Page:Above the battle.djvu/180

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to madness, and at others breathes a religious fervour, 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.[1] 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 souls 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

  1. With an introduction by C. E. Babut.