“Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out… and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel ... and in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man" — with his mouth.”
- Mark Twain in “The War Prayer” (1904)
My own ideas that were raised by the quote:
It is hard to imagine that there could be people on this earth who could not accept the stark fact that the First World War was not a needless and bloody exercise in human vanity that was caused by a series of diplomatic blunders. Nobody who was involved in leading the major European nations of that day could control the forces that they unleashed.
However, the hard fact is that the terrible atrocity lasted for years just because nobody had the guts to cut away their ‘national pride’ and cut their losses.
It was a war where the human suffering was intensified heights that had never been before seen. It happened because of the enormous incompetence and stubbornness of the national leaders of that time. However, where is the utter moral outrage over millions of needless, idiotic deaths in this needless, idiotic war that was started by a bunch of incompetent fools to satisfy their idiotic and utterly foolish ideas of national pride and destiny?
The preservation of nationalism as a pure idea just so important that sweeping under the rug one of its most bitter and desperate failures just might be seen as an important task. The First World War was the result of utter and final failure of nationalism as an ideology and nothing else. Millions after millions of young men were slaughtered just because of the nationalistic ideas and ideals of that day.
Still, there is a real reason why the utter lunacy of the First World War is so rarely brought up anymore. Is this because of a will to preserve the idea of nationalism from the utter and final condemnation that it would deserve if just the legacy of the First World War would be discussed openly and in the way that it would need to be done?
Luckily for the modern nationalists the Second World War did ultimately save the core values of their ideology from the utter disgrace that the WW1 had brought. Saving other nations from the dark and real threat of the Nazis just did make war respectable again.
However, a necessary possible defensive war like the Second World War is a still used to justifying, bolstering and intensifying of nationalistic fervor. This happens even if the possible attackers are normally motivated by bolstering and intensifying of THEIR nationalistic defensive fervor in a quite similar manner.
“War is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify.”
- Louis de Cazenave, french veteran of World War I in BBC News report (2005)
(This piece was completely refurbished on 1st of December, 2012)
"Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is most noted for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel."