At that moment of realization I knew that I had been blind because I had wished not to see; it was only then that I realised, at last, that all these dead men, French and Germans, were brothers, and I was the brother of them all.
In a quiet Franciscan monastery kind and silent monks looked after me. After many weeks I was discharged. Unfit for further service.
I was at the front for thirteen months, and by the end of that time the sharpest perceptions had become dulled, the greatest words mean.
I saw the dead without really seeing them.
As a boy I used to go to the Chamber of Horrors at the annual fair, to look at the wax figures of Emperors and Kings, of heroes and murderers of the day. The dead now had that same unreality, which shocks without arousing pity.
And suddenly, like light in darkness, the real truth broke in upon me; the simple fact of Man, which I had forgotten, which had lain deep buried and out of sight; the idea of community, of unity.
Slogans which deafened us so that we could not hear the truth.
Most people have no imagination. If they could imagine the sufferings of others, they would not make them suffer so. What separated a German mother from a French mother?
Soldiers and peasants lived together on friendly terms; they knew each other and their everyday routines, and trusted each other; they shook their heads together over the war.
The working class will not halt until socialism has been realized.
As a rule, people are afraid of truth. Each truth we discover in nature or social life, destroys the crutches on which we need to lean.
We revolutionaries acknowledge the right to revolution when we see that the situation is no longer tolerable, that it has become a frozen. Then we have the right to overthrow it.
The revolution is like a vessel filled with the pulsating heartbeat of millions of working people.
How happy I am to go to the front at last. To do my bit. To prove with my life what I think I feel.
The French got enough from the Germans to save them from starvation; but many a woman sold herself for a loaf or a chunk of sausage.
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