
     faithfully our duty, while hating war with our whole souls.... They
     talk of a holy war ... I know of no holy war. I only know of one
     war which is the sum of all that is inhuman, impious, and bestial
     in man; it is God's chastisement and a call to repentance for the
     people that throws itself into war or lets itself be drawn into it.
     God sends men through this hell so that they may learn to love
     heaven. For the German people this war seems to me to be a
     punishment and a call to repentance,--and most of all for our
     German Church. I have friends who suffer at the idea of being
     unable to do anything for the fatherland. Let them stay at home
     with a calm conscience! All depends on their peaceful work. But let
     the war enthusiasts come! Perhaps they will learn to keep silent.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Why publish these pages?" I shall be asked by some people in France.
"What good is it, when once war is let loose, to arouse pity for our
adversaries, at the risk of blunting the ardor of the combatants?"--I
answer, because it is the truth, and because the truth substantiates our
judgment, the judgment of the whole world against the German leaders and
their policy. What their armies have done we know; but that they were
able to do it containing as they did such elements as those whose
confessions we have just heard, incriminates still more deeply their
masters. From the depths of the battlefield, these voices of a
sacrificed minority rise up as a vengeful condemnation of the
oppressors. To the accusations drawn up against predatory Empires and
their inhuman pride, in the name of violated right, of outraged humanity
by the victim peoples and by the combatants, is added the cry of pain of
the nobler souls of their own people whom the bad shepherds who let
loose this war have led and constrained into murder and madness. To
sacrifice one's body is not the worst suffering, but also to sacrifice,
to deny, to kill one's own soul!--You who die at least for a just cause,
and who, full of sap and loaded with faith, fall like ripe fruit, how
sweet is your lot beside this torture! But we shall so act that these
sufferings shall not be vain.

Let the conscience of humanity hear and accept their complaint! It will
resound in the future above the glory of battles; and whether she wills
or no, History will place it on her register. History will do justice
between the hangmen and their peoples. And the peoples will learn how to
deliver themselves from their hangmen.

_Journal de Genève_, June 14, 1915.


Battles are being fought under our eyes in which thousands of men are
dying, yet the sacrifice of their lives does not always influence the
issue of the combat. In other cases the death of a single man may be a
great battle lost for the whole of humanity. The murder of Jaurès was
such a disaster.

Whole centuries were needed to produce such a life; rich civilizations
of North and South, of past and present, spread out on the good soil of
France, matured beneath our Western skies. The mysterious chance which
combines elements and forces will not easily produce a noble spirit like
his a second time.

Jaurès is a type, almost unique in modern times, of the great political
orator who is also a great thinker, and who combines vast culture with
penetrating observation, and moral grandeur with energetic activity. We
must go back to antiquity to find one who, like him, could stir the
crowd and give pleasure to the few; pour out his overflowing genius not
only in his speeches and social treatises, but also in his philosophical
and historical works;[40] and leave on all things the impress of his
personality, the furrow of his robust labor, the seeds of his
progressive mind. I have listened to him often in the Chamber, at
socialist congresses, at meetings held on behalf of oppressed nations;
he even did me the honor of presenting my _Danton_ to the people of
Paris. Again I see his full face, calm and happy like that of a kindly,
bearded ogre; his small eyes, bright and smiling; eyes as quick to
follow the flight of ideas as to observe human nature. I see him pacing
up and down the platform, walking with heavy steps like a bear, his arms
crossed behind his back, and turning sharply to hurl at the crowd, in
his monotonous, metallic voice, words like the call of a trumpet, which
reached the farthest seats in the vast amphitheatre, and went straight
to the heart, making the soul of the whole multitude leap in one united
emotion. What beauty there was in the sight of these proletarian masses
stirred by the visions which Jaurès evoked from distant horizons,
imbibing the thought of Greece through the voice of their tribune!

Of all this man's gifts the most fundamental was to be essentially a
_man_--not the man of a single profession, or class, or party, or
idea--but a complete, harmonious, and free man. His all-comprehensive
nature could be the slave of nothing. The highest manifestations of life
flowed together and met in him. His intelligence demanded unity,[41] his
heart was full of a passion for liberty,[42] and this twofold instinct
protected him alike from party despotism and anarchy. His spirit sought
to encompass all things, not in order to do violence to them, but to
bring them into harmony. Above all, he had the power of seeing the
_human_ element in all things, and this universal sympathy was equally
averse to narrow negation and fanatical affirmation. All intolerance
inspired him with horror.[43]

He had put himself at the head of a great revolutionary party, but it
was with the desire "of saving the great work of democratic revolution
from the sickening and brutal odor of blood, murder, and hatred which
still clings to the memory of the middle-class Revolution." In his own
name, and in the name of his party, he demanded "with regard to all
doctrines, respect for the human personality and for the spirit which is
manifested in each." The mere feeling of the moral antagonism which
exists between man and man, even when there is no open conflict, the
sense of the invisible barriers which render human brotherhood
impossible, was painful to him. He could not read those words of
Cardinal Newman in which he speaks of the gulf of damnation, which, even
in this life, is fixed between men, without having "a sort of
nightmare.... He saw the abyss ready to gape beneath the feet of fragile
and unhappy human beings who think themselves bound together by a
community of sympathy and suffering"--the sadness of this thought
obsessed him.

To fill in this abyss of misunderstanding was his life-work. Herein lay
the originality of his standpoint, that although he was the spokesman of
the most advanced parties, he became the continual mediator between
conflicting ideas. He sought to unite them all in the service of
progress and of the common good. In philosophy he united idealism and
realism--in history, the past and the present--in politics, the love of
his own country and a respect for other countries.[44] He refrained from
denouncing that which has been, in the name of that which is to be, as
many so-called free-thinkers have done; and far from condemning, he
upheld the theories of all those who had been fighters in past
centuries, to whatever party they might have belonged. "We reverence the
past," he said. "Not in vain have blazed the hearths of all the
generations of mankind--but it is we who are advancing, who are
fighting for a new ideal, it is we who are the true inheritors of the
hearth of our ancestors. We have taken the flame thereof, you have
preserved only the ashes." (January, 1909.) In his Introduction to
_l'Histoire socialiste de la Révolution_, in which he attempts to
reconcile Plutarch, Michelet, and Karl Marx, he writes: "We hail with
equal respect all men of heroic will. History, even when conceived as a
study of economic forms, will never dispense with individual valor and
nobility. The moral level of society tomorrow will be determined by the
standard of morality of conscience today. So that, to offer the examples
of all the heroic fighters who for the past century have been inspired
by an ideal and held death in sublime contempt, is to do revolutionary
work." In everything he touches he achieves a generous synthesis of
life; he imposes his grand panoramic conception of the universe, the
sense of the manifold and moving unity of all things. This admirable
equilibrium of countless elements presupposes in the man who achieves it
magnificent health of body and of mind, a mastery of his whole being.
And Jaurès possessed this mastery, and because of it he was the pilot of
European democracy.

How clear and far reaching was his foresight! In years to come, when the
record of the war of today is set down, he will appear therein as a
terrible witness. Was there anything he did not foresee? One needs only
to read through his speeches during the last ten years.[45] It is yet
too early, in the midst of the conflict, to quote freely his predictions
concerning the coming retribution. Let us recall only his agonized
presentiment, ever since the year 1905, of the monstrous war which was
imminent;[46] his consciousness "of the antagonism, now muffled, now
acute, but always profound and terrible, between Germany and England"
(November 18, 1909);[47] his denunciation of the secret dealings of
European finance and diplomacy, dealings which are encouraged by the
"torpor of public spirit"; his cry of alarm at "the sensational lies of
the press, actuated by the rotten system of capitalism, sowing panic and
hatred, and playing cynically with the lives of millions of men, through
mere financial considerations or delirious pride"; his contemptuous
words for those whom he calls "the jockeys of his country"; his clear
perception of all responsibilities;[48] his foreknowledge of the
domesticated attitude which would be adopted in case of war by the
Social-democratic party of Germany, to whom he showed, as in a mirror
(at the Amsterdam Congress in 1904) their haughty weakness, their lack
of revolutionary tradition, their want of parliamentary strength, their
"formidable powerlessness";[49] of the attitude which certain leaders of
French Socialism, too, and amongst others Jules Guesde, would maintain
in the conflict between the great States of Europe;[50] and, looking
even beyond the war, his premonition of the consequences, near and
remote, national and international, of this conflict of nations.

How would he have acted had he lived? The proletariat of Europe looked
to him for guidance, and had faith in him--Camille Huysmans has said so
in the speech delivered at his grave in the name of the Workers'
International.[51] There can be no doubt that when he had fought against
the war until all hope of preventing it was gone, he would have yielded
loyally to the common duty of national defense and taken part in it with
all his might. He had announced this point of view at the Congress in
Stuttgart, in 1907, in full agreement therein with Vandervelde and
Bebel: "If, whatever the circumstances, a nation were to refuse from the
outset to defend itself, it would be entirely at the mercy of the
Governments of violence, barbarism, and reaction.... A unity of mankind
which was the result of the absorption of conquered nations by one
dominating nation would be a unity realized in slavery." On his return
to Paris, in giving an account of the Congress to French Socialists
(September 7, 1907, at the Tivoli Vaux-Hall), he impressed upon them
their double duty--war against war, so long as it is only a menace upon
the horizon, and in the hour of danger war in defense of national
independence. For this great European was also a great Frenchman.[52]
Yet it is certain, too, that the firm accomplishment of his patriotic
duty would not have prevented him from maintaining his human ideals, and
watching with untiring eyes for every opportunity of reconstructing the
shattered unity. Certainly he would not have allowed the vessel of
socialism to drift, as his feeble successors have done.

       *       *       *       *       *

He has passed from us. But the reflection of his luminous genius, his
kindness in the bitter struggle, his indestructible optimism even in the
midst of disaster, shine above the carnage of Europe, over which the
dusk is gathering, like the splendor of the setting sun.

There is one page which he wrote, which cannot be read without
emotion--an immortal page in which he represents the noble Herakles,
resting after his labors on the maternal earth:

"There are hours," he says, "when in feeling the earth beneath our feet,
we experience a joy deep and tranquil as the earth herself. How often
on my journey along footpaths and across fields I have realized suddenly
that it was indeed the earth on which I trod, that I belonged to her, as
she belonged to me! Then without thinking I went more slowly, because it
was not worth while to hasten across her surface, because I was
conscious of her and possessed her at each step I took, and my soul was
moving within her depths. How many times at the fall of day, as I lay by
the side of a ditch, my eyes turned towards the faint blue of the
eastern sky, I have suddenly realized that the earth was speeding on her
journey hastening from the fatigues of the day and the limited horizons
which the sun illumines, and rushing with prodigious force towards the
serenity of night and unlimited horizons, and bearing me with her. I
felt in my body as in my soul, and in the earth herself as in my body,
the thrill of this journey, and a strange sweetness in those blue spaces
which opened out before us, without a shock, without a fold, without a
murmur. Oh! how much deeper and more intense is this kinship of our
flesh with the earth, than the vague and wandering kinship of our eyes
with the starry heavens. How much less beautiful the night with its
stars would be to us, did we not feel ourselves at the same time bound
to the earth."

He has returned to the earth--that earth which belonged to him, that
earth to which he belonged. They have again taken possession of each
other, and his spirit is even now warming and humanizing her. Beneath
the torrents of blood shed upon his tomb the new life and the peace of
tomorrow are already springing. It was a favorite and often repeated
thought of Jaurès, as of Heraclitus of old, that nothing can interrupt
the flow of things, that "peace is only a form or aspect of war, war
only a form or aspect of peace, and what is conflict today is the
beginning of the reconciliation of tomorrow."

R. R.

_Journal de Genève_, August 2, 1915.



The letter to Gerhart Hauptmann, written after the destruction of
Louvain, and in the stress of the emotion aroused by the first news, was
provoked by a high-sounding article of Hauptmann which appeared a few
days previously. In that letter he rebutted the accusation of barbarism
hurled against Germany, and returned it ... against Belgium. The article
ended as follows:

" ... I assure M. Maeterlinck that no one in Germany thinks of imitating
the act of his 'civilized nation.' We prefer to be and to remain the
German barbarians for whom the women and the children of our enemies are
sacred. I can assure him that we never thoughtlessly massacre and make
martyrs of Belgian women and children. Our witnesses are on our
frontiers; the socialist beside the bourgeois, the peasant beside the
savant, and the prince beside the workman: and all fight with a full
realization of the object, for a noble and rich national treasure, for
internal and external goods which aid the progress and the ascent of


My enemies have not failed to make use of this passage to attribute to
me sentiments of contempt with regard to the peoples of Asia and Africa.
This charge is all the less justified in that I have precious
friendships amongst the intellectuals of Asia, with whom I have remained
in correspondence during this war. These friends have been so little
misled as to my real thought that one of them, a leading Hindu writer,
Ananda Coomaraswamy, has dedicated to me an admirable essay which
appeared in the _New Age_ (December 1914), entitled "A World Policy for
India," but--

1. Asiatic troops, recruited amongst races of professional warriors, in
no way represent the thought of Asia, as Coomaraswamy agrees.

2. The heroism of the troops of Africa and Asia is not under discussion.
There was no need for the hecatombs, which have been made during the
past year, to evoke admiration for their splendid devotion.

3. As regards barbarism, I am glad to confess that now the "white-skins"
can no longer reproach "skins, black, red, or yellow" in this respect.

4. It is not the latter but the former whom I blame. I denounce today
once more with as much vigor as fourteen months ago, the short-sighted
policy which has introduced Africa and Asia[53] into the quarrels of
Europe. The future will justify my indictment.

R. R.

       *       *       *       *       *



Abattoir of Ypres and Dixmude, the, 103.

Absurdity, a ferocious, 47.

Academicians and Professoren, the voice of, 153.

Academy of moral science, the, 44.

Address to the Civilized Nations, 60.

Ador, M. Gustave, 83.

Adversary, A Frenchman does not judge his, unheard, 17, 31.

_Agence internationale des prisonniers de guerre_, 83.

Ajax, the madness of, 78.

Albert, King, 93.

Allies, the, 73, 98.

Allophyles, 44.

Angell, Norman, 137.

Apostles, rival, 45.

Architecture like Rheims, a piece of, 24.

Archbishop of Canterbury, 12, 145.

Arguments, furious, 119.

Armies of the Marne and Meuse, 40.

Art, 16.

Aryan race, 44.

Asia and Africa, forces of, 99;
  ethnological signification of the terms of, 194.

Atrocities committed in Flanders, 25;
  in Russia, 70.

Attila, 21.

_Auskunfts- und Hilfsstelle für Deutsche im Ausland und Ausländer
  in Deutschland_, 146.

Austerlitz, 45.

Austria, 50.

Authors of these wars, criminal, 42.

Babut, C. E., 76.

Bach, 44, 163.

Baker, M. P., J. Allen-, 145.

Banking and war, the justification of, 110.

Baptism of blood, 152.

Barbarians from the poles and those from the equator, 41, 44.

Barrès, 44.

Baumgarten, D., 146.

Bebel, 189.

Bees of Holy Writ, the, 91.

Beethoven, 58.

Behring, 61.

Belgium, the neutrality of noble, 20, 87, 93, 94.

Bennett, E. K., 12.

Bergson, 43.

Bishops, 46.

Bismarck, Prince, 45.

Blind loyalty, 26.

Bloody soil, 18.

Bonfire, stirring up the, 42.

Books of every kind and of every color, 77.

Boris Godunov, 59.

Brotherhood, 16, 101.

Brueghel, the stumbling blind men of, 30.

Bucher, Dr., of Strasbourg, 104.

Bull in the arena, a, 28.

Cæsar, 121.

_Cambridge Magazine, The_, 11.

Cardinals, 46.

Caste, a military and feudal, 50.

Catalonia, the thinkers of, 122.

Catechism of Force, 139.

Censor, the German, 163.

Central Bureau, the, 146.

Chamberlain, H. S., 28.

Chauvinism, 38, 147, 160.

Christianity and socialism, 45.

Christians of today, 48.

Cingalese, 41.

City of God, 54.

Civilization, the common trunk of our, 16, 41.

Civil war, a, 123.

Combatants, compassion and kindness between the, 101.

Combats, strange, 43.

Comparisons between the two nations, 167.

Congress in Stuttgart in 1907, the, 189.

Contagion, can we not resist this, 47.

Coomaraswamy, Ananda, 194.

Cornélienne, 100.

Correvon, Rev. Ch., 110.

Cosmic force, 11.

Cossack avalanche, the, 37, 41.

Coster, Charles de, 95.

Courtney, Lord and Lady, of Penwith, 145.

Cubism, 160.

Cyclone, the, 46.

Czarism, the ravenous greed of, 50, 60.

Danger for Europe, grave, 99.

D'Annunzio, 44.

Dante, 25.

Dehmel, 44, 61, 154.

"_Der neue Geist_," 163.

Destiny of nations, 10.

De Unamuno, Miguel, 29.

_Deutschland Über Alles_, 44.

Dickinson, Lowes, 10.

Dickinson, Right-Hon. W. H., 145.

Dilettantism, neronian, 47.

Dogs of war, the, 2.

Dollfus, M. Max., 83.

Don Quixote, 95.

Dostoievsky, 59, 61.

Dryander, Dr. Ernst, 76.

Dunois, Amédée, 14.

Dürer, 163.

Dutch Anti-War Council, 127.

Duty, to seek truth in the midst of error, 26, 169.

Eagles, the three rapacious, 50.

Eckehart, Meister, 165.

Egyptians, 41.

Elite of the World, the, 23.

Emergency committee for the assistance of Germans, Austrians, 144.

Emerson's, a saying of, 117.

Enemies, "for a year I (Rolland) have been rich in," 18.

England, all the hatred is turned against, 102, 145.

Enthusiasm, heroic, earnest, and even religious, 38.

Ephebi of old calmly going to sacrifice, the, 39.

Epic, this monstrous, 43.

Epidemic of homicidal fury, an, 43.

Esthonian nations, 66.

Eucken, 43.

Europe, a mutilated, 43, 123.

Eycks, Van, 95.

Faith in the virtues of one's own nation, 133.

Fatality, 20; of war, 42.

Father, all men are sons of the same, 106.

Fatherland, our earthly, 54.

Finns, the, 67.

Ferrière, M. Adolphe, 89, 168.

Flogged, the privilege of being, 70.

Foerster, Professor W., 146.

Fram, Andrea, 156.

France is ruined, if, 20;
  the true, 98;
  sublime history, 166.

Frank, 45.

Fratricidal struggle, 90.

Fried, Dr. Alfred H., 171.

Friendly relations exist between the prisoners and their guards, 81.

Fry, Mr. Roger, 11.

Funeral pyre, Europe ascending its, 41.

Galilean barque, the, 143.

George, Stefan, 159, 170.

German prisoners concentrated in France, 81;
  my, friends, 99.

Germany, 19;
  intellectual élite of, 25;
  Kultur, 28;
  great minds of, 30, 31;
  and England, 187.

God, the great captain, 46.

Goethe, our, 19, 58.

Gondolf, Friedr., 29.

Good and evil, the eternal struggle between, 78.

Gorki, 61.

Greatness, intellectual and moral, 19.

Grodtken, 58.

Grünwald, 163.

Guesde, Jules, 188.

Guilbeaux, Henri, 14.

Haeckel, Professor Ernst, 61, 113, 160.

Hague Court, the, 52.

Hallucinations, passionate, 26.

Hangmen, the people will learn how to deliver themselves from their, 180.

Harden, Maximilian, 115.

Harmony of races, a, 55.

Harrach, Helene Græfin, 146.

Hatred, the wounds of, 91, 100.

Hauptmann, 19, 43, 61, 98, 155.

Herakles, 190.

Hercules, 41.

Heretics, 56.

Hervé, 45.

Herzog, Wilhelm, 57, 163, 170.

Hesse, Hermann, 157.

High Court, a moral, 51.

Hildebrand, 61.

History will pass judgment on each of the nations at war, 15.

Holy Guillotine, 110.

Holy War against Russia, a, 65.

Holz, Arno, 155.

Honor of their state, to defend the, 26.

Hugo, Victor, 120.

Human Mind, the force of, 2.

Humanity is a symphony of great collective souls, 54.

Humperdinck, 61.

Hungarians in distress, 145.

Huns, the, 22.

Huysmans, Camille, 188.

Idealism and German force, 35.

Ideas have no existence in themselves, 118.

Idols, the history of humanity is the history of, 108.

Imperialism, military, financial, feudal, republican, social
  or intellectual, 50, 98.

Imperial Rome, 48.

Insulted without even a hearing, 16.

Intellectual élite of Russia, the, 60.

Intellectual leaders, Europe's, 8.

Intellectuals, guilty, 26;
  of Germany, 22;
  the criminal determination of ninety-three, 28;
  provide terrible examples of hatred, 82;
  French, 116;
  the furious, 151.

Intelligence of the mind, 120.

Intelligent few, the, 109.

Internationalism, intellectual, 111.

International union of women suffrage societies, 146.

Invisible tribunal of humanity, 53.

Ideologues, 2.

Invocation to Peace, 158.

Islam, threats of disturbance in the world of, 99.

Japanese, 41.

Jaurès, 11;
  a favorite thought of, 192;
  democracy, 186;
  the murder of, 181.

Jean-Christophe, 8.

Jena, the bells of, 33.

Jesuits, 46.

Jesus, 15.

Journalists, 162.

Jupiter of the Vatican, 48.

Justice to small nations, 74.

Kalish, 58.

Kant, sons of, 31, 37.

Kill! Kill! I hate the war, 79.

Kipling, 44.

Klein, Dr. Albert, 173.

Klemm, Wilhelm, 159.

Klinger, 61.

Knights-errant of the world, the, 39.

Kock, Hans, 159.

Kolb, Annette, 162, 163.

Kropotkin, 61.

Krupp, 109.

Kultur, 28.

Kulturträger, 67.

Labor parties did not desire war, 42.

_Lamm, der_, 155.

Lamprecht, Karl, 44.

_La Patrie_, 23.

Lasson, 164.

Law is the friend of the weak, 28.

Laws of Nations, the, 52.

Lawyers, 7.

Lee, Vernon, 137.

Legand, René, 187.

Leibnitz, 58.

Leonhard, Rudolf, 156.

_Le Paquet du prisonnier de guerre_, 149.

Letter to Romain Rolland, 64.

Letts, the, 66.

Levites, 46.

Liberator, men make a master of every, 108.

Liberty against barbarism, 57.

Liberty, fighting for the awakening of, 38;
  of the world, 64;
  the wild violet of, 119.

Liebermann, 61.

Liebknecht, 45.

Life Force, the, 9.

Life, the value of, 53.

Lissauer, 155.

Lithuanians, 66.

Louvain, 21.

Love of our country, 47.

Luzzatti, 47.

Maeterlinck, 95, 193.

Mahler, 59.

Maladresse, 29.

Malines, 21.

Manifesto of Intellectuals, 27.

Mann, Thomas, 28, 113, 163.

Marck, Ludwig, 156.

Marx, Karl, 186.

Maury, M. Lucien, 168.

Medicines for the soul, 91.

Mesnil, Jacques, 14.

Meyer, M. Arthur, 46.

Michelet, 186.

Middle Ages, the great monasteries of the early, 55.

Militarization of the intellect, 63.

Minds, the effort of great, 107.

Minority vitally interested in maintaining these hatreds, 49.

Miracle, men call the sudden appearance of a hidden reality a, 94.

Mobilization of the forces of the pen, this, 60.

Modernism, the noble chimera of, 49.

Mœrlins, Frau Marie von Bülow-, 146.

Molière, 113.

Moloch, 48, 108.

Moral epidemic, 11.

Moral triumph, France has won in this war a prodigious, 100.

Moroccans, 41.

Mozart, 163.

Nations subject to Russia are asking agonized questions, 73.

Natorp, Paul, 146.

"Necessity knows no law," 31.

_Nederlandsche Anti-Oorlog Raad_, 127.

Neutral countries are too much effaced, 52.

Neutrality, Belgium's, 34.

Newman, Cardinal, 184.

Newspaper-press of the warring nations, 133.

Newspapers, of both countries give publicity only to prejudiced stories
  unfavorable to the enemy, 81;
  jests in, 170;
  those who behind the line ring the bells, make speeches, and write, 175;
  they lie--consciously or unconsciously, 178.

Nietzsche, 58.

Nivernais, my own little town in the, 89.

Nordhausen, Richard, 155.

_Notre-Dame la Misère_, 91.

Ode to a Howitzer, an, 155.

Official agencies, 29.

Officialdom, heroes of, 91.

Omega workshops, the, 12.

Organization, 111.

Ostwald, 28, 111, 164.

Paladins of God, the, 39.

Pamphleteer, a maladroit, 17.

Pangermanism, 68.

Panslavism, 68, 71.

Passion, the language of, 143.

Patrimony of the human race, the, 21.

Patriotism, the true formula of, 185.

Peace, man deteriorates in, 28;
  armed, 39;
  of Europe, the, 137.

Pedants of Barbarism, 29.

Pedants, the megalomania of, 167.

Péguy, Charles, 31, 32, 37.

Pen dipped in blood, a, 79;
  armies of the, 144.

Perrier, E., 44.

Perrette of the fable, 113.

Petzold, 155.

Pioch, Georges, 14.

Plutarch, 186.

Polemics is like a theft from these unfortunates, time devoted to, 98.

Policy, German, 20.

Pontiff, the new, 49.

Pope Pius X died of grief to see the outbreak of this war, 48.

Prelude to the great war of the nations, 2.

Prenant, Mr., 52.

Press, the war-preaching French, English and German, 49;
  an unscrupulous, 80;
  bullies of the, 91.

Prisoner, the moral situation of the military, 82.

Prisoners, civil, 85;
  of war, 97;
  Agency, 177.

Priests are marching with the colors, 46.

Problem of freedom, the, 7.

Protest, the poverty of, 17.

Proudhon, 2.

Prussian Imperialism, 26, 50, 57.

Psychologic necessity, 131.

Public opinion, 53.

Public safety, the famous doctrine of, 31.

Publicists trying to rouse the energies of the nation, 102.

Questions which divided you, the, 41.

Race, the idol of, 108.

Racial frenzy, 48.

Rade, Martin, 146.

Rappoport, Charles, 187.

Reason, the unity of, 16.

Red Cross, the, 82, 88.

Redeemer, the, 33.

Reger, 59.

Régnier, de, 44.

Renaitour, J. M., 14.

Renan, 53.

Repatriation, 90.

Reprisals, a desire for, 100.

Responsible for the longer duration of this horrible war? who are, 134.

Retaliation, 51.

Revolution, an internal, 73.

Rheims, 9;
  Cathedral, 23, 24.

Rhine, your neighbors across the, 105.

Riga, 66.

Rivalry, the world-wide tragedy of, 128.

Rodin, 17.

Roentgen, 61.

Rolland, Romain, 8;
  letters to, 64;
  attacks against, 97.

Roman Empire at the time of the Tetrarchy, the, 41.

Rotten, Dr. Elizabeth, 146.

Rouanet, 14.

Rubens, 21.

Rulers, 42.

Rumors circulate only too easily, 80.

Russia, our alliance with, 57;
  nations subject to, 73;
  generous promises of, 140.

Russian, autocracy, the, 50;
  writers have been our guides for the last forty years, 59;
  the hand of the, Government, 70;
  evils of, Government, 71;
  domination very oppressive, 73.

Sacrifice, the ecstasy of, 32.

Sacrilegious conflict, a, 40.

Sancho Panza, 95.

Savageries, 21.

Scheler, Max, 162.

Schickele, René, 160.

Schleinitz, Nora Freiin von, 146.

Schneeli, Dr., 81.

Schrenck, 110.

Schultze, Siegmund-, 146.

Seeherrschaft of Britain, 145.

Seippel, M. Paul, 52.

Senegalese, 41.

Sepoys, 41.

Sermon on the Mount, the, 110.

Shaw, Bernard, 43.

Shameful record, a, 17.

Sikhs, 41.

Silence itself is an act, at such a time, 22;
  the heroic discipline of France in, 170.

Sin, the unpardonable, 32.

Socialism, the leaders of, 40;
  drifting, 190.

Socialists, German, 45;
  Italian, 46;
  unite and attack both Kaiser and Czar, 49.

Society of friends of foreigners in distress, 146.

Sons of sorrow, geniuses are, 34.

Soudanese, 41.

Spirit above flesh, put, 24;
  is the light, the, 54.

Spiritual forces, 10;
  guides of the human race, 151.

Sport, this bloody and puerile, 42.

Stepping-stone, a human, 10.

Stern, Josef Luitpol, 155.

Sterheim, Carl, 161.

Strauss, 53;
  Richard, neurotic jugglers with orchestral effects, 59.

Strawinsky, 59.

Sudermann, 61.

Switzerland, 49;
  the generous heart of, 54.

Tenderness is wisdom, 157.

Teutonic colossus, the, 47.

Thermopylæ of Liège, the, 93.

Thiesson, Gaston, 14.

Thoma, Hans, 29.

Till Ulenspiegel, 95.

Tillys, modern, 51.

Tokio, 43.

Tolstoi, 16, 59.

Trakl, George, 165.

Trustfulness, culpable, 26.

Turks, 41.

Uebervolk, 78.

Unamuno, Miguel de, 111.

Underhand means, 42.

Unified Europe, a, 125.

Union of Democratic Control, 137.

United States of Europe, a, 112.

Unity of European Future, 152.

Valmy, a hero of, 48.

Vandervelde, 189.

Verdict of history, the, 132.

Verhaeren, 95.

Vices which are profitable, 109.

Victory below means defeat above, 33.

Vierordt, Heinrich, 160.

Voltaire, the motto of, 51.

Von Biberstein, Baron Marschall, 171.

Von Unruh, Fritz, 155, 172.

Wagner, 58.

War, that lies behind the present conflict, the greater, 10;
  as a fatality, 20;
  is war, 30;
  international, 47;
  between the Western nations, no reason for, 49;
  the delightful promise of a perpetual, 105;
  of the pen, 131.

Warsaw, 54.

Wedekind, Franz, 155.

Weingartner, 61.

Wells, 43.

Werfel, Franz, 156.

Whitman, Walt, 7;
  and Tolstoi, 16.

William II, 46.

Wolff's Agency, 27.

Wood, James, 12.

Workers' International, the, 188.

Wound will heal, a good open clean, 105;
  wounded of both countries are living in terms of friendship, in
  Germany and France alike, 82.

Writers, German, 154.

Wundt, 44, 61.

Zangwill, Israel, 137.

Zorothowo, 58.

Zweig, Stefan, 165.



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[1] For translating "The Murder of the Elite."

[2] One article only, "The Idols," may, I think, have been published in
its entirety in _La Bataille syndicaliste_.

[3] I leave my articles in their chronological order. I have changed
nothing in them. The reader will notice, in the stress of events,
certain contradictions and hasty judgments which I would modify
today.... In general, the sentiments expressed have arisen out of
indignation and pity. In proportion as the immensity of the ruin extends
one feels the poverty of protest, as before an earthquake. "There is
more than one war," wrote the aged Rodin to me on the 1st of October,
1914. "What is happening is like a punishment which falls on the world."

[4] A telegram from Berlin (Wolff's Agency), reproduced by the _Gazette
de Lousanne_, August 29, 1914, has just announced that "the old town of
Louvain, rich in works of art, exists no more to-day."

[5] Written after the bombardment of Rheims Cathedral.

[6] When I wrote this, I had not yet seen the monstrous article by
Thomas Mann (in the _Neue Rundschau_ of November 1914), where, in a fit
of fury and injured pride, he savagely claimed for Germany, as a title
to glory, all the crimes of which her adversaries accuse her. He dared
to write that the present war was a war of German Kultur "against
Civilization," proclaiming that German thought had no other ideal than
militarism, and inscribes on his banner the following lines, the apology
of force oppressing weakness:

     "_Den der Mensch verkümmert im Frieden,_
      _Müssige Ruh ist das Grab des Muts._
      _Das Gesetz ist der Freund des Schwachen,_
      _Alles will es nur eben machen._
      _Möchte gern die Welt verflachen,_
      _Aber der Krieg lässt die Kraft erscheinen...._"

(_Man deteriorates in peace. Idle rest is the tomb of courage. Law is
the friend of the weak, it aims at levelling all; it would reduce the
world to a level. War brings out strength._)

Even so a bull in the arena, mad with rage, rushes with lowered head on
the matador's sword, and impales himself.

[7] As one of these 'pedants of barbarism' (so Miguel de Unamuno rightly
describes them) writes, "one has the right to destroy; if one has the
force to create" (Wer stark ist zu schaffen, der darf auch
zerstören).--Friedr Gundolf: _Tat und Wort im Krieg_, published in the
_Frankfurter Zeitung_, October 11th. Cf. the article of the aged Hans
Thoma, in the _Leipziger Illustrierte Zeitung_ of October 1st.

[8] _Jean-Christophe_, part V, "La Foire sur la Place." In vol. III of
the English version.--TRANS.

[9] At the very hour I wrote these lines, Charles Péguy died.

[10] Alludes to a Viennese writer who had told me, a few weeks before
the declaration of war, that a disaster for France would be a disaster
for the liberal thinkers of Germany too.

[11] See note, p. 193.

[12] Liebknecht has since gloriously cleared his honor of the
compromises of his party. I here express admiration of his attitude. (R.
R., January 1915.)

[13] Recently published in the _Corriere della Sera_ and translated by
the _Journal de Genève_, September 1914.

[14] _Le Temps_, September 4, 1914.

[15] Issues of September 16 and 17, 1914: _La Guerre et le Droit_.

[16] Letter dated September 15, 1871, published in _Réforme
intellectuelle et morale_.

[17] Open letter of Dr. Ernst Dryander, the First Court Preacher and
Vice-President of the Higher Ecclesiastical Council, to C. E. Babut,
Pastor of Nimes, September 15, 1914 (published in _l'Essor_ for the 10th
October and the _Journal de Genève_, 18th October).

[18] The newspapers of both countries give publicity only to prejudiced
stories unfavorable to the enemy. One would imagine that they devote
themselves to collecting only the worst cases, in order to preserve the
atmosphere of hatred; and those to which they give predominance are
often doubtful and always exceptional. No mention is made of anything
that would tell in a contrary direction of prisoners who are grateful
for their treatment, as in the letters which we have to transmit to
their families--in which, for example, a German civil prisoner speaks of
a pleasant walk, or of sea bathing, he has been allowed to enjoy. I have
even come across the case of an entomologist who is peacefully absorbed
in his researches, and profiting by his enforced sojourn in the South of
France to complete his collection of insects.

[19] On this point, I would echo the appeal in the article cited above,
from the _Neue Zürcher Zeitung_.

[20] Published by the _Daily Telegraph_, London, 1914.

[21] The Editor of a great Paris paper having offered to publish my
reply to those who attacked me, I sent him this article, which never

[22] Paul Bourget.

[23] The Evangelical pastor Schrenck in an article on "War and the New
Testament," quoted with approval by the Rev. Ch. Correvon in the
_Journal religieus_ of Neuchatel, November 14th.

[24] In a declaration to the editor of the Swedish paper _Dagen_.

[25] The famous "Appeal to the Civilized Nations" had been sent out
shortly before this by the ninety-three German intellectuals.

[26] Holland.

[27] "To let a people," he said, "or still more a fraction of a people,
decide international questions, for instance, which state shall control
them, is as good as making the children of a house vote for their
father. It is the most ridiculous fallacy that human wit has ever

[28] The _Svenska Dagbladet_ sent to the principal intellectuals of
Europe an inquiry on the subject of the results which the war would
have, "for international collaboration, in the domain of the spirit." It
asked "with anxiety, to what extent it would be possible, once peace was
concluded, to establish relations between the scientists, writers, and
artists of the different nations."

[29] The literary appreciation of the work cited is here treated as of
secondary importance, in order that evidence may be discovered with
regard to the thought of Germany.

[30] See the article of Josef Luitpol Stern, "Dichter," in _Die Weissen
Blätter_, March 1915.

[31] Hohe Gemeinschaft.

[32] Fremde sind wir auf der Erde alle.

[33] _Die Ueberschätzung der Kunst_ (December 1914).

[34] _Von der Vaterlandsliebe_ (January 1915).

[35] December 1914.

[36] _Hymne auf den Schmerz_ (January 1915).--It is to be noted that the
_Forum_ is read in the trenches, and that it has received many letters
of approval from the front. (_Der Phrasenrausch und seine Bekaempfer_,
February 1915.)

[37] I take the phrase from M. Lucien Maury in an article written before
the war: (_Journal de Genève_) March 30, 1914. This is quoted recently
by M. Adolphe Ferrière who, in his remarkable Doctor's thesis, _La loi
du Progrès_ attempts to solve the tragic problem of the part played by
the élite.

[38] The review _Die Tat_, published by Eug. Diederichs at Jena, prints
long extracts from them in its issue for May 1915.

[39] With an introduction by C. E. Babut.

[40] His principal philosophical work is his Doctor's thesis: _La
réalité du monde sensible_ (1891). Another thesis (in Latin) dates from
the same year: _Des origines du socialisme allemand_, in which he goes
back to the Christian socialism of Luther.

His great historical work is his _Histoire sociale de la Révolution_.
Very interesting is his discussion with Paul Lafargue on _l'Idéalisme et
le matérialisme dans la conception de l'histoire_.

[41] "The need of unity is the profoundest and noblest of the human
mind" (_La réalité du monde sensible_).

[42] "This young democracy must be given a taste for liberty. It has a
passion for equality; it has not in the same degree an idea of liberty,
which is acquired much more slowly and with greater difficulty. We must
give the children of the people, by means of a sufficiently lofty
exercise of their powers of thinking, a sense of the value of man and
consequently of the value of liberty, without which man does not exist."
(To the teachers, January 15, 1888.)

[43] "As for myself, I have never made use of violence to attack
beliefs, whatever they may be; nay, more, I have always abstained even
from that form of violence which consists in insult. Insult expresses a
weak and feverish revolt, rather than the liberty of reason." (1901.)

[44] "The true formula of patriotism is the equal right of all countries
to liberty and justice; it is the duty of every citizen to increase in
his own country the forces of liberty and justice. Those are but sorry
patriots who in order to love and serve one country, find it necessary
to decry the others, the other great moral forces of humanity." (1905.)

[45] Or the extracts given by Charles Rappoport in his excellent book
_Jean Jaurès, l'homme, le penseur, le socialiste_ (1915, Paris,
_l'Emancipatrice_), with an introduction by Anatole France. From this
book are quoted the passages referred to in the notes which follow.
_Jean Jaurès_, a brochure by René Legand, should also be read.

[46] Rappoport, _op. cit._, pp. 70-77.

[47] Rappoport, p. 234.

[48] In his speech at Vaise, near Lyon, July 25, 1914, six days before
his death, he said: "Every people appears throughout the streets of
Europe carrying its little torch; and now comes the conflagration."

[49] Rappoport, p. 61.

[50] Rappoport p. 369-70.

[51] "Throughout the world there are six millions of us, organized
workmen, for whom the name of Jaurès was the incarnation of the noblest
and most complete aspiration.... I remember what he was for the workmen
of other countries. I see still the foreign delegates who awaited his
words before forming their final opinions; even when they were not in
agreement with him they were glad to approach his point of view. He was
more than the Word: he was the Conscience."

[52] Who has spoken more nobly than he of the eternal France, "the true
France, that is not summed up by an epoch or by a day, neither by the
day of long ago, nor the day that has just passed, but the whole of
France complete in the succession of her days, of her nights, of her
dawns, of her shadows, of her heights and of her depths; of France, who,
across all these mingled shades, all these half-lights and all these
vicissitudes, goes forward towards a brilliance which she has not yet
attained, but which is foreshadowed in her thought!" (1910.)

See his masterly picture of French history, and his magnificent eulogy
of France, at the Conference of 1905, which he was prevented from
delivering in Berlin, and which Robert Fischer read in his place.

[53] The terms Asia and Africa have not, of course, a geographical but
an ethnological signification. Turkey is not, and never has been,
European; and it is difficult to decide up to what points certain of the
Balkan Powers are European.

       *       *       *       *       *

Corrections of typographical erros made by the etext transcriber:


Auslænder, Auslander=>Ausländer

Deutschland Uber Alles=>Deutschland Über Alles


Rene Schickele=>René Schickele

René Legan=>René Legand














Notre-Dame la Misere=>Notre-Dame la Misère





Dr. Ernst Drylander=>Dr. Ernst Dryander




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