The Pacifists and the Trenches

May 13, 2011

The New York Times - Sunday Book Review
By Christopher Hitchens

"Woodrow Wilson’s fatuous claim about the European war of 1914-18 — sarcastically annexed by Adam Hochschild for the title of this moving and important book — was an object of satire and contempt even as it was being uttered. “A peace to end peace,” commented Sir Alfred Milner, that powerhouse of the British war cabinet, as he surveyed the terms of the Versailles treaty that supposedly brought the combat to a close."

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Caramx said...

historians have come to regard that bleak November “armistice” as a mere truce”.
 I thought that was always any decent historian’s
point of view. At least that was the view of professors who taught me European
history. It was not only the upper classes who realized, as well as lamented,
that the world they had cherished was passing forever, but also the Roman Catholic
Church, who weren’t particularly overjoyed at the prospect of a “new society”. 

vanillette said...

The core view of militant pacifism, perfect in theory, hard to get right in practice, but what else are we here for...? "There should be no insult or humiliation that is too great to bear.  If you were ever to feel it was justifiable to respond vindictively, the exchange of bitter words and recriminations that ensues would be bound to inflame and escalate the anger on both sides.  This is how people start to fight and kill each other.  Murders and wars all begin with just one angry thought." [Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche][Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche]

Kodakery said...

 one of the reason of the callousness of the British & German general staff, to the poor ordinary soldiers fate, was they were the same with their own staff.from August 1914 to june 1915, the British lost 25 Major General's killed at the front. on the German side two corps commanders Von Einemen & Von Cluck were wounded, Von Cluck survived...even one of the Kaisers sons led a charge at the start of the war... And a future king of England stood on the deck of a battleship during the Battle of Jutland, with shells falling all around him..!that is how close the higher up were to the front... and often died alongside the troops... the general got prestige funerals the troops in mass graves...the similar sort of disregard is true today, where the commanders of such troops may not even be in the same country as the troops.Regards, Sandy Barrie.Regards, Sandy Barrie.


Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir