"Those who actually set out to see the fall of a city ... or those who choose to go to a front line, are obviously asking themselves to what extent they are cowards. But the tests they set themselves--there is a dead body, can you bear to look at it?--are nothing in comparison with the tests that are sprung on them. It is not the obvious tests that matter (do you go to pieces in a mortar attack?) but the unexpected ones (here is a man on the run, seeking your help--can you face him honestly?)."
"It was a time of madness, the sort of mad-hysteria that always presages war. There seems to be nothing left but war--when any population in any sort of a nation gets violently angry, civilization falls down and religion forsakes its hold on the consciences of human kind in such times of public madness."
"In 1862 the congregation of the church forwarded the church bell to General Beauregard to be melted into cannon, "hoping that its gentle tones, that have so often called us to the House of God, may be transmuted into war's resounding rhyme to repel the ruthless invader from the beautiful land God, in his goodness, has given us."
"I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king--and of a King of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms--I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field."
"Armies, for the most part, are made up of men drawn from simple and peaceful lives. In time of war they suddenly find themselves living under conditions of violence, requiring new rules of conduct that are in direct contrast to the conditions they lived under as civilians. They learn to accept this to perform their duties as fighting men."
"Still, I'm much happier here, really in it than I've been for an age. People don't hate much at the front; there's no one to hate, except the poor devils across the way, whom they [the French soldiers] know to be as miserable as themselves. They don't talk hypocritical bosh about the beauty and manliness of war: they feel in their souls that if they weren't cowards they would have ended the thing long ago--by going home, where they want to be. And lastly and best, they don't jabber about atrocities--of course, everyone commits them--though about one story in a million that reaches our blessed Benighted States is true."
"How damned ridiculous it all is! The long generations toiling--skimping, lashing themselves screwing higher and higher the tension of their minds, polishing brighter and brighter the mirror of intelligence to end in this--My God what a time--All the cant and hypocrisy, all the damnable survivals, all the vestiges of old truths now putrid and false infect the air, choke you worse than German gas--The ministers from their damn smug pulpits, the business men--the heroics about war--my country right or wrong--oh infinities of them! Oh the tragic farce of the world."
"There's something wonderfully exciting about the quiet sing song of an aeroplane overhead with all the guns in creation lighting out at it, and searchlights feeling their way across the sky like antennae, and the earth shaking snort of the bombs and the whimper of shrapnel pieces when they come down to patter on the roof."