In a minor link--Eliot was in Germany when WWI broke out and reports
that at the time he thought Germany was right. When he got back to
England, he changed his mind. He said everyone agreed.
Subject: Twain on War
Victory of the Loud Little Handful
by Mark Twain
The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit
will - warily and cautiously - object... at first. The great, big, dull
bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there
should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust
and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it."
Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will
argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will
have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others
will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and
Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the
platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men...
Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the
nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those
conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse
to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince
himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he
enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)
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