disease and famine. While today most people are more inclined towards pacifism than belligerency, in the past war was seen as normal and necessary for progress and perseverance. Europe in particular saw war as tool for supremacy inspired by the wars and conquest of their Greek, Roman, and Anglo Saxon ancestors. Heinrich von Treitschke’s Place of Warfare in the State published sometime after 1896 and The Young People of Today published in 1912 by Henri Massis and Alfred de Tarde emphasize war as a means of progression and the zeitgeist of the times. At the turn of the 19th Century, an already war torn Europe romanticized the idea of war and saw it essential to conquer and colonize “inferior” peoples to build empires, expand European influence and preserve their culture.
By examining Heinrich von Treitschke’s Place of Warfare in the State and The Young People of Today by Henri Massis and Alfred de Tarde we see a common sentiment among Europeans that exalted and praised war. War was not seen as something vile and violent, in fact German von Treitschke saw it as heroic (von Treitschke 222). For the young men in France “war in their eyes, is the occasion for the most noble of human virtues which they exalt above all others” (Massis and de Tarde). “What a perversion of morality to want to banish heroism from human life” the German historian once said, calling those against war on moral terms cowards (von Treitschke 222). Von Treitschke even quotes from the Bible, citing John 15:13 and arguing that dying for one another is one of the highest forms of love and patriotism. The German historian romanticizes war, seeing it as a unifying and heroic fo...
... middle of paper ...
...essential” in order to wage war, a quote that sounds like something from a Nazi propaganda book let (von Treitschke 222).
Germany expanded its influence throughout Europe and Africa by war and conquest the way Heinrich von Treitschke envisioned. Germany followed the footsteps of the English, French, Spanish and other European countries to become a superpower among the world. However, the bellicose and violent sentiment came at a price. The First World War erupted a few years after the publication of The Young People of Today in 1912. Perhaps it was this sentiment that attracted a then young Adolph Hitler to fight for Germany. In the end, the war engulfed not only Europe, but also its colonies into fighting and launched warfare into its modern era. While the war broke the romanticism and exaltation of war, the “war to end all wars” did little to stop future wars.
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