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The Spectator at war

The Spectator at war: Are the lights going out?

5 August 2014

8:00 AM

5 August 2014

8:00 AM

From ‘News of the Week’, The Spectator, 8 August 1914: 

‘A good many excellent people are talking now as if the present war would mean the destruction of all civilization. That, we venture to say with all respect, is rubbish. Civilization is a far tougher plant than these good people imagine. That the war is a terrible evil, and that it will bring great sufferings, we admit as fully as can the most determined pessimist. It is, indeed, because we feel this so deeply that we have struggled hard in favour of those preparations which alone could have averted war, or, at any rate, might greatly have shortened it. Nevertheless the war, frightful as it must be in its consequences, is not, in any true sense, without parallel, nor will its effects be permanent. The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars lasted much longer than this war is likely to last, and, in spite of the fact that the nations were not armed and organized as they are now, embraced almost as large a proportion of the population. And yet during those twenty-two years of agony civilization was not destroyed, but, strange as it may seem, actually progressed. The world was more civilized in 1815 than it was in 1793.’

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