Unending War – A Past Idea

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Some web sites, probably mostly with some pacifist bent, use the term “unending war”. It is not a new term – we find it more than 200 years ago in the article below.

The situation is similar to that painted on the pages of the aforementioned web sites. You have a country, its armies in satellite European nations, their governments controlled from outside, Russia under threat. As a consequence, Russia seeks alliances, the response is initially lukewarm.

While the scenario we found is not quite the same as it may be in any contemporary situation – because the nature of the enemy’s name is always changing – at one moment, the comparison can be made to Russia; at another, the problem is Prussian militarism, but always, for those in favour of war, there are the traitorous anti-patriots. Such is the insult to be applied to the peace-maker, as prude to the chaste, or as pedantic to who knnows how wide a category – teachers, geeks, those who would speak precisely …

These ideas were suggested to the present writer by a book which was expected to be quite boring, Louise, Queen of Prussia, by Constance Write, (London: Frederick Muller Ltd., 1970). We believe this to be Constance Choate White, who, according to a New York Times obituary, wrote 8 books, including 2 novels.  Why a woman who was probably an American wrote about a Prussian, and had it published in GreatBritain by a seemingly German-named publisher (Muller) would be an interesting story in itself.

We have decided to express the ideas presented in verse form, but for the most part, this can be read as prose. Footnotes are included to authenticate the connections the past has with what one may suppose about the present. No claim is made for the quality of the verse, but if it seems reasonable, use the internal search engine of this particular web site to find more under the terms, “Poetry (Verse)”, one of the pages that has cannot be found with standard search engines.

This phrase I’ve read: unending war … [1]
Where have we seen this term before?
A Napoleon no-Bones-about it, wars made
Ground-work for European domination laid
To Gallia’s east was many a foe,
One after another to be laid low.
The greatest cross of all to bear was Russia;
Its Tsar eagerly sought the help of a Prussia
Preferring peace. “Traitors and cowards”[2] the “war hawks” “fretted” [3]
Which en’my rumours insisted that Queen Louise abetted [4]
But for Fritz’s birthday, they read “In Praise of War” [5]
Then sang “Heil dir in Siegenkranz” to “God Save the Queen’s score[6].
So, if the battle which is coming should take one by surprise
It may be that one has succumbed to one-too-many lies.
But … be no traitor or coward, But never be either a traitor or a coward
It’s time that you your loins gird Two minutes to Doomsday midnight – time you your loins gird
Fear all except Aurora, should it be in the East
Symbolized by dragon, bear, or any other beast.
John Bull, with nephew-uncle have planned the thing to slay
But woe – poor planet Earth – I think you’ll rue that day.

Notes

Written April 1, 2018.

© 2018, Paul Karl Moeller

All references from 1 to 6 are from Write.  This article might be expanded if other ideas should occur.

[1] Gentz, Frédéric, Memoirs et lettres, [Stuttgart, 1841], quoted by Write, p. 75. An search in English for the term under discussion put us within 7 years of the Gentz book, 1848, in Alison, Archibald, History of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revolution in M.DCC.LXXXIX. to the Restoration of the Bourbons in M.DCCC.XV, Vol. 11, [Edinburgh, London: Blackwood, 1948), p. 348.  The Gentz book has not been found on line.

[2] p. 86

[3] p. 85

[4]  p. 83

[5] pp. 1, 2

[6] p. 83.  An old copyright free reference to the music has been found under the title “God Save the Queen” in The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, Volume 7, Leavitt, Trow, & Company, 1868, p. 383.

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