Tagged: War

Karl Kraus: Tourist Trip to Hell. 1920.

I have in my hands a  document that surpasses and seals the shame of this age, and would warrant assigning a place of honor in a cosmic boneyard to this money-hungry mess that calls itself mankind. If ever a newspaper clipping meant a clipping of creation-here we face the utter certainty that a generation to which such solicitations could be directed no longer has any better instincts to be violated.

W. H. Auden: September 1, 1939

This poem by W. H. Auden (1907-1973), marks the beginning of World War II, which started with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. He is an analyst of the times, and his deep insights are as true today as they were in September 1939: Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return… The enlightenment driven away, the habit-forming pain, mismanagement, and grief…. For the error bred in the bone of each woman and each man, craves what it cannot have, not universal love, but to be loved alone…..All I have is a voice, to undo the folded...

Cicero

I recently added some texts from the ancient Roman politician and philosopher Cicero (106 – 43 BC) to this blog. Cicero rose to the highest political offices in Rome, and he defended the Roman Republic, a limited version of democracy within an oligarchy, against various attempts by individuals and small groups to usurp power. He saw the rise of Caesar, and was present at his assassination in the Senate, but he was not one of conspirators. In the volatile political situation after Caesars’ death, he gave speeches in which he tried to defend the Senate and the Republican System against the revenge of Mark Antony,...

Cicero on Just War

The conditions for Just War have been debated for centuries: it must be fought by a legal and recognized authority, eg, a government. The cause of the war must be just. The war must be fought with the intention to establish good or correct evil, and there must be a reasonable chance of success. The war must be the last resort (after all diplomatic negotiations have been tried and failed), and only sufficient force must be used. Civilians should not be involved or targeted. One of the first philosophers discussing the conditions for just war is Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43...

Patton’s speech to the Third Army.

General George Patton’s speech to the US Third Army was given in 1944, prior to the landing in the Normandy. Patton tried to motivate the inexperienced Third Army for its pending combat duty and terrible losses. He pushed his soldiers to do their duty regardless of personal fear, challenging them to be aggressive and engage in constant offensive action. The speech is laced with profanity, and was well-received with his men. It is another example of a classical speech when a General addresses his troops before the battles begin. Be seated. Men, all this stuff you hear about America not...

Why War?

Why War? The correspondence between Einstein and Freud in 1931 and 1932. from Einstein on Peace ed. Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden (New York: Schocken Books, 1960), pp186-203 Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud on the question of war: The Einstein-Freud Correspondence (1931-1932) [1] The letter which Einstein addressed to Freud, concerning the projected organization of intellectual leaders, was sent in 1931, or possibly 1932, and read as follows: I greatly admire your passion to ascertain the truth–a passion that has come to dominate all else in your thinking. You have shown with irresistible lucidity how inseparably the aggressive and destructive...