Ravages of War

Pg 331 – They Thought They Were Free
Eight years and more after the war his family still gladly accepted gifts of used clothing, the crumbs of charity…Eggs were sold by the unit; who had money to invest in a dozen at a time, or a place to keep them fresh?
In our older boy’s class, the sixth grade, in a school in our bourgeois, nonindustrial, county-seat town in a fertile valley, 10 per cent of the children were, eight years after the war, going to school without breakfast; the next 10 per cent had unspread bread; the next 10 per cent, bread with a nonfat spread; and only the top 30 per cent had any kind of milk or milk-substitute drink under their belts. Our younger boy, in the first grade, brought his new friend Bienet home with him and gave him a banana. Bienet ate the banana – and the skin.

Eight years after the war, the country was still unable to even feed its kids properly.  This in a nation that boasted of its wealth and authority in the world only a decade prior.  The plight of kids is so often used (and misused) that it’s nearly a cliché.  Irregardless, the plight of kids shown in the above quote is a useful description of what War does.  It not only destroys the lives of those directly touched, but every life afterwords.  War destroys wealth and infrastructure.  It affects the lively hood of future people, increases the infant mortality rate, makes once feasible improvements in the human condition unfeasible for yet another generation.

Pg 355 – They Thought They Were Free
Marx doesn’t care if, in this outbreak or that, or in this or that locality, he calls himself a Nazi, a Fascist, a Communist, a Nationalist, or an Odd Fellow. Marx is talking to the naked condition of his existence, not to the insignia in his lapel. “One hundred and fifty per cent of prewar” is mumbo jumbo of dead financiers. Nothing costs money like war, whoever wins or loses. Nothing mass-produced proletarians like war, whoever wins or loses. Whoever wins or loses, Marx is talking to the man whose house and savings are gone, who has nothing to sell but his labor. Let the dead financiers talk of “150 per cent of prewar”; Marx knows that England and France, whose productive capacity, far from being destroyed, was scarcely touched, never recovered from the first World War. In the midst of the broken stones, the twisted steel, the burned-out shop, and the flooded mine stands the new proletarian: the German.

Pg 79 – Death by Government
“How long will you keep killing people?” asked Lady Astor of Stalin in 1931.
Replied Stalin, “The process would continue as long as was necessary” to establish a communist society

Pg 315 – Death by Government – Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan
Kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.

Few things make the mind as susceptible to being molded as dire need and impoverishment.  Brain Washing often involves torture for these reasons, and war is torture.  War and the consequences impoverish the body and the mind.  How can an individual – if his family is starving and he is unable to provide – think, or even care about economics or the moral consequences of actions?  He probably worked hard his entire life, only to be left with nothing but a hungry family.  His house has been bombed.  His place of work has been bombed or been converted for a war which is now over.  He cares not for the preachers who espouse work ethics, the positivist media who preach recovery, nor maybe even a God who he thinks left him alone.  War ravages people.  War shoots people down to their very foundations, and then attacks even that.

This post is a continuation of a long series of commentary on quotes pulled from They Thought They Were Free, the Germans 1933-45 by Milton Mayer and Death By Government by R.J. Rummel.  To see the short review of the books themselves click on the book titles above.  To see other commentary and all the quotes please follow here:  They Thought They Were Free Commentary List & Death By Government Commentary List.

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