Emil Ludwig: Dialogue on «humanitarian war»

For peace, against war: literary selections

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

German writers on peace and war

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Emil Ludwig
From Genius and Character (1927)
Translated by Kenneth Burke

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[Woodrow] Wilson (gesticulating more vigorously): Behind me was an unsure country, shaken by conflicting emotions, and repeatedly aroused by the stupid and insane acts of the German navy; and in front of me was an indignant Congress which shouted for war at first, but later grew frightened at its own uproar. You know these difficulties –

[George] Washington (smiling): This institution, which we established, was abusing me even in my old age, when a marble statue of me was already standing in the public square. The facts of history develop a kindly patina, until the nation and its heroes are thought to have been in perfect accord. As a matter of fact, every statesman has considered his own nation ungrateful. You, as a…

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