war opponents War no more - the book, antiwar writing in American literature war writing
Antiwar writers, antiwar antiwar literature, War No More

Antiwar Writers

Set men face to face, with weapons in their hands, and they are as ready to slaughter one another now, after playing at peace and good will for so many years, as in the rudest ages.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Chiefly About War Matters," 1862

Away with themes of war! away with War itself! Hence from my shuddering sight, to never more return, that show of blacken'd, mutilated corpses!

—Walt Whitman, "After All, Not to Create Only," 1871

It seemed to me an epitome of war; that all war must be just that—the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity; strangers whom, in other circumstances, you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it.

—Mark Twain, "The Private History of a Campaign that Failed," 1885

Our race, in fact, has not been the slowest to murder, at any time, and has gone more than half‐way, usually, to meet the most homicidal savages on their own ground. Even where its gifts in blood‐shedding have not been called out by contact with an inferior race, it has contrived to kill within its own ethnical limits in a measure which would not discredit barbarians who hold man‐slaying in honor.

—William Dean Howells, "Editor's Study," May 1890

We have ceased to be, among the big nations, the one great thing that made up for so many crudities, & made us above all superior & unique-the only one with clean hands & no record of across‐the‐seas murder & theft.

—Henry James, letter to William James, June 1899

The battles of the future must be fought without the merciful screen of smoke, which in the past hid the shock of the charges, the wavering and indecision, the ghastly carnage.

—Jack London, "The Impossibility of War," March 1900

©2019 Cynthia Wachtell. All Rights Reserved